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I signed up for Optus offers 4G Plus Home Broadband, and it’s awesome

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After writing about Optus’ new Home Broadband plans last night, I have kept my word and been into Optus today (Hi, Optus Hornsby staff!) and signed up for a new Optus Home Broadband 500GB plan. After an initial bit of confusion (I tried to open a Business account but was told I can’t without a printed letterhead giving me permission to do so … from myself), the sign-up process was painless and easy, and now I’m all set up!

The process is extremely simple, especially compared to signing up with traditional fixed-line broadband providers.

Here’s how it looks signing up as a brand-new Optus customer – note, if you’re an existing customer, it might be easier still:

  • Provide 100 points of ID (drivers licence, Medicare card, etc)
  • Provide basic details – where you live, your employment, etc
  • Confirm whether you want the 200GB or 500GB plan
  • Confirm whether you want month-by-month (with upfront $192 modem cost) or 24-month plan (no modem cost)
  • Sign on the dotted line
  • Walk out with your new modem

This whole process took about twenty minutes. Upon getting back to your home or office, setting up the modem is equally easy; simply open the bottom of the modem and insert the Optus SIM, power on the modem, and you’re ready to rock and roll.

As you can see, I’ve got the modem set up on my office window, and even here with fairly poor signal, I’m getting some crazy fast speeds out of it:

That’s just shy of 80Mbps downstream, and 5.5Mbps upstream and we’re in a bit of a signal black hole here. Our apartment – where the Optus Home Broadband modem will end up – is four storeys’ high and we generally get excellent mobile signal at home. I’m expecting something a bit quicker still.

In answer to some questions people have asked:

  • Can you use the Optus Home Broadband SIM in your mobile or other device? The answer, it seems, is no. It doesn’t work in my mobile. It looks as if it’ll work in the supplied modem only.
  • Is it speed limited? Only by technical limits rather than any artificially imposed – I’d expect with good signal on a cell tower that isn’t oversubscribed you could easily exceed 100Mbps here.
  • Can you use your Vividwireless modem as a BYO and get a SIM-only option? It appears, for now, the answer is no – this might require some further clarification from Optus.

That said, you probably want to use Optus’ supplied modem instead of something else. It’s a category 6 LTE device which means it’s going to be significantly faster than the Vividwireless modem which is Cat4 LTE only.

Let me know if you’ve got any other questions and I’ll do my best.

72 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Chris,

    Just 1 question. Between the Huawei B525 and NETGEAR AC800S, why did you choose the Huawei?
    NETGEAR is running Cat 9 LTE vs Huawei on Cat 6.
    Besides the Huawei allowing more devices to connect simultaneously, what else made you go for the Huawei?

  2. How is this holding up? I signed up last week but am currently overseas so haven’t had the chance to test it out.
    I live on a offshore island so will be looking into getting some yagis to get the maximum speed possible.
    I currently have a good ADSL2 connection where I get around 8-15mb down but when testing the 4g with a Optus sim I can pull down 50mb so it was too good to pass up.
    Will be home in a week so will do more testing 🙂

    • Still holding up fairly well. Have found the local 2300 MHz spectrum is pretty congested, so while I get great 2300 speeds during the day, in the evening the other mobile bands perform better. Still trying to work out the best way to tackle this, but on the whole I’m getting way better than ADSL speeds virtually all the time.

  3. Is there any public way to find out if your closest tower has 2300mhz? Because I’ve read you will only get decent speeds if this is the case.

    • If you have a Android device download “Aus phone towers”
      This will show you the locations of all yours towers and the frequencies they run off.
      Using the app “opensignal” which is also on the Play store will show you the direction of the tower you are connected too which is helpful if your setting up external antennas.

  4. Hi Chris. You can do it either through the modem web page http://192.168.8.1/html/mobileconnection.html or the HUAWEI HiLink app.

    BTW – I moved the modem to the furthest point in our house from the mobile tower. For some reason this is getting better reception. On five signal bars I’m now getting between 60 and 80 mbps download. I’m a happy camper again! I suspect if it wasn’t so windy today it may go higher (and fluctuate less).

  5. Apologies, you’ll all be getting sick of me. I tried changing the modem profile name from Optus Mobile Broadband to Optus Connect. The speed immediately went up to 90 mbps. My happiness was short lived as I’m pretty sure I was just sharing my wife’s mobile data allowance. She only has 512 mb per month (and she doesn’t use that!). She immediately got a text saying her data was nearly all gone.

    Anyway, can anyone explain why there should be this discrepancy between the 4g home broadband plan speeds and normal 4g data speeds. My 500 gb allowance is going to be impossible to use at my current 2 mbps. 🙁

  6. Thanks Chis. Yes a consistent 40 would be fine, even a 20 would be quite satisfactory. It’s around 10.00am now and i’m down to about 10. My phone is with Amaysim but it’s still Optus. I might take it back to the shop on Monday and see if I can call and chat with their technical support. I tried contacting Optus through ‘live chat’ this morning but it would appear he wasn’t that familiar with the device as his last advice was to locate the reset button under the battery cover 😀. Anyway, reset did nothing.

    It may be a good thing that we haven’t yet cancelled our crappy Optus ADSL service yet. NBN is slowly creeping towards our suburb but we through the 4g service may have been a better alternative to both.

    • Mounting some external Yagi antenna’s and have them pointed at a suitable tower will help fix the speed issues

  7. I bought the modem yesterday. It started off promising with around 40 mbps download, but then deteriorated in the afternoon and night. At one point I was only getting 0.19 mbps download with only one mobile device connected. Meanwhile my phone was consistently hitting 120 mbps download. We are very close to a tower. This morning it started off and 40 mbps again, but has started dropping as the day progresses. Meanwhile the phone is getting 135 mbps. I wasn’t expecting to get the same speeds as the phone, but I’m feeling very disappointed at this point.

    • I have a feeling that the Optus modem definitely isn’t as fast as a mobile handset which can probably do carrier aggregation and more. My Mate 20 Pro (with an Optus SIM in it) can easily hit 100mbps, and yet the Optus modem (in the exact same place) sits at about 40mbps.

      I’d certainly prefer 100 … but 40 is fine. Unlike you Rod I haven’t noticed a speed degradation during the day, however .. that’s quite concerning. You should get fairly consistent speeds.

    • Now that it’s installed at home, I get pretty consistent bandwidth around the clock – it hovers around 40mbps downstream and 15-20mbps uploads.

  8. Does the new modem supplied allow you to configure access. Such as restrict certain devices from access to the internet at certain times etc. ?

    • No it doesn’t have those kind of parental controls. For that you’ll need something else sitting behind it. We use Google WiFi for a mesh network; the Optus modem pretty much just converts between Ethernet and 4G for us, and Google WiFi does all the heavy lifting/rules/etc.

  9. Let’s visit this thread in 12 months and see it over utilized and speeds being greatly affected, especially during peak times. Then a dose of reality will set in for all those that signed up… Until then, amigo’s!

      • The original NBN was scalable. But the one that eventuated, that connects to old HFC cable, or even worse, rusted copper (instead of optical fibre) is rubbish. It was obsolete before they installed it, and because it can’t be upgraded, will eventually cost more than fibre would have.

  10. Vwry keen to get this , however still worried about the possible, or likely in my household, excessive data charge and how to avoid it when trying to use the maximum 500gb , I am sure someone smarter out there knows a trick or two? Is there a sofware can be utilised to cut off the connection when , say, you are at 497/498 gb before cycle cut? Or , how do you guys manage this bit?

    • Optus sends you usage notifications at various percentages – 50, 80 and 90 or something I think. You can also see how much data you’ve downloaded on the modem web page (since last power cycle), and you can use the My Optus app to view your usage in near real time.

  11. I thought you could use the vividwireless modem but the max would be 100 down and about 7 up? I hopefully only need it for a few months

  12. Do you get a public IP? I’m with OVO and limited to a wan private IP 🙁 can’t do any hosting at home…

    • No its private IP. I use a VPN to get around it and reach my home services from outside, works fine (but not super simple to set up for the average home user). I might do a howto on it if people are interested.

      • Does this mean I would not be able to access my Synology NAS from outside? i.e. can only access it when I am on my lan? How does an internet service not have a public IP? This completely beats me.

        • Very, very few mobile broadband services provide public IPs, and the reality is, there’s very little actual need to have one. Provided you’ve set up your Synology NAS correctly, you can access it regardless of public IP (I know this because I have one at home, and I’m using it now). Your Arlo cameras will also work just fine because they use a cloud service intermediary (as does Synology) to access your cameras. I have Arlos and they’re working fine behind a private IP.

          • Thanks for that info. I have configured my Synology to use my own domain with a dynamic dns service enabled instead of the default synology quickconnect service. Any idea if that will still work? My guess is it wont because the dynamic DNS service forwards the domain to the public IP of my synology.

          • Yeah you’ll have to use Synology’s QuickConnect service. You can’t use a CNAME to do it, but you could find somewhere to do a quick free web redirect so that when you access nas.yourdomain.com it redirects to yoursynology.quickconnect.to and off you go.

          • Alright, I am sold – I am not getting NBN until 2020, so might as well try this out. The great thing is there are no cancellation fees. Just placed my order. Fingers crossed that everything works fine.

  13. I use my Optus full speed mobile broadband plan from my iPad in a Huawei 5186 modem router. Bought cheap $3 antenna from eBay and the signal quality increased significantly when tuned. The 5186 is well supported by modders using international and modded firmware and it enables me to use band locking. Band locking is useful when you want a balance of decent upload and download speeds instead of all bandwidth focused on high speed downloads. Great for cloud backups.
    I’ll definitely move onto this 500gb plan once my iPad is out of contract. Screw NBN.

  14. I’m considering this with the AC800S, in tether mode, plugged into an Asus RT-AC68U, has anyone done that here before? I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work.

  15. Can you bundle the data with your mobile plan? I have a wifi router which has the data bundled with my phone currently, but this one has much more data!

    • Optus has other deals where you can bundle data. If you get an Optus phone, or even two Optus phones in your household, they’ll hand out data SIMs for next to nothing, which you can then place in a modem to fill your house with WiFi – and share the SIM’s data between the phones.

  16. Sounds great. My only query is unfortunately going to cost you test. At the eom can you run your data out to 550 GB? That will incur a $50 penalty. I’m very interested if you get speed limited or just keep being got with $10 top ups.

    Peter Gillespie

  17. I’ve been using the Optus mobile broadband ac800s modem for the last two years, it’s a cat9 modem that runs much faster than their standard modems. I get 224mbit downstream off peak and 120mbit downstream during peak. Not sure if other people just have their modems placed in bad positions but I haven’t had any latency issues, average 20-30ms ping in games and no dropouts.

    It’s good for me since I’m renting. If I relocate, I can just bring the modem with me as I have done in the past, no new setup fees or anything.

  18. I’ve setup my home network with mesh wifi and dedicate firewall, do you know if the router works on bridge mode and just run a cat6 cable to my switch like other modems?

    • The supplied modem doesn’t appear to support bridge mode, but as it doesn’t have a public IP, you can safely use it just as a router. I do with my Google WiFi mesh and it works fine.

  19. Those are the goodies, now let’s mention badies as I’ve used for over a year an Optus mobile plan for my home:
    – My AC800S Netgear (fastest Optus modem) or the plan doesn’t play well with dozens of connections at the same time
    – Even download speed is higher, my modem response latency is not near as flashing fast as ADSl or fixed broadband.
    – Speeds are very variable, and towers tend to prioritise short new mobile connections over long home modems, so you quickly get dropped to the slower frequencies and sometimes a restart doesn’t fix the issue.

    Hope Optus addresses those issues.

  20. Inserted sim, powered up wireless modem, B525LTE CPE but no connection to internet, I’ve switched off, reinserted sim, restarted, rebooted, does the sim have to be activated, if so how and why. Instructions haven’t provided an answer. Was trying to avoid having to go through the phone menu,/offshore help line scenario. Thought it would be plug and play.

    • Should be active out of the store but it might take an hour or two. Best bet is go back to the store (if you’ve got time) and ask them to check they set it up properly.

  21. Question Chris, what site was that Speedtest looking at? Australian local, Australian interstate, or overseas?

  22. I’ve tethered my phone out of desperation at home for my computer and saw 200+ down and 10+ upload (from memory). Granted is was Telstra 4G, but do you believe this Optus Modem could experience the same speeds?

    • Not likely you’ll get 200 down, but I’ve seen 100 over Optus, and this one here is easily doing 80 in a bit of a low point (i.e. not much cell signal here).

  23. Interesting product – if it were slightly more bandwidth I’d be very interested. Currently pay for 2x VividWireless unlimited connections and push ~450-600GB through each depending on the month – and that’s at the 12/1 speeds they provide!

    • That’s impressive. We struggle with one .. because frankly they’re just too slow. The 12 mbps down I can live with, but the 1 mbps up is just too slow for anything much these days.

    • There’s no reason why you can’t move it around with you e.g. to your office or if you’re travelling within Australia on holidays. I signed up with my home address and I’m using it in the office comfortably (and yes, they’re in different service areas).

      While its transportable (i.e. you can move the modem from place to place), it’s just not able to be put in a mobile phone.

      • Chris, Late in on this but about to get chopped as NBN is in and ready. Absolutely NOT going backwards as they want to hook up to copper !! So asking Optus regarding your set up thay are saying max download is 12 Mpbs? Is that BS? That would mean it is tehered and if I am reading correctly you are saying the only speed limit is connection factors with your set-up.. My alleged SMART modem from Telstra is defintely tethered to about 5 Mpbs, i have unplugged the cable and tested it ! Reading between the lines it seems phone sims are treated differently to modem sims in terms of speeds allowed?? Is a fast phone tethered to the PC a beter option until 5g is available?

        • The Optus HWBB product shouldn’t be speed limited to 12mbps .. ours definitely isn’t. You should get the full speed you can from your local tower which could be up to 100mbps … but most likely won’t be nearly that fast.

          • Thanks Chris, I got that limit from an optus chat person who no doubt is reading a script. So if your modem is the same as the current offer, which i think it is then we are in business, just need to look into tower locations and test it i guess.

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