If you live in the right part of a major city, you will have fast internet. The rest of us get, well, this WIRED headline from 2007, "Rural America Will Never Get Fast Internet." Out here, we get the scraps. If you are lucky, you can use 4G service since 3G is mostly shut down.

Rural 4G service is like a phone plan except you have to use it for everything. It is always metered, and I have been using 50 gigabytes a month from Google Fi. It is usually slow compared to something like cable or fiber internet.

A good 4G modem can really squeeze a bit more out of these shoddy connections. I have tested half a dozen and am working on a guide, but Gl.inet's Spitz 4G LTE routers is the best. It is relatively affordable at under $200.

Alone with a phone.

There is a photograph on GL.iNet.

Many of my neighbors in rural South Carolina use their phones as their primary computing device or as a hot spot. For some, the phone-as-hot-spot works, but for me, it doesn't work very well indoors. I have come to rely on 4G routers, which usually have larger antennas and better reception.

Gl.inet's Spitz 4G router looks like many other routers in our guide, albeit smaller. It's not until you open it up and find the SIM card slot that you'd even know it was a 4G router. There's also a spot for a microSD card (up to 128 gigabytes) so you can use it as a media server if you like. The slot fits a micro SIM.

I used a variety of sim cards from different carriers andMVNOs to test the Spitz. I initially tested using a T-Mobile and AT&T sim, but also used a Google Fi sim, which I was able to align in the slot. I don't recommend this long term, but it works when you're waiting for your sim card kit to arrive, which you will need to use a small sim chip. There is a guide to setting up the internet service on the Spitz.

It would be nice to have some MIMO ports to connect an external antenna to my phone. The hardware is simple and small. There are five LEDs on the top showing various information. There is a power supply port on the back.

Full control.

There is a photograph on GL.iNet.

When you get your sim card, you connect to the wi-fi network and point your browser to the admin page. The Spitz is very powerful because of this. Spitz uses the open source OpenWRT modem firmware, which allows you to use some tools and access features normally found only on more expensive routers, like network-wide VPN access, ad-blocking, parental controls, and much more.

If you are familiar with OpenWRT, what you get with the Spitz will be slightly different. All the features are there and you can install anything you want, but things might be different than you are used to.