T-Mobile Home Internet vs Xfinity (Comcast)

Alternatives to traditional home broadband internet connections have recently been put in the spotlight. Many people are looking for alternatives to traditional cable or DSL services. Satellite internet technology utilizing low earth orbit satellites, and 5th generation cellular technology (5G) are now promising to offer an alternative to traditional wired home internet service providers such as Verizon Fios, AT&T Fiber, Spectrum, and Xfinity (Comcast).

T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet plan is taking the world by storm. T-Mobile is promising unlimited data for truly disruptive prices. T-Mobile has a good reputation for increasing competition and driving down prices. Who should consider making the switch and who should stay put with Xfinity (Comcast), at least for now?

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet vs Xfinity

Consider Switching to T-Mobile Home Internet If the Following Applies

  1. Your internet needs are relatively modest.
  2. You are an existing T-Mobile customer.
  3. You are not a gamer.
  4. You do not work from home.
  5. You do not care about using your own router.
  6. Saving money on your internet bill is your top priority.
  7. You are a cord cutter.

If your internet needs are relatively modest T-Mobile home internet may be a viable option for you. On the average downloads are fast enough for streaming HD video and for other online activities. During peak hours your speeds may be substantially lower than expected. This is highly variable and primarily depends on how crowded the cell phone tower you are connected to is, along with many other factors. 5G is a wireless technology traveling through the air with other radio signals, with wireless comes the possibility for interference.

Data signals traveling as light through fiber optic cables do not have this same issue. This is not a deal breaker for everyone, but something to be mindful of if you need consistent speeds at all times especially during peak hours. Overall for the casual internet user with modest needs T-Mobile 5G home internet is likely good enough most of the time.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet vs Comcast

Cell phone coverage is varies greatly by location. Even a difference of a few hundred feet can make all the difference. If you use T-Mobile for your cell phone service you would know whether the signal at your home is good or not. You can also run a speed test on your smartphone to get a rough idea of the bandwidth you will be getting. Although in many cases the home internet service will be slower due to data deprioritization.

This is not the same as throttling that occurs when you reach a certain data cap, but rather giving cell phone customers a higher priority if the tower is busy. This is much more likely to be an issue in urban areas and also in tourist areas during peak months. If you get good performance on your phone, you are likely going to get good results with your T-Mobile home internet connection. If you are not satisfied with the performance on your cell phone, you may not have good coverage at your location. If coverage is poor at your residence you should not even consider T-Mobile home internet.

Gaming is not recommended with T-Mobile home internet or any 5G home internet service for that matter. Latency, jitter, and packet loss are all issues that face gamers. T-Mobile home internet struggles greatly with this, as do other 5G internet services. When the tower is congested the problem is even more noticeable.

Over the course of a several minutes pings can range all the way from 40 ms all the way up to 500+ ms. This makes it completely unusable for most forms of online gaming. During the off peak overnight hours performance is generally a little better but still not great. In comparison, a typical cable or fiber-based internet connection will offer latencies of 20 ms or less.

Even a low bandwidth DSL connection offers latencies in the 40 ms range. Starlink is also much better suited for gaming with latencies in the 40 – 50 ms range. Packet loss and jitter are problematic with T-Mobile home internet which makes it a poor choice for gaming or any real time communications such as VoIP. If You are a gamer, pass on 5G internet services, at least for now.

Another downside of using T-Mobile 5G Home Internet for gaming is the use of CGNAT. Like most cell phone carriers, T-Mobile uses CGNAT to assign IP addresses to subscribers. With CGNAT your router does not get assigned a public IP address directly. This is usually not a huge problem for web browsing and watching Netflix. For gaming CGNAT is not preferable as it results in a double NAT environment.

Double NAT caused by T-Mobile using CGNAT primarily affects people that are looking to get an “Open NAT Type” within games. With CGNAT it is not possible to get an Open NAT Type in most cases. Generally CGNAT will result in an automatic “Strict NAT Type”. This is because CGNAT creates a double NAT environment.

Learn More About Gaming With T-Mobile Home Internet

Gaming T-Mobile vs Xfinity

If you work from home you probably do not want to make the switch to T-Mobile home internet at this time. Performance is inconsistent at times and higher latency makes it less than ideal for virtual meetings. If you rely on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other any videoconferencing platform you will want to stick with a traditional wired home broadband internet connection such as Xfinity (Comcast) or Verizon Fios.

As with gaming, videoconferencing requires a low latency and low jitter connection. With latency spiking to 500+ ms in many cases and jitter as high as 90 ms, 5G home internet is not ideal for virtual meetings. Connecting to corporate VPNs over 5G cellular internet can also be difficult to packet loss. You may get frequent disconnects from your corporate VPN. If you work from home, a cable / fiber based internet connection is your best option hands down.

VPN T-Mobile Home Internet

Reliability is paramount, although no internet connection is truly bulletproof, 5G connections are much more variable in their connection speed and quality. If there is a local event in the region and the local cell tower is crowded, your internet may suffer. If you work from home this could be an issue.

T-Mobile home internet uses CGNAT and their provided gateway offers no bridge mode or passthrough mode. This means that if you connect your own router you will have a triple NAT setup. This is likely to cause a whole host of issues. The first layer of NAT is happening on the T-Mobile network via CGNAT, the second layer of NAT is happening on the T-Mobile 5G gateway, and the third layer of NAT is happening on your personal router. Triple NAT can create a variety of issues ranging from performance to connectivity.

With Xfinity (Comcast) you have the option of either using a straight cable modem without router functionality or putting your gateway into true bridge mode. This will pass your public IP address through to your personal router. This results in a properly configured network with just a single device (your personal router) performing NAT.

If you wish to use your own router avoid T-Mobile home internet.

Learn More About Double NAT

Xfinity (Comcast) offers a never ending stream of promotions and deals on internet packages. Depending on when you buy and the current promotions offered, you will likely be paying around $50 per month plus taxes and fees for the first year of service. Often times you can renew the promotional rate, but in same cases your bill can escalate to $70 per month or more. If you opt for a higher service tier you can expect to pay a slightly higher rate. Keep in mind that even the 300 Mbps plan is more than adequate for most people. Even if T-Mobile theoretically offers higher speeds, your speeds with Xfinity will be much more consistent and stable. You will pretty much get the speeds you subscribe to regardless of the time of day or other factors.

T-Mobile home internet currently costs $50 per month with all taxes and fees included. This is similar to what you would pay for lowest internet package with Xfinity during the promotion period, and less than the full price you may may pay upon renewal with Xfinity. If saving money is your top priority and a difference of $10 – $15 per month is meaningful to you, T-Mobile home internet is likely for you.

This of course assumes that you do not have cable TV service with Xfinity (Comcast). If you are not a cord cutter or not interested in becoming a cord cutter you have absolutely no financial reason to make the switch. The bundle pricing with Xfinity for TV and internet is going to be less expensive than paying for Xfinity (Comcast) TV and T-Mobile home internet. Just be sure to ask Xfinity about any current promotions and make sure you are getting the best possible rate. If they do not budge on the price ask for the customer retention department. They often have the most ability to get you the best rate.

Stay With Xfinity (Comcast) If The Following Applies

  1. You need a highly stable and reliable internet connection.
  2. You are a gamer.
  3. T-Mobile has poor signal at your residence.
  4. You want to use your own router.
  5. You want the fastest possible speeds.

With Xfinity (Comcast) you will get a stable and reliable internet connection with consistent download and upload speeds. This makes it a solid option if you rely on your internet connection for critical tasks. This could include working from home, running a small business, or using VoIP services. latency with Xfinity is usually in the 20 ms – 30 ms range, and jitter is usually less than 5 ms. This means that real time communications such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams will perform well. Corporate VPN connections will also be generally stable and free from drops.

If you are a gamer you will likely have no issues using Xfinity internet. The low latency offered and lack of CGNAT makes it an ideal choice for gaming. If you want an open NAT type in games Xfinity (Comcast) is a good choice. You get a public IP address that you can use to set up port forwarding.

Xfinity Internet Speed

The quality of service you will get from T-Mobile largely depends on your proximity to the local cell phone tower and the number of obstructions. In many cases a difference of just a few hundred feet can be the difference between good coverage and spotty coverage. T-Mobile only offers its home internet where it has sufficient tower capacity to support the additional demands. Of course cell phone carriers are notorious for over estimating their coverage areas and their network capacity. If you have T-Mobile cell phone service and performance is lacking at your residence, you do not want your home broadband internet running off the same towers. With Xfinity you can be sure that if service is available you, will be getting the speeds you are subscribed to. This is the nature of the DOCSIS 3.1 technology used by Xfinity. Wired communications tend to be more reliable and less susceptible to outside interference.

Cable Modem Xfinity

With Xfinity (Comcast) you get a public IP address and the ability to bridge your public IP address to your own router. There are many reasons you may want to use your own router. These can include better Wi-Fi coverage, faster speeds, or additional security features. If you wish to use your own router, Xfinity will not provide any hoops to jump through.

Last but not least, another reason you may want to stay with Xfinity is if you want the absolute fastest download speeds. With Xfinity you can get internet service up to 1.2 Gbps (1,200 Mbps) in most areas. This is ideal if you do a lot of downloading of large files or have multiple users sharing the internet connection. Most people would be perfectly fine with 200 Mbps to 400 Mbps, but if you need and or want the extra speed Xfinity can offer it at an affordable price. Your bandwidth will also be very consistent and you can expect to get the speeds you are paying for sometimes even more. (Xfinity is known to overprovision their modems by 20%.)

Conclusion

Alternatives to traditional home broadband internet connections have recently been put in the spotlight. Many people are excited about new alternatives on the horizon. T-Mobile is a newcomer to the home internet market. For many people T-Mobile home internet may be a decent option.

For other people Xfinty (Comcast) internet is well worth the additional cost because it offers the consistent reliable performance they need. Whether you make the switch or not, you can’t argue with having more competition in the market. The home broadband market is badly in need of some additional competition both to reduce costs and to drive the innovation of new technology.

5G home internet from T-Mobile and Verizon along with Starlink satellite internet are all exciting new options that ultimately give the consumer more options.

FAQ

Is T-Mobile home internet actually unlimited

Yes it is unlimited, however your data is deprioritized when the cell phone tower is congested. This may reduce your download speeds significantly in some cases. There is however no data cap and you are not charged based on your usage.

Does T-Mobile slow down home internet

T-Mobile does not throttle your internet when you exceed a certain amount of data usage. However your data is deprioritized when the cell phone tower is congested. This may reduce your download speeds significantly in some cases. Cell phone users get a higher priority of data.

Is T-Mobile 5G faster than Xfinity (Comcast)

T-Mobile is generally not faster than Xfinity (Comcast). Xfinity offers speeds of up to 1 Gbps. In most cases speeds with T-Mobile 5G will be 200 Mbps or less. Xfinity offers faster internet than T-Mobile in most cases. T-Mobile is improving it network all the time.