Go to Reviews.org US Edition
5G modems and routers in Australia: What are your options?
A round-up of the 5G modems available today and the providers who offer them for those looking to tap into high-speed 5G home internet.
The 5G rollout is picking up speed around Australia as more and more suburbs are connected to the speediest mobile network yet. And whether you’re looking for a 5G mobile or home internet plan from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, you'll need a 5G modem to realise the full benefits of the technology.
While you can always tether a 5G phone when you’re within range of a 5G mobile network to tap into 5G speeds, a 5G modem is essential if you're looking to rely on a high-speed connection for your home and ditch your NBN modem.
- : Available on Telstra
- : Available on Telstra
- : Available on Telstra
- : Available on Telstra
- : Available on Telstra
- : Available on Optus
- : Available on Optus and Vodafone
- : Available on Vodafone
- : Available on Telstra
|Telstra||5G home internet||No||Telstra|
|Optus or Vodafone||5G Home Internet||No||Optus or Vodafone|
|Vodafone||5G home internet||No||Vodafone|
|N/A||5G Home Internet||Yes||Telstra 5G|
Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro
The Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro is the more expensive of the many mobile 5G modems that Telstra offers, but that higher asking price does net you a few extra bells and whistles.
Specifically, the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro cites compatibility with both iOS and Android devices, while the Netgear Nighthawk M6 only lists Windows and MacOS compatibility. In other words, you can use the former with more devices than the latter.
That said, given both of these devices are portable modem-routers that can connect to the Telstra mobile network and then connect devices via WiFi (there’s also an Ethernet port to connect to a single computer or to a router), these listed compatibility options don't feel like all that meaningful of a difference.
Ultimately, the biggest advantage here is the form-factor. The Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro is lighter and more compact, though that sleeker form factor comes at the cost of a smaller battery capacity and lower battery life. A single charge will get 13 hours of active use for the Netgear Nighthawk M6 vs nine hours for the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro.
Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro plans
To get the most out of the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, you're going to need to sign up for one of the carrier's mobile broadband plans. The widget below lists the plans available for the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro modem.
The best pocket WiFi and WiFi dongles available
Is that a dongle in your pocket?
Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G
Telstra recently made a fresh addition to its roster of 5G modems in the form of the Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G. Priced at an RRP of $399, it's currently the cheapest 5G modem you can find through a telco in Australia.
The Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G ticks many of the same boxes as Telstra's other 5G modems. It supports up to 32 devices over WiFi 6 and boasts a 5,050mAh battery with fast charging. There's also an ethernet port for connecting wired devices plus 4G fallback that kicks in whenever and wherever 5G is unavailable.
Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G plans
If you don't fancy the idea of dropping $399 all at once on the Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G, you can pay it off on a 12-month, 24-month or 36-month plan through Telstra.
Those who opt for the 24-month plan option are looking at $11.08 per month on top of your usual Telstra mobile broadband bill.
Speaking of which, those looking to make use of the Inseego MiFi X Pro will have to pair it up one of Telstra's mobile broadband plans. Check out the widget below for a quick roundup of mobile broadband plans that go with the Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G modem.
Netgear Nighthawk M6
The Netgear Nighthawk M6 isn't equipped to deliver speeds that are faster than the alternatives, but it does have a few technical differences that may make it a better fit for some than Telstra's 5G Wi-Fi Pro is.
The most notable of these is physical size. While the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro is a little thinner, the Nighthawk M6 is a more square in shape. This might make it slightly more pocket-friendly than Telstra's house-brand option for some users.
Netgear Nighthawk M6 plans
To get the most out of the Netgear Nighthawk M6, you're going to need to sign up for one of the carrier's mobile broadband plans. While some of Telstra's mobile broadband plans used to exclude 5G connectivity, the provider now offers high speed connectivity across the board. Check out the widget below for a round up of the plans that are available for the Netgear Nighthawk M6 modem.
Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro
The Netgear Nighthawk M6 isn't the only other option when it comes to 5G modems and routers that play nice with the Telstra network.
For those want something a little more high-spec, there's also the Nighthawk M6 Pro. The 5G portable router boasts a slightly-faster Qualcomm processor, a slightly-larger screen and an upgrade to WiFi 6E.
Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro plans
To get the most out of the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro, you're going to need to sign up for one of the carrier's mobile broadband plans. The widget below lists the plans available for the Netgear Nighthawk M6 modem.
Telstra 5G Home Modem
The Telstra 5G Home Modem is designed to make setting up a 5G Home Internet connection as easy as possible. All it needs is power, plus placement in the part of your home that receives the strongest Telstra 5G signal.
The modem relies on an easy-to-understand, light-based system for an indication of how strong the 5G signal is. There’s also a 2.5GB WAN/LAN port, four gigabit Ethernet ports, and a WPS push button for straightforward WiFi connectivity with compatible devices.
For faster local network speeds, the Telstra 5G Home Modem has inbuilt WiFi 6, which means it won’t be a bottleneck when connecting WiFi 6 devices to the speedy potential of 5G internet. It’s a dual-band router, too, meaning you can take advantage of the faster 5GHz local WiFi band and the longer-range 2.4GHz band, too.
Telstra 5G Home Modem plans
At the time of writing, the Telstra 5G Home Modem must be used with one of Telstra's 5G Home Internet plans. On top of this restriction, Telstra's 5G Home Internet is only available in selected locations.
You can punch in your address on the Telstra 5G home broadband page to see if you're lucky enough to be eligible for it. If you are and you sign up, Telstra will throw in the first month for free.
Excluding any discounts or promotion, the Telstra 5G Home Internet plan will cost you $85 per month. That includes 1TB of data, with typical evening download speeds of between 50Mbps and 600Mbps and typical upload speeds of 10Mbps and 90Mbps.
ZTE 5G Modem
If you sign up for one of Optus' 5G mobile broadband plans, you'll end up with a ZTE 5G modem as part of the deal. The hardware isn't too different from what Telstra's two 5G modems deliver. In fact, it's almost identical in design and form-factor to Telstra's own 5G Wi-Fi Pro modem.
Check out the widget below for plans that include the router:
Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway
The Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway is a dual-band router with Wi-Fi 5 connectivity, a 2.5GB WAN/LAN port and three gigabit Ethernet ports. It's easy to set up and hard to complain about.
The Nokia FastMile 5G gateway is built to stay hooked up inside your home and operate like a normal modem. If 5G is unavailable in your area, either currently or temporarily, the Nokia 5G modem automatically connects to the relevant 4G mobile network as a backup.
At the time of writing, the Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway is also the modem of choice for almost every 5G home internet provider in Australia that isn't Telstra. This is the hardware you're probably going to be relying on if you sign up for a 5G home internet plan through Optus, Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, Internode or Spintel.
Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway plans
You can see a round-up of plans that come bundled with the Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway modem using the widget below.
Sagemcom F@st 5866T
At the time of writing, signing up for either of Vodafone's 5G home internet plans will net you one of two different modem-routers.
Some customers will end up with the same Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway modem-router available from Optus, SpinTel and others. Meanwhile, others will end up with the Sagemcom F@st 5866T 5G modem router instead.
Vodafone customers don't really have a choice or say in which modem they receive. It's a what-you-get-is-what-you-get sort of deal. Thankfully, while the looks vary, the capabilities found in the two devices do not.
As with its Nokia-made counterpart, the Sagemcom F@st 5866T features a color-based lighting system that communicates signal strength, as well as a trio of ethernet jacks and a single USB port on the back.
Sagemcom F@st 5866T plans
You can check out a shortlist of Vodafone's 5G home internet plans using the widget below.
Inseego Wavemaker 5G Indoor Router
If you sign up for one of More's mobile broadband plans, you'll walk away with an Inseego Wavemaker 5G Indoor Router. This compact connectivity hub looks nothing like most of the other options out there. It doesn't have any sort of touch display, but it does have a single USB Type-C port, a gigabit ethernet port and a pair of antenna jacks.
Other than that, you're looking at all the usual inclusions from 5G to dual-band WiFi 6 that supports up to 30 devices.
5G modem FAQs
A 5G modem is a piece of networking hardware that lets you connect to a 5G mobile network. Some brand-specific 5G modems are built to operate on specific mobile networks, while others are built to be universal across the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone 5G mobile networks.
While the first wave of 5G modems to land in Australia were closer to portable WiFi modems than their stationary fixed-line counterparts, there are now a number of different options available to those seeking to connect to Australia's 5G mobile networks. Regardless of whether you'd prefer a 5G WiFi modem or a 5G mobile router, you've got plenty of options to choose from.
Things can get a little confusing when it comes to networking terminology, especially as it relates to the differences between 5G modems and 5GHz-capable routers. To further compound matters, some of the devices listed below are branded as 5G modems but they’re actually 5G modem-routers.
We have a whole page dedicated to the differences between modems, routers, modem-routers and networking switches. However, if you want the short version, a 5G modem has essential hardware that lets it connect to a 5G mobile network. But a 5G modem-router may also have dual-band WiFi connectivity, operating on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands, where 5GHz is sometimes referred to in shorthand as “5G”.
While a 5G modem-router with dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands can connect your devices to a 5G mobile network, non-5G networking equipment that may still use a 5GHz wireless band cannot.
It’s worth noting that the gigabit speed potential of 5G is best paired with the 5GHz wireless band if you want to take advantage of faster wireless internet speeds.
No. While the 5Ghz wireless band is sometimes called 5G, it is a different technology to 5G cellular or mobile connectivity. The fact that the two sound so similar is largely coincidental.
5G connectivity is named that because it is positioned as the fifth generation of wireless mobile networks. It was preceded by 4G, which was the fourth generation of mass mobile networking tech, and will eventually be succeeded by 6G.
On the other hand, 5Ghz is named after the frequency that is used to wireless transmit data over short distances.
While 5G modems with 4G backup are quite common, modems with 5G backup are a whole lot less ubiquitous.
If you're happy to stick with 4G backup in the meantime, read about the Australian internet providers currently offering 4G backup modems.
While tethering a 5G portable router or 5G phone across your whole household might not be practical, a number of providers are now positioning 5G home internet as a viable alternative to the NBN.
However, the answer of the question of whether a 5G can replace a fixed-line NBN setup is going to vary wildly from person. Not only are every users connectivity needs different, but access to 5G is itself fairly fragmented.
Many Australians are going to be just as likely to live in an area with competitive NBN options but poor 5G coverage as the opposite. If you fall into the former camp, then many of the advantages that a 5G home internet connection setup delivers are the same as you'd get out of a 4G home internet modem or 5G mobile router connection.
If you've had to wait for weeks on an NBN technician, the fact that you can set up a brand new home wireless broadband connection in minutes will be music to your ears. Of course, the opposite is also the case. Regardless of whether they're 5G or not, home wireless broadband plans can be more expensive than a regular home internet connection and unlimited data plans aren’t always available.
Still, if you're ready to cut the cord on the NBN and are lucky enough to have solid coverage, then the high-speeds offered by 5G might be tempting enough to sign up and give it a try. If you're not sure where to start when it comes to 5G home internet, check out the widget below for a round-up of the most popular plans for a 5G WiFi modem.