In this post, I’d like to share my current Internet backup system. My primary Internet Service Provider (ISP) is Time Warner Business Class. And although the on-site customer service is outstanding, the service itself leaves plenty of room for improvement with respect to availability and consistent quality of service (QoS). With this in mind, I sought out a secondary ISP to fill in the gaps. I considered ATT U-Verse, Cricket and Clear; but ended up disappointed in the customer service of all three providers.
Just when I thought that I would have to re-visit ATT, I found a slick deal on T-Mobile’s Rocket 3 USB Laptop Stick (pictured below). It came with no contract and a pre-paid card that allowed me to test its speed. Using Speakeasy’s Speed Test, my laptop pulled 1.1Mbps down. Not good; but at least, it provided connectivity. The other downside to the USB Stick was that only one device could be connected at a time.
Enter CradlePoint’s CTR35 Wireless, which is compatible with T-Mobile’s Rocket 3 and provides Wireless N WiFi and supports up to 16 simultaneous WiFi connections. This immediately elevated this combination to my backup ISP.
But being an techie, I needed this to be mobile as well because why pay for another data plan when I can leverage an unlimited, no contract and prepaid solution. So I paired the Rocket 3 and CradlePoint CTR35 with my Anker Power Bank that has a 8400 mAH capacity and provides two outputs (one of which is 5V/2A). To complete the setup, I picked up a USB to Type M Barrel 5V DC power cable from StarTech. Note that that the output power for the CTR35 is rated at 12V/1.5A but the Anker Power Bank with output at 5V/2A was able to power it and the Rocket 3 without issues. In terms of performance, with the Rocket 3 attached to the CradlePoint CTR35 and using Speakeasy’s Speed Test, I was getting 6.6Mbps down.
So there you have it – all the components that I use to provide ISP redundancy at home while providing mobile WiFi flexibility.