Preparing 4G routers
Find out how 4G wireless routers are secured, how much data users get, how long the contract is and records you should keep.
Our guidance on How to get started with your 4G wireless router can be shared with young people and their parents, guardians and carers.
If the person or team offering IT support to router users is asked questions, they should consult the user guidance for each router type to troubleshoot any issues before raising a support query.
For local authorities and trusts
You can check the status of each router and if needed, raise an issue via the Support Portal. Login details will have been provided when you placed your order, but if you’re unable to access the Support Portal, contact us.
For schools and colleges
You can check the status of each router in the Support Portal. If you need to raise an issue, you will need to ask your trust or local authority to do this on your behalf. Contact us if you’re unsure who to contact.
For young people and families
4G wireless router users should contact the trust, local authority or school which gave their device to them if they have any issues. It's important that users do not attempt to reset their device to try to resolve issues, as this will result in both the router and SIM to stop working.
After placing your order and getting your 4G wireless routers, you do not need to do anything to set them up before sending them to users. You should, however, keep records of the type of routers you get and who you loan them to.
Keep a note of the name of the user, with the IMEI and SIM number for each device.
This information is essential for technical queries, for deactivating devices if they are lost or stolen, and for responding to Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) requests.
Read information about device ownership and distribution, including examples of loan agreements and suggestions on insurance. Our guidance How to get started with your 4G wireless router can be shared with the young people and families you’re helping to get online.
Using routers after DfE data expires
All 4G wireless routers come with SIM cards that provide data until 31 August 2021. You'll need to reset routers and replace the SIM cards to keep using them after this time.
If you have Huawei routers, you must reset them before 31 August 2021. If you do not do this, you’ll be unable to use another SIM card when the data runs out.
If you have TP‑Link or D‑Link routers, you can reset them and insert another SIM card at any time. If you choose to do this before 31 August 2021, your router will no longer receive data from the Department for Education.
Using another SIM card will remove the content filters. Read our safeguarding guidance and information for parents and carers on keeping children safe online.
Each SIM has a monthly data limit of 20GB which refreshes on the first of each month. Young people and their families can use up to 20GB of data per month before the 4G wireless router will stop connecting to the internet, until a new month begins. It's not possible for us to increase data allowances for individuals who have reached their limit.
20GB of data is equivalent to approximately 5 hours of remote education activities per day.
When distributing devices, you should inform families, young people and care leavers that:
- their router has a monthly data cap
- they should only use the data connection for education and social care services
- they can reduce the amount of data they use by choosing ‘Standard Definition’ (SD) when watching videos online or making video calls
Each router will only work with the SIM card that's provided with it until it's reset. Attempting to use another SIM in the router before you reset it, or to use the SIM card with any other device will not give a data connection and may cause the SIM card to become barred.
The device will connect to the mobile network with the strongest signal available. Regardless of which network it uses, all traffic will pass through a private, secure connection to a filtered service.
This filtering system:
- blocks a range of content categories
- limits searching to the ‘safe search’ supported by popular search engines
- should not prevent legitimate use of the devices
If a child is able to access inappropriate content, you should report this through the Support Portal.
These resources include detailed guidance for schools and colleges on safe remote education, virtual lessons, and live streaming. There's also information on how to make sure children and young people are safe online.
- Keeping Children Safe in Education - guidance that schools and colleges must follow when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – both online and offline
- Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus - guidance to help you understand safeguarding procedures when planning remote education strategies and teaching remotely
- Support for parents and carers to keep children safe from online harm - outlines resources to help keep children safe from different risks online, and where to go to receive support and advice
- Support to stay safe online - includes information on security and privacy settings
In conversations with parents, carers, and children you should emphasise the importance of a safe online environment and offer support and advice on how to create this. It's also important that children, parents, carers, and school staff are clear on how to report any concerns they may have about online safety.