That’s it, routers are moving to 5G and Wi-Fi 6, but at a price

Whether you’re using an Android smartphone or an iPhone, chances are it has a tethering feature that lets you share your internet connection with other devices.

It’s a great feature, but if you use it often, you’ll quickly need a dedicated, portable router. I’ve used Netgear mobile hotspot routers for many years and they are now part of the gear I carry around when I’m on the go.

And I just got the new Nighthawk M6 Pro to test it out. I put it through its paces, and it’s clearly the best mobile hotspot router I’ve ever used.

My smartphone is used for many different things throughout the day

So why am I using a mobile router when I always carry a smartphone with an integrated router? Well, because routers like the Nighthawk M6 Pro come with extra features and are much more versatile.

First off, my smartphone is used for a lot of different things throughout the day. And I don’t necessarily want it to be tied to delivering internet to devices all the time. It’s inconvenient and it drains the battery. Conversely, a mobile router has only one role: to provide Internet to my various devices.

The Nighthawk M6 and M6 Pro can use 5G and 4G networks to cover up to 185 square meters with high-speed Wi-Fi for 13 hours using the built-in battery. And you can connect 32 devices to it at the same time. 13 hours is not enough? Connect it to a USB power adapter or power bank.

Better capture cellular signals

Mobile hotspot routers also help you control your internet usage, which is vitally important if you don’t have an unlimited plan with your smartphone. I’ve heard horrible stories of people using their smartphone’s hotspot feature, exploding their data volumes in a matter of hours, and ending up with a crazy out-of-bundle bill amount.

And you want to connect an Ethernet device to the internet? No problem ! These mobile hotspot routers have built-in Ethernet ports.

I’m also impressed with the ability of the Nighthawk M6 and M6 Pro pro to pick up cellular signals. In the tests I’ve run, these mobile routers get a better and stronger signal than my iPhone 14 Pro Max, making them a great choice in areas with weak cellular data signal. And if the cellular signal isn’t good enough where you are, you can plug an external antenna into the router’s TS-9 ports.

Pay attention to the price!

Need to stay connected to the internet if your home or office’s main internet goes down? It’s simple. With a mobile hotspot router like the Nighthawk M6 or M6 Pro, because you can connect it to your network and switch it over to the cellular network if your primary internet connection drops.

Netgear mobile hotspot routers come with many advanced features. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Need to establish a wireless internet connection at a campsite, construction site, emergency area, or in your car or RV? It’s quick and easy with a mobile hotspot router.

Sharing your Internet connection with devices is also a breeze: the built-in screen provides easy access to network names and passwords. You can even get a handy QR code that you just scan with a smartphone camera to connect.

Want to change your Wi-Fi passwords or network name? It’s easy with a mobile hotspot router. Netgear routers allow you to do this on the device, using an app on your smartphone, or by logging into the web portal.

A note however. Good mobile hotspot routers don’t come cheap. The model I’m talking about currently costs 1000 €. However, once you have used one, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to return to using your smartphone’s connection sharing function.

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