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NETGEAR MBR624GU 3G Broadband Wireless Router Reviewed

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Introduction

Updated 4/28/2009: MAC Address filtering supported.
Updated 4/2/2009: Added component info.

NETGEAR MBR624GU 3G Broadband Wireless Router

At a Glance
Product NETGEAR 3G Broadband Wireless Router (MBR624GU)
Summary Compact 3G Router with 802.11g Wi-Fi and 4 10/100 LAN ports
Pros • Uses USB vs. PC Card 3G adapters
• Easy Setup
• Very portable
• Downlink QoS
Cons • Broken Static Routing
• No Uplink QoS

The NETGEAR MBR624GU is a compact 802.11g wireless router with a USB WAN port that accepts   a handful of 3G USB adapters from Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. The MBR provides a shared wired and wireless Internet connection anywhere you can get AC (or DC) power and a decent 3G signal. 

When I first read about this device, I expected to find a router with a normal DSL or cable Internet port plus a USB port for the 3G card, perhaps along the lines of the Zyxel USG100 I tested awhile back.  This expectation was set by NETGEAR's product page that indicates that the MBR provides “a nice backup for DSL or Cable services,”.  However, the MBR has only a single USB WAN port, 4 10/100 switched LAN ports and no Ethernet WAN port. 

The MBR is small, measuring just under 7” long by 4.7” deep and 1.1” high and lightweight at only 0.7 lbs. The MBR has the same styling as many other NETGEAR consumer routers, with rounded corners and a simple rectangular shape.  I found it easy to slip into my backpack along with a laptop as I carried it around and tested it at various locations.

The front panel is comprised of indicator lights for power, LAN port link/activity, wireless activity and 3G Internet connectivity.  NETGEAR also includes a pair of plastic stands for those who prefer their routers vertically oriented.

The back (Figure 2) contains 4 10/100 LAN ports, the 3G adapter USB connector and a power button.  Kudos to NETGEAR for the power button.  Whether a power button is necessary or not, it just feels better to me to click something off before pulling the power cord out.

Rear view

Figure 2: Rear view

Under the Covers

Updated 4/2/2009: Added component info.

The inside of the MBR shown in Figure 3 reveals a Conexant CX94610, which integrates an ARM processor and 802.11b/g MAC / Baseband.  On the bottom of the board are a pair of Samsung SDRAM chips for a total of 256 MB of RAM.

Main board

Figure 2: Main board

The 802.11g radio under the shield is a Conexant 50221, which feeds a single antenna that isn't user-upgradable. A Marvell 88E6060 10/100 switch rounds out the design.




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