Best Verizon 4G mini-pcie/USB?

  • I have been trying to figure out what the best verizon 4g mini-pcie or USB cell card is. I have gone through the list of known working cards but it seems that most of them I cannot get in any significant quantity and the ones I have ordered have all come with random firmware that takes forever to flash or they are locked and I cannot seem to replace what firmware is on them. I have a couple customers that would like cellular backup and I would prefer to give it to them within the pfsense configuration rather than using an ethernet handoff. I am not looking to order a 100 4g cards but I need to be able to order more than 2.

  • Netgate Administrator

    If you need to have 4G speeds you will need a modem that is recognized as USB Ethernet device. There is no support in FreeBSD, and hence pfSense, for MBIM or QMI connections so you are limited to ppp mode or usb-Ethernet "HiLink" mode.
    ppp will limit you to 42Mbps (I think).
    In addition I believe Verizon requires specific firmware for some devices that otherwise work, some sierra modules. But older devices now.

    What have you tried? Did any of them work at all?


  • Truthfully we had much better luck with a Cradlepoint device in bridge mode.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes, using an external, Ethernet connected modem is the recommended option here.

    I personally have a Sierra EM7305 and have seen the US version, EM7355 work OK in ppp mode. The EM7455 should also work fine. But all are limted by the ppp link to what I think is 42Mbps. As a backup that works fine for me. I'm in a high signal strength area.

    I we could just persuade someone to port the umb driver from OpenBSD to FreeBSD that would be great. 😉


  • The Cradlepoint COR IBR650B can do a theoretical 150mbps if you are so lucky to be close to a cell site with that kind of backhaul..

    In my van as I move around Ive seen anywhere from .3 to 128mbps.. They are not as cheap but with commercial interests its usually better to give all the options.

    Ive not had experience with the SIerra or even the Pepwave units myself.. One of my customers though had nothing but issues with the USB dongles that they put out mobile and abandoned them. So I'm leery.

    Not endorsing these guys but they do have a nice website to look around.. I get most of the same stuff through my suppliers so Ive never purchased through them.

  • Thanks everyone for your input. It sounds like I should stick to the cradle points and similar in bridged mode. I was hoping to find something a little cheaper for my customers but sounds like it's more trouble than it's worth.

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