While AT&T has called the Nighthawk the first "5G Evolution" capable hotspot, and it is indeed very technologically impressive - don't let the name fool you. This device does NOT incorporate a 5G cellular modem.
AT&T now offers a 5G capable flagship mobile hotspot - the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Pro (M5) - which is 5G capable and backward compatible.
And thanks to the integrated ethernet port, unlike most other hotspots it is easy to use the Nighthawk paired with any traditional router - not just specialized mobile routers that support USB tethering.
In mid-2020 the Nighthawk also became available unlocked direct from Netgear, and listed as suitable for use on AT&T or T-Mobile's networks (it is missing Band 71, a key long-range band for T-Mobile). Though the Netgear Nighthawk first came out in 2017, the Nighthawk remains a top pick option for AT&T's network.
- Model Number: Netgear Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router (MR1100)
- # of Connected Devices: 20 Wi-Fi / Supports USB Tethering & Ethernet
- Control Panel and Default Password:
Control Panel: http://192.168.1.1 or http://attwifimanager/
Default Password: "attadmin"
- USB Tethering Support:
WiFiRanger Tethering: Works Great
Pepwave Tethering: Works Great
- Supported Networks and Bands:
4G/LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12(17), 14 (see note #1), 29, 30, 46 (see note #2), 66
3G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz
2G: GSM EDGE: No
- LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: Yes, 4-band
- MIMO Support: 4X4 internal, 2x2 External
- LTE Performance Category: Category 16
(Max Theoretical Speed: 1,000Mbps Down / 150Mbps Up)
- Cellular Antenna Ports: 2x TS9 External Antenna Ports
- Other Ports: Ethernet, USB-A, USB-C, micro-SD (internal slot)
- Wi-Fi Technology / Frequencies: 802.11 b/g/n/a/ac - Simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz
- Dimensions: 4.14" x 4.14" x 0.75" / 8.5 oz
- SIM Card Type: Micro
- Retail Price: $249.99 (branded for AT&T) / $349.99 (unlocked from Netgear)
Note #1: In early 2018 AT&T quietly released a slightly revised Nighthawk that adds support for LTE Band-14, the new FirstNet network for public safety use. This was a hardware update - and customers with the earliest Nighthawk's will not be able to use LTE B14.
Note #2: In September 2018 AT&T pushed a firmware update enabling compatibility with LTE-LAA (aka LTE Band 46). This is a significant update, but it has a catch that we discuss in the member area below.
October 2018: AT&T announced that the Netgear Nighthawk 5G was in a limited release. The LTE capabilities of the 5G device look similar to the MR1100 minus some key features like an Ethernet port - however, this 5G Nighthawk is $300 more expensive.
News, Videos, & Status
We purchased a Netgear Nighthawk as soon as it was available at a local AT&T store in November 2017, and have been using it extensively since. In particular - we have put it head-to-head with the AT&T Unite Explore and Unite Pro in a variety of circumstances. Our review and conclusions are based on this extended testing experience.
Our raw field testing results are available to our members:
- Cellular Signal & Embedded Router Field Testing – IBR900 | MAX-BR1 | Drive Sleek | MIMO Antennas (1st Quarter 2018)
- Cellular Equipment Field Testing Results – Netgear LTE Modem / USB730 / Nighthawk
Here is our unboxing video and first impressions of the Netgear Nighthawk, filmed in November 2017:
Our more in depth hands-on take on the Nighthawk is available to our member's below.
- First AT&T 5G Mobile Hotspot Available for Consumers - Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro Posted on: September 16, 2020
- AT&T Releases Minor Firmware Update 12.05.05.14 for Netgear Nighthawk (MR1100) Posted on: February 13, 2020
- Netgear Announces 5G Flagship - Nighthawk M5 Mobile Hotspot (MR5200) Posted on: January 10, 2020
- AT&T Pushes Firmware Update 12.05.05.12 for Netgear Nighthawk (MR1100) Posted on: December 19, 2019
- Firmware Update 12.06.08.00 Pushed for Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 Mobile Hotspot Posted on: November 5, 2019
Member Content Included Below:
- Thoughts & Analysis
- Favorite Features
- Potential Downsides
- Deep Dive
- Hardware Features Explained:
- 5G Evolution and Gigabit LTE (Cat 16)
- LTE Band-14 and AT&T's FirstNet Future
- Internal 4x4 MIMO and Dual Antenna Ports
- Dual USB ports: USB-C & USB-A "JumpBoost"
- Battery-Free - Perhaps?
- Putting Ethernet to Use
- Data Offloading
- Hands-on Testing Notes
- Software & UI Notes
- Performance Testing Results
- Conclusion: Last Stop Before 5G?
- Nighthawk Alternatives
- Video Overview & Tutorial
- Recommended Settings
- Band Locking
- Hardware Features Explained:
- Thoughts & Analysis
QAM? LAA? Carrier Aggregation? MIMO? What does all this mean and how does it impact data performance?
Members, our exclusive guide to Selecting Modems explains all these complicated technologies.
Potential Alternatives to Consider:
For other popular mobile hotspots on the market - here are our featured options:
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Links Provided for Convenience
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- Direct from AT&T (requires AT&T plan)
- Direct from Netgear (carrier unlocked)
- Best Buy - AT&T | Best Buy - Netgear
- Amazon: AT&T Locked - New / AT&T Locked - Renewed / Unlocked Version
NOTE: If future LTE B14 compatibility is important to you, make sure that you get a NightHawk that is labeled as "FirstNet Ready". These versions of the NightHawk began to appear on the market in March 2018, and older devices may still be found in some retailer's inventory.
Battery Replacement Purchase:
Mobile hotspot devices are small, self-contained units that receive a cellular data signal and transform it into an internet connection. They are a cellular modem and router combined. Most can create their own personal Wi-Fi network.
They are typically designed with a specific cellular carrier in mind and require a suitable cellular data plan of their own to operate. You might see them called Jetpacks (Verizon's term for them) or MiFi (Inseego's name for them).
Here's a quick video going over the features of a hotspot, and what makes one better than another:
The guides below have been hand-picked to help further your education about selecting mobile hotspots and best utilizing them in your mobile internet setup.