GL.INET makes a slew of useful routers, mobile hotspots, and access points. We’ve been on the road a lot in our RV and needed reliable internet for both remote school and remote work. If you have done any travel in an RV, you already know that you cannot rely on RV Park WiFi. We have found the GL-X750 is great for RV Internet.
We chose their GL-X750 model after comparing it to some other options such as the MOFI4500. We’d liked that it had many positive reviews on Amazon, LTEHacks.com and that they had an active forum: https://forum.gl-inet.com/
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The GL-X750 runs a slightly modified version of OpenWRT which is a very popular open-source router operating system. GL.Inet changes to the software make it easier for non-geeky people to set up the router and get online. If you are a tech geek, you can install GoldenOrb Firmware from the ROOter project (also based on OpenWRT).
There are several companies that specialize in selling “unlimited” data plans that work with hotspots & LTE routers. I have “unlimited” in quotes because these days nothing is truly unlimited.
Cricket(AT&T) also data-only monthly plans: 20GB for $35, 40GB for $50 and 100GB for $90
For my first month, I chose to buy an “unlimited” T-mobile hotspot data sim card from a reseller on eBay since I already had a new unused T-Mobile sim…if you go this route proceed at your own risk!
Your other option is tethering your phone to the GL-X750 via USB. For example, my AT&T wireless plan includes 15GB of hotspot data. GL.inet also makes some inexpensive routers without sim card slots that can be used for USB or WIFI Tethering from your smartphone or iPad such as the $20 GL-MT300N-V2 Wireless Mini Portable Travel Router. Both of the routers can be configured to use a VPN(using wither OpenVPN or the newer WireGuard) to help secure your privacy online.
Inserting the Sim Card
You’ll need a micro sim card(or a nano sim card in a nano adapter. On the bottom of the unit is an access panel. Once you take the off you will the SD Card slot and the Sim Card slot. The SD Card slot could be used if you wanted to share files on the private network the router will create.
I was able to get a nano sim card working without an adapter by positioning it just right before locking the sim tray, but I wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term solution.
Our RV already has an access point(Ubiquiti Air Cube) which we use with a Nanostation M2 Wifi repeater to boost RV Park wifi signals. I could use the GL-X750 just as an internet router(turning off its WIFI radios) and feed it into the AirCube. I chose not to, and instead run additional WiFi networks inside the RV. This allowed me to put our “non-critical” devices on the slower RV Park WiFi(FireTV) and have our work and school computers on the faster 4G LTE Internet from the GL-X750 router.
The GL-X750 has 1 Wan Ethernet Port and 1 Lan Ethernet Port in addition to both 2.4G & 5G Wifi. My only issue with the Ethernet ports is they are only 10/100 and not Gigabit.
After inserting your sim card(and SD Card if you are using one), go ahead and insert the power cord to turn the unit on. Full booting of the X750 can take a few minutes so be patient before trying to login.
When you see the wifi lights turn on, you can log in. If your computer has an ethernet port plug a cable into your computer and the LAN port of the X750. Otherwise, the setup instruction card will show what the default WiFi password is. You will see two WiFi networks GL-X750-xxx & GL-X750-xxx-5g.
Now go to https://192.168.8.1 in your browser to access the router.
Once logged in, you can change the WiFi Access Point SSID names in the Wireless settings.
In the Internet settings page, if the Auto setup doesn’t work, you can manually set the APN.
fast.t-mobile.com should work for T-mobile sim cards.
If you are USB tethering, make sure to use a quality USB cable, I am using these Anker Powerline+ USB C to USB A Fast Charging Cables (I also use these in my car with Android Auto).
A VPN can help secure your Internet traffic and some VPN providers such as Windscribe can also help block annoying Ads. The GL-X750 has built-in support for both OpenVPN & Wireguard. Wireguard is a newer VPN format that provides faster throughput than OpenVPN.
We’re currently testing Mullvad, StrongVPN & Windscribe VPN services using Wireguard on the GL-X750 and will update this post with results. VPN Client setup is fairly simple. For most providers, you can download a Wireguard configuration file and copy & paste it into the GL-X750 VPN settings.
What Kind of Internet Speeds Will I Get?
Well, the speeds you get will depend on your Mobile provider and where you are. With T-mobile, we got as high as 38Mbps while RVing in Ruidoso Down, New Mexico locked to Band 4 or Band 66.
Here is a speed test taken at 8:30am the morning, while my son was on a remote school Zoom video session:
What is Band Locking?
Cell phone towers have different Bands that cover different frequencies. Depending on where you are, some of these Bands will be faster than others. This could be due to congestion(many people using that tower) or other factors.
GL.Inet makes it fairly easy to switch bands in the Internet settings – AT Commands.
After switching bands, you may need to do a Modem Reset, wait a few minutes, and then run a speed test.
Popular T-mobile bands are B2, B4, B5, B12, B66 & B71: https://www.t-mobile.com/support/coverage/t-mobile-network
Popular ATT bands are B2, B4, B5, B12, B14, B17, B29, B30, B66
Popular Verizon bands are B2, B4, B5, B13, B66
WhistleOut had a great post explaining this: https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/cell-phone-networks-and-frequencies-explained
Not all bands are available on every tower. For example, the T-mobile towers near me right now, don’t have Band 71.
The GL-X750 can also be used as a WiFi Repeater, although since it lacks external WiFi Antennae, we didn’t use it this way.
You can add an SD card to share files, music & movies.
By adding the mwan3 package, you can also do load balancing between 2 Internet sources.
It also supports adding EasyTether for an optional way to USB tether your phone.
For the next version of the GL-X750, I’d love to see a few improvements:
- Gigabit Wan/Lan Ports
- USB-C Power Supply (easier to power the router in a car, RV, or out in the field)
- Faster processor for faster VPN throughput
- Include a CAT 6 Modem (or higher)
We’ve been using the GL-X750 for over 2 weeks in our RV and it has proven itself while we did remote school and remote work. When we are not RVing, I will use it as a backup internet source in our house. Other uses for it would be remote cabins, ranches, or vacation houses that don’t have access to regular Internet providers.
I think $149 is a great value for this router. GL-Inet adds their own UI over stock OpenWRT making it much easier for non-geeky people to use it.
If you’re willing to spend more, the Netgear Orbi LBR20 can support much faster LTE speeds and looks to have much better WiFi. Hopefully, we will get an ORbi soon to test.