Updated on 09AUG2017.
The first time I opened the box, I was left amazed. I knew that the TP-Link TL-MR3020 is small in size but it was way smaller than my imagination. I questioned myself, will this work? Is this the router which provides 3G/4G USB modem support and conventional wired LAN connections? Since that day till today it answered and proved itself on every ground.
I have been using this router since more than a month so I thought to write a review about it.
In the box
1 TL-MR3020 router.
1 USB Cable
1 User Manual
1 Quick installation pamphlet
As per TP-LINK, MR3020 supports Windows 98 (SE), NT, 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7. It also supports MAC OS, NetWare , UNIX and all standard Linux distros. There is no need for any kind of software installation or drivers on any Operatings System.
Dimensions and Build
This is the most intriguing feature of TL-MR3020. It is so small that you can put it in your pocket without any hassle. You will surely be surprised when you open the box. The dimension of this router is as follows;
Width x Depth x Height – 2.9 x 2.6 x 0.9 inches or 74 x 67 x 22 mm
This is like less length and little more breadth than a Debit or Credit Card. Yeah! That small.
Build quality is also nice. It is very light in weight and seems delicate. However, it survived my special fall of 5 Ft and 7 inches ( Thats my height). The plastic used to make it actually equals the justice of it’s look, build and weight. Internal antenna actually is a nice idea for a portable router. White colour gives a aesthetic feel and you can place it anywhere in room without spoiling your room’s feel.
Though small but mighty. It combines all the latest technology and all features of a standard router. Perhaps more, as it provides 3G/4G USB modem slots and connectivity.
As per company site and community reviews, it is compatible with over 120+ LTE/HSPA+/UMTS/EVDO 3G/4G USB modems. You can find complete list here. Remember, if yours is not in the list that doesn’t mean it won’t work. Those are just tested and reported ones. You can contact support for any issues. They answer nicely.
Speeds of up to 150 Mbps comes as a standard. It is easy to configure the USB modem and setup it’s security.
As all standard router provides it also gives you power of WPA, WPA2 and WEP key encryptions along with DDOS attack handler and a nice firewall.
IP-based bandwidth control works like a charm. You can allot bandwidth as per IP, MAC address etc and then those users can’t use it above their limits.
It provides three working modes: 3G/4G router, AP and WISP Client Router. You can also use it as a Repeater. I have written a step by step guide here to use MR3020 as repeater.
Last but not least is a Failsafe rollback feature. If you have LAN/Wired broadband and 3G/4G and your USB modem drops the connection, router automatically switches to LAN until the modem connection is restored. Isn’t that nice?
Full list of features for tech-savvy people is here.
Range and connectivity
Network coverage or say signal strength of this router is enough for 400 sq ft residential area. Don’t expect more as it is portable router without antenna. You can use some affordable repeaters to boost signals though.
Range may be little disappointing for some people. However, if you want to buy it, you shall focus your primary need. I wanted to convert my 3G USB modem to wireless without spending too much money at once. Also, I have a small 1 BHK flat to cover with wireless. Don’t expect more than 25 meters of range. Even at 20 meters, it falls to connectivity of 11 Mbps. Which is more than enough if your Internet is not providing higher than this.
Connectivity is good. Literally, this is the first router I will say, which didn’t give me trouble till now.
USB Modem Setup and Security Configuration
Security setup is way too easy. If you don’t want to configure it, it’s fine! Use the default settings which are printed on router itself. However, I recommend to set it manually for your safety. Here is my quick guide on setting a safer and secured wireless network.
USB Modem setup is a breeze. When you connect and fire-up the router. It tries to identify your modem and then sets it automatically with the regional and internet provider settings. Isn’t this way too much technology they are providing at such cost? 🙂
However, for some reason if you don’t get it connected, then you can always put your settings of username, password, and APN manually. If it failed to identify your modem then you might need a firmware upgrade. You can always contact support for this issue.
I have Reliance ISP with ZTE Modem AC 2737 FCC ID 2736 which actually gave me good trouble. But is possible to configure it with manual file loads and latest updates.
If you need then you can find all default tp link login details here.
TL-MR3020 is that cute gadget which you will want to own and show off. You can travel with it and you can share connection anywhere. You can power it via computer using USB cable or by adapter directly. Trains, buses, rooms, etc you name the place to use.
Only three points I can notice which could have made it better.
1. USB Cable provided is short. Longer cable would have given it little mobility and distance from power socket and a computer.
2. Range can be bothering point for a 2 or 3 BHK flat unless you are in next room to it (i.e. 25 meters max in straight line). However, this is ‘portable’ router. So, really can’t count this as a drawback.
3. In-built rechargeable battery would have really made it a complete portable router.
I can say I am completely happy with this router. It provided all features I needed. Nice work there TP-LINK. Kudos!