Novatel USB551L 4G USB Modem for Verizon Review

Novatel USB551L 4G USB Modem for Verizon Review
Introduction and Design:

Until now, Verizon has carried two 4G USB modems, the Pantech UML290 and the LG VL600, which we took a look at earlier this year. The Novatel USB551L is the newest 4G USB modem to be available from Verizon, but is there any reason to choose it from the other two models? Let’s see…

The first thing we noticed about the Novatel USB551L is that it’s smaller overall (3.46”H x 1.38”W x 0.47”D) and lighter weight (1.23 oz), which makes it more compact and easier to use and store. It’s all black plastic design isn’t anything out of the ordinary, and there is a small cover on the back that you can remove for inserting your 4G SIM card.

What we found curious is the way the USB connector works, as it has a flip-out hinge design, and when the device is connected to your computer, the modem it standing up at a 45 degree angle. This is different than the LG VL600, which has a movable protective plastic cover over the USB plug when not used, and when it is connected to your PC, the device sticks straight out to the side, not up at a 45 degree angle.

Include with the Novatel USB551L modem is a USB extension cable with a built-in clip to attach it to the side of a laptop display, which may help some people get better signal reception. Unfortunately, these USB modems do not to include any LCD display, but only have a LED status lights on them, which shows the 4G/3G network connectivity, though this can also be viewing using the software.


1 Comment

1. Myop4u

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

Novatel USB551L - The modem is utterly unreliable. Yesterday it took me one hour and ten minutes to write 3 short emails and make one online purchase of an item I had previously researched so it was supposed to be a very quick transaction – and the modem disconnected me while in the middle of making my payment. The connections varied between barely 2G and 3G and 4G and kept changing while I remained stationary. I am very, very close to giving up Verizon for my internet connection as this is extremely aggravating. I can’t run my small business with a modem that disconnects itself at will and with no warning every few minutes, sometimes once a minute! from the internet. What if I want to conduct a telecall or webinar? Do I run the risk of losing my class every couple of minutes? I did call and complain when I first noticed that the modem would disconnect itself frequently. I was told by Verizon Tech Support that this was normal as it is a 4G modem. For one thing, when it thinks you aren’t doing anything (like when you write a longer email) it disconnects itself. (And then it can take 10 minutes or more, including having to reboot my laptop several times before I can get my connection back.) Excuse me? Then why on earth would anybody want this? Really, Verizon, this is a ‘get your act together’ moment!

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