Is there anything "special" about Home Internet? Data care? device? T-Mobile?

  • 23 December 2022
  • 9 replies


Have Home Internet black box.  Uses 5G.  BADLY.  Much discussion in a different topic but short answer is 5G sucks, 4G has tons of speed.

I’m curious whether ANYTHING would care if I pulled the SIM out of the black box, and stuck it in a spare 4G (unlocked I think) phone and used the phone hot spot?  Does the Home Internet set that any differently than the hot spot from the black box?

OR, if I took the SIM from the black box and put it in a Nighthawk M1 (hopefully also unlocked) that does 4G?

OR, does something in the bowels of T-Mobile care and throw a hissy fit ‘cause I’m not using the black box that doesn’t work?

I’m not looking for a lot of technical explanations, just whether or not I can DO either of those things without having a problem - presuming either will even work.

9 replies

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From what I have seen that Nighthawk does support the T-Mobile frequencies. The only way you will know if using it will work is to move the SIM over and try it. Since it is only 4G LTE if it does work you at least will have the 4G band and maybe it will remain stable. 

It is hard to say for sure if they will allow the non-T-Mobile modem or not. Of course trying to get a confirmation from support on that is probably a very long shot or a curt no. It should not hurt anything to give it a try. T-Mobile is probably still working on the 5G/4G cells in the area so that is most likely the reason for the service being so poor. They should not sell the service in an area before they have it stable but I have to wonder about what they are actually doing at times.


Once the T-Mobile box did it’s normal, morning slowdown, I took the SIM and put it in the Nighthawk - it’s only ever been used with AT&T and IN THEORY, it was unlocked.  I don’t think it is ‘cause it booted then gave me an error which I can no longer remember. 

So just to try it, I put it in the OLD phone that was on Verizon and WAS ALSO supposed to be unlocked.  Booted fine, knew it was on T-Mobile, but when I turned on the hot spot and attempted to connect I always got “connect, no internet”.  So, I’m not sure WHAT it’s doing, or what I need to do differently.

I DO recall WAY back, having to use a 3rd party to unlock the Nighthawk ‘cause AT&T was refusing to unlock them.  It’s been several years and I don’t remember what all was going on.

In any case, I don’t SEEM to be able to use the HI SIM in any of the devices - unless the old phone is also locked and I can somehow unlock it.

In conversation with TMobile support yesterday (I’ve now learned how to get past the phone answering people whom I can’t understand at all with their accents), I was told there ARE 3 tower near me, and they’re where I thought.  AND, the HI SHOULD be using one to the South.  There’s apparently ANOTHER one slightly farther away (maybe half a mile) that the HI was selecting, and that tower DOES have a problem.  There’s a ticket on it, and in theory it’ll eventually get fixed.

And supposedly they NO LONGER HAVE the RTL 0102, so there’s nothing to swap for the current box.

Support supposedly did SOMETHING so my home internet is LOCKED OUT of that tower and should now be using the one a couple blocks away.

And, he clearly stated that I SHOULD be seeing consistent numbers in the 60+ Mbps range.  Not happening except at 5 a.m.

Last evening, like clockwork, at about 7 pm, tanked.  From mid-20s to around 2 Mbps or less.  Then around 10 pm or so it started inching back up and by 2 a.m. it was back in the 60s and up ‘til around 7 this morning.



Userlevel 7
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You were asking about what is possibly special about the home internet. Actually the one element that is unique to the gateway is the IMEI number. It provides a fingerprint so to speak for the hardware and if they check the hardware and the IMSI fingerprint of the SIM card for service access then the two provide identity to the device in the location and the subscriber attached to the service delivery. So, I would assume they do check the IMEI and the IMSI number to confirm they are a match. The IMSI is the number from the SIM card that identifies the subscriber identity. So, yes there are “special” elements.


So, the SIM started life in device Y (a 5688W home internet box).  I pull it out and put it in device Z, a Moto G7 cell phone with LTE and a mobile hot spot.  Does T-Mobile look at something and flag it that the SIM is no longer IN device Y?  And refuse to let the computer connect to the mobile hot spot?  Or is there something set wrong in the phone or it’s locked - though Verizon phones are supposed to unlock after 60 days and this one was in use for a few years.  I presume the APN was set to fast.tmobile??? or whatever it’s supposed to be, though I didn’t think to check…

I may mess around tomorrow again and see if I can see anything obvious.

Anyhow, we’re at 4:30 and it’s been mostly working around 17-20 Mbps with a few .6 today, but we having hit 7 pm yet.

I may try putting the SIM in the Nighthawk again tomorrow and see what message I get, but I checked the IMEI on AT&T and THEY say something about the device being in someone else’s account and they can’t unlock it.  So it may be locked…  If I recall (dredging up a really OLD memory), it was originally bought when I was on OTRMobile, which used AT&T, and they went belly up because they were doing something like tablet plans or some such, with unlimited data, and AT&T figured it out…  Or something like that.  So it may ONLY work on AT&T (I normally have a prepaid 100GB plan for it that I use when I’m traveling).

Not sure WHY the 4G phone wouldn’t work.


At the stroke of 6 o’clock +/- a few seconds, the HI crashed with a WAN002 error.  It told me there was an Internet connection problem, and to shut off the switch for 10 seconds then restart.  Came back up and its working at the moment.

Having read a few hundred of the problem entries in here about Home Internet, the whole thing seems like a kludge.  And the information from support is inconsistent… 

They TELL me “it’s all fixed now and you should be seeing MUCH higher speeds”, but not actually changes - it gets worse with this WAN002 error.

This just keeps getting more bizarre.

Userlevel 7
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There is another conversation you should read: (from 7 months ago)

Error Codes Wan005 and Wan002

I did not see an absolute resolution to the behavior but possible remediation. Hard to be sure.


Yeah, the first thing I did was go read that topic to see if they had an actual FIX…  Mostly it seemed to be about devices other than the 5688W, but it appears to have the same problems.  The only things I saw were to to reseat the SIM card and put a fan under the thing…

BTW:  This same error happened Thursday when the support person was working doing whatever he was doing on his end.  Told me not to worry about it.

BUT, I’ll try reseating the SIM tomorrow and leave the sliding cover open.  Can’t hurt.  Might even be able to turn up a computer fan or 2 I can put somewhere though I’m not sure how I’m going to power it.



Just for giggles, since I’m “reseating” the SIM card anyway, I put the SIM in the supposedly unlocked Moto G7 again.  It shows T-Mobile, so I went into network settings and checked that the APN is (which looks right).  Then I found the Network and turned off automatic.  I got a display of networks including Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.  Told it to connect to T-Mobile, and after a lot of churning it FAILED…  Which the information I have means the phone is locked.  Except according to the information at Verizon, it would have been unlocked YEARS ago…



Just got off a chat with Visible (the subsidiary of Verizon we were with), and they insist the phone is unlocked…  I haven’t found a list anywhere on T-Mobile that tells me whether a 2020 (or maybe 2019) Motorola G7 Power would be compatible with T-Mobile or not.  But if it’s actually unlocked, it doesn’t work.