Question

Using the TMobile ISP Box sim in a Netgear LB1120


Userlevel 1
Badge

I have the unlimited TMobile ISP internet modem, and it works ok, but it has limitations that I can solve by using a different modem.  The TMobile ISP box does NOT have a bridge mode and it does NOT have external ports for external antennas.  For those of us in rural areas this means we get maybe 1 bar of service.  The NO bridge mode means I either intend to let the TMobile modem be a router as well as a modem, and I don’t like this idea for several reasons: 1) The firewall sucks.  2) no masquerade 3) No detail configurable firewall with subnets, 4) No embedded GPS for location & 5) the 2.4 & 5 Mhz Wifi is not powerful enough to reach the far corners of the home and those emitters interfere with the cellular signal at 1 bar, making upload speeds suck for a Plex server.  So I prefer my Mikrotik router, and my Mikrotik AP’s stanmding alone on the network - which means I need the TMobile ISP modem to be in bridge mode, (but they don’t have a bridge mode) or I’ll encounter a double NAT issue.  There are too many ports to attempt to forward on my network and opening the DMZ is counter intuitive to the purpose of a true masquerading firewall.  So using the TMobile modem as a DHCP server/firewall is not an option I’ll consider. 

So I purchased the Netgear LB1120 modem and proceeded to transplant the sim from the TMobile modem into the Netgear 1120.  I set the APN to fbb.home and - nothing.  It will not connect to the TMobile network.  No bars.  I installed a generic TMobile sim card in the Netgear LB1120 and it comes right up - with 1-2 bars.

So how do I configure the Netgear LB1120 to use the sim card out of the TMobile ISP modem?

If I can get it to work I can install the L400 cables to the external grid antennas outdoors, pointed at the nearest cell tower, and I should get 5 bars and a truly descent internet experience.


30 replies

I was Wondering about this too. I have a place that needs an external antenna to catch the signal better and non of their devices have that.

As it is now I pay $40 a moth prepaid for 10 gigs. I would love to pay 50 for unlimited. It's a shame Tmobile doesn't think about those of us that could use this kind of thing in rual areas. 

Userlevel 1

Working on the same issue.  Put together the following build to move the Home Internet SIM to a better device and experienced the same failure.  A vanilla account SIM on the fast.t-mobile.com APN connects fine and the Home Internet SIM on fbb.home does not work at all (no network association).  I have gone so far as to reprogram the modem IMEI to match the T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway IMEI without resolution.  I do this for a living and it does not make sense.

  • Build:
    + MikroTik RouterBOARD RBM11G
    + Quectel EP06-A mPCIe LTE modem
    + Case, antenna, connectors, etc.
Userlevel 6
Badge +14

Working on the same issue.  Put together the following build to move the Home Internet SIM to a better device and experienced the same failure.  A vanilla account SIM on the fast.t-mobile.com APN connects fine and the Home Internet SIM on fbb.home does not work at all (no network association).  I have gone so far as to reprogram the modem IMEI to match the T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway IMEI without resolution.  I do this for a living and it does not make sense.

  • Build:
    + MikroTik RouterBOARD RBM11G
    + Quectel EP06-A mPCIe LTE modem
    + Case, antenna, connectors, etc.


Since you were able to change the IMEI of the modem you are trying to use in place of the T-Mobile modem.  Have you also tried cloning the MAC Address of the T-Mobile modem to the modem you want to use?  Some ISP’s also require the MAC Address of the router to be entered in the modem.  I am not sure if either would work, but ISP’s do vary quite a bit in their setup.  

Userlevel 1

No, does not apply.  MAC is to IEEE 802 tech as IMSI is to cellular.  So changing the IMEI on the modem is the only thing to change side from the information that follows the SIM (IMSI / ICCID).  The ISP MAC locking you are referring to is for client devices. 

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

No, does not apply.  MAC is to IEEE 802 tech as IMSI is to cellular.  So changing the IMEI on the modem is the only thing to change side from the information that follows the SIM (IMSI / ICCID).  The ISP MAC locking you are referring to is for client devices. 

Good to know.  I haven’t used any wireless broadband home services.  T-Mobile’s isn’t available where I am either.  Sadly, the only option we have is Cox, which is pretty unreliable.  

Badge

So, is the T-Mobile Home Internet SIM card locked to the TM-RTL0102?

 

Can I use this device somewhere other than at home? 

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Interesting post on reddit… 

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/jbfnt6/home_internet_5g_gateway_coming_soon/

Badge

Working on the same issue.  Put together the following build to move the Home Internet SIM to a better device and experienced the same failure.  A vanilla account SIM on the fast.t-mobile.com APN connects fine and the Home Internet SIM on fbb.home does not work at all (no network association).  I have gone so far as to reprogram the modem IMEI to match the T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway IMEI without resolution.  I do this for a living and it does not make sense.

  • Build:
    + MikroTik RouterBOARD RBM11G
    + Quectel EP06-A mPCIe LTE modem
    + Case, antenna, connectors, etc.

Couple of questions, if I may.  One, did you contact TMobile about doing this separate modem and getting it to work?  Second, what exactly did you put together, and what was the cost?  I’m thinking of trying the same.

Let me know if you get this going I have a Nighthawk M1 that I'd like to do. 

 

 

Userlevel 2
Badge

I wish when I was searching I’d found this post rather then creating a new one! Exact same issues and looking at same modem.

 

Following… 

Userlevel 2
Badge

Working on the same issue.  Put together the following build to move the Home Internet SIM to a better device and experienced the same failure.  A vanilla account SIM on the fast.t-mobile.com APN connects fine and the Home Internet SIM on fbb.home does not work at all (no network association).  I have gone so far as to reprogram the modem IMEI to match the T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway IMEI without resolution.  I do this for a living and it does not make sense.

  • Build:
    + MikroTik RouterBOARD RBM11G
    + Quectel EP06-A mPCIe LTE modem
    + Case, antenna, connectors, etc.

Did you ever solve this? 

Badge

Same here. My Yagi antenna (from a previous setup) outside looks pretty helpless there with the cable hanging and nowhere for it to go. Not really complaining because the tower is only about 1 mile across the field. Speed is a consistent 75-100Mbps. Would love to reuse the antenna instead of taking it down and selling on Fleabay or CL.

I talked to Tech Support last week, asking if the SIM card is locked to the RTL0102, however, they weren’t able to answer that and suggested I go ahead and try with a different modem. I’m currently running an OpenWRT platform with a EP06 modem on AT&T. The only T-Mobile band I receive at my location is band 71 (600MHz) when I take the box up on the roof or string it up 40 feet in the air on a tree. So I went ahead and purchased an EC25-AF, which covers Band 71. Long story short, it does not work with the T-Mobile Home Internet SIM. Another call into tech support today confirmed that the SIM only works in the RTL0102 it was shipped with. There are no plans to change that. The new 5G version of the modem-router likely will have no external antenna ports either. So unfortunately, T-Mobile Home Internet is not for people in rural areas, which is ironically who this service was aimed at. 

Badge

I talked to Tech Support last week, asking if the SIM card is locked to the RTL0102, however, they weren’t able to answer that and suggested I go ahead and try with a different modem. I’m currently running an OpenWRT platform with a EP06 modem on AT&T. The only T-Mobile band I receive at my location is band 71 (600MHz) when I take the box up on the roof or string it up 40 feet in the air on a tree. So I went ahead and purchased an EC25-AF, which covers Band 71. Long story short, it does not work with the T-Mobile Home Internet SIM. Another call into tech support today confirmed that the SIM only works in the RTL0102 it was shipped with. There are no plans to change that. The new 5G version of the modem-router likely will have no external antenna ports either. So unfortunately, T-Mobile Home Internet is not for people in rural areas, which is ironically who this service was aimed at. 

Sorry buddy, but how can you say it is not for people in rural areas? I am in the middle of Corncob County, Ohio. Barely two lane roads, some still nearly gravel. I guess it depends on EXACTLY where you are located. As I sit here, I can see the tower “two fields” over (roughly 2 miles). Has been almost a month and has performed great. Never below 60Mbps, and up to 140Mbps. Hasn’t dropped out one time.

Yes, not being able to connect my outdoor Yagi antenna is a negative, but I don’t think it would add much really. The other options here are Frontier DSL with speeds rivaling dial-up, and satellite (no way). Just wanting to put it out there that this may be a GREAT option for SOME in rural areas.

I talked to Tech Support last week, asking if the SIM card is locked to the RTL0102, however, they weren’t able to answer that and suggested I go ahead and try with a different modem. I’m currently running an OpenWRT platform with a EP06 modem on AT&T. The only T-Mobile band I receive at my location is band 71 (600MHz) when I take the box up on the roof or string it up 40 feet in the air on a tree. So I went ahead and purchased an EC25-AF, which covers Band 71. Long story short, it does not work with the T-Mobile Home Internet SIM. Another call into tech support today confirmed that the SIM only works in the RTL0102 it was shipped with. There are no plans to change that. The new 5G version of the modem-router likely will have no external antenna ports either. So unfortunately, T-Mobile Home Internet is not for people in rural areas, which is ironically who this service was aimed at.  

Sorry buddy, but how can you say it is not for people in rural areas? I am in the middle of Corncob County, Ohio. Barely two lane roads, some still nearly gravel. I guess it depends on EXACTLY where you are located. As I sit here, I can see the tower “two fields” over (roughly 2 miles). Has been almost a month and has performed great. Never below 60Mbps, and up to 140Mbps. Hasn’t dropped out one time.

Yes, not being able to connect my outdoor Yagi antenna is a negative, but I don’t think it would add much really. The other options here are Frontier DSL with speeds rivaling dial-up, and satellite (no way). Just wanting to put it out there that this may be a GREAT option for SOME in rural areas.

Yes, you are right. That statement was generalized out of disappointment. I’m glad it works for you and hopefully it does for other people as well. Where it works, the service quality is excellent, making it an unbeatable value. Unfortunately, rural in North Carolina means no T-Mobile in most cases. I had big hopes for the 600MHz band and it would have been absolutely workable with a proper modem and external antennae. Unfortunately for me that means I’m stuck with Blue, until Starlink becomes available here in the south.

I talked to Tech Support last week, asking if the SIM card is locked to the RTL0102, however, they weren’t able to answer that and suggested I go ahead and try with a different modem. I’m currently running an OpenWRT platform with a EP06 modem on AT&T. The only T-Mobile band I receive at my location is band 71 (600MHz) when I take the box up on the roof or string it up 40 feet in the air on a tree. So I went ahead and purchased an EC25-AF, which covers Band 71. Long story short, it does not work with the T-Mobile Home Internet SIM. Another call into tech support today confirmed that the SIM only works in the RTL0102 it was shipped with. There are no plans to change that. The new 5G version of the modem-router likely will have no external antenna ports either. So unfortunately, T-Mobile Home Internet is not for people in rural areas, which is ironically who this service was aimed at. 

Sorry buddy, but how can you say it is not for people in rural areas? I am in the middle of Corncob County, Ohio. Barely two lane roads, some still nearly gravel. I guess it depends on EXACTLY where you are located. As I sit here, I can see the tower “two fields” over (roughly 2 miles). Has been almost a month and has performed great. Never below 60Mbps, and up to 140Mbps. Hasn’t dropped out one time.

Yes, not being able to connect my outdoor Yagi antenna is a negative, but I don’t think it would add much really. The other options here are Frontier DSL with speeds rivaling dial-up, and satellite (no way). Just wanting to put it out there that this may be a GREAT option for SOME in rural areas.

ultimately his statement may have been generalized but there are a great many of us in rural settings that are not designed like yours...i can in no way get a cell signal in my home without the booster antenna i currently use because i don’t have nice clear line of sight to towers as i live in the mountains, i also cannot get any wired nor satellite options as the nearest lines to me are a mile away and i have too many trees and am too far north for southern sky line of sight so for many of us we absolutely have no other options and we NEED external antennas.   I found your response “sorry buddy” crap to be offensive and short sighted

Badge

I talked to Tech Support last week, asking if the SIM card is locked to the RTL0102, however, they weren’t able to answer that and suggested I go ahead and try with a different modem. I’m currently running an OpenWRT platform with a EP06 modem on AT&T. The only T-Mobile band I receive at my location is band 71 (600MHz) when I take the box up on the roof or string it up 40 feet in the air on a tree. So I went ahead and purchased an EC25-AF, which covers Band 71. Long story short, it does not work with the T-Mobile Home Internet SIM. Another call into tech support today confirmed that the SIM only works in the RTL0102 it was shipped with. There are no plans to change that. The new 5G version of the modem-router likely will have no external antenna ports either. So unfortunately, T-Mobile Home Internet is not for people in rural areas, which is ironically who this service was aimed at. 

Sorry buddy, but how can you say it is not for people in rural areas? I am in the middle of Corncob County, Ohio. Barely two lane roads, some still nearly gravel. I guess it depends on EXACTLY where you are located. As I sit here, I can see the tower “two fields” over (roughly 2 miles). Has been almost a month and has performed great. Never below 60Mbps, and up to 140Mbps. Hasn’t dropped out one time.

Yes, not being able to connect my outdoor Yagi antenna is a negative, but I don’t think it would add much really. The other options here are Frontier DSL with speeds rivaling dial-up, and satellite (no way). Just wanting to put it out there that this may be a GREAT option for SOME in rural areas.

ultimately his statement may have been generalized but there are a great many of us in rural settings that are not designed like yours...i can in no way get a cell signal in my home without the booster antenna i currently use because i don’t have nice clear line of sight to towers as i live in the mountains, i also cannot get any wired nor satellite options as the nearest lines to me are a mile away and i have too many trees and am too far north for southern sky line of sight so for many of us we absolutely have no other options and we NEED external antennas.   I found your response “sorry buddy” crap to be offensive and short sighted

Seriously? Crap and offensive? No way. Of course I want to use my outdoor antenna.  You can’t compare flat farmland in the middle of Ohio to the hills of North Carolina or anywhere else. Just need to know what you are getting into and the options available. It may take a little research as to your own personal location and the many factors that will determine your own outcome. 

Badge

 

Userlevel 2
Badge

When I spoke to T-Mobile tech, that tech said any unlocked device should take the sim. Maybe he wasn’t fully aware of the service, but it seemed reasonable.

Badge

When I spoke to T-Mobile tech, that tech said any unlocked device should take the sim. Maybe he wasn’t fully aware of the service, but it seemed reasonable.

That’s funny “bob”. The day I was ordering and get mine ready to ship, I called the local TM store near here. First, the girl who answered said she had never heard of such a thing, but that she had only started a few weeks ago. She then asks the store manager who said “That type of service doesn’t exist in Ohio”..lol. I told her that I would call back after getting it running. I did exactly that. She said they were having a meeting about it the next day. Hilarious.

Userlevel 1

Working on the same issue.  Put together the following build to move the Home Internet SIM to a better device and experienced the same failure.  A vanilla account SIM on the fast.t-mobile.com APN connects fine and the Home Internet SIM on fbb.home does not work at all (no network association).  I have gone so far as to reprogram the modem IMEI to match the T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway IMEI without resolution.  I do this for a living and it does not make sense.

  • Build:
    + MikroTik RouterBOARD RBM11G
    + Quectel EP06-A mPCIe LTE modem
    + Case, antenna, connectors, etc.

Did you ever solve this? 

Nope - spent hours on it and have left it alone out of frustration for now.

I talked to Tech Support last week, asking if the SIM card is locked to the RTL0102, however, they weren’t able to answer that and suggested I go ahead and try with a different modem. I’m currently running an OpenWRT platform with a EP06 modem on AT&T. The only T-Mobile band I receive at my location is band 71 (600MHz) when I take the box up on the roof or string it up 40 feet in the air on a tree. So I went ahead and purchased an EC25-AF, which covers Band 71. Long story short, it does not work with the T-Mobile Home Internet SIM. Another call into tech support today confirmed that the SIM only works in the RTL0102 it was shipped with. There are no plans to change that. The new 5G version of the modem-router likely will have no external antenna ports either. So unfortunately, T-Mobile Home Internet is not for people in rural areas, which is ironically who this service was aimed at. 

Sorry buddy, but how can you say it is not for people in rural areas? I am in the middle of Corncob County, Ohio. Barely two lane roads, some still nearly gravel. I guess it depends on EXACTLY where you are located. As I sit here, I g GB see the tower “two fields” over (roughly 2 miles). Has been almost a month and has performed great. Never below 60Mbps, and up to 140Mbps. Hasn’t dropped out one time.

Yes, not being able to connect my outdoor Yagi antenna is a negative, but I don’t think it would add much really. The other options here are Frontier DSL with speeds rivaling dial-up, and satellite (no way). Just wanting to put it out there that this may be a GREAT option for SOME in rural areas.

Not as many as you would think. I'm 1.8 miles to one tower and 1.5 to another. Works ok for a week or two then system switches to the other tower that's no closer but has hills and valleys plus a lake in between myself and the weak tower. 

Therefore a bit of forethought should have been used to make these with pop up or fold up antenna arrays as well as an external antenna port.

Simply put their tower systems are not set up right and correctly managed. As well as the routers not having antennas or ports for such to work correctly in a rural setting as specified. (MM Wave 5G is line of sight not Rural 4G LTE or 5G Sub 6)

 

I have the unlimited TMobile ISP internet modem, and it works ok, but it has limitations that I can solve by using a different modem.  The TMobile ISP box does NOT have a bridge mode and it does NOT have external ports for external antennas.  For those of us in rural areas this means we get maybe 1 bar of service.  The NO bridge mode means I either intend to let the TMobile modem be a router as well as a modem, and I don’t like this idea for several reasons: 1) The firewall sucks.  2) no masquerade 3) No detail configurable firewall with subnets, 4) No embedded GPS for location & 5) the 2.4 & 5 Mhz Wifi is not powerful enough to reach the far corners of the home and those emitters interfere with the cellular signal at 1 bar, making upload speeds suck for a Plex server.  So I prefer my Mikrotik router, and my Mikrotik AP’s stanmding alone on the network - which means I need the TMobile ISP modem to be in bridge mode, (but they don’t have a bridge mode) or I’ll encounter a double NAT issue.  There are too many ports to attempt to forward on my network and opening the DMZ is counter intuitive to the purpose of a true masquerading firewall.  So using the TMobile modem as a DHCP server/firewall is not an option I’ll consider. 

So I purchased the Netgear LB1120 modem and proceeded to transplant the sim from the TMobile modem into the Netgear 1120.  I set the APN to fbb.home and - nothing.  It will not connect to the TMobile network.  No bars.  I installed a generic TMobile sim card in the Netgear LB1120 and it comes right up - with 1-2 bars.

So how do I configure the Netgear LB1120 to use the sim card out of the TMobile ISP modem?

If I can get it to work I can install the L400 cables to the external grid antennas outdoors, pointed at the nearest cell tower, and I should get 5 bars and a truly descent internet experience.

You CANNOT use the SIM from inside the gateway.  It is locked to that device only.  I know because my neighbor just sent theirs back.  As a retired network engineer I helped them set up a secure home network that includes a NAS acting as a media server.

That said, Tmo has an equivalent plan.  They find it under their Hotspot section (that I haven’t found) and it has “Unlimited Data” (i.e. 100GB) for $55.00 or I believe $50.00 if you enroll in “autopay”.

It hasn't arrived yet so I can’t say how well it works in their LB1120 (4G LTE) modem.

Userlevel 1

You CANNOT use the SIM from inside the gateway.

As long as the device you are transplanting it to has the same IMEI, you absolutely can.  I use a Mikrotik RB and a Quectel LTE modem (see my posts above), which I now have working.

The TMobile ISP box does NOT have a bridge mode and it does NOT have external ports for external antennas.

TMO’s major limitation is that even if you do get a gateway device with bridge mode (or any other NAT function), TMO’s CGNAT implementation makes life difficult.  Possible solution = OpenVPN on a $2/mo VPS.

So I prefer my Mikrotik router, and my Mikrotik AP’s standing alone on the network.

I recommend you try my solution above if you like Mikrotik (I used the smallest board, but there are several other options).  Works great and the management across my network is consistent and easy if you are already familiar w/ Mikrotik.  Also, there are many other modem choices out there depending on what bands and technology (LTE / 5G) you wish to accommodate (and your budget, of course!).

Userlevel 1

Did you ever solve this? 

Working great now - simple configuration error was holding me up.

Reply