If you’re using cable internet and paying more than you’d like, you may be able to drastically reduce your internet bill by switching to newer technologies like fiber or 5G wireless home Internet.
In this article, I’ll talk about my experience with Verizon 5G Home Internet, a wireless solution for home Internet access. Note, this is NOT the same as Verizon FIOS, which is a fiber optic cable solution.
I want to stress that THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST! I paid for Verizon’s 5G Home Internet service myself because I wanted to find a cheaper, more reliable alternative to cable Internet and share the experience with y’all!
What Is Verizon 5G Home Internet?
With Verizon 5G Home Internet, you get your Internet access through an Internet gateway box that communicates with the nearest Verizon cell tower wirelessly. It’s very much like using a cell phone as an Internet hotspot. The Verizon Internet Gateway box even has a phone number assigned to it! If this sounds disconcerting to you, it did to me also. Could this even have half as much bandwidth as a direct cable connection? Keep reading.
Regular cost is $60 a month, but if you set up automatic billing, you get a $10 per month discount. They also offer a price freeze for varying numbers of years, usually two.
If you have a Verizon phone, the monthly cost can be as low as $25/month!
I was paying $80/month for my cable Internet access in the Los Angeles area, so this will save me $360 per year! Not bad!
Setup and Installation
A few days after I ordered the service, I received the Verizon Home Internet Gateway, a clean white cube with a power jack and two Ethernet ports… and no cable going to Verizon!
I wasn’t even aware of this when I ordered the service, but the unit includes a built-in Wi-Fi router! I also love the fact that the box has two Ethernet ports. That should make it unnecessary for a good number of people to have to buy an additional router.
Setup was stupidly easy. I plugged in power and waited for it to boot up and configure. When it was done, I connected an Ethernet cable from the gateway to my computer and used the web app to set up my Wi-Fi network name and password. Voila! I was up and running in minutes! Wow!
You can also set up the box via Wi-Fi using the settings printed at the bottom of the unit.
Aside from the quick start card, no manual was included with the unit. But, you can download it here.
My Download Speed
I immediately measured download speeds of 300mbps! I was amazed to be getting this from basically a cell phone signal!
I’ve been using the service for over a month now and the download speed has stabilized to 220 to 240mbps. Still much better than cable for me.
Over the past year, my cable download speed had been around 90mbps, probably due to deteriorating coax cabling in my home. That was one of the things that made a wireless Internet solution appealing to me.
I must stress though that your mileage may vary depending on how far away you live from your closest cell phone towers and how many other people are using that tower at that time.
And, not everyone can get 5G Home Internet. Check the Verizon website to see if you’re in range.
The Built-In Wi-Fi Router: Understanding Its Limits
Because the Verizon Home Internet Gateway box includes a built-in Wi-Fi router, I went ahead and tried it out. For the first month, it worked great, with good signal strength that reached throughout my two-story home and even into my garage below that. After a month though, my signal strength inexplicably fell off a cliff. I noticed it when my outdoor Ring cameras went dead due to low Wi-Fi signal. Inside my home the signal strength was fine.
I can’t explain the sudden dropoff. Perhaps there was some new signal interference from a neighbor?
In any case, I’m not really counting this against Verizon, because I wouldn’t expect a built-in Wi-Fi router with no external antennas to have as good a range in a two-story home as a dedicated Netgear router with three external antennas!
If you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a single-story home, the built-in Wi-Fi router probably will be just fine for you. It will probably work in a lot of two-story homes as well.
But, a lot of the low online ratings for Verizon Home Internet stem from complaints about the Wi-Fi range. Well, the built-in gateway router is not intended to be as good as a dedicated Wi-Fi router with external antennas that you can get at Best Buy. If you live in a large multi-level home you’ll probably want to use a dedicated router made by Netgear, Asus, or other reputable manufacturers.
In addition, I’ve read that the onboard Wi-Fi router is limited to 10 devices at 2.4GHz and 30 devices at 5.0GHz. Again, the solution is to hook up your own Wi-Fi router as described next.
Using an External Wi-Fi Router
Connecting an external Wi-Fi router to your Verizon Home Internet gateway is pretty easy.
You’ll want to do this using a device with an Ethernet port (i.e., don’t rely on Wi-Fi to do these settings). The reason is that you’ll be shutting off Wi-Fi on your gateway, and if anything goes wrong and you need to turn it back on, the only way to do that is to use Ethernet.
On the Verizon Gateway web portal, go to Network -> LAN -> IP Passthrough and turn it on. Once you do that, Wi-Fi will be turned off and Internet access will be routed out of the LAN2 port of the gateway. Plug in your router into that port and you should be good to go! Read my full instructions here.
The Bad: Creating My Account
As soon as I submitted my order for the service, I got an email prompting me to create a Verizon account online. When I tried to do so, the website didn’t recognize my device phone number or my account number. I called Verizon customer service and they advised me to wait for the gateway to arrive and set that up first before setting up an account.
So, I did that but got the same error. I tried logging in so many times that my account got locked, so I called again and they reset my account. Unfortunately, the reset code had to be sent by regular U.S. Mail because the phone number on file was that of my gateway, which of course is unable to receive text messages. Agh!
After that, I could finally log into the website and set up automatic billing (which you need to do to get the $10 monthly discount on the service). But, I still couldn’t log into the iPhone app. I called again, and they reset my account yet again, which meant waiting for another code in the mail.
That didn’t solve the problem either. At this point, I resigned to just using the website. There are also some settings that just time out when I try to change them, like the contact phone number. I was only able to change this by calling customer service yet again.
This was just my experience; I know others have had a seamless account creation experience. My issues might be due to the fact that I used to have a Verizon wireless cell phone account a long time ago because I saw this message on the site: “This email is linked to another line on this account. You’ll need to login to that line to manage preferences.” I’m guessing it’s getting confused with my old account.
To their credit, it was always pretty easy to get a Verizon customer service agent on the phone, something that can’t be said for all Internet providers.
Reliability vs. Coax Cable Internet
Despite the account creation headaches, I still like Verizon’s actual 5G Internet service overall. So far, it’s been fast, reliable, and trouble-free.
I believe that using CATV coax cable to send high-speed data is going to go obsolete, kind of like DSL. With DSL, data was being sent over analog phone lines, something not intended for that purpose. Similarly, with cable, high-speed data is being sent over coax originally intended for analog TV signals. I believe the current ideal methods for sending high-speed data are either fiber or 5G wireless.
We’ll see what happens, but I’m hoping that 5G will be more reliable than cable Internet. My cable Internet would go down at least a few times a year, for a few hours at a time. I don’t actually blame the cable company for that though; it’s just the nature of physical cables that they are prone to breakage if a tree knocks down a telephone pole, or whatever. And It takes time for the cable company to find the fault, and send a truck out to fix it. A few hours of downtime is actually pretty good.
I’m hoping that cell towers will be more resistant to interruptions due to high winds, Earthquakes, and so on. Only time will tell.
Finally, Verizon offers various perks for signing up. When I signed up, they offered a $50 food delivery service gift card and a $50 Verizon gift card. Note that you have to sign up to get these perks after you create your account, or else you won’t get these. It’s unfortunate that they don’t come automatically.
My Door Dash gift card (actually, it is an email with a discount code) arrived very quickly, within a few days if I remember correctly.
The Verizon “gift card” took over thirty days to arrive by email, but there is a portal where you can check status. I was hoping I could use this “gift card” on anything, like a debit card, but it really is just a $50 discount code for the Verizon store. I used it to buy a phone charger and cable since I’m always using those. But again, the Verizon store website was terrible, and it was hard to find where to enter the code, and even after I did, the site eventually “lost” my gift card balance. I got on chat and completed the order manually through them, but it was a hassle.
Verizon 5G Home Internet – Should You Get It?
In spite of these website issues, the bottom line is that Verizon 5G was still a good deal for me. If you’re sick of the rising cost of Internet access, and you’re getting your Internet from a cable TV provider, I would recommend checking to see if you can get 5G Internet access from Verizon or T-Mobile, or fiber from companies like Frontier. If one of these services is available in your area, you could save a bundle. These companies are eager to roll out these new services and are offering good prices. It’s still early, but so far, Verizon 5G Home Internet has been working well for me. I’ll keep this article updated with any new developments!
- Cheaper than cable Internet (in my area of Los Angeles at least).
- No cost increases for 2 years (depending on current promotions).
- Faster download speed than my cable Internet service (your speeds may vary).
- Easy to set up Internet gateway.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet router are sufficient for small homes.
- Not available in all locations; speed may vary according to your cell reception.
- Verizon’s account creation process didn’t work well for me. Website and app are terrible.
- Built-in Wi-Fi router is not intended for larger homes or crowded network environments. Use a stand-alone router for that.
- Advertising is deceptive. $25 cost is only if you have a Verizon cell phone plan. Real cost is more like $50/month with auto pay.
- $50 “gift card” signup bonus is only usable at the Verizon store. Not super useful.
How much are you paying for Internet access? Any questions or comments? Leave a comment below! – Brian
If You’re Really Crazy About Speed (ADVANCED)
A commenter on my YouTube video turned me on to this company that sells products that get you the fastest cellular speeds, including on home 5G gateways.
If you have the ARC-XCI55AX gateway, it turns out that you can hack it to add an external antenna! That would really maximize your data rates.
If, like me, you have the ASK-NCQ1338/FA/E gateway, you can’t attach an external antenna. However, you can put your SIM card into a different router that can handle an external antenna.
Needless to say, do these at your own risk! I’m sure these would invalidate any kind of warranty on the device. I’m way too scared to try these because I work from home and can’t afford to have my Internet go down. But, these are some pretty cool ideas!
Oh, and here’s an article from that same company on how to tell where your 4G and 5G cell towers are.
Verizon 5G Home Internet 90 Days Later
Wondering how Verizon 5G Internet is holding up after 90 days? Watch the video below:
I too am a Verizon 5G home internet user. I received my first Verizon cube back in December 2022. The setup was/is super easy… or so I thought, more on that later. My first cube set up fast. And initially and thru out my first 3 months with it no problem. I could get almost the advertised 300Mb download speed and typically got the 10-20Mb upload speeds as well. However, after 4 months the daily crashing started. This went on for several weeks before I reached out to Verizon. After their online technician reviewed my unit online, she deducted that the router portion of the cube had gone bad and I was only getting a 4GLTE signal instead. Verizon ordered me a new cube. The 2nd cube didn’t arrive right away as the 1st one did. In fact, after almost 2 weeks waiting, I called Verizon and asked where the 2nd unit was and they told me UPS returned the unit! I wasn’t too worried. During the time waited I setup up 1st cube with the IP passthrough feature and used a TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 router from my previous setup. The external router helped as when the modem would intermittently crash the external router wouldn’t miss a beat keeping the signal going. I finally got my 2nd cube by having to visit a nearby Verizon store. The 2nd unit is now running well and provides same initial speeds. We’ll see how long this unit lasts.
Interesting, thanks for sharing. Do you have ASK or ARC cubes? (look at first three letters of model number at bottom of unit). ARC is supposedly newer; wondering if you got that as a replacement. – Brian
1st cube was an ASK. The 2nd is an ARC, yes, the replacement. I’ve also downloaded the IP Passthrough instructions for this as well just in case. I also note that the VPN doesn’t have as bad a cutoff on broadband speed as my previous Optimum 1Gb cable line.
Good to know, thanks for the info!
Verizon Internet Gateway (ARC-XCI55AX) – Configure IP Passthrough / Bridge Mode… https://www.verizon.com/support/knowledge-base-301824/
What would be the most secure way to set this up? I had my cable internet connected to my wire/wireless router. I just want to swap out my cable internet for the Verizon 5G Home.
Most of my devices are wired to my Linksys router (TV, PC, ROKU. FireTV, Tablo). My laptop & tablet are wireless. I want to turnoff the Verizon 5G Home Wi-Fi, and only use my routers. What settings do I need to make in the Verizon Internet Gateway?
The best way to do this is to set your gateway to IP Passthrough mode. Here’s how to do it on the Verizon ASK model:
The ARC is similar but different user interface. Look for IP Passthrough mode.
Looks like I have it setup. It shows Ethernet enabled, while both 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi are disabled. Does that sound right?
What other settings should I configure for the Verizon 5G? Do I need to change the
Wi-Fi Name or will my Linksys Wi-Fi settings be enough?
If you’ve enabled IP Passthrough, the Wi-Fi options won’t show up at all in the gateway panel.
It sounds like you’ve just disabled Wi-Fi, which is another way to use to do it. If that works for all of your use cases, you can do that. I used my gateway for months like that, but eventually I enabled IP Passthrough because I wasn’t able to view my DVR recordings from away from home. If you don’t have a use case like that, you can leave it as you have it.
You don’t need to change the Wi-Fi name, since you won’t be using the onboard Wi-Fi.
Ok, so I don’t need to worry about other settings?
I’ve run speed tests to check it out at various times . I’ve have a range of speeds.
40 – 212 mbps DL
4 – 30 mbps UL
Do these speeds seem right for this service? I understand they will fluctuate dependent on days/times. What would you suggest to improve my speeds? I could move my 5G higher. Would it work next to my router?
As for my experience using it, I’ve seen no difference in service performance
for my needs. That’s comparing it to my current Cable internet service which is something like: 300 mbps DL 10 mbps UL
Right, no need to worry about other settings.
The 40mbps download seems a bit low, unless you were doing other stuff at the time (i.e., watching a movie, background backup, etc.)
Moving the gateway to a window close to your tower might help. Higher up might help as well. Next to router is not as ideal.
Here’s a way to get an idea of where your 5G towers are:
I’ll be coming out with a video on how to improve speed, so stay tuned.
Nope nothing running except speed test.
Here are results for today 5/6/2023 Between 9:32AM -9:45AM
I closed all unneeded opened tabs, browsers to run the speed tests.
Ookla: I did one for each server.
70.85 Mbps DL
7.01 Mbps UL
70.78 Mbps DL
8.65 Mbps UL
69.52 Mbps DL
6.34 Mbps UL
71.16 Mbps DL
6.23 Mbps UL
70.91 Mbps DL
6.48 Mbps UL
71.43 Mbps DL
8.56 Mbps UL
70.94 Mbps DL
8.54 Mbps UL
58.24 Mbps DL
8.85 Mbps UL
70.54 Mbps DL
67.52 Mbps DL
9.76 Mbps UL
Verizon Speed Test:
71 Mbps DL
6 Mbps UL
They seem consistent, but are they good/bad for this time of day?
Which servers would give the best readings, closer or farther away?
How do I compare the distance in Ookla,it not listed?
I try moving the 5G closer/higher. What else may I have to do? Should I call Verizon for them to run a test/reboot, etc? Is it possible I got a faulty
5G? I’ve read that some needed to exchange a couple to get a good one.
The biggest factor in speed is your location relative to the cell towers.
I would recommend using the onboard signal strength meter to find the best location in your home.
The ARC model (look at the bottom of your unit) has the signal strength meter in the control panel.
If you have the ASK model, here is a trick to get the signal strength meter:
So I found my ethernet cables are mixed:
*Verizon 5G (Cat 5E) to Linksys Router
*Linksys Router (Cat 5) to PC
*Linksys Router (Cat 5E) to HDTV
Linksys Router (Cat 6) to Powerline
Powerline (Cat 6) to ROKU
Powerline (Cat 6) to FireTV
Powerline (Cat 6) to Tablo
I have another Cat 6 I can use. From the looks of it the Cat 6 wouldn’t fit the Verizon 5G. But it will work for the PC or HDTV connections. Will that fix my DL speed issues, even though the Verizon 5G connection to Linksys Router will still be Cat 5E? Or do “all connections” need to be Cat 6?
You should change your Cat 5 to Cat 5e or Cat 6. I don’t think that will solve your download speed issue though.
I swapped out the Cat 5 for the Cat 6, no noticeable speed change. :(
To be sure I even test connected the Gateway directly to my PC. The speeds didn’t improve. :( Is it possible my ethernet cable(s) are to long?
Or doesn’t that matter? My cables are 6-10 ft, while the Gateway is 4 ft.
If it’s not that it must be Verizon’s signal, or the Gateway itself. I have a steady signal without signal loss. It’s just the speed is throttled. :(
Yeah, if your speeds are only around 70Mbps, I wouldn’t expect the type of Ethernet cable to make a big difference. I’ll let you know if I get any more ideas. Let me know if you are able to get improvement.
Looks like it was on Verizon. One of their towers was not working correctly. After a reset my speeds have doubled. :)
Wow, great to hear that!! Thanks for the update! – Brian
Looks like the towers are not working again. :( My speeds are back down to 70 mbps DL / 10 Mbps UL. I was told this morning that my speeds should stay above 90 mbps DL
Perhaps I need to go the external antenna route? Would that help me keep my higher speeds?
I’m getting the ACP for my account. From what I was told on the phone with Verizon, they match the ACP. So my internet service that would be $60/month is not dropping down to $30/month, but will be free. Could this be Verizon’s way of pushing me to upgrade to the Home Plus to get the $20 out of me?
Ah, sorry to hear that.
If you’re already getting five bars (according to the signal strength meter), then going with external antenna probably won’t help. It’s a severe hack that is not supported by Verizon. Also, you mentioned the problem was at Verizon’s end, not yours.
I’m not sure if Home Plus would even help.
For the heck of it I just ran a few speed tests.
Ookla Speed tests:
94.89 Mbps DL 10.55 Mbps UL :)
106.45 Mbps DL 10.24 Mbps UL :)
59.96 Mbps DL 10.28 Mbpc UL :(
Ran them again.
Server 1 repeated
63.49 Mbps DL 13.75 Mbps UL :(
Server 2 repeated
46.83 Mbps DL 15.03 Mbps UL :(
Server 3 repeated
31.60 Mbps DL 20.30 Mbps UL :(
Looks like nothing has changed. So I decided to check into my Gateways settings. Here are the main ones I’m concerned with.
Do these all look correct?
Verizon Internet Gateway:
Primary Network: Wi-Fi Disabled
Guest Network: Wi-Fi Disabled
IoT Network: Wi-Fi Disabled
Wi-Fi Protected Setup: WPS Disabled
Linksys [Ethernet] (Allow)
Broadband IPv4 (Connected)
Broadband IPv6 (Connected)
4G LTE Signal Strength: -81.5
5G Signal Strength: -103.8
Connection Type: Bridge
Name – VLAN – Status
[ ] IP Passthrough – Disable – Connected
**Note** When I click the box IP Passthrough the settings freeze and
my internet stops working.
What about the modem? The 5G Signal Strength was 0 yesterday, now it’s -103.08 What does that mean? Good/bad?
Sorry for all the questions, but I’m just getting used to this Wi-Fi internet.
I’ve been spoiled with cable internet for close to 30years. :)
The settings seem fine.
-103.8dB for 5G seems low. A reading of 0 seems like the signal strength meter wasn’t working properly at the time.
Note that it takes a few minutes for the unit to go into Passthrough mode (the spinner will just spin for that long). Are you sure you waited long enough? But, that won’t solve the speed issue.
I suspect that your relatively low speeds are just due to how far you are from your towers. Just try to optimize signal strength to be as close to zero as possible as you move the gateway around your home.