+ Tuesday March 26th, 2019

Optus 4G Plus Home Broadband — Review after a month

Back in December, on news of Vividwireless’ demise, I decided to sign up with Optus for some 4G home broadband. As you may recall, at $80 per month for 500GB of data, it sounded like a deal too good to be true. My place is in broadband hell. We can’t get decent ADSL because we’re too far from the exchange, our developer didn’t register our building with NBN (so we have to wait) and there’s no other alternatives.

So, I went with the best offer I could find. Vividwireless’ unlimited plan cost $10 more at $90 per month, and besides Optus, wireless broadband options are pretty scant.

The sign-up process was a breeze, and initial impressions were positive. I thought I’d come back and talk about the service after a month’s use so you can get some real-world impression of how the service performs.

How fast is Optus 4G wireless broadband, really?

When comparing a broadband plan, speed matters. Unlike the NBN, where speeds are (relatively) predictable, 4G is something completely different. There are many factors that impact the speed you get at home. Factors such as modem placement, signal strength, congestion on your local mobile tower all combine to limit your maximum speed.

Luckily for me, I don’t have to run speed tests every day to find out what’s going on. Google WiFi runs regular speed tests for you, and reports them easily. Below, you can see that since switching from Vividwireless, our speeds have definitely improved:

Screenshot_20190106_104607_com.google.android.apps.access.wifi.consumer.jpg

There is a downside, though. Our speeds are far from constant, and they do vary a bit during the day. For example, just now while I’m writing this story, our speed is sitting at 47mbps down and 8.4mbps up:

Screenshot_20190106_104942_org.zwanoo.android.speedtest~2.jpg

That’s quite a usable speed, and in downstream speed at least it’s the equal of the majority of NBN plans. The upload speed is quite a bit less, but the average user really doesn’t need much by way of upload speed. Frankly, neither do I. 8mbps is more than enough to upload photos and videos for Ausdroid, to backup my photos to Google’s Cloud, and to send emails etc. Unless you’re backing up massive amounts of data over the Internet, anything more is – in 2019 – largely unnecessary.

However, Optus’ 4G speed isn’t constant throughout the day. Like most Internet services, it starts to taper off later in the afternoon and into the evening – but it is very variable.

What are the worst part of Optus 4G wireless broadband?

In a word? Congestion. Optus’ network – like most others, to be fair – is well subscribed. I wouldn’t say its overly so, but there are times when the impact is obvious, and it’s mostly in the evening.

I’ve also found that Optus’ 2300 MHz spectrum can be very congested in the evenings. It’s shared with Vividwireless customers, and even on that service, it was very slow at night. Fortunately, Optus’ 4G modem allows you to specify what 4G you’d like to use:

  • 4G (Auto)
  • 4G (No 2300 MHz band)
  • 4G (2300 MHz band only)

It might sound simple – just don’t use 2300 MHz and you’ll be fine. However, it isn’t quite that simple. In the evenings, the 2300 MHz band is pretty poor, and you’ll find yourself wanting to avoid it. However, during business hours (and early morning), the 2300 MHz band can actually be the faster experience.

At our place, we’ve settled on 4G (No 2300 MHz band) because it gives the more consistent speed; it’s fast during the day, and still fairly quick at night (even though it does taper off a bit).

Overall, Optus 4G wireless broadband is plenty quick enough for whatever your needs, most of the time.

Does Optus 4G wireless broadband support all the things I want?

Yeah, it does. If your household is anything like mine, there’s some must-have services that have to work reliably over your home internet.

For example, Netflix is a must. Streaming sports? Absolutely. The ability to upload photos and stuff off-site. The ability to do most of these things at the same time? Absolutely essential.

In my experience, you can achieve most of this. Except at its very worst performance (which has only happened once or twice over the last month), Optus 4G has been fast enough to support Netflix streaming while doing other things – for example, working on Ausdroid, browsing the web, doing app updates from the Play Store and more.

Can you stream multiple HD videos while downloading Linux ISOs at full speed? Well, no. But you can watch Netflix in the loungeroom while someone’s downloading something at a reasonable clip. Yesterday, we had Netflix going for the kids and I was downloading some data at 3MB/s with no issue.

Would I recommend it?

If you can’t get ADSL, or its garbage, and you can’t get NBN just yet, then yes. Optus 4G Home Wireless Broadband has been a godsend for our place.

At $80 a month, the 500GB inclusion is huge and something we’re unlikely to ever reach. Your place might be different, and the excess usage fees aren’t cheap – $10 per 10 GB is prohibitive, and you can only get an extra 50GB before you get dropped back to 256kbps speeds. Let’s be honest, most people aren’t going to hit 500GB a month unless they’re doing a LOT of streaming (or downloading things they shouldn’t).

If you’re not afraid of logging into your modem to change a few settings (which you may have to do to get the best speed), then Optus 4G broadband is a no-brainer. Changing the settings is easy, and you can’t really break it.

Though it can be slow at times, I’m yet to find an Internet provider that isn’t. In the last month or so, we’ve had two instances where the Internet has been truly too slow to use. For the rest of the time, we’ve had no issues at all, and found it a pleasure to use.

Optus 4G Home Wireless Broadband 4.5 / 5
Disclosure Statement:


Chris bought the Optus Home Wireless Broadband service for his home use.

Stock Image Credit: Shutterstock By dennizn.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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David
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David

I’m looking at this option since my ADSL is very inconsistent, however I’ve read that the ping is very inconsistent for online gaming. Can anyone confirm this at all? Options are limited where I am, even though I’m only 8km away from Melbourne CBD. Actually the internet options in Australia are terrible altogether, unless your one of those lucky ones that have fibre/cable…

Tim
Guest
Tim

I would love to endorse the previous comments but my experience with Optus Wireless Broadband is markedly different on Sunshine Coast, Qld. At the moment getting 1.4 Mbs download and 2.6 Mbs upload. Modem showing 4 bar reception on 4g. Connected by Ethernet cable to modem. Use for Netflix…no chance. This is on a Sunday afternoon at 3 pm. Not exactly a peak period. Best I have ever achieved is 7 Mbs at 10 pm. Signed up because no NBN in sight for last 8 houses in our street and adsl 2 was almost as slow.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Yes, because Optus always was (and is) lockong the max speed of Home Broadband at 5Mps and upload at 2Mbps. I have no idea how the author coud get the speed listed (yes you can get this on mobile phone data card, but not on the home wireless modem sim)

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Well if you have 2300MHz coverage you can get up to 12Mbps and this is the max limit confirmed by Optus. So, getting anything like 20Mbps or more on Optus Home Internet is a myth.

Christian
Guest
Christian

Is it possible to modify the DNS or configure a VPN within the modem? I’m on Optus cable atm and I can’t change anything in the modem/router. Thanks for the post.

Christian
Guest
Christian

To answer my own question as I just got the 500GB package, yes you can add VPN config but I can’t see anywhere to edit DNS.

On my first night I was getting up to 85mbps down and 10mbps up.

Simon
Guest
Simon

you can change the DNS on the router its just a little tricky. you need to log onto the modem using Chrome once loged in goto settings and then DHCP then press F12 to bring up dev screen then type the following into console and press enter $(‘#dhcp_dns_statistic’).show(); $(‘#dhcp_primary_dns’).show(); $(‘#dhcp_secondary_dns’).show(); DNS options will now be on screen 🙂 i am also using a awesome program to lock the modem to a certain band. my modem tends to default to band 28 but now ive locked it to 7 where i get far better signal. i forget the name of the… Read more »

Simon
Guest
Simon

program to band lock the modem is called LTEInspector
website is in German but program can be changed to English
Also VERY helpful when setting up external antennas as you can have a full screen readout of your RSRP,RSRP,SINR readings so very helpful if setting up your antenna solo

https://www.lte-anbieter.info/lte-forum/threads/lteinspector-huawei-4g-router-%C3%9Cberwachungssoftware.4172/

steven
Guest
steven

Great piece of info. Been backwards and forwards way too many times now with NBN issues. Ombudsman does very little to resolve the issue and I’ve absolutley had enough of this pathetic technology. Had three NBN RSP’s and now their only fix is to cancel my service. Internet speeds are 0.16 down and 0.01 up. They tell me nothing can be done due to congestion. It was good to see this info as I’ve had my copper service cut off which was a consistant 13Mbps, can’t get satellite as I’m in a wireless NBN zone and have not one bar… Read more »

Jason
Guest
Jason

After having frequent lost of syncs and not able to sync for 1-2 days on our wonderful, advanced, 1st world, 21st Century ball busting piece of new old tech called the NBN utilizing last century tech for its last mile, I am looking to move away from this piece of jolly fibre/copper hybrid tech. This Optus wireless broadband looks to be a better option, though 5G is not that far away, I may be wrong. Anyway, just want to know if anyone living in the Balcatta, WA area is using this and can comment on its usability. I understand the… Read more »

Simon
Guest
Simon

so i have had mine up and running for a few days now.
I live on a small offshore island and the tower i am connecting to is 11kms away and with no external antenna my downloads speeds range from 20-50mb and uploads 10-20.
Pretty happy with the speeds but looking to make the speeds more constant so will be adding some yargi antennas shortly

tim
Guest
tim

I signed up with Optus NBN
After 2 months I gave up. Daily calls to Optus to fix was a joke. I would not recommend Optus in any form.

Carl Eastwood
Guest
Carl Eastwood

Simon, the sims shouldn’t be sim locked. I’ve had two wireless broadband sims and neither were locked. I use my 200gb Optus wireless broadband sim with an unlocked Netgear Nighthawk M1 and it works perfectly out of the box. A few more settings tweaks can help though.

Alan
Guest
Alan

Not forget to mention media pack at $10, which allows unlimited bandwidth for specific streaming services like Netflix, stan, stotify, ect..

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Thanks for the review Chris. Came at a great time as my in-laws are having a bad time with crap ADSL connection. This turned out to be a great option until their appartment is connected to NBN – and maybe even an alternative if it continues to work as now

Simon
Guest
Simon

has it been confirmed if the optus sim will work in other modems?
i got my new optus sim and modem today but didn’t have time to setup the device before i left for work.
i grabbed my netgear M1 as i was running out the door and with the optus sim its showing 4G reception but when my devices connect to it they have no internet access regardless what APN settings i try to use..

Simon
Guest
Simon

ok looks like the sim is locked to the device.
when trying to load a web page i got redirected to a optus page saying “Hmmm… looks like you’ve tried to use your Home Wireless Broadband Sim in another device..
You SIM will only work in the Home Wireless modem supplied in the kit……….”

Will just have to wait till i get home and setup the Optus modem.

Jj
Guest
Jj

Ausdroid! 2hat are you doing? I’ve been in and out of Optus thinking that they are getting better than before. I don’t know if you are getting paid or not for these ‘doctored review of optus’. My first phone was with Optus 20 yrs ago and they were good… It’s 2019 and they don’t even close to Vodafone coverage in my area let alone Telstra. That’s all I will say.

Jorge
Guest
Jorge

This is a great option but only if you got great Optus mobile coverage on your area, I’m in one of those areas myself where reception is practically non existence so I’m stuck with adsl, I have contacted Optus about numerous times but they seem to not care at all.

Kratos
Guest
Kratos

Just signed up with Optus as ADSL2+ Off Grid is crap. Newsprout is a great Aussie company that I’ve used for a few years now, $69 for 1TB of data. The problem is it just ain’t fast enough for me, most I get is 8.5mb/s and average 1.5 to 2mb/s because of being off grid. Hopefully wireless 4G Plus will solve this as my phone hits 104mb/s on the Optus Network 4G Plus.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I had this Optus vivid 4G plan, and it didn’t work for me as speed reach 12mbps only some times and most of the time was 3-4mbps.
So, I switch to W3 Networks and that solved my problem.

Stan
Guest
Stan

Re: using vividwireless modem on this Optus plan – yes you can, I am doing that just now.

Mal
Guest
Mal

We did have optus wireless broadband but switched to another provider. Our internet kept dropping out and then found out that optus was charging us a standed fee for our home phone ànd also charging us per minute on top for local calls in the metro area. To me that ain’t right. Can they actually do that.

Samuel
Guest
Samuel

I’m still tossing up whether to ditch NBN FW or see if the tower upgrades performed last month, with another scheduled outage this month, actually improve anything. The speeds of a night are usually maxing out about 400KB/sec, which is absolute crap.
I’m likely to go with the AC800 plugged into my RT68U, we don’t go over 250GB a month, it should be better.

Sohail
Guest
Sohail

I checked with Optus support to see which wireless Broadband will suit my requirements.. and to my surprise, they told me that my average ADSL usage is more then 1800GB per month for last 4 months…. We are family of 3 and mostly we use Netflix and youtube and that volume of BW is hell to much… With this, even 500GB package is insufficient for home use… I am really fed up with ADSL but have no other choice…

Carissa M
Guest
Carissa M

We are looking at switching to the Optus 4G Mobile Broadband from Telstra ADSL2+, simply for the price! Would the Optus be able to handle to T.Vs streaming Netflix at the same time? We have no issues with our ADSL speeds, and the Optus bloke said 4G is faster. Do you agree? Thanks for the article.

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Can you use your existing Vivid Wireless modem Huawei or do you have to buy another modem? (Wondering if it’s locked to VividWireless even though they are owned by Optus.

Shaun
Guest
Shaun

Little slower than the > 400Mbit I have been getting on Telstra 4G. We have 3 of these Optus services (enterprise, we pay $5 more per month for static public IP addressss). Not real fast but better than nothing. That B525 is shocking though, can’t even change LAN IP range AFAIK.

James Edenborough
Guest
James Edenborough

I made the switch to Optus 4G about 12months a go from the ADSL service I was on, as you have mentioned speeds are sufficient for multiple activities my service is normally around 40-50mbps and off peak I often get over 100mbps. I have been greatly surprised by the reliability of the service and now have the flexibility of taking the service with me when we go away on holidays.

At_a_Crawl
Guest
At_a_Crawl

I posted in the original thread that we need to see what happens 12 months down the track. Chris, see if you sign up with SamKnows to get more information on what your connection is doing. I did with BP NBN and it’s interesting to see how it runs over a long period https://measuringbroadbandaustralia.com.au/

Magnus Windle
Guest
Magnus Windle

Optus 4G wireless broadband not available in our suburb, on the city fringe. If I want decent internet I have to move, or wait!

Magnum80
Ausdroid Reader
Magnum80

Haven’t had an issue with speed or congestion since switching over from patchy iiNet adsl to Optus 4g,constant 20+mb/sec speeds around the clock, best internet decision I’ve made in ages

James
Guest
James

Thanks for this post Chris.

I am heading out to a rural property soon and was stressing about the previous data-limited 4G offerings, but happy to see that this should meet my needs based off your review.

Craig Mitchell
Ausdroid Reader

I heard you don’t get a public IP address with this service. Does that mean you can’t remote login to a home computer? Or view a security camera?

Sam S
Guest
Sam S

Have you tried using VoIP services ?

I’ve tried a number of configurations and hardware and the only way I could get voip to work on Optus 4g was with the Optus HUAWEI e5186 modem and a Siemens gigaset.

This is registering to mynetfone and maxotel

Did also have at one stage an Optus 3G USB stick in a fritz box 7490 registering to maxotel and mynetfone but after a Fritz box firmware update could not get it to work anymore – only one way audio after the fritz update

Brad Donovan
Guest
Brad Donovan

@Jay it is but only up to 50GB over, after that it slows down the speed

Brad Donovan
Guest
Brad Donovan

Out of curiosity which modem did you get with it, the
smaller netgear AC800S or the bigger Huawei B525?

Jay
Guest
Jay

Isn’t it $10 for 10 GB once you exceed 500gb?

Rabs
Guest
Rabs

Thanks for all your updates, was very informative and helpful

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

This was a great read. Fixed internet services are so poor in Australia, great to see a read of alternatives.

I live in Melbourne CBD, no NBN yet but my ADSL connection is pretty great, except it’s ADSL. 1.5mb upload is tiny and if anyone is uploading anything the connection is shot. I wonder if 4G service like this is better?

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