4G Wifi modem speed issues

Hoping someone can help me with a slow internet speed problem I’ve been having with my home 4G wifi setup.
My setup is as follows:
1. I am using a Post paid Telstra 4G SIM card in a TP Link Archer MR200 AC750, 4G wifi modem.
2. The Telstra account comes with both voice and data but I am only interested in using the data.
3. I am using a separate Telstra voice and data sim in an iPhone 8.
4. I also have a separate Telstra voice and data sim in a Samsung galaxy A5.

The problem I have is that the speed I am getting on devices connected to the wifi modem either by wifi or directly by Ethernet cable, is much slower than the speeds I am getting on the phones via their own 4G services. For example, when running an Ookla speed test on an iPad Pro 9.7” connected to home wifi, I would get 1Mbps compared with 20 or 30Mbps on the phones through their own 4G service.

I am running the tests on the phones from the same room as the 4G router, so I don’t think router location is the problem.
I have tried taking the sim out of the modem and putting in a phone and when I do this, the download speed seems to be much faster than running the service through the wifi modem.

The max speeds I have recorded on the iPhone 8 and Samsung galaxy A5 on their own 4G services has been about 50Mbps, whereas the max speed I have recorded on my iPad pro connected via wifi to the modem has been 5Mbps.

Does anyone know what could be causing the slower speeds through the wifi modem? I was wondering if any of the following could be affecting it:
1. Because the Telstra service comes with voice as well as data, the service is not provisioned correctly on Telstra’s end to be used in a 4G wifi modem?
2. Do I need to play around with the modem’s settings to optimise it somehow? If so, what do I need to change?
3. Is the modem I am using simply not good? I thought TP Link was a pretty good brand, plus even if it wasn’t the best, I wouldn’t expect the speeds to be so much slower than using the sim in a phone directly.

Any help would be much appreciated.


  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian
    edited October 2020

    I don't know anything about Telstra but I can relay my experience with T-Mobile. I have not attempted to use a dedicated router+4g modem (gateway) but there's a distinct difference in performance when tethering my phone to a computer over WiFi vs my phone's native Internet performance. The two connections are metered differently through T-Mo; the tethered WiFi connection is slower and is throttled to nearly nothing after a paltry couple of gigabytes of download while the phone continues at normal speeds (this is on an "unlimited" plan). I can work around this using PdaNet with the server installed on my phone and the client on my laptop.

    With regards to your situation, I think that it's possible that your gateway is being represented improperly as a "tethered" service to Telstra. You may need to search through your gateway's settings for something that allows it to represent itself to your 4g network provider as a phone instead of a tethered computer. Failing that, I'd guess that your service plan is not the correct one for a 4g base station since it includes voice service; I know that T-Mo offers separate plans for data-only modems vs actual phones which might be the root cause of your gateway's issue. In my experience with T-Mo, the phone plan is a better deal than the data-only plan and based on your problems I'd guess it's a similar story for Telstra.

    With regards to your gateway, TP-Link would not be my first choice but I wouldn't expect its shortcomings would result in the kind of performance degradation you're describing. You might try installing your gateway's SIM card in your phone or tablet to check that you get the expected performance to isolate whether the problem lies with your gateway or with the service plan you picked. If your phone/tablet performs normally with the gateway's SIM card and you've exhausted your gateway's phone emulation options, I'd guess that either your gateway's Telstra service plan isn't compatible with it or that your gateway is malfunctioning. Telstra's customer service should be able to help you diagnose further.

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