Using a Mobile Phone as a 5G Modem
If you are one of those people, like me, who uses the mobile network to obtain an internet connection for their home, you probably have one of those 4G Wifi Routers.
I’ve used ones from Huawei (B315 and B535) and TP-Link (MR-150 and MR200), and a few older ones that I can’t even remember the model number of. And they were all junk.
Intermittent problems with cell tower connectivity, DNS problems, and sometimes just randomly not working at all. You can read more about my home network trials and tribulations in this article, where I tried to get a TP-Link Archer MR200 to work nicely with my TP-Link Deco mesh network and failed, partially due to a lack of a decent bridging mode, but mainly because the TP-Link Archer MR200 is an overpriced pile of rubbish.
All these 4G modems are now under 100€, now that 5G has come along, but at the time they cost more than a mid-range Android mobile phone. And the new 5G Wifi routers are all in the 600€ to 800€ price range. I have no doubt that they, too, will suffer from robustness and reliability problems.
In the meantime, I can’t help noticing that my mobile phone always has excellent internet connectivity. In fact, I often tether my PC to my phone over USB when I want to make sure that my connection doesn’t go down in the middle of some work.
And so, when I decided to upgrade my home and office internet to 5G, I took one look at the boxes on offer, and thought, “No thank you.”
Instead, I bought the following:
I had a spare Ethernet cable from my previous 4G modem.
You plug the adapter into the phone, connect the Deco to the adapter with the Ethernet cable, connect the phone charger to the adapter, and turn on the phone.
And then you navigate to Settings > Network & Internet > Hotspot & Tethering, and and enable Ethernet tethering.
400€ less than the cheapest 5G modem I could find, and it has been running flawlessly for 6 weeks now, which is the longest my Internet has ever remained up. And unlike a 5G modem, it comes with a screen, a bunch of cameras, an internal battery acting as a UPS, and an internal speaker.
And you can make phone calls with it.