A device that turns 3G/4G cellular service into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Instead of plugging the cellular air card, which is the 3G/4G transceiver, into a laptop, the air card is plugged into the mobile broadband router. Small mobile broadband routers that can be easily packed in a laptop case are called "portable routers," "personal routers" or "travel routers."|
Routers Vs. Femtocells
Mobile broadband routers tune into the wide-area, wireless 3G/4G network and create a local, wireless Wi-Fi hotspot. In contrast, femtocells perform the conversion the other way around. The femtocell connects to a wired or wireless LAN with Internet access and creates a short-range 3G/4G wireless network that functions like a mini cell tower. See femtocell and air card.
Broadband mobile routers turn 3G/4G service into a local hotspot for laptops and other Wi-Fi mobile devices.
A femtocell provides the opposite function, taking cellular data from the Internet and creating a mini cell tower in the building. See
Many retail establishments use the Internet for credit card approval. If wired Internet access goes down, this Cradlepoint mobile broadband adapter automatically switches point-of-sale terminals to 3G/4G service to keep the business running. (Image courtesy of Cradlepoint, Inc., www.cradlepoint.com)