Wireless Broadband for Home: Any opinions?

Hello. I am new here.

I saw a great, informative post on this site about wireless broadband. It's an alternative to NBN, using 4G.

https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/422837#comment

I am moving house soon and looking into this as an alternative.

I am wondering if anyone here has signed up and started using wireless broadband at their home. I would welcome your thoughts and opinions on the company/plan you chose and the performance.

Thanking you.

Harriet

Comments

  • +3 votes

    Exetel, $39.99 a month for 250 gig. I use it because I can't get NBN. It has actually probably been the most reliable internet I've had (though cappped at 12 Mbps).

    • +1 vote

      Thanks. I have been looking at Exetel, but was worried about the 12mbs cap. How do you find the speed? Do you get used to it, and is it OK for streaming? I will need to watch most of our TV, including free to air, via the 'Net. Cheers.

      • +1 vote

        It's fine for Netflix/youtube in HD (not 4k though). Me and my partner can both watch Netflix at the same time without any drop in quality.

      • +2 votes

        That speed is average/ slightly better than adsl 2, but 250gig, you may have to keep a check on your tv viewing as you say all will be streamed.

        • +1 vote

          I get around 16mbs on my ADSL2 connection, according to Speed Test. Maybe I am close to an exchange? my average monthly usage is around 110GB. Once I went to 205GB; still not sure why. But most months I never go near that.

      • +1 vote

        Optus @ $80pm for 500gb and there's no caps on speed. Albeit you're limited to the speed of the…..2300mhz band? I think.

        Have clients who can only get DSL using it. Works fine, run voip over it in once case and it's acceptable for the most part once you cap the upstream to a very conservative figure so you can queue adeuquately

        •  

          Not limited to 2300mhz. I'm using their ac800s modem, no band limitations and no speed limitations now. I get 240mbps off-peak and 120mbps peak.

    • +2 votes

      been the most reliable internet I've had (though cappped at 12 Mbps)

      Wireless internet at ADSL speeds, the private sector has really outdone itself this time.

    •  

      Joined Exetel yesterday (well 2 weeks ago, it took ages to ship the modem), 115 minute wait time on the phone to get the service activated (the activation website showed errors so I had to call) however 15 minutes later it was working - I get 6Mbps absolute max up and less than 1 down. My mobile on another cheap Optus reseller gets 35Mbps/7. Great price however I'm positive we'll never get to the 250gb limit with those speeds and light use :)

  • +5 votes

    Optus 200GB unrestricted speed, $60 per month (+ free IPad or Galaxy tab with 24 month contract)

    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/446771

    • +2 votes

      I switched from our shitty FttN NBN to this. Cheaper and Faster service, even before factoring in the value of the Tablet (and the free 12 months Netflix we got in the Christmas deal).
      200Gb is sufficient for our needs at the moment.

      With an external, roof mounted antenna, I hit 100/8 download/upload offpeak, dropping to around 30/8 during peak hours with a 4G Modem picked up off Gumtree.

      For those speeds, you need a Carrier aggregating modem, cat6 or faster to have line of sight to the tower and the tower needs to have Band 40 2300MHz TDD on that tower.

      If you have an Optus phone, do some speedtests at night.

    • +1 vote

      Unrestricted speed but also uncapped. Once you reach your limit, be prepared to pay $10/gb. I've been charged over $100 im extra charges and there's no way to limit.

    • +1 vote

      Got this deal too.

      Speed averages 30-40 Mbps at peak time (vs 3-4 Mbps with current adsl2+).
      Same cost as my old ADSL 2+
      200 GB downloads is enough for me (avg. 120 GB)
      Free 128 GB iPad!

      I bought a 4g modem brand new for $30 bucks (Woolworths 50% off sale last week). and leave it plugged in full time. Plenty on gumtree though.

  • +4 votes

    I looked into 4G plans recently because my new NBN connection was flaky. The plans worth considering all use Optus network. So first thing to do is buy a Optus prepaid sim on sale to test 4G speed in your home. Optus tower is about 200 metres away from me, I get 200mbps+ offpeak and 12mbps peak, so speeds are really volatile.

    •  

      Mu husband has an Optus mobile SIM. (Well, it is actually an Exetel plan, but it says Optus on the phone.) This is all I need to test the signal, right? Or do I need a special data SIM?

      •  

        better to test with an Optus sim not an Exetel one

        •  

          Thanks, will do. But just an ordinary mobile phone SIM is OK?

          •  

            @Harriet1968: Yes. If you are happy with 12mbps then just test with your husband's phone. If you want higher speeds then definitely test with an Optus sim.

            •  

              @nfr: I will do both … out of curiosity.

              •  

                @Harriet1968: Make sure you now what CAT device you're testing on and is comparable to the modem you are going to get.
                You can also check 4g coverage on oztowers.com
                If you're not in an area with 2300mhz you will not get 12mbps on exetel

                •  

                  @dasher86: Sorry for the lack of tech knowledge - what is a CAT device? Ohhhh, just realised you probably mean category? I will only have my mobile phone, using an Optus SIM. It is an iPhone 7. How do I find out what category this is?

                  •  

                    @Harriet1968: iPhone 7 I believe is a cat 10 and capable of 450mbps.
                    The modem with the exetel plans is a cat 6 and capable of 300mbps.

                    So testing on your iPhone will not translate to the same speeds vs the modem.

                    But exetel is capped 12/1 so shouldn't matter.

                    •  

                      @dasher86: Thanks. I am looking more at Optus's own wireless broadband plans, where the speed is uncapped. That would come with a Huawei 4G Plus WiFi Modem B525, which is cat 6. So - same apples/oranges dilemma. But at the end of the day, I am not too worried about getting super-high speeds. I typically get 16mbs with my current ADSL connection. If I can achieve that or better, I will be happy.

                    •  

                      @dasher86: What do TDD and FDD mean in these specs for the B525 modem?

                      4G NETWORK BANDS (BAND & MHZ)
                      FDD: 2100/1800/850/2600/700 MHz
                      TDD: 2300 MHz

                      •  

                        @Harriet1968: Different protocol.
                        TDD allows for faster uploads.

                        If you're 180m los you could be getting up to 100mbps down!

                        Im basically same distance and get 70mbps peak. And 100+ off-peak.

                  •  

                    @Harriet1968: Just go for optus and call it a day. It's good enough.

    •  

      Not the best test with this method. The optus fixed broadband modems operate on a single band if I'm not mistaken, where your phone will hop between channels. I THINK it's the 2300mhz band, but I might bewrong.

      •  

        It all comes down to this, really! If it is 2300mhz ONLY, I will be stuffed. There's one 2300 tower fairly close by, but not line of sight. I might end up just hot spotting with an old phone, as another poster here is doing.

        •  

          if you want to distribute a hotspotted connection to your house / devices you can always use a router and double nat that connection. Occasionally you can even connect to the routers via usb if it's supported.

          http://www.citytechnology.com.au/store/hap-ac2-gigibit-mikro...

          These are great units and would work with either method, you'd just sacrifice a band. Ie the router connects to your phone on the 2G radio, and the wireless distributed via the 5g. Happy to give some guidance on config if you do go down this path, these things have a bit of a learning curve.

      •  

        Depends on the modem.
        2300MHz band 40 is Optus's preferred data band, but you get goods speeds across the others if 2300MHz is not available or is over-subscribed.

      •  

        I use the ac800s modem with the aircard smart cradle, no band limitations. It runs triple band aggregation and uses the 2300mhz band as well as a couple others according to the dongle and dock. Only the Huawei fixed modem is limited.

        •  

          The only Huawei modem that is band restricted for CA is the E5186 (my modem), more recent modems like the B525 do CA across other bands, still only 2x CA though due to being Cat6.

      •  

        This is incorrect, both modems Optus provide carrier aggregation (B525 2 band CA, AC800S 3 band CA) and neither limit Optus bands used. Realistically I don't see why OP would not use either of these so using a regular sim in a phone is the best test to simulate wireless for home.

  •  

    Pretty stupid to not raise the cap to 24/2 or something like that considering there is a quota cap.

    •  

      Probably related to the contract they signed with their reseller to get a cheaper deal.

  •  

    Does teleco tell you how much data you used in total per month on your nbn?

    If it's well below 200gb then this is a great idea.

    •  

      Optus do 500gb for $80 a month. Later this year they will be releasing 5g unlimited data plans for $70 a month.

  •  

    I had Vivid wireless for 12 months while waiting for NBN and loved it. Perfect streaming and we had an adult family who were always streaming and browsing. I've now lent it to a mate who thinks it is terrific.

    My Sister joined up and it was perfect for her in a rental unit. She just moved in to a new house at Caringbah NSW and the reception is terrible. No 12mps available and struggling to do 2 in peak times. I checked the OzTowers website and found that Optus don't have any 2300 Mhz on any of the local towers. Their other bands must be really congested as well.

    My advice is to check your location first! Otherwise the equivalent Exetel product is a great solution.

    •  

      Thanks, There is a 2300Mhz just around the corner … 180m by foot. I am hoping this bodes well, but will certainly test before committing.

  • +2 votes

    Vodafone has NBN with wireless fallback (falls back to 12Mbps). I'd recommend giving it a look. So it isn't pure wireless, but falls back to it if your NBN dies for some reason. https://www.vodafone.com.au/nbn

  • +2 votes

    Make sure your closest tower runs 2300mhz or you won't get fast speeds.

  •  

    I guess what irks me about this situation is that I won't really know for sure whether wireless broadband will work for me until/unless I spend money on a modem and test it. Yes, there's a 2300 tower just around the corner, but it's unlikely to be line-of-sight. So the modem will probably connect with some other tower, potentially leaving me with an impotent modem and crappy speeds. But I suppose this is kind of true for any internet connection of any kind. Anyway, I will think about it some more. Thanks all for your valuable insights.

    • +2 votes

      Using your phone to do some speed tests will be sufficient to give you an idea.
      Factor in that the phone will likely connect faster.
      The Modem is essentially just the guts of a phone in a plug-in box, it's likely that the phone and modem will connect to the same tower if you place your phone in the same locations as you might consider putting a modem.

      • -1 vote

        I don't think this is true as Cell Phone 4G runs on a different frequency. The only true way to find out is test the modem.

        • +1 vote

          Whilst you're correct that the only way to find out is to test with a modem, you're 100% incorrect that the modem picks up different frequencies to phones. They literally are using the same network as your 4G phone. there is no difference at all.

        •  

          This is my understanding too, from reading this thread. The specs on the modem say this:

          4G NETWORK BANDS (BAND & MHZ)
          FDD: 2100/1800/850/2600/700 MHz
          TDD: 2300 MHz

          BUT the consensus here seems to be that the modem and wireless broadband SIM will only talk to a tower with 2300mhz frequency.

          This brings me back to the potential option of putting a tablet SIM into the modem. Presumably this SIM wouldn't be restricted. The guy at Optus told me this won't work, but I know others here have had success with this. Thought the tablet situation is a contract, and I am kind of wanting to avoid that in case it doesn't work.

          Cheers.

          •  

            @Harriet1968: This is correct. It will only do 12Mbs if it can connect to a 2300Mhz tower. At any other frequency it will drop to a maximum of 5Mbs (probably lower). Using a phone to check your possible speed on this product is worthless as you can't be sure what frequency you are testing at.

            The modem itself will connect at higher speeds. I tried an Optus long expiry prepaid sim in my Vividwireless modem and it worked. Download speeds were around 40Mbs but I would have eaten through my data pretty quickly.

            •  

              @Densor: Yep, that's correct.

            •  

              @Densor: Let's get this straight for OP.

              2300 mhz is the old optus home wireless broadband - Exetel, vivid wireless - this caps at 12/1.
              This is to do with sim capping not the modem (b525).

              If OP inserts a normal optus sim the device can connect to all frequencies listed on the device.

              •  

                @dasher86: Just wondering, then … if I order an Optus wireless broadband plan (one of the new-ish plans) , will the SIM they provide be locked to 2300mhz? Or am I better off putting an ordinary Optus data SIM in the modem?

                •  

                  @Harriet1968: nope. full speeds.
                  Optus retired their home wireless plans.

                  •  

                    @dasher86: Thanks … so, like a phone, it will "talk" to whatever frequency is closest and strongest?

                    • +1 vote

                      @Harriet1968: pretty much.

                    •  

                      @Harriet1968: It depends on the modem. I'm using the ac800s modem, it runs triple band carrier aggregation. According to the dongle it's a mix of 2300mhz and two other bands depending on saturation. I get 240mbps off-peak and 120mbps peak. You can get 500gb per month for $80.

                      Personally, if you can wait a few months, optus announced that they will be doing 5g unlimited data for $70 per month later this year. I'm waiting to swap to this one later this year since the modem will probably have cat16 (1gbps) 4g as fallback.

    • +1 vote

      You are overthinking it. Just test a $10 sim with your phone, if you get good speeds on phone you know the b525 modem will easily do better than 12mbps.

  •  

    Our new house can't get ADSL and NBN is a few months away, so I looked at Wireless Broadband plans, but they all wanted a long contract or for me to spend $100+ on a poor quality 4G modem.

    So instead I just got the $60 per month 200GB no-contract SIM from optus https://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/mobile-broadband/dat... and stuck it in an old phone - I just leave it on Mobile Hotspot mode.

    Our Telstra 4G internet on our main phones is much faster, and has enough GB that I use that occasionally when I want the best quality streaming in the home theatre. But most people won't need this, it's mainly because we have 3 screens going at once sometimes (kids). GB runs low sometimes, but it'll do until NBN comes. A very cheap option. For the short term you save a lot of money not getting the modem. Range wise our 3 bedroom house is OK without just a mobile hotspot.

    • +1 vote

      Thanks. I do have an old iPhone lying around, so this could be an option. It's pretty old (iPhone 5, from memory) - but I think it was capable of 4G.

  •  

    I signed up to the exact thing you linked about 5 months ago, before my NBN arrived. I couldn't fault it.. got consistent 80Mbps or higher, latency was reasonable for games, nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

    That said, the 500gb cap annoyed me as we had 3 heavy users on it. Also I am only about 100m from a tower with nothing in between.. so it your results may vary

  •  

    optus have plans for 200gb and 500gb , you can get good deals with ipads for 200gb and the data works out to be like $15 maonth, thats what im on, and im pretty happy wont evern go back to fixed line, its just dead and the dark ages

    highest speed ive recorded is 260mbits line of sit to the tower

    •  

      Thanks. Do you use a wireless modem?

      • +1 vote

        i used to use the ipad and my iphone, but thought i would get better connection using their hauwau 525 modem,.. it didnt happen to get much better speeds, but atleast i got to share the connection via its wifi and have a home network, if i had to do it again, i would just get any device.. they do hava cat 9 modem now, id try that, and id just keep my normal router. not the ipad pro is like cat 18 so would be the fastest along with the iphone x, both whcih ive done over 200mbits on.

        i got that modems as it was the only one that really did cat 6 and had wifi, everythign else on the market was meh,.. so its not bad for $192

  •  

    For those still wondering whether Optus Wireless Broadband will be restricted to 2300mhz, here is the answer (I think) - from someone using one of the new-ish (non Vivid-related) plans:

    https://ausdroid.net/2019/01/06/optus-4g-plus-home-broadband...

    Quote: Fortunately, Optus’ 4G modem allows you to specify what 4G you’d like to use:

    4G (Auto)
    4G (No 2300 MHz band)
    4G (2300 MHz band only)

    • +1 vote

      There are also "back-door" tools that allow more granulated control.

      Huawei Toolbox and LTE-Watch

  • +2 votes

    There is a lot of incorrect information in this thread.

    OP, you will not be capped at 12/1 speeds and you will not be confined to 2300MHz band if you subscribe to one of these two plans on Optus:

    https://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/mobile-broadband/Pla...

    These two plans ($60/200GB & $80/500GB) are uncapped and use all Optus bands available at your house.

    Make sure you check the speeds at your house with a test SIM during peak periods. Optus in my area is hopelessly congested at peak times and so I had to go Telstra/Vodafone.

    •  

      Thanks. Yes, I have ordered a $2 Optus SIM to do just that.

      I live in inner Sydney. Lots of towers, but also lots of people. It will be interesting to see.

    • +1 vote

      Agreed. I don't think there was incorrect information. It was just that the thread started talking about the Exetel $39 Home wireless plan and whether or not 12Mps would cater for a families broadband needs. It does.

      An Optus $60 plan is definitely uncapped speed wise, it just costs more money. Higher speed is preferred by some users.

  •  

    @OP : Before you commit to a plan get a pre-paid cheap SIM from every provider and test their network. Because the speed someone can get highly depends on their location and congestion. For example I get best results on the Telstra network, average speeds on Vodafone and poor speeds on Optus.

    On the Telstra network (though Boost mobile) I can consistently get speeds above 30Mbps during peak hours without carrier aggregation and hits over 100Mbps during off peak with carrier aggregation. I've seen speeds above 150Mbps on a Telstra SIM with CA. Vodafone stays above 12Mbps without CA / peak time and hits over 50Mbps with CA / off-peak. Optus is sometimes unusable during peak, I’ve seen speeds below 1mbps! and barely goes over 20Mbps with CA / off-peak. Both optus and Vodafone have their antennas on the same towers and use similar bands (Vodafone: 850/1800/2100 and Optus: 700/1800/2100 on the towers I connect to) I generally get connected over 850/700 bands on all networks. So at least for me everything comes down to network congestion.

    •  

      Thanks.

      None of the others have the plans that Optus offers, though: 500GB for $80.

      (Though this will be pointless and useless if I can't download anything …)

  • +1 vote

    I am on the Optus 500GB / $80 .. 2 mobile phones/3 ipads/ 1 xbox/1 smart TV connected at evening peak hours, no issue of visiting websites /youtube/light gaming at same time… I am in the Syd norwest suburb…

  • +1 vote

    I moved to Virgin mobile broadband when Optus were too busy over-subscribing their old cable network to the point it barely worked and we just resorted to mobiles, which we were happy with at our place. The performance seemed pretty flaky at times but I put that down to just trying to use the included dinky portable WiFi modem as a normal full size router, so managed to get a basic Kogan 4G/LTE Home Router cheap.

    The WiFi signal is now better but for some reason the internet is still very patchy it seems. Not just "slow", but seems to just cut out completely for minutes at time even though the router connection is good. Similarly I gotta say coincidentally even my mobile internet (also Virgin) hasn't been performing as well and I'm getting paranoid that Optus are even trying to cough "encourage" people to move off Virgin with the closing down thing.

    I should add, we are relatively light users, plenty of spare change with 60GB (but get backup extra via rollover)

    TLDR:
    - Moved to Virgin cos our Optus Cable was going down the toilet
    - At first was ok but crappy Wifi performance due to no proper router
    - Got a slightly better router, decent Wifi signal, but still choppy internet so sometimes have to use phones

  • +1 vote

    My brother in law recently moved to a new house and is waiting for the NBN to be hooked up.
    After some testing using mobile phone hotspots with different networks, we went with Optus on the 500gb plan and with the Huawei B525, this is a month to month plan and there was a $200ish upfront modem cost.

    We have it on 4G (No 2300mhz) and he gets average 40-70mbit download speeds (even during peak) and stable enough ping to play online games on his PS4.

    I'm pretty impressed with it actually.

    I must add that he is pretty close to a mobile tower (maybe 300-400m).

    Speeds on 2300mhz are much lower and ping is not as stable, maybe due to poor building penetration (brick house) or local saturation (probably mixture of both).

    •  

      Thanks, Hombre. That's great! Do you know if he has line of sight to a tower?

      I have a stack of Optus towers quite close me, but live in a built up area. I don't think any would be LOS.

      •  

        No line of sight unfortunately but the 700mhz penetration seems good regardless.
        We were thinking of getting an external antenna to assist but its performing well so far.

  •  

    So new address that can't get anything beyond 'home wireless broadband' from the major players. Instead I went the Optus 200GB route using an Optus E3372h USB modem and a Dovado Pro AC. House of 4 adults so the 200GB limit is annoying for Netflix / Plex etc however the speeds are generally pretty consistent (always above 20/20). We're month to month so it's costing around the $70 mark but can be done cheaper on a plan.

    When ordering, you need to make sure it's a mobile data SIM and not a home wireless broadband SIM; the home kits are capped at 12/1 but usually unlimited data.

  •  

    Great thread.

    I'm now actually thinking of doing this rather than simply waiting for NBN which could take forever at my address.

    My parents need a new tablet, we frequently watch soccer so Optus Sports would be amazing and all this would be heaps better than what I've got at the moment stuck with ADSL2+.

  •  

    Can you actually get NBN at your new premises? If you can then I would still have that as your first choice as you can sign up for free for the first month with Aussie Broadband and see whether it is ok or not and if for some strange reason the wired NBN connection isn't stable enough then go with the inferior wireless broadband option.

    •  

      NBN is available for connection to the address, but there is a complication. There is a tenant currently living in a studio at the property, which is separate to the main house. She has ordered NBN, but without the permission of the current owner, and not knowing it must be connected to the main house (not the studio). Therefore, the order has stalled. She is refusing to cancel the order; rather, is just letting it sit in limbo. So it is currently locked to anyone else, including us (future owners) - unless we want to pay $3oo+ for what is called a "subsequent connection". Rather than go into further battle with the tenant, I am just looking for another option.

      •  

        Why should she cancel the order? Every rental property including studios have a right to access the NBN. Secondly, it's the landlords responsibility to pay all costs involved in installing that NBN connection to the rented premises.

        Going the wireless path just to circumvent your obligations as a landlord would be doing things the hard way and not the best way to start a new landlord/tenant relationship…

        •  

          Yes, I agree. Going about things the wrong way or the hard way is not a good way to start a new tenant/landlord relationship.

  • +3 votes

    Coming to this thread late and it looks like there is a lot of confusion/misinformation in it already..

    To clarify, none of the Optus wireless broadband plans are capped at 12/1 (the capped plans have been retired). I personally wouldn't consider using a capped 12/1 service (i.e. Exetel), which would be barely better than ADSL2 when it works well and when it doesn't you get the added latency and unreliability of RF.

    I also wouldn't worry too much about the device CAT rating, aggregation aside this only refers to the maximum 4G speed a device can handle but does not affect the quality otherwise. So testing with any phone released within the last ~3 years (CAT6 and above) will give you a good estimate of your performance with this product.

    For Optus, the wiki on WP is a good source of info: https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/optus_wireless_broadband

    I've been on the Optus plan for 3 months due to NBN (profanity) up my area rollout, overall I've been very satisfied with the experience and would recommend it to anyone with good Optus coverage at their house.

    • 2 main factors for speed are signal quality and congestion. You can improve your signal in various ways (moving modem to closest window, external antennas, etc.) but you can't do anything about the 6pm slowdown. My speed tops out at ~80Mbps in early morning, but can slow down to ~30MBbps for that 1-2 hr evening block. I don't mind cause that's still a lot better than my old ADSL2, it's still enough for 4K Netflix and I can schedule downloads etc around it.
    • Use the tower map to find how close you are to your nearest Optus tower. From what I've seen, <1km to tower should yield good speeds. If you have multiple towers in that distance even better. If you have direct LOS to a tower you'll be cheering. https://oztowers.com.au/Home/Query
    • Testing phones with Optus sims vs home modem shows very similar (<5%) results at all times of day.
    • AC800S is supposedly faster than B525 in 4G performance, but it is terrible as a router (no Ethernet ports, very poor WiFi performance, very basic settings / control). If you want to use it I strongly recommend buying the DC112A cradle or USB tethering to an ASUS AC-RT68U or similar. Don't confuse bad Wifi with a bad 4G service.
    • My AC800S experience has been hit and miss, the device itself appears very unstable for a decent amount of users and I've also had some random drop outs caused by it. I'm also skeptical the 4G speed is any better than B525 due to the antenna design. If you just want a 'plug and play' solution and don't want to have to fiddle around bridging routers and changing settings, just go for B525.
    • Latency for gaming is slightly worse than ADSL2+ if that matters to you.
    • No static IP is available on any Optus plans, and it is behind CGNAT, if that matters to you.
    • The 24 month Optus plans have no cancellation fee, you just have to pay out the remainder of the modem cost (pro-rata on monthly basis). So there is no real point in going month-to-month.
    • Data is pooled between all Optus services on your account, so if you have any Optus mobiles you can effectively keep them on 4G at home so they get their own bandwidth and are not affected by the home connection.
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