Recently I wanted more control on which bands my LTE Router connects to to improve stability and speeds. This blog post documents my experience fine tuning things on the AT&T Wireless Network.
This blog post assumes you have a working and fully setup Netgear M1 Nighthawk MR1100 Mobile Router, that it is already configured to work on AT&T, and has a data plan with enough data for your use case. (Hint: If you’re a heavy data user you will need an AT&T for Business Account and a good account manager or to pay $300/month for the Wireless Broadband Service which is limited to a single location). It also assumes you paid full retail price for an unlocked router from Amazon, Bestbuy, or other retail store. The AT&T branded ones have additional restrictions which would be an entire blog post to discuss how to work around it. These instructions are written with the AT&T Network in mind and will not work on any network other than AT&T. You’ll have to do your own research if working with the Verizon or T-Mobile networks.
Enabling the Telnet server
Login to your router’s admin portal and visit the settings area. Click Mobile Router Setup. This page has a lot of options. Scroll down to the tethering section and make sure that you enable the USB port to be used for tethering. This enables the secret telnet server on port 5510.
Connecting to Telnet and configuring the router
You will need to use a Telnet client like Putty to connect to your router. Your settings will look like the screenshot above. You will need to enter a series of commands one by one. It sucks but for it to work correctly you need to type it out line by line. Copying and pasting will not work. Each line is a separate command.
AT!BAND=03,"LTE B2/B66",0,2 AT!BAND=04,"LTE B12",0,800 AT!BAND=05,"LTE B14",0,2000 AT!BAND=06,"LTE B30",0,20000000 AT!BAND=07,"LTE B46",0,200000000000
AT!RESET or reboot the router from the web control panel. From there you’ll have options in Advanced Settings > Cellular to force the router to search for a specific band.
A note on Band 14…
AT&T runs a special phone network called FirstNet which enables the government and certain first-responder agencies to have priority access to the AT&T network during certain situations. This includes kicking all users except FirstNet users off of B14. If you lock the router to Band 14 you will be unable to access the network unless you either have a plan with FirstNet or switch bands in your router settings.
Which band should you use?
It’s hard to say for certain as every area has a different tower layout. I just go through the list and use speed test websites to check out what works best for me. As an example, I get an average 46 Mbps down and 15 Mbps up on Band 14 LTE which is enough speed for 4K Movie Streaming.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you have further questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll update the post if I have an answer.