I suppose Verizon is like any other cell phone store. Wild guess on my part, since I avoid those places like the plague. But needs must, and I packed up the router and headed off to the store, fearing defeat loomed ahead.
It was a close call. The dear, sweet girl who tried to help us was out of her depth. If we had a phone problem, I'm sure she would have been fine, but coming into the store with a cardboard box bearing a Chinese router bristling with antennas just threw her into shock. Luckily, Jamel came along - think he was the store manager - and he figured it out. We bought a SIM card for a JetPack and put it in the router, and it worked! Walked out satisfied after having tested it by making a few calls and texts on my phone over the router.
Lesson learned: stand your ground. We finally got somewhere when I said this would just be like walking in off the street with an old tablet and needing a SIM card. Then they got the concept. Until then it was like a scene from Idiocracy - "What, like from the toilet?"
I spent a good deal of time configuring the router on the bench at home - admin password, stuff like that. I was able to SSH into it, and use the GUI - it's based on OpenWRT. I had trouble getting it set up for remote access, though. I gather that entails getting a domain, registering it, and setting it up DDNS so that the name follows the device. I did that once before for a security camera system, but for some reason I just can't get all the buttons pushed. Not a show stopper, and I'll get it eventually. Just frustrating for now.