When you walk into a telco store, with clean rows of tables displaying the latest smartphones, it can be hard to get excited about the section tucked away in the back corner where they keep the mobile broadband modems. Regardless of whether you’re talking about USB modems or Pocket WiFi style devices, these don’t tend to attract descriptions like sexy or amazing.
Vodafone, with partner Huawei, aim to shift this thinking a little bit. The 4G Cube is probably among the most unique looking 4G modems you’ll have seen. In fact, it’s one of the best looking modems around, full stop.
Standing 11cm tall, the 4G Cube isn’t a mobile modem you can chuck in your pocket as you leave the house, but then it’s not designed to be. The Cube doesn’t have a battery and requires a constant connection to a power point, so the Cube, with its glossy white plastic design, is intended as a permanent fixture in your living room.
Using the modem is plug-and-play, literally. Vodafone print the default network name (SSID) and password on a sticker on the base of the modem, so you can take it out of the box, plug it into power and connect immediately.
The large square section on the top of the modem acts as a power button, though with a fixed power source you needn't switch it on and off before and after use. The Cube is designed to give off an otherworldly glow when switched on, but you can give the big square button a tap to turn this lighting effect off if you find it bothersome.
Modem settings, including options to update the security settings are accessible through a web browser on a connected device by visiting 192.168.8.1 (we include this because it took a bit go Googling to discover this for ourselves the first time).
4G for your SMB
The most impressive feature of the 4G Cube is its ability to connect 32 users simultaneously — about 4 times the number of users you can have connected to a standard 4G WiFi modem.
We successfully tested the Cube with 5 simultaneous connections and didn’t notice a dip in network performance and remain very curious about how many users you could add to the service before everyone’s connection speed slows to a crawl.
The Cube also has an Ethernet port on the back, adding the ability to add a more robust WiFi router, or a bridging router to extend range and performance.