📅 2022-Sep-11 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ internet ⬩ 📚 Archive
In the past 2 weeks, my Xfinity broadband internet at home had 3 major outages, lasting an incredible 18-20 hours until it was fixed. That is when I started to look for alternatives in my city and discovered T-Mobile 5G Home Internet.
Check availability: Since this home internet is provided over 5G, I needed to check if it was available for my place by entering my home address in the T-Mobile website. After it showed me that it was available, I was only given options to call or chat with a representative. There is no option to sign up online!
Sign up over chat: To sign up the agent took details like name, email, phone, address, license info, and SSN number. I also entered my credit card info for auto-payment. This simple process took a mind-numbing 1.5 hours - I am sure I could have done this in few minutes if only T-Mobile had provided an option to do this via a webform! I was informed that I would receive the gateway in 2 days and indeed it arrived after 2 days.
Cost: At the time I signed up, the cost was $50/month. It was dead simple - a single unlimited plan. The chat agent did try to sign me up for something that would have added $10/month, but I refused that.
5G Gateway: This device is actually a Arcadyan KVD21 which is both a 5G gateway and a simple wifi router. On the front is a simple display that shows powering up status, signal strength and messages, with 3 buttons for navigation. At the back are inputs for USB-C power, USB-C LAN port, 2 RJ-45 LAN ports and a SIM card slot. The gateway comes with a SIM card pre-installed by T-Mobile.
Activation: This was surprisingly painfree: I just had to power up the gateway, follow the prompts on the display. I needed to install the T-Mobile Internet app on my phone to finish the installation steps. I changed the default wifi network name and its password.
Gateway web GUI: Go to 192.168.12.1 to access the web GUI of the gateway. Sadly, it shows nothing but the signal strength. For all other details I need to use the phone app.
T-Mobile Internet: This Android app is the primary means to check on the status of the gateway. It shows the signal strength, connected devices and basic Wifi configuration.
Signal strength: The display on the gateway always shows the signal strength. I put the gateway in different locations at home and found that I got the best reception near a window on the second floor. The internet download and upload bandwidth is fully dependent on the 5G signal strength. Using SpeedTest, I found that I was getting ~150 Mbps download, ~20 Mbps upload and 22 ms ping.
Gateway hardware: Apparently, the gateway uses a MediaTek T750.
IP address: I noticed that my IP address to the outside internet is not constant (like in Xfinity broadband), but keeps changing every time I restart the gateway. This is not a dealbreaker for me, but it might be for folks who need a fixed IP address for VPN, forwarding and such.
Promotion: I was offered an one-time $50 prepaid debit card from Mastercard if I activate my connection. I needed to visit www.promotions.t-mobile.com and enter the promo code 2021HINTP17 and my account details.