Optus has updated their home broadband 5G modem with the new “Optus Ultra WiFi 5G Modem” upping their in-home WiFi capabilities.

Honestly, I can’t tell you much about how this modem differs to the last, as that information hasn’t been provided, but digging a little into the previous Nokia Home Gateway device, it appears the big step forward here is better modern WiFi standard compatibility.

The new Optus Ultra WiFi 5G Modem not only supports WiFi 6, but also lists future compatibility with WiFi 7 – they say late in 2024.

And there is compatibility with Easy Mesh, the WiFi industry standard for Mesh systems allowing you to expand your WiFi coverage with a range of devices on the market, including the Optus Ultra WiFi Booster Gen 2. Those boosters will sell for $216 either outright or on a monthly plan.

$468 is the price of this new 5G WiFi router, but if you stick with Optus for 3 years you’ll get it for $0.

An NBN alternative is the big selling point here. You don’t have a fast NBN technology? Not on the FTTP upgrade list? Want faster speeds? With a 50Mbps guarantee, and typical 240/20 speeds in peak times, the $89 a month Optus plan will be very, very appealing to many.

Critical to the success of Optus 5G Home broadband is the telco carefully managing the availability of this system. Not only do you need to be in an Optus 5G area, you have to be in an area that isn’t over serviced.

The $69 per month plan offers a 40Mbps speed guarantee, with typical speeds of 45/11 in peak, and a max speed of 50MBps.

The maximum speed on that $89 plan is uncapped, and I’ve seen it in the 600Mbps range, while regularly seeing it in the 300/400 range in office hours.

Critical to my usage has been solid upload speeds. I’ve seen those regularly in the 50 and 60Mbps numbers – which is very pleasing over my 100/20 NBN speeds. As someone who needs uploads for content – this has been great.

However, Reliability and consistency have let the service down.

While I think the average home or user would barely notice anything other than great speeds and reliability – Sadly I’ve had at least three occasions when I’ve been uploading content and it’s just packed it in on me. These “outages” haven’t needed a reboot, or anything – in fact the screen on the modem hasn’t shown any issue.

I honestly don’t think the home user would notice, I’ve essentially been using this service as a commercial connection so can’t really complain – I took a 5G connection and used it at my own risk.

What’s really core here is that this connection offered fast speeds, and solid WiFi at a cost comparable or less than an NBN connection.

I do fear the variability of 5G, and the capacity constraints that limit peak speeds more so than fixed line.

Plus, for people who want the portability of address, those who rent or share accommodation, there’s a simplicity to the plug and play nature of a 5G modem,