The NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 may not be a complete mobile data alternative to wired broadband in every respect, but it’s definitely a valuable tool for its primary intended purpose. We can’t confirm or deny whether it can really achieve 2Gbits/sec downloads, but it can certainly provide mobile broadband throughput that can compete very favourably with most wired broadband services, even if the ping will be much worse.
It beats sharing your phone’s 4G hands down, too, as our iPhone 6 Plus comparison shows. Yes, there are faster handsets out there now, but they won’t have the features of the M2, and will likely struggle to cope with lots of clients. It’s also a bit irritating if you want to use your smartphone when everyone else is piggybacking off its data connection.
There are a few downsides. The poor range for WiFi and relatively slow 802.11n mean 802.11ac clients within the same room are the sweet spot. It’s also a shame that the USB 3.0 storage doesn’t support Windows network file sharing.
However, being able to data offset via WiFi or Ethernet, stream media from USB 3.0 storage, and the long battery life are welcome bonuses. It’s also great that you can use this device to charge your phone if you need to.
There isn’t much competition for the NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 MR2100, other than its M1 MR1100 predecessor. But it’s a definite improvement over a mobile phone as a personal hotspot. This is quite an expensive option, but if you need to take high-bandwidth mobile data with you and a group of colleagues, friends or family for a meeting or on holiday, the M2 is well worth buying.
You can buy the NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 MR2100 for £379.49.
- Great mobile broadband performance.
- Fast 802.11ac bandwidth in close proximity.
- Flexible Ethernet port for wired client or data offloading.
- USB-C port for tethering.
- USB 3.0 port for network file sharing via HTTP and DLNA.
- Can be configured purely via LCD panel – no client required.
- Reasonable range of router features via Web interface.
- Smartphone management app.
- Long battery life.
- Doubles as mobile phone charger.
- Limited 802.11ac range.
- Low 802.11n performance.
- No Windows networking file sharing.
KitGuru says: The NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 MR2100 delivers fast mobile broadband to WiFi clients – but is at its best via 802.11ac and when your devices aren’t too far away.