5G Home Internet Is a Good Alternative To Wired Broadband

Originally published at: 5G Home Internet Is a Good Alternative To Wired Broadband - TidBITS

T-Mobile and Verizon provide home Internet service via devices that use the wireless carriers’ 5G data signal as backhaul for local Wi-Fi. Julio Ojeda-Zapata has been testing both services and found them to be affordable, fast, and dependable.


Good article. I don’t know if the 5G home internet will ever become available where I live, but I still found the article very helpful. Thank you!

1 Like

thanks for the solid rundown; we’re 1-2 blocks from multiple 5G towers in Denver, some of which we know to be Verizon’s, yet neither Verizon nor T-mobile 5G internet is available to us; its primary value would probably be as backup to the CenturyLink gigabit fiber we currently enjoy

though CL’s fiber is pretty darned reliable, our own budget AT&T cellular phone service (LTE, but minimally capable of a running 3-5 party mediation sessions on Zoom) is already our low-speed fallback via hotspot capabilities; so this 5G home service, for how little we seem to need it, would probably have to be significantly less expensive to keep around “just in case”

1 Like

Thanks for mentioning upload speeds; Comcast’s are so bad that they won’t tell you what they are until you give them your credit card number. But a potential deal-breaker is latency; what kind of ping times did you get?

1 Like

I just received my monthly report from Fing on my Comcast performance in the SF Bay Area. Speed tests are performed four times a day around 4am, 9am, 2pm & 10pm. Almost all latent times are between 10 and 12 with a hand full of 9’s and 15’s as highs and lows. There was one outlier of 54 on Mar 1 at 2:37. Average upload speed was 40.4Mbps.

My biggest question is video streaming. Is this fast enough to watch ice hockey on Fubo or movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime?

Absolutely. My wife streams YouTube TV, Netflix and the like nonstop and hasn’t had any issues. In fact, she had no idea I had switched her from our Xfinity wired broadband to the 5G during my testing.


I’ve been telling people in my town’s Facebook group about T-Mobile’s 5G home service. Our cable company charges $120 per month for 200Mbps service (which normally gives you about 70Mbps). T-Mobile is only $50 and faster. Everyone who’s switched is delighted.

Unfortunately, my house is a desert island of no high speed T-Mobile service surrounded by a sea of high speed service. It’s a dead zone.

It’s been that way for years, but never bothered me. I use my cable’s WiFi service and most calls go out fine on WiFi. However, I want to switch to T-Mobile’s service, so I called and reported that I’m in a dead zone. The tech offered to send me a minitower that would improve my service. All I have to do is plug it into my cable’s WiFi. Of course, that defeats the whole purpose.

I’m hoping that they can adjust the antennas in their tower to give my area better coverage.

In Sydney (Australia) my relative just moved into an apartment. Neighbours told her the wired internet in the building was woeful.
I noticed I could see the local telephone/cellphone tower from her balcony so I suggested she looks at 5G internet. She signed up to Telstra and has a good 5G service, even at peak times.


Thank you very much for this article, Julio!

1 Like

Some questions:

Are all iDevices and Macintosh computers required to have 5G built in?

What if your postal address is a USPS Post Office box? Are you limited to the geographic block around the Post Office building?

I’m in Australia too in Brisbane. We have Fibre to the home and so should have brilliant internet over that but it is choked by Telstra who have a hold on this area. So we use Optus 5G service - we get over 120 down and over 30 up. It’s fantastic most of the time but occasionally it just stops for a short while, up to 15 minutes - the modem shows that it;'s still connected to 5G but there is no service - even OOKLA fails to connect at that time. These outages usually concedes with the peaks of the kids coming home from school etc so it will be due to an overload of connections at our local base station - Optus have advised they are upgrading the tower but who knows when! Rather annoying when you are in the middle of something! Mostly it just restarts without intervention but sometimes we have to reset the modem. So, beware that as poularity of theses services increase you will see a degradation in performance.

We’ve been on T-Mobile 5G Home Internet since last December. The signal inside the house wasn’t great, we have a metal roof and are surrounded by trees, so we installed an external antenna array from WaveForm.com. That was quite an undertaking.

Now we have internet service that’s reliable enough. We’re getting 50-130Mbps down and 10-30 up, much better than the 11/1 we were getting from CenturyLink.

Julio did some nice work to find out what’s available.

What I find interesting is that 5G Home Internet appears to deliver this bandwidth service without the use of the high frequency 28GHz (or millimeter wave) band that was set aside for high bandwidth. I listened into a technical seminar on 5G and 6G networks last month where the expert speaker said that the costs and difficulties (particularly limited transmission range) turn out to be “economically prohibitive.” I asked if that would limit bandwidth, and the speaker replied “It definitely is going to limit the bandwidth.”

One common problem with new wireless networks is that carriers may not maintain the high bandwidth per customer once more people sign up and the total bandwidth is divided among more users. I recall this happening with the startup of 4G. the bandwidth is great until people start using them heavily. When more people sign on, the service starts to slow, as

5G service may not slip the same way, but it’s important to check what service you’re getting.

1 Like

The higher the frequency the shorter the distance from the base station so these services will never be a solution where the towers are sparse, hence the requirement to check the site is suitable before supplying the gear. One would also hope that they would be limiting the number of these units around each tower … but I think that’s not realist from my own experience.

Native 5G capability (unavailable on Macs, and available only on later-model iOS devices) is irrelevant since the 5G modem translates its signal into Wi-Fi for any laptop, phone or tablet to use.


You raise an interesting question with the P.O. box. I imagine you can provide the 5G Internet provider with your home address, even if that isn’t your official mailing address, but you should double-check on that.

Verizon’s 5G Internet service was originally an mmWave-only play. It recently expanded with the available of C-band service.

Anytime! Happy to help.

The biggest drawback to these cellular home internet services is the fact that they generally don’t allow you to make inbound connections to devices at your home, at least not via IPv4 because of the multiple layers of NAT that are present in mobile networks. When I last looked at this last year, there was some talk about inbound IPv6 being a faint possibility maybe in the future but likely not anytime soon. If anyone knows differently I’d love to hear about it. Of course, neither T-Mobile nor Verizon are offering their service at my address anyway right now, so I’m stuck with an ancient DSL connection because I refuse to give Comcast any money, and AT&T refused to ever install a U-Verse or direct fiber service on my street (despite other people in my town just a few streets over getting those services).

1 Like