If you’ve ever been concerned about the internet going down, a backup solution is on the way, keeping you connected if ADSL2 ever wigs out.
As much as we could have hoped that all Australians would have a always-on and always-connected fibre link to the internet, that hasn’t quite panned out. The NBN is still rolling out, bit by bit by bit, and much of the country still has to connect to the web by way if ADSL, a technology which not only has limits to speed, but has also seemingly reached its use-by date.
All connection types can fizz out and disconnect, but ADSL seems to see issues relatively often, occurring from weather, from old failing copper lines, and from ISPs doing work without informing customers.
And for many, that’s just not good enough. In fact, when you start installing more internet-connected bits and pieces into your home to make that gradual shift into “smart home” territory, you start to realise why the always-on connection is such a necessity, because all of your new upgrades — from the smart doorbell to the security system to the Google Home you command through voice — just stops working.
When that happens, smart home becomes dumb home as gadgets cease to do anything, and that means you need a backup plan.
Fortunately, we’re seeing a few of those come to market as both D-Link and Netgear announce similar products within days of each other, though each sports its differences.
First is Netgear, and it’s releasing the LB2120, what is basically a small 4G LTE modem to provide a backup to existing modem router solutions. Think of Netgear’s LB2120 as a small box with a tiny data-only mobile phone inside, using a SIM to connect online and provide 4G connectivity over a Category 4 link, meaning speeds as high as 150Mbps down (18 megabytes per second) and 50Mbps up (6 megabytes per second).
The inclusion of two Ethernet ports on Netgear’s LB2120 means you can use it as that fall-back solution, keeping it plugged in just in case the worst happens, or you can take it out with you and hard-wire it into a computer terminal or a router, sharing the access with friends and family, such as you might on holiday.
Available for $199 at JB HiFi, it’s a little different from the take on the product D-Link has. Rather than simply provide a backup plan, D-Link’s take on the 4G fail-safe is to let you plug your own mobile dongle into a fixed mobile router, providing 802.11ac access for home or business. Called the D-Link DWR-118, it will retail for $150 you can think of this as a replacement for your router that happens to have a port for your 4G dongle, if you have one.
If you don’t have one, D-Link’s option won’t connect at all, though it’s not D-Link’s only solution, with this variant adding to last year’s DWR-921, a modem router that relied on a SIM card to connect online.
And that makes Netgear’s and D-Link’s options a little different, because while the 4G Netgear LB2120 is more of a backup for wired connections, D-Link’s offers the wired line as more of a backup for the 4G dongle.
At least you have options, even if they might get a tad confusing depending on the solution you feel you need most.