Mobile router in the test (2022): Six mobile WiFi routers in comparison

Selected products in tabular overview

test winner

Netgear Nighthawk M5

EUR 809.00

1.4 (very good)

Netgear Nighthawk M1

EUR 299.00

2.0 (good)


Value for money

Value for money

Telekom Speedbox 2

EUR 101.00

2.3 (good)

ZTE MF920U (O2)

EUR 54.00

3.3 (satisfactory)

Huawei E5576-320

EUR 49.00

3.7 (sufficient)

Alcatel Linkzone MW40V

EUR 53.00

3.9 (sufficient)

Internet almost like at home, even when you are at the campsite? Mobile routers make this possible. But which devices are recommended? COMPUTER BILD has tested six of the mostly small practical routers. Such routers with a SIM card are better than smartphone hotspots for vacations. Because the hotspot solution often fails in practice, for example when the hotspot creator goes hiking with his cell phone and then the wifi tablet in the tent no longer has internet. Mobile routers usually fit in the palm of your hand and work like a home WiFi router. With two differences: Instead of using DSL, you can access the Internet via a mobile network. And thanks to the rechargeable battery, you can even use them on the go. Our comparison test shows which mobile routers are really good.

Test winner: Netgear Nighthawk M5

The Netgear Nighthawk M5 (grade: very good) wins with fast WiFi, 5G mobile communications, full equipment and simple operation. It is the only router in the test field that allows more detailed operation via a large touch display. This already pays off during setup, because users can specify basic settings directly, such as WiFi name and password.

Netgear Nighthawk M5

Nighthawk M5
  • Very fast WiFi
  • Large range of functions
  • Operation via touch screen
  • somewhat cumbersome, imprecise function naming

Price €809.00

The M5 is also the only device that can transfer the new Wifi 6 (WLAN-ax). With corresponding devices, this ensures more speed and optimizes WLAN management. The Nano format, which is now common for SIM cards, also fits into the Netgear Nighthawk M5 – of the tested devices, this is otherwise only offered by the Telekom Speedbox 2. The M5 is also convincing in terms of endurance: together with its brother M1, it has the 5040 mAh strongest power source.

Price-performance winner: Telekom Speedbox 2

In addition to the Netgear devices, the Telekom Speedbox 2 is the only router that uses the fast Wifi 5 (WLAN-ac standard) with the 5 gigahertz band. The Speedbox doesn’t fit in your pocket, but it offers space for many WLAN antennas to connect up to 64 devices at the same time. The Speedbox can also score with the operating instructions. In addition, it has – as otherwise only the two Netgear devices – a parental control.

Telekom Speedbox 2

Speed ​​box 2
  • 5 GHz fast
  • High range of functions
  • Low price
  • 2.4 GHz lame
  • Operation a bit cumbersome

Price €101.00

The Telekom router can be bought in free trade. With a price of 101 euros, it is more than 700 euros cheaper than the test winner and still offers a convincing performance. Weaknesses: At 2.4 gigahertz, the router is slow and using the browser menu is a bit cumbersome.

This is how COMPUTER BILD tested it

High speeds of the mobile phone connection and the WLAN are important for a good grade. However, high speed alone is not enough: In the best case scenario, the devices have a large battery, impressive equipment and a wide range of functions. If the router also scores in terms of setup and operation, the chances of a place on the podium are good. Among other things, test candidates must ask themselves these questions:

Cellular and WiFi: How fast are cell phones and WiFi? How many devices does the mobile router connect at the same time? Does it support all major cellular frequencies? Does he have a device for external cell phone antennas?
Furnishing: Does the mobile router have a LAN connection? How big is the battery? Does the device have a display? And if so, what is the information content of the screen?
Features: Does the mobile router have parental controls that can be used to block sites and set up time-limited access? Is the WiFi power controllable? Can a wireless guest network be activated?
Setup and operation: Can the mobile router be set up and operated on the device? How easy is the configuration via web browser? Is there an app for smartphones? If so, how clearly is it designed?

The test results at a glance

The Netgear Nighthawk M1 comes in second place (grade: good), which scores with strong equipment, but does not offer 5G mobile communications like its big brother M5. Netgear also installed a display in the M1, but without a touch function. After all, the screen shows all sorts of useful information about the WLAN, the mobile connection and the battery level. In third place is our price-performance winner from Telekom, the Speedbox 2 – also with the grade “good”.

Netgear Nighthawk M1

The two Netgear routers and the Telekom have a network LAN socket. USB hard drives can be connected to the Nighthawk M1 (image).

The MF920U (O²) router from ZTE came fourth (rating: satisfactory). This router uses the older and slower Wifi 4 as the WLAN standard. The ZTE router is impressive when it comes to the number of devices that can be connected via WLAN – 32. With a price of 54 euros, the router from ZTE is also very cheap. Even cheaper are the E5576-320 from Huawei (5th place) at 49 euros and the Alcatel Linkzone MW40V (6th place) at 53 euros, but both of them fall off in terms of performance overall and only get the grade “sufficient”.

Conclusion on the mobile router test

The Netgear Nighthawk M5 comes with plenty of equipment, but is expensive – if you do without 5G and a touchscreen, you can use the powerful Nighthawk M1. Saving foxes are in the right place with the price-performance winner Speedbox 2.

Tips for using mobile routers

The access points (Access Point Names, APNs) for the common mobile network providers are already configured in all tested devices. Nevertheless, users should definitely set up the router before going on vacation. If they don’t have the right access point, they have to find it out via the network or the SIM card provider and enter it manually.

None of the tested devices is really convincing in terms of operation: Sometimes the user interface reacted too sluggishly or not at all (Huawei), sometimes some functions were not explained in sufficient detail (Netgear, Telekom, ZTE), often there was simply a lack of an overview. The operation via smartphone app, which all tested devices offer, worked much better. So there is also an app for the Speedbox 2, even if Telekom does not advertise it publicly: since the device comes from ZTE, the ZTELink app can be used, as with the MF920U.

Useful knowledge about mobile routers

Which is the best mobile router?


The best mobile router in the AUTO BILD test is the Netgear Nighthawk M5, who thus secures the test win. Particularly practical: the test winner has a large touch display. This already pays off during setup, because users can specify basic settings directly, such as the WiFi name and password. The speed of the data connection is also impressive. The Nighthawk M5 has the latest 5G mobile communications standard with theoretically up to 4000 Mbps.

What should a good mobile router cost?


The AUTO BILD test winner Netgear Nighthawk M5 is currently available at a price of 809 euros. The price-performance winner is significantly cheaper. the Telekom Speedbox 2 is already available for 101 euros.

What does a mobile router bring?


Although a smartphone hotspot works quite well in many cases, mobile routers with a SIM card are better: the small radio operators usually fit in the palm of your hand and work like a WLAN router at home. With two differences: Instead of using DSL, you can access the Internet via a mobile network. And thanks to the rechargeable battery, they can even be used on the go.

How fast is the data connection with mobile routers?


The Telekom Speedbox 2 delivers data with a maximum of 300 Mbps from the network. The Netgear routers are really fast: While the Nighthawk M1 achieves up to 1000 Mbps via LTE, the M5 even has the latest 5G mobile standard with theoretically up to 4000 Mbps.

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