Determining which Cradlepoint router is best for your organization’s fleet of vehicles can be a difficult task. Public Safety, Transit Authorities, delivery vehicles and more all rely on 4G LTE, and 5G connectivity to be able to perform their job while continuously being on the move.

In this buyer guide we have created a short quiz that will provide you with our recommendations of mobile routers that we think will fit you best based on your answers.

What devices are you looking to connect to your vehicle router?

The first step to determining what in-vehicle router works best for your needs is knowin what and how any devices you will be connecting to your router. This answer can often be found by the industry you work in and the application of the router.

If you are a police officer, you may be looking to connect a body camera, dash cameras, Toughbook laptop, two-way radios, and cell phones to the router. Therefore, police officers and most public safety workers that use an in-vehicle router will need a system that can support many devices.

The R2100 and R1900 in-vehicle routers are the most popular for police officers. The two routers just mentioned are used by several NYPD and LAPD departments. These routers can connect 50-75 devices—for heavy usage, Cradlepoint recommends using only 10 devices at once.

The R920 is popular for the use of fast upload speeds of video and data which can be handy for body and dash cameras. The IBR1700 and IBR900 can connect up to 10 devices because they both have 10 VPN Tunnels.

Optimized for Mobile and Mobile and IoT?

The difference between mobile and IoT and which one that you need can be confusing. IoT stands for the “internet of things”. IoT routers are used to support systems that need internet connection. For example, businesses that have extensive security systems need to connect to an IoT.

Essentially, systems that operate off of internet connection and collect data use IoT. Consequently, IoT can be useful for police officers monitoring traffic patterns.

Mobile, on the other hand, is a basic router that does not have the clear-cut design to support an IoT system. Having a router that is both mobile and IoT run is beneficial to those who do not know the specific usage of the router. This way, the router can essentially tackle any obstacle.

R2100 Mobile & IoT
R1900 Mobile
R920 Mobile & IoT
IBR1700 Mobile
IBR900 Mobile & IoT

5G Built In or 4G LTE with 5G Expandable

5G is still a fairly new step in the progression of internet connection. This new generation of internet is faster and can support developments like live streaming and quick data collection and downloads better than older internet generations such as 4G.

The R2100 and R1900 are the only Cradlepoint in-vehicle routers that come with 5G embedded. Embedded 5G means that once the router is connected, 5G is up and running. Other routers they offer such as the R920 and IBR1700 can support 5G connectivity, but they need the right accessories to gain access to the network.

The necessary adaptors are listed below next to the router. This flexibility of connection is useful to buyers who are not sure upon purchase if they will be using 5G. For instance, some delivery trucks may not want to buy the embedded 5G routers because they may not need the speed of 5G. However, if they are going to remote locations, 5G could be useful so the routers that need an adapter may be a better option, so they are not paying the embedded fee.

Cradlepoint also offers the IBR900 that does not have 5G access. If you are a buyer who firmly knows they do not need 5G access, this is the in-vehicle router for you—this can apply to those who own a food truck and are looking to just support an iPad for electronic payments etc.

The R920 router needs an RX20 adapter to access 5G and the IBR1700 needs the Cradlepoint 5G adapter.

R2100 Built-in 5G
R1900 Built-in 5G
R920 5G Expandable with Modular Modem or Adapter
IBR1700 5G Expandable with Cradlepoint 5G Adapter
IBR900 4G LTE (Gigabit-Class LTE)


Level of Protection and Privacy

Privacy during communications is very important because it keeps information safe. If you are someone looking to use your in-vehicle router as part of a mobile business, you will want to make sure all of your transactions are private and safe. If you are using your in-vehicle router in a police vehicle, you will absolutely need privacy of communications.

Cradlepoint routers are embedded with state-of-the-art firewalls. All of the Cradlepoint in-vehicle routers except for the R2100 can transfer 940mbps of data through the firewalls. The R2100 transfers 900mbps of data through the firewall. This simply means that the firewalls are a barrier of protection; however, they are not slowing down your communications.

Compatibility with AT&T FirstNet and Verizon Frontline

As many know, AT&T FirstNet and Verizon Frontline offer great options and opportunities to public safety organizations. Therefore, many police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and more will want routers that are compatible with one or both of these internet and mobile providers.

Cradlepoint develops their routers specifically for public safety workers. They are cognizant to the benefits that the cellular companies can provide so all Cradlepoint in-vehicle routers are compatible with AT&T FirstNet and Verizon Frontline.

Dual Connectivity 

Dual connectivity is when a device can connect simultaneously to Wi-Fi and LTE. With dual connectivity, there is a lower possibility of a device losing connection because if one option fails the device is already using the other. This technology allows for there to be no lag time in communication, data transfers, and more.

The R2100 and R1900 from Cradlepoint offer dual connectivity which is another reason why these routers are so popular with police officers. The R920 only operates with 4G LTE and the IBR1700 and IBR900 use Gigabit-Class LTE. Dual connectivity is optimal for those that have low issues or risk if connection is down for a few seconds.

R2100 Dual Connectivity 5G and Cat20 LTE
R1900 Dual Connectivity 5G and Cat20 LTE
R920 WAN Connectivity 4G Cat 7
IBR1700 WAN Connectivity 4G Cat 11 or Cat 18
IBR900 WAN Connectivity 4G Cat 11 or 18

Dual Modem Support

Cradlepoint offers dual modem routers allowing you to connect to two carriers at the same time. This allows you to automatically switch from one carrier to the other making it beneficial for vehicles traveling in and out of coverage areas. It also can switch to the second SIM when data plan cap is reached.

This process happens automatically with no downtime unlike in dual SIM. With dual sim, modems can use two SIM cards from two different carriers but the process to swtich from one SIM to the other takes minutes. Oftentimes, this isn't feasible in many applications.

Each router has its ability to support dual modems and is sold separately. If budget is in mind and you can allow for a few-minute lapse than dual SIM can work.

R2100 No Dual Modem Support
R1900 Dual Modem Support with RX30-MC
R920 Dual Modem Support with RX20-MC
IBR1700 Dual Modem Support with MC400 Modular Modem
IBR900 Dual Modem Support with COR Extensibility Dock

What's Next?

We hope this article helped you learn more about Cradlepoint In-Vehicle Routers. If you haven't already, take our short quiz to find out which router is best for your fleet. First Source Wireless is a proud vendor of next-generation Cradlepoint routers and accessories.


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