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Definition: mobile broadband router

A stationary device that converts cellular signals (3G, 4G, LTE) to Wi-Fi. The mobile broadband router creates a local Wi-Fi hotspot to provide access to the Internet as an alternative to cable, DSL and other wired services that are either not available or are more costly than a cellular data plan. Laptops and tablets already have Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi can be added to any desktop computer (see wireless modem).

Not Really So Mobile
A "mobile" broadband router is typically an inhouse desktop device; however, truly mobile units create hotspots anywhere one travels (see cellular hotspot).

Inhouse Wi-Fi vs. Inhouse Cellular
Mobile broadband routers create a Wi-Fi hotspot. In contrast, a "femtocell" brings cellular service inside a home or office (see femtocell).

Broadband Router - Inhouse Wi-Fi
Mobile broadband routers turn cellular service into a local Wi-Fi hotspot for laptops and mobile devices. They become a Wi-Fi access point.

Femtocell - Inhouse Cellular
A femtocell is a mini cell tower that carries cellular voice and data over the Internet. See femtocell.

Failover Protection for Retail Sales
If wired Internet access goes down, this Cradlepoint mobile broadband adapter automatically switches point-of-sale terminals to 3G/4G service to keep accepting credit cards. (Image courtesy of Cradlepoint, Inc., www.cradlepoint.com)