In a world where smartphones are much more than devices we use to make phone calls with, T-Mobile has created a device that will help keep you connected to the internet and make phone calls even when your cellular network might be out of range. Enter the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, introduced at T-Mobile's Un-Carrier 7 event in September.
The CellSpot may look like a standard Asus gigabit router but with the combined power of T-Mobile and Asus, this dual band TM-AC1900 router is transformed to make crystal clear VoIP (Voice Over IP) phone calls on T-Mobile's network.
So what makes the T-Mobile CellSpot so special? The whole idea of T-Mobile giving its customers custom routers is to promote calling over WiFi instead of adding more traffic to the always growing cellular network. The one benefit of the CellSpot over other routers when considering WiFi calling is that T-Mobile has tweaked the Asus software so that your phone call from a T-Mobile device will be prioritized over any other traffic. On a normal router, your WiFi phone call quality will rise and fall based on the number of devices connected to your router and the traffic they're producing — but this is no longer an issue with the CellSpot.
Inside the box we are greeted with the Asus TM-AC1900 router — very much not unlike the ASUS routers many of us have been using anyway — a power supply, ethernet cable, manual, and a pamphlet instructing us on how to set up the CellSpot. The only modifications to the CellSpot hardware compared to a standard Asus TM-AC1900 router are several T-Mobile logos on the box and on the front of the router itself.
Once you have connected your new CellSpot router to its power supply and your home internet modem, all you have to do is log into the router and setup your WiFi settings. This includes setting your SSID (the name of your home WiFi) and your network password. To do this, find the CellSpot's default SSID and password located on the back of the router and connect to it from any wirelessly capable device.
To get to the router's settings you then visit http://cellspot.router and if you are connected to the router correctly, you will sent to the router's setup tutorial. In the tutorial you will have the chance to change the router's login username and password, network names, network passwords, and network encryption type. This can also be quickly modified again later if you choose to change anything.
Since installing the T-Mobile CellSpot in my own home, I have been able to make VoIP calls that sound great on both my end and on the recipient's end. Additionally, since this is a fully functioning dual band gigabit router, it is also important to note that both the 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi channels had strong and powerful signals that easily covered my entire home. At no point since I started using the CellSpot has my connection ever become slow or faulty while being used with any of my connected devices.
To get your hands on your very own T-Mobile CellSpot all you need to do is go into your local T-Mobile store or call their customer support line and request one. Of course to be eligible to receive the router you must be a T-Mobile customer. If you are a Simple Choice customer you will have to provide a $25 deposit that will be returned to you if you decide you no longer want the router. As a prepaid customer, the CellSpot will cost you $99.
In either case it's a great deal, as the router itself retails for over $200 and you can dramatically improve your call quality when at home for a fraction of that cost.