Anyone who’s ever signed up for a NBN connection or even a regular ADSL line knows how frustrating it is to wait for a tech appointment. But eventually, one day that might be a distant memory. Telstra has just announced plans to release a home modem router early next year that includes integrated 4G as well as a fixed-line connection — cutting what can sometimes be a painful wait for customers to get their home ‘net connected.
It’s called the Frontier Gateway, and as an “all-in-one hybrid modem” becoming available in early 2017 it’ll let Telstra customers have an always-on connection, even if their fixed-line service goes down due to unplanned network interruptions. Telstra says it’s the first to be officially supported by an ISP, and will be able to switch dynamically between the 3G/4G mobile network and fixed ADSL WAN networks as required to maintain an internet connection for home users. Telstra’s fixed and mobile competitors Optus and Vodafone are understood to be working on similar devices.
From Telstra’s executive director of fixed products and services, Stuart Bird: “We know waiting to have a fixed broadband service connected can be a hassle. Our upcoming Telstra Frontier modem will draw on the power of our national mobile network to get households up and running while a fixed service is activated. Customers moving home, or setting up a new broadband connection will be able to get online quicker than ever. And, if a customer’s fixed broadband service is unavailable, the Frontier will switch over to the mobile network to keep the household connected.”
Suitable for ADSL customers, the Frontier Gateway will be able to connect up to 35 devices simultaneously, and will ship with a pre-installed and pre-activated mobile SIM that automatically registers with the telco upon startup. In the event that ADSL connection is not available or that the link goes down, the 4G network will connect — although it’s not clear whether customers’ usage over expensive, bandwidth-limited mobile networks will be charged in addition to their fixed line usage. Pricing for the Frontier Gateway will be announced during the coming months, and it will be sold from early 2017.
As well as the Frontier Gateway, Telstra also has a new Gateway Max 2 home modem router that incorporates faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, with 4×4 MU-MIMO, two integrated USB 3.0 ports for connecting storage or a USB printer, and with an internal modem that supports ADSL and NBN FttP, FttB and FttN WAN connections. The Gateway Max 2 will be out next month for $264 outright, and includes a dedicated Telstra Air hotspot. It’ll also be available to existing customers as a $96 upgrade or for $11 per month on a new 24 month contract.