As one of the leading makers of mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, for several years now Netgear has offered a comprehensive lineup of such products. So for this year's Mobile World Congress the company took to the show to demonstrate its latest 4G and 5G hotspots, as well as share their plans for the future.

Netgear was among the first vendors to offer a Gigabit LTE mobile hotspot, when it launched the Cat 16 DL-capable Nighthawk M1 two years ago. Recently the company introduced its Nighthawk M2 (MR2100), a 2 Gbps LTE mobile hotspot powered by Qualcomm’s X24 modem. The M2 supports 5 CA (carrier aggregation) for downloads, 2 CA for uploads, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi for clients. This high-end router is currently available only in Australia, one of the only markets where there are LTE networks advanced enough to keep up with the lightning-fast router. Eventually the M2 will hit other markets, but in many cases it will inevitably compete against 5G routers where new-gen networks are available.

Speaking of 5G, Netgear plans to offer a carrier-specific 5G mobile hotspot with AT&T in the USA in the near future. These Nighthawk MR5000-series 5G mobile routers are based on Qualcomm’s X50 modem (and almost certainly contains an SD855 as well for technical reasons). Importantly, the MR5000 supports mmWave – critical for reaching 5G's much-advertised transfer speeds – and on the client side uses 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, at least for now this router will only be avaialble through partner AT&T.

Meanwhile Netgear is working on other 5G hotspots for later this year. Sometime in the fourth quarter the company intends to offer its Nighthawk M5 router, which is based on Qualcomm’s even newer X55 modem. Interestingly, this Wi-Fi router will not support mmWave bands (since mmWave will not be available in the vast majority of markets in 2019), and rather is a play to take advantage of the much more broadly deployed sub-6GHz 5G networks. As for the client side, the hotspot will offer 802.11ax Wi-Fi, making it one of the first hotspots to offer support for that new standard. The Nighthawk M5 will be available globally, with pricing to be announced

Looking at the broader picture, Netgear believes that since 5G networks greatly reduce the per-GB costs for carriers, the carriers will be inclined to roll out new networks in areas where they cannot offer high Internet speeds using more traditional means. Which for Netgear, means there's an opportunity to grow into a new market as demand for 5G hotspots increases over time.

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Source: Netgear

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  • ksec - Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - link

    For a lot of people, 5G will be their Internet. I cant wait to see more 5G Routers. The problem is they are all very expensive.
  • austinsguitar - Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - link

    don't bank on that here in the usa. maybe other places yes.
  • KodiakZero - Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - link

    As one that lives in an rural enough area that Fixed Wireless is the only "semi-speed" option, I really am looking for 5G to be my future internet. Honestly, I am less concerned on the router cost, but none of the carriers seem to be gearing up for a price structure that would allow 5G being my primary ISP.

    Give me a 5G internet service for less then $80-100 a month that is truly unlimited and at a speed of at least 300-500 Mbps Down / 50-100 Mbps Up and I will buy the $500 router in a heartbeat.
  • ksec - Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - link

    One possibilities with 5G is MNO could slice up the Network, and offer a specific part of the Network solely for Internet. This assuming there are enough resident within certain radius.

    Although I can pretty much bet you won't be seeing "unlimited" with 300Mbps. 100Mbps is entirely possible though.
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - link

    Oh, it might be "unlimited", until you get to the fine print. That's the problem with most of the "unlimited" data plans for LTE in the States. You only get high-speed for the first several Gb, and then the throttling sets in until the next monthly cycle.
  • ajp_anton - Thursday, March 7, 2019 - link

    Sounds about what I had before I switched to optical fiber. 300Mbps down, 50Mbps up (both theoretical and tested), truly unlimited (used 10TB/month in extreme cases), 20€/month.

    The different operators still occasionally call me to try to get me back to 4G by offering ever lower prices. My data usage never seems to be a problem.
  • Estyle - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    I see some forums are talking and testing the Netgear MR2100 Nighthawk M2, may i know where to buy the 5G router? The shop is selling Nighthawk M2, but it's out of stock now: I can't wait to see 5G router!
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