Review: COR Routers by Cradlepoint (Mobile Routers)

Cradlepoint is a well respected mobile router manufacturer focused on enterprise and fleet deployments, competing primarily with Peplink's Pepwave router lineup.

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 options are currently available - the flagship COR IBR1700 and the slightly more basic (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.

NOTE: The formerly popular Cradlepoint COR IBR110 has been discontinued, but is still available in the market.

The IBR1100 is a solid device, but for the same list price the IBR900 offers more capability and is a smarter choice if you are buying new and are starting from scratch.

The COR IBR600B, IBR600C, and IBR200 are also available - but these are more limited devices with much more basic LTE capabilities. If you are going to invest in a router for an RV or boat, these are probably not ideal choices.

Table Of Contents

Cradlepoint COR IBR900

Cradlepoint launched this flagship mobile router in January 2017, and updated it in early 2018 with an even more advanced integrated cellular modem.

On paper at least, this is one of the most advanced cellular integrated mobile router we have seen to date.

Cradlepoint described it this way at launch:

"With an embedded Category 6 modem for LTE Advanced, 802.11ac Wave 2 support, and a quad core processor, the IBR900 series is designed for the most demanding in-vehicle and M2M/IoT applications that require near-Gigabit speeds for both Ethernet and WiFi."

The catch is the cost - the COR IBR900 starts at $869, without any antennas included!



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But for those looking to have just about everything integrated into a single (expensive) industrial-strength device, the COR IBR900 may be very well worth taking a close look at.

The Cradlepoint COR IBR900 features an integrated LTE-Advanced cellular modem, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, two gigabit ethernet ports, and a USB port - all packed into a small rugged metal case designed to run off 12V vehicle power.

Specifications: COR IBR900-600M
  • 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.
  • 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, 17, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 40, 41, 66
    • 4G/3G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz (No Verizon / Sprint 3G)
    • 2G: No
    • LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: Yes (3x 20MHz)
    • LTE Performance Category: Category 11
      (Max Theoretical Speed: 600 Mbps Down / 75 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 Faillover, 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:  $869.99 (w/o antennas), $899.99 (w basic antennas)

Testing Status: The LP6 LTE-A Cat-6 (300Mbps cellular) version of the IBR900 was included in our Spring 2018 Testing Round. Members also have access to more in depth review of this device below.

We have not had any hands-on time with the new 600M version, but other than the integrated modem module it should be identical.

COR IBR900 Variations:

There are many variations of the IBR900 available targeting specific market niches globally, so be sure to seek out the IBR900-600M-NA model described above.

The IBR900LP6-NA was available in 2017 (and is what we purchased to test) and it still available - but the 600M model has a more advanced LTE modem for the same list price so it it worth seeking out.

Beware of the IBR900-LPE, which has a more basic LTE modem that is worth skipping over. And watch out for the IBR950 models, which cost a bit less but which sacrifice any support for Wi-Fi.

For more technical details on the IBR900, check out the official specifications.


Cradlepoint COR IBR1700

The Cradlepoint COR IBR1700 is the 'big brother' of the COR IBR900. It is a physically larger and substantially more expensive dual-modem capable unit with even more ethernet ports, and additional Wi-Fi capabilities.

If you need to provide Wi-Fi to an entire tour bus full of passengers, or you need a second dedicated cellular modem for instant failover or load-balancing - the IBR1700 might be worth a look.

But for all but the most demanding users, the IBR900 (potentially with the Extensibility Dock) strikes a better balance of capabilities.

Specifications - COR IBR1700-600M
  • Wi-Fi Router: Yes - Simultaneous Tri Band 2×2 2.4GHz + 2×2 5GHz + 4×4 5GHz WiFi
    • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
    • 5GHz Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/n/ac
    • Wi-Fi Antenna:  6 antenna connectors (R-SMA)
    • Wi-Fi as WAN: Yes
    • Guest Wi-Fi: Yes, six SSID's supported.
  • Cellular Tethering via USB: Yes - 1x USB Port (USB Modems only - no hotspots!)
  • Integrated Cellular Modem: Yes
    • Carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint
    • LTE Bands: 1-5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 40, 41, 66
    • 4G/3G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz (No Verizon / Sprint 3G)
    • 2G: No
    • LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: Yes (3x)
    • LTE Performance Category: Category 11
      (Max Theoretical Speed: 600 Mbps Down / 75 Mbps Up)
    • Cellular Antennas: 2x SMA/Female Antenna Ports, No Antennas Included
    • SIM Slots: Dual Mini-SIM (2FF)
    • Special: Space for an MC400 modem, enabling a second internal LTE modem with 2x additional SIM card slots.
  • Ethernet Ports: 5x LAN/WAN switchable 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports
  • Special Features: Data Usage Tracking, Auto Failover, Load Balancing, Integrated GPS
  • Power Source: 9V - 33V Direct DC Input, 110V AC Adapter Optional
  • Dimensions: 8.8'' x 7.5'' x 1.7''
  • Outdoor Rated: No
  • Retail Price: $1,299 (no antennas - single cellular modem)
  • Testing Status: No plans to test this unit

For more technical details on the IBR1700, check out the official specifications.


Cradlepoint COR Series Testing Status

Based upon its impressive specifications, we thought that the COR IBR900 was likely to be a "Top Pick" and deserved a closer look.

After several failed attempts to obtain a review unit, we decided to independently purchase the COR IBR900 at the full retail price to conduct an extended hand's on review.

We feel this product is worthy of the expense, and are thankful that our premium membership funding allows us the budget for acquiring review gear when needed.

Unboxing Video & First Impressions

Here is our unboxing video and first impressions of the IBR900 that we purchased in December 2017:



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In early 2018, we took this unit along with the new 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:

Cellular Signal & Embedded Router Field Testing – IBR900 | MAX-BR1 | Drive Sleek | MIMO Antennas (1st Quarter 2018)

After over 6 months of extensive use and head-to-head testing - members can also find our deeper thoughts and analysis of this very promising (and often frustrating) router below.

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The Rest of this Review is:
Member Only Content

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If you're a member, please log in above to read the in-depth review for this product and/or leave your own review. If you've not joined yet, learn more about membership at:

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Purchasing Options

You can buy the IBR900 with a set of two Wi-Fi and two cellular antennas, or you can use external roof-mounted antennas mounted on top of your RV.

NOTE: Cradlepoint includes one year of "NetCloud Essentials" with purchase of these router models, which provides for remote management, GPS tracking, and ongoing 24/7 support. Extending beyond the first year however requires an expensive service contract - so don't get too hooked on any of these features.

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Cradlepoint COR Routers
  • Hardware
  • User Interface
  • Customer Service
  • Overall Performance

Quick Take

The COR router series by Cradlepoint are ruggedized, enterprise level routing solutions.

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