Telstra's New Frontier Gateway Modem Includes A 4G SIM For Backup Internet

Image: Supplied

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."

Image: Supplied

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 4x4 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.



    I saw this at the Good Design Awards, for something from Telstra, it's pretty sexy. Would look pretty good next to an Xbox One S.

    Last edited 22/08/16 3:49 pm

    ...useful for... anyone in Australia that would like to download something.
    Is this another way Telstra giving the NBN the middle finger?

      They built a fibre to premise network in south brisbane 4 years ago and to this day it doesnt appear on the NBN maps, cause Telstra owns it and refuses to share with NBN Co. (but will sell wholesale to any ISP you want).

        Correction. Telstra won't hand it over to NBN Co because they want to be able to use it for Foxtel, just tlike they do in other velocity areas, where even the free to air channels come in through the fiber.

        It doesn't appear on NBN maps because it isn't an NBN product. Perhaps you should explain why you think it should be on NBN maps?

      4G "backup" on Telstra, Optus, or Vodafone's network will be the NBN's Achilles heel. those networks can easily supply 12/1 and 25/5 Mbps services, the most popular speeds sold on the NBN. For the average customer, that's plenty. Expect NBNco to get squeezed out of the mass market, existing only to serve customers that want a physical backup to the 4G network - or those wanting the higher speed services.

        Even Telstra's network bogs down to a crawl when a few thousand people try to connect at the same time in the city, you want that to be the norm in the suburbs as well? And before you say it, more towers isn't the answer.

        Also, I pay $150 month for 1TB of data. That same money on mobile would get me 25GB. How rich are you that you can afford to buy enough data to compete with that price difference?

        Last edited 23/08/16 8:35 am

          $150 for 1TB????

          I pay $63/month and download around 2.2TB.

          May be it's time to check out some other offers. :)

            Sorry. $150 is my total bill including 2 mobiles.
            The point I was making is that little orphan Oliver's idea that that a wireless network could compete with a fixed line connection on bandwidth is absurd.

    Looks like Telstra got some outside help from a product design consultancy in Sydney, so I'd probably credit a lot of the sexiness to them.
    You're right though, it would look totally at home next to the Xbox.

      And optus design all their hardware in house? Who cares who designed the case? For that matter who puts their modem on display?

    Haha.. backup internet would probably be quicker than the "main connection"

      If you're on ADSL maybe. And assuming none else nearby had the same idea.

        My Optus 4G+ from my phone almost matches the download speed from my Telstra cable speed boost.

        110 Megabit down average and 2 Megabit up (I forgot how fast 4g upload is)

    "I don't know why my internet cuts out everytime I go on holidays"

    WooopyDoo! this technology has been around for over 2 years from various suppliers like Mikrotik and small carriers in regional areas are the first to bring it to market! Your late Telstra once again!

      Failover onto their own 4G network at (i'm assuming) no extra cost? You sure? I know there's dongle solutions to go onto the mobile network (of the carrier you chose to purchase the dongle from), but it's extra cost. This is embedded, no extra cost per month...

    I can understand why Optus would be looking at a product similar to this, but Vodafone is a different kettle of fish. They only do mobile don't they? So why would they be looking at a device for 3/4G fall over?

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