Cradlepoint used to also have options for "average" users, all of which have been discontinued over the years as Cradlepoint has focused exclusively on the higher end segments of the market.
Individuals with particularly demanding needs though are often drawn to Cradlepoint hardware - and in particular Cradlepoint's COR Series of mobile routers are ruggedized, compact, and offer a variety of functions integrated into a single device.
Two appealing options are currently available - the flagship COR IBR1700 and the more consumer appropriate (but still very advanced) COR IBR900. The Cradlepoint AER routers (read our gear guide page) are also worth a look - packing similar functionality into a less rugged package.
ALERT - NetCloud Subscription Required:
In June 2019 Cradlepoint announced a new policy where an active $180/year NetCloud subscription would be required to maintain access to basic firmware security updates. Everyone considering purchasing a Cradlepoint router should keep this new requirement in mind.
With this change, we have dropped our 'Top Pick' designation for this product line.
Table Of Contents
- COR IBR900 Overview (Public)
- Review & Testing Status (Public)
- Unboxing Video & First Impressions
- Thoughts and Analysis (Members Only)
- In Depth Review: COR IBR900 (Members Only)
- Should You Consider the IBR900?
- Cradlepoint Versus Pepwave
- COR Variations (Members Only)
- Purchasing Options
- Related News Center Articles
Cradlepoint COR IBR900
Of Cradlepoint's line-up, we consider the IBR900 the most appropriate for consumers, so this review is focused on this particular model.
Cradlepoint launched this flagship mobile router in January 2017, and has updated it annually with more advanced integrated cellular modems - the most recent update being the -1200M model in January 2019 (our news story).
On paper at least, this is one of the most advanced cellular integrated mobile router we have seen to date - featuring a gigabit-class LTE Advanced Pro Category 18 modem.
This new cellular modem is a beast - supporting a peak theoretical download speed of 1.0Gbps, and peak theoretical uploads of 150Mbps.
This is just about as advanced as cellular can be in a pre-5G world.
This is also the most universally compatible modem we have ever seen - supporting even T-Mobile's long-range LTE Band 71, AT&T's public safety focused FirstNet (very important for the police/fire/ambulance market), and even the cutting-edge CBRS band that carriers are only just now beginning to experiment with.
It may not be actual 5G technology - but Cradlepoint's marketing is making it clear that this is a "Pathway to 5G".
The big catch is the cost - the COR IBR900-1200M starts at $999, without any antennas included! And the ongoing $180/year require NetCloud subscription for firmware updates.
But for those looking to have just about everything integrated into a single (expensive) industrial-strength device, the COR IBR900 may be worth taking a close look at.
Specifications: COR IBR900-1200M
- Wi-Fi Router: Yes
- 2.4GHz Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n - 300Mbps Max, 25dBm (2x2 MIMO)
18dBm Transmit Power (63mW)
- 5GHz Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/n/ac - 866Mbps Max (2x2 MIMO) - Wave 2 Support
16.5dBm Transmit Power (44mW)
- Wi-Fi Antenna: 2x RP-SMA/Female Antenna Port, No Antennas Included
- Wi-Fi as WAN: Yes
- Guest Wi-Fi Network: Yes - 4 total SSIDs supported.
- 2.4GHz Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n - 300Mbps Max, 25dBm (2x2 MIMO)
- Cellular Tethering via USB: Yes - 1x USB Port (USB Modems only - no hotspots!)
- Integrated Cellular Modem: Yes
- Carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint (Auto Switching)
- LTE Bands: 1-5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17 - 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66, 71
- 4G/3G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz (No Verizon / Sprint 3G)
- 2G: No
- LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: Yes (5x 20MHz)
- LTE Performance Category: Category 18
(Max Theoretical Speed: 1,000 Mbps Down / 150 Mbps Up)
- Cellular Antennas: 2x SMA/Female Antenna Ports, No Antennas Included
- SIM Slots: Dual Mini-SIM (2FF)
- Ethernet Ports: 2x 1,000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet (WAN / LAN Configurable)
- Special Features: Data Usage Tracking, Auto Failover, Load Balancing, Integrated GPS
Optional "Extensibility Dock" adds a slot for adding a second cellular modem, and provides two additional 10/100 ethernet ports.
- Power Source: 9V - 33V Direct DC Input, 110V AC Adapter Optional
- Dimensions: 4.6" x 4.5": x 1.2"
- Outdoor Rated: No
- Retail Price: $999.99 (w/o antennas)
The COR IBR900-1200M launched in January 2019 initially as an AT&T exclusive - Verizon support was added in June 2019. Sprint and T-Mobile support should be added at some point.
Review & Testing Status
We purchased the LP6 LTE-A Cat-6 (300Mbps cellular) version of the IBR900 in December 2017. We felt this product is worthy of the expense, and are thankful that our premium membership funding allows us the budget for acquiring review gear when evaluation equipment is not available.
We have not had any hands-on time with the newer -600M (Cat-11, 600Mbps cellular) or -1200M versions of the IBR900. And we're not likely to as well given the high cost of acquisition and new requirements for NetCloud subscriptions. But other than the integrated cellular modem module the rest of the functionality we reviewed & documented below should be identical.
Unboxing Video & First Impressions
Here is our unboxing video and first impressions of the IBR900:
In early 2018, we took this unit along with the comparable Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2 on the road for some in-depth head to head testing.
Members can find our raw field testing results in the Testing Lab:
Members also have access to more in depth review of this device below.
Potential Alternatives to Consider:
For other popular mobile routers on the market we are tracking - here are our featured options:
More Information Available to our Members
In thanks for funding this resource center our members have access to any further notes, analysis, insider info, member experiences and/or our full in-depth review of this product or offering.
If you're a member, please log in above to read the review.
NOTE: Cradlepoint includes one year of access to its "NetCloud" service which provides for remote management, GPS tracking, and ongoing 24/7 support. Extending beyond the first year, however, requires an expensive service contract (you can prepurchase future years much less expensively). In June 2019 Cradlepoint announced a new policy where an active $180/year NetCloud subscription would be required to even maintain access to basic firmware security updates.
Related News Center Articles
- Cradlepoint 1200M Modem Certified for Verizon Posted on: June 19, 2019
- Cradlepoint Changing Support Policy, Requiring Service Contract for Firmware Security Updates Posted on: June 7, 2019
- High End Update: Cradlepoint Goes Gigabit LTE & Peplink Pioneers Roof-Mounted Cellular With Indoor SIM Cards Posted on: January 28, 2019
- 2017 Mobile Internet Year in Review & Looking Forward Into 2018 Posted on: December 30, 2017
- Cradlepoint Announces New Flagship COR IBR900 Mobile Router Posted on: January 23, 2017