The Nighthawk M1 mobile router from Netgear offers the potential to distribute 4G at speeds of up to a gigabit per second (such speeds are actually not yet available, but will be, with possibly terminal consequences for your wired broadband connection) and to several devices concurrently. Three developments of the past couple of years make this a tech essential for 2019, both for business and personal users.
The first development is that it really is not safe to use public WiFi anywhere. It’s possible to get overly paranoid about the risk of malicious parties getting into your laptop, phone and tablet, but that’s better than being insufficiently paranoid: 4G cellular networks, redistributed by the Nighthawk, are much harder than WiFi to hack. The second thing that’s changed is that roaming mobile data prices have crashed. The phone deal I’m on now is dozens of times cheaper than the one I had as recently as two years ago. I once hit my ceiling of £120 of data reading the football scores on a taxi ride from JFK to Brooklyn – at £6.50 per megabyte. The 25GB of data I now have in my UK deal covers nearly 30 countries, including all the places I go. There are much bigger deals out there for business – sufficient that there’s no need to use dodgy local WiFi, even that on offer in good hotels.
The third change that makes the scorchingly fast Nighthawk M1 a must-have is that home broadband often isn’t 100 per cent reliable – most services drop out from time to time – whereas 4G is remarkably stable. So there’s a good case, especially if you work at home, for using the M1 as a backup for when your ISP goes flaky.