Home ISP - A review of sorts.

  • 2 July 2020
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I was invited to use T Mobile’s Home ISP and took them up on the offer.  A little background:  I live in rural NE Georgia and Windstream DSL was the only option prior to this.  The best data rate I could get from Windstream was 17D/1U with a latency that often exceeded 300ms.  It was highly unreliable.

T Mobile ISP is a no brainer.  Its not without issues, and I’ll get into them in a minute, but first let me praise the improvement and SOLID reliability of the service connection. 

I’m situated between two rural cell towers and I live in a concrete (ICF) home, so signal degradation is a real issue.  I typically get two bars on my phone and there are places in the house where there is no cell reception direct to a tower without relaying through WiFi. 

To find the best placement for the TMobile modem I used a cell signal app on my phone and found a window that could give me the best signal.  I placed the modem there, ran a Cat 6 cable to it and fed my Mikrotik Router and it has worked flawlessly and without interruption for several months now.  I’m getting 46Mbps down and 2.5 Mbps up.  The average latency is 80ms.  I want that upload to be faster because I have a Plex server and several security cameras, but more on that in a moment.  This modem does have a built in battery, so it stays alive in power outages.  It has three ports (1 WAN and 2 Ethernet).  It has an on/off switch.  The micro sim can be removed from the back without needing to open the case. It is solid, reliable and simply works. 

If you have your own WiFi Access Points and a wired network, I recommend turning OFF the WiFi if your signal is less than two solid bars.

Now the issues:  1. The current generation modem does not have external ports for connecting external antennas for better signal reception.  2. The sim card will not work in a Netgear LTE modem that does have external antennas.  3. The current (first release) modem does NOT have a bridge mode in the current firmware (causing a Double NAT problem for those of us using better routers with robust firewalls).   4. Using this modem for a 2.4 and 5G WiFi network will impede the cell signal and reduce your upload bandwidth.  5. The firewall is very basic.  6. Port Forwarding and advanced features are not robust or programmable.  7. No embedded GPS for location - this plays an important role in location requirements for streaming services.  8. You cannot reliably use VOIP on this due to a SIP issue or a double NAT issue created by having a separate (and more robust) router, even if you bypass one router and plug the VOIP directly into the T Mobile Modem, the SIP issue remains.

If T Mobile would release a firmware update that allowed this modem to be placed in Bridge Mode, it would be almost* PERFECT (*almost because it still doesn’t have external antenna connectors, or a GPS).

If the next version of this modem comes with dual external antenna ports, AND an embedded GPS, AND the option to place it in Bridge Mode - it will be PERFECT.

Aside these limitations, the T Mobile $50 price point each month is about what I was paying Windstream for their unreliable DSL.  So T Mobile is giving me 3x better performance than I had with Windstream, for basically the same price.  Thats a No Brainer.

I highly recommend this service if you get the invitation.  All eight of the issues I’ve pointed out probably would not affect the typical customer and I expect T Mobile will resolve (hopefully) all of these problems in the near future.  Are you corporate folks listening?

Ret60sp


1 reply

Listening bud not corporate but that was funny n a wealth of information for a tech beginner as me Thanx happy father day

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