Accelerated Concepts is a hardware designer and manufacturer specializing in mobile networking equipment. One of their latest products is the recently launched a 4G failover router that supports all carrier bands in Australia and NZ. The routers are available in a variety of configurations, but in this review, we look at the Accelerated 6350-SR.
The company began in Tampa Florida in 2006, but now has offices in offices in Chicago, Illinois and Brisbane, Australia. Most routers rely on a connection to the internet from a single source, your ISP/RSP and therefore create a single point of failure. With internet connectivity being so vital in 2017, it is important to consider all the options to stay connected. Accelerated Concepts offer routers like the 6350-SR that allows you to insert a cellular module into the side of the router that houses up to 2 SIM cards, allowing it to connect to 3G/4G cellular data for internet access.
If you’re landline connectivity (copper, fibre etc) goes down, you can still be connected and get work done. When you’re using the internet personally, internet outages are inconvenient, but when you’re running a business with timelines and contracts that include penalties for every minute a deliverable is late, its easy to see how an investment in redundant networking infrastructure is not only a good idea, but smart business.
In terms of the hardware itself, the case is made of steel and is noticeably heavier than your typical plastic router. This speaks to the robustness of the technology that lies within. At the rear of the router, you’ll find 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, along with a WAN port for a wired connection to the internet.
There’s also the standard USB-port so you can easily distribute media across devices on the network. At either side of the router, there’s 2x generously-sized antennas, all 4 simple to screw on and rotate up to achieve the best signal. These take your connection and distribute it to multiple devices over WiFi.
Removing the blank panel on the side reveals the port where the cellular expansion connects to. This module (known as the Accelerated 1002-CM LTE Plug-In Modem), can support 2 SIM cards. These are full-sized sim cards, so if you plan on using an existing nano-sim from your phone, you’ll need to use an adapter. Being a modular router, this paves the way for future upgrades (say to 5G) without having to replace the router itself.
The dual SIMs can be switch either manually or via software, but the smarts of the device will automatically do the traversing of different carriers and wireless bands to find the best connection available. This is a technology they call Carrier Smart Select. Being able to use sim cards from different providers is a stand out feature, something rarely found elsewhere on devices in this price range.
The 6350-SR also features WAN Load balancing, WAN Failover and Port-based VLANs.
Accelerated says their router is ideal for both congested city networks as well as rural areas where telephony and broadband data compete for the popularly supported frequency bands. The new routers also provide access to Band 28, on the 700 megahertz (MHz) frequency, previously used by Australia’s analogue television services. If you wondered why we had to turn it off, its applications like this where mobile data access is required in regional areas.
The company are already seeing good success with the Network Professional Services (NPS), the company’s master reseller for Australia and NZ, saying Accelerated routers have a broad appeal, selling them to everyone from car dealers and fashion houses in Melbourne and Sydney to a tourist resort in Far North Queensland. In NZ, businesses in the outback are deploying the technology where its too expensive to run fibre.
The new 6350-SR does everything the 6300-CX does, but adds WiFi support and five fully configurable local or wide area network ports, so you can use it to drive both your primary broadband link and your automated 4G failover system, if the wired link goes down.
In terms of speeds, Accelerated says the device is capable of delivering a theoretical maximum of up to 300Mb/s, doubling bandwidth capacity by using two bands at once from the same carrier.
You can optionally pay a monthly fee for remote management of the device using the company’s Accelerated view. This offers Automated Configuration/Zero-Touch Provisioning, Real-Time Metrics, Geographical Mapping and an API for developers.
ETHERNET – 5 Ethernet Port 10/100/1000 Base-T (RJ-45) (Default 1 WAN, 4 LAN)
WIFI – 802.11 b/g/n (Optional)
CELL ANTENNA – 2 Dipole; Frequency: 700-960/1575-2700 hz; Gain: 1-4 dBi;
SIM – 2 SIM Card Slot (Size 2FF), Software Selectable & Hardware Switchable
CELLULAR – LTE, HSPA+, HSPA, EDGE, GPRS, GSM
CAT 6 OR 4 – Plug-In LTE Modems, Global SKUs
POWER SUPPLY – 12V DC, 1.5A; 100-240 AC
LEDS – Power, WAN Activity, LAN Activity, WiFi Activity, LTE, 5 Signal, SIM 1 & 2 LEDs
DIMENSIONS – 228mm x 127mm x 25 mm
WEIGHT – 0.73 kg
TEMPERATURE – 0°C to 40°C while operating
Price and Availability
For a device with this kind of feature set that provides mobile network redundancy, you may expect to pay thousands, but the Accelerated 6355-SR will set you back a very affordable A$499.00 and is available at https://www.acau.com.au/
This includes a 3 year return to base hardware warranty.
Telstra recently started offering a version of their Gateway router with cellular backup to their customers, but that’s incredibly limiting. There’s millions of customers who want the functionality but either don’t use Telstra or don’t want to be limited to their router.
This router certainly isn’t sexy in design, representative of its focus on features and functionality rather than a specific design aesthetic. Something that is appreciated is the upgradability potential and as we enter the next few years, approaching the 5G conversion, I hope more consider this modular approach.
The web interface certainly needs work, its pretty rudimentary, but will get the job done, offering access to the advanced configuration like VLANs, that small businesses may need.
What you get for your money here is great value and to my knowledge there’s not a lot of alternatives that compete head-to-head on this feature set.