CradlePoint MBR1000: Best EVDO Router Ever?


I pretty regularly find myself in locations where I just can’t function – there’s no network drop, the connection is poor because it’s being shared with dozens of high bandwidth applications, I’m a guest and the LAN requires a local user account, etc. So, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for the right EVDO router. I’ve played with a few models including the Kyocera unit we picked up for CES – only to discover it doesn’t support the two current cards we have… which led to a somewhat disappointing luncheon demo at the Wynn. (The unit’s since been returned.)

A few weeks ago I ended up presenting in a conference room without Ethernet (you’d be surprised how often that happens) or public WiFi, but the hosts offered us a pre-release CradlePoint MBR1000 EVDO router for the afternoon – if I could figure out how to make it work. In less than five minutes I had it unpacked, configured, and feeding my devices via a Sprint EVDO card. I was sold.

The MBR1000 started shipping this week and, as you can see from the pictures, mine’s Sling’s arrived. It retails for $250, but we got it $30 under list via Solid Signal. Not only will this be useful for work, it’ll provide broadband to one of our apartments during the upcoming move and two week overlap. Pretty critical – as I work from home and don’t know how my Comcast migration will play out…

Click thumbnails for a larger view:

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54 thoughts on “CradlePoint MBR1000: Best EVDO Router Ever?”

  1. By the way, not only does it wireless share my EVDO card it can be used as a traditional 802.11N WiFi router. So, I’m still only carrying one device. Also interesting: It shares the 3G signal of some phones via USB. Nice!

  2. Didn’t even know that such products existed. Since I already have a Verizon V740 express card (for my MacBook Pro) this would make a really great device to have around to provide a redundant internet link for the whole house when Comcast goes out (not often – but always at the worst possible time).

  3. “…Also interesting: It shares the 3G signal of some phones via USB” <— Whoa!! Now THAT caught my attention.

    Intrigued, I clicked through to that Solid Signal place and saw that they have a smaller, stealthier one:

    If any ZNF readers can test that out, post some simple width test results and what phones/carriers worked, I love to see it. ( Note I am relying on fellow ZFN readers and not making any requests to Dave – we don’t want to distract him from the AppleTV vs. VooDoo hardware shoot out ).

  4. If I had been just purchasing for myself, I would have gotten one of the smaller ones.. which has a rechargeable battery, no less! But for work purposes, I also want those ports.

    Here’s the phone and card compatibility lists:

    FYI One of those smaller ones is going to be sold shortly via Sprint and with their logo on it.

  5. A friend of mine bought the smaller one and was pretty unhappy with it. He didn’t research it much ahead of time but it is USB only, no PCMCIA or Express. The early firmware will only let you use the ethernet port on the LAN side, I’m not sure if they’ve changed that.

    Any idea if the new one will prioritize broadband or cellular and switch if one goes down Dave??

  6. Yah, the dashboard/control panel has some settings to prioritize LAN and fail over to cellular if it goes down. And speaking of that web interface, it blows away the options I have on my nearly as expensive Apple router. FYI this CradlePoint model doesn’t have a PCMCIA slot either, just USB (2x) and ExpressCard – plus 5 Ethernet jacks – one incoming, four outgoing.

  7. I was wondering how well the fail over works. Is there a gap when the connections change over or is it seamless?


  8. Nate, failover works great/quick. typically between 10-30 seconds in my testing.

    but for now, if the first source recovers, the MBR1000 isn’t switching back, like one would expect.

    Cradlepoint acknowledges this is something they are working on, but it may be some time before the fix is in place.

  9. Just got one of these for use with my EX720. Exceptional value. Using the EX720 with my Mac Book Pro yielded at the most, two bars out of five. Orienting the MacBook just a few inches could make the connection drop.

    With the MBR1000, I got an external antenna and placed the unit where I could get 3 to 4 bars. I now have close to full speed EVDO-A through out the house.

    The setup was easy and quick, but when I dug into it, I found features not found on most products. Extremely well designed and thought out. Two thumbs up on the product.

  10. I bought the CTR350 and plugged in a Sprint/Novatel USB727 cellular modem.

    Wow. Imagine driving down the road with you WiFi laptop streaming music and live Skype video/voice calls.

    Oh, did I mention that the latest CTR350 firmware feeds the GPS interface to a TCP port?

    Run, don’t walk, and get a CTR350 and Novatel 727 from Sprint (Verizon “unlimited” is now capped at 5 GB/month).

  11. you know, 60 bucks is going to be pretty standard for the cost of a high transfer broadband EVDO, I know verizon’s cost for every card they sell is about 65.00 in maintaining the network. they spend about 5 billion a year in network advancement and maintenance alone.

  12. Dave,
    Do you have any info on the coverage area of the MBR1000? I am trying to cover between 2 locations that are about 200+ft apart.

  13. I didn’t do any specific testing on range, but it seems at least as good as any traditional router. If you can run in N-mode only, you’ll probably get better range and at higher speeds.

  14. Fans of the MBR1000 should be told that the new Cradlepoint CTR500 shares many of the MBR1000’s features in a much smaller, portable form factor. The CTR500 has an expresscard slot and USB port, so it allows for failover between 3G sources; has 4 LED lights to show signal, just like the MBR1000 does; and shares the same processor as the MBR1000.

    Lots more writeup about it at our full CTR500 Router review, as well as many photos and some video too!

    Check out

  15. Vicente, I used mine with the Xbox 360 before Comcast hooked up our new place.

    Alex, are you shipping the CTR500 yet? I’m getting one the day it’s released (or earlier). For Sling, I needed the extra Ethernet jacks (of the MBR1000). For Dash, I don’t.

  16. Dave,
    The first shipment of “production” CTR500’s is expected tomorrow/tuesday and 3gstore is already taking pre-orders at 169.99

    I managed to get two pre-production CTR500’s for our review (the first one was a really early alpha unit that i got when we met cradlepoint at CTIA in vegas).

    The CTR500 is going to be so popular, I believe a price drop is going to have to happen for CTR350 or else its gonna die.

  17. I have sprint Novatel U727 how do I check for signal strength and what is normal or should I whats considered great signal strength?

  18. I am looking for help.

    Got new ATT 3G service but when conect through MBR1000, I get only about half the throughput compared to direct modem to PC connection. I’ve been in communication with Cradlepoint Support (Mike) but to no avail so far. Does anyone of you have an idea?

    3G flaming logo is constantly on in ATT Connection Manager. Traffic Shaping switch has no real influence (actually it’s even a little bit slower when turned off)

    Let me summarize:

    1) I am using ATT 3G USB Connect 881 modem which is 3G, not EDGE.
    2) Signal strength is constantly 4 bars.
    3) I am NOT using WLAN, just plain simple wired LAN.
    4) The modem is connected through 1m USB extender and is about 80 cm away from the router and 80 cm awa y from the PC.
    5) No other hub, switch or router is involved.
    6) When I connect modem to the router I get only about little bit less than half compared to direct connection to PC. In other words, when connected directly to PC I am getting about twice the speed compared to connection through MBR1000 router.

    I need to find the solution really quickly. Could it be that modem is defective? Or settings anywhere?

  19. I’m not sure I know the answer – my speeds (on Sprint with the MBR1000) was right where I expected them to be and fast enough for Vudu streaming and Xbox Live with mostly default settings.

    But I do wonder what the ATT Connection Manager has to do with it when the modem is connected to the router? Have you tried with another computer? Have you tried without the USB extender? Just trying to rule out variables here…

  20. Hello Dave,
    thanks for your kind help!

    The ATT Connection Manager installer is pre-loaded in ATT (Sierra USBConnect 881) modem and once this app is installed on PC, it is needed to use modem directly on PC and enables to set certain configuration in modem. When the modem is connected to the router Connection Manager is not involved.

    I get exactly same results without USB extender: roughly half the speed when plugged to router compared to plug in PC.

    Same results with another PC, that’s why I suspect something weird with router that it is throttling the throughput. I think either this piece is defective or router does not know how to process 3G HSDPA data properly. Can’t think of anything else.

    Are you saying that you are getting approximately same speeds when your modem is plugged into PC compared to plugged into router?

    BTW, Cradlepoint did not reply to me today at all. :-(

  21. EVDO has a theoretical throughput of 2.4 megabits per second. This is as fast as many residential DSL and cable broadband connections currently available in the United States. Qualcomm has produced impressive demonstrations of EVDO’s capabilities; in one, a video conference was conducted with a participant traveling in a car at 60 miles per hour (96 km/hour). In another demonstration, a phone call was placed from a bullet train moving in excess of 150 miles per hour (240 km/hour).

  22. I was getting the same speeds with my last card (Sprint, EVDO). I have an ATT card now (HSDPA), but the new Cradlepoint router (CTR500). Haven’t done any speed tests yet, though verified it works in terms of coverage and basic browsing. Does your router have the latest firmware?

  23. Hello Dave,

    yes, I have the latest firmware installed.

    Basic coverage and browsing works, but sometimes I have to wait longer. That’s what prompted me do the speed testing. I am using this simple test

    When you have a chance, please let me know your results without and with CTR500.

    Sincerely, George

  24. To TameJack,

    I was getting ~1.6Mb/s directly through PC and max. ~800kb/s through the MBR1000, although the modem was in EXACTLY same spot (no moving or turning) all the time.

  25. George, did some testing with the same AT&T USB card and the Cradlepoint CTR500 – getting about 1200Kbps down direct from the card in laptop and 900Kbps down with the card in router over unsecured WiFi (802.11g) to the laptop. Not sure how this compares with my former Verizon and Sprint EVDO cards as I no longer have them.

  26. Thanks Dave,

    it seems it is indeed throttling it down then, 25% in your case – I made about ~300 readings. One guy at forum reported similar behavior with CTR350.

    Mike from Cradlepoint Support sent me new, yet unreleased firmware, unfortunately unloadable due to some glitch (suspect wrong id in fw). Will let you know the results once he fixes it.

  27. i’m trying to decide b/t the crt500, mbr1000, and the kyocera k2 . . .

    do you lose any performance / range / speed going with the ‘travel’ crt500 vs. the others, or is it just a matter of inputs / ports (i’ll be using a the sierra compass usb)? any recs between the mbr1000 and the k2?

    thanks for any input!

  28. pk, it sounds like the CTR500 and MBR1000 have the same core chip. However, the CTR500 is 802.11g while the MBR1000 is 802.11n. I’ve migrated to the CTR500 because it’s smaller and I no longer need the ports. I didn’t go with Kyocera because I had compatibility issues with their original model (KR1) and wasn’t going to gamble.

  29. thanks, dave – it’s definitely b/t the CTR500 and the MBR1000 (all the reviews i’ve read re: cradlepoint have been awesome).

    i’m still torn, though. i’m not really going to be traveling with the router, so the MBR1000 would make sense (n, supposed better range, etc). but, i really dig the form factor of the CTR500 much more than the MBR1000. everything i have is wireless, so the ports are not a huge dealbreaker (i can always hook up an old switch to the CTR500 if needed). although, the extra usb of the MBR1000 might come in handy if other usb devices (external hard drive, etc) could be used with it in the future . . .

    forgive me, i’m not a true geek, but how much of a difference would the n router be vs. the g (i’m not a gamer, biggest bandwidth hog is prob my work VPN and Rhapsody streaming music service) also, i know that n is in ‘draft’ – any possibility that the n router wouldn’t work with the ‘final’ n protocol? again, apologies if these are dumb questions.

    anyway, based on the above, what would you think? if travel is not really a concern, would i be an idiot to get the CTR500 over the MBR1000 just b/c of the form factor given the edge the MBR1000 has re: range, flexibility with ports, etc?

    thanks for all your advice.

  30. Hey guys, Great comments and a rare logical discussion. As an “Old School” Independent Dealer in this industry 15 years, I have based my entire business on Reception and Durability in the Cell Phones Sold. I regularily do Tests and own a small shop dealing with new na d replacement phones and Repairs.
    Recently this subject has come up ALOT! I live in Colorado and Comcast or Qwest DSL does not reach alot of houses. So I am trying to find a solution where as I can draw in sgnal and expand it through out the house. I think this mMBR1000 may be the last hurdle I was looking for. I have been utilizing a portable Mag Mount antenna, thru a Wilson 3 watt, and into a Sierra 595 card. I have always considered the Sierra Cards to have the best signal. I now see there is a Sierra 595u which is the upgradeable model. However, I cant get a definitive answer to whether or not it has an external antenna port. Does anyone know? Are there any other current cards for Verizon w/ external Antenna ports? Also if I take a regular Sierra 595 and put it in the USB Docking cradle I see on Ebay, does that in effect, become a 595u and thus able to use the MBR1000? Frome what I see, it converst the pcmII card into a USB; is there any loss?
    I can see right now I will be getting into this pretty heavy in the next few weeks. Perhaps once I get an understanding of this system, I can contribute a lot more from a differnt perspective. However I need to warn you guys ahead of time; I am fairly computer illiterate. Thanx in advance for any help!

  31. BTW the Port. Mag Mount antenna is mainly used in Cars and trucks. I install a Yagi for home installation unless they are border line signal; then a Mag can be used.

  32. OH and I almost forgot. The guy above with the AT&T 3g phone with a noticeable signal drop; I’m just gonna throw this out there because it hasnt been brought up. But isnt this mainly for CDMA EVDO phones. After all, when you break it all down, the GSM is just the next evolutionary step of the TDMA Technology; as is with the HSPDA. But it is still using a Time Divided Multiple Access Technology and Packet Data, very diffrent from CDMA. Could this be the problem the MBR1000 is having? Just a thought.

  33. I am looking into getting an ATT card and the MBR1000. I don’t have any signal from Verizon or Sprint at home, only ATT. Is there any resolution to the slower speeds? I May have to find a better way to hook it up. Any advice appreciated. Thank You.

  34. Max, speed drops like the one reported above usually are due to the MBR1000 not forcing the modem to choose the highest bandwidth signal. In most cases you can use the ATT software on your PC to ‘lock’ the modem into 3G mode so that it connects at the higher rate.

  35. Hey guys,

    I am using a topglobal mb8000. how does the mbr1000 stack up to the topglobal. I have been having trouble with the topglobal encryption. will there be better range between the 1000 and the 500? Also I am using the verizon cards and am limited to 5 gigs a month. Any cards out there that are really unlimited?


  36. I’m looking at this router but i do have a question about if will work with my PS3 as well. Could someone that is using it for gaming please email me and tell me if it’s worth the money to use this as in i don’t have access to high speed other than my aircard (Sprint)

    Thank you

  37. Hi, i am searching info about using an EVDO router from cradlepoint ( or other manufacturer) in Europe, expecially in Italy if possible.


  38. I am using both the Cradlepoint MBR1000 and the Topglobal MB8000. Both work very well, but occasionally there are, the only way that I can describe it, leakage problems. Both my wife and I are full time telecommuters and our respective companies pay for the Verizon account.

    I use the Topglobal and a Sierra 595 PCMCIA card and my wife uses the MBR1000 and a Sierra 595U. Ar first we tried the USB727, but it could not get a signal even with an external Yagi antenna.

    When we get the leakage problem it slows one of the connections from EVDO to National Access speeds. If I turn the other router off, the connection comes back at high speed. I have two Wilson Yagi antennas stacked on the same pole above my house. I use 30 feet of 9913 cable from the antenna to my modems/routers.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get around the problem?

    Also, does anyone have experience with load balancing on the MBR1000? It would be nice to utilize both lines together.


  39. does anyone know if the mrb 1000 is compatible with the newer updated nxe xbox live because the ctr 350 is disconnecting every 2 minutes ever since i got the new xbox live. ive been trying to figure this problem out for 6 months.
    Please help me!


  41. I’m having the same problem. I can get my xbox 360, ps3, and DS to login with my cradlepoint, but my psp won’t go past the login screen. I click Login and nothing happens.

  42. Hey everyone, quick question. I’ll be truck driving soon and im busting my brains out on how to get xbox live on my truck. Any ideas on what will work best? And who should i go to for my 3g provider? Thanks

  43. Hello all, I am having an issue with my Cradlepoint MBR-1000 with constant WAN drops during broadband use.

    I access the internet using a cable modem and occasionally I will take the router with me on road-trips so I can receive wireless EVDO connection (Never drops when using my Verizon USB720 Card!!).

    When I am home using cable (roadrunner), I notice excessive WAN drops where I have wired/wireless connectivity but no connection to any remote hosts using http, ftp, or other services. All my firewall settings are set to disabled or lowest setting and I am allowing every non-average session to connect. When I check my logs, I notice I have TONS OF Outgoing ICMP Type3 requests which the router automatically denies regardless of my settings.
    Since I am running P2P Applications, I can only imagine they are peers trying to access my files. After turning off all P2P, I still have excessive floods and downtime from the internet. When the internet decides to return (up to 2 min later) I am required to enter the URL twice before a page loads then I’m good for another 10 minutes before pages start failing again.

    Basically, Im at a loss and ready to flash it with something new (that supports USB Cards THIS EASY) or plug it in and toss the POS into the pool.


  44. I also was having a problem of half speed using the cradlepoint MBR1000 and a verizon USB760. After a session with tech support, we discovered that in low signal conditions, the router caused electrical interfearance with the modem. The solution is put the USB modem on a USB extension cable and get it at least 2 feet away from the router. My speed with the router doubled and is now the same a directly connected to the PC.
    Hope this helps.

  45. DO NOT GET THIS! This Modem is a piece of shit. It disconnects, lags, and when I went to connect to this page it took a good 3 minutes. This internet ruined my life. I am trying to move, but do not have the money. Hopefully soon I move out, and get rid of this garbage…

  46. We use the Mbr1000 for Internet throughout our house. It works well with the ATT air card,but within last few weeks will not connect XBox Live to Internet. All computers & other devices work,though. Tried all xbox suggestions & NOTHING works!! Any ideas…

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