AT&T Fixed Wireless Two Year Review

My two-month review has been one of my most popular posts so I thought it might be of use to give another update now that a longer time period has passed.

I’ll start with the bad and get it out of the way. Around last October we began having intermittent internet outages. These were random throughout the day. Sometimes I could unplug the router and antennae and it would fix and other times it would not. I spent time on the phone with tech support and after the third visit, my tech guy agreed to change out the router box to see if that would fix the problem. That fixed that problem, although it did take around one month to accomplish.

In March, around the time the pandemic arrived, we began having more random internet outages. This time around the AT&T box had all green lights and logging into the main page showed I had a good connection. We had used an AirPort Extreme Wireless router connected to the AT&T box to serve up wi-if to all of our devices. I removed the AirPort and connected everything to the AT&T box’s wi-if and the problem cleared up completely. At this point, I’m not sure if the AirPort Extreme was failing or if there was a firmware update on one of the two boxes that caused the problem. The AirPort Extreme had been working with it from the first day we installed the fixed wireless.

The only drawback that occurred was finding out that the range of the wi-fi of the AT&T box was smaller and could not reach every corner of the house as it did before. I’d always been intrigued with mesh wi-fi and while reading about those I discovered that AT&T offers a Smart Wi-Fi Extender for $40 that works with their fixed wireless box like other mesh systems. I installed it on the opposite side of the house from the main box. Connecting it was as simple as pressing the WPS button on the main box and extender. No passwords needed to be typed in or web addresses to log in to. Nice! We now have a stronger signal throughout the house and our devices connect to whichever has the best signal without any intervention on our part.

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Extender with Roku remote to show size

The family has really put the fixed wireless internet to good use during the pandemic. With the kids and my wife at home, they have all been doing multiple Zoom meetings throughout the day. These have worked well enough despite the limitations of our connection speed. AT&T has eliminated data caps during this time. We would have easily gone over the 250GB with all of the Zooms and other online learning had they not changed it.

The fact that our fixed wireless has been able to sustain the extra traffic during the pandemic would lead me to believe that AT&T could easily allow for larger tiers of data to purchase in the future. Perhaps they could offer 500GB for one price and unlimited for another. Another service, My Rural Wi-Fi, offers unlimited internet data utilizing AT&T towers for only $99 a month. Instead of an outdoor antenna, it uses a mobile hotspot typically sold for RV’s. Without a large outdoor antenna, it might not work for those on the extremes, however, it does make you wonder why an unlimited data plan is not offered on AT&T’s fixed wireless, too.

After two years AT&T fixed wireless is still the best internet available in my area. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to the future with the possibilities of improved speed with 5G, as well as the potential of the internet from the upcoming Starlink via satellite. Hopefully, they will come sooner than later.

12 thoughts on “AT&T Fixed Wireless Two Year Review

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  1. We’ve had the AT&T service for 4 months and have generally been very pleased. Download speeds have consistently been in the 40 range and there are only occasional outages, most of which are for less than 40-45 seconds.

    I did connect the router to a Deco mesh wireless network and now have very good coverage both in the house, in an adjacent shop building, and in our nearby guest house.

    The good AT&T coverage has been very welcome during the pandemic and has allowed me to successfully work from home and participate in several daily Zoom meetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome. We’re only able to get around 15-25 with our distance from the tower. Still much better than every current alternative for us. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. I did get a letter from our rural electric co-op that within a year they will be offering unlimited 1000 mbps fiber to all their customers. I’m really excited about that prospect. Hopefully other co-ops will also begin doing that. It would really be good for those of us who live out in the country

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    1. That would be nice. A utility in the county next door is exploring their options with fiber. Maybe the current need for teleworking will encourage others to make investments to help rural customers.

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  3. Thanks for the update farmerbright. I will make notes of the recent comments on this post. Will be looking into my rural wifi. Will also take notes on the routers y’all used. Not sure I want satellite. I’ve got a phone line. Can’t figure out why I can’t install a disk on the computer and get dsl service. Feel free to update again soon when you get the chance.

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    1. We don’t use a VPN so I don’t have any personal experience. There has been no problem with online banking or logging into everyday sites at our house. Maybe someone will chime in with an answer.

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  4. Hoping I can get the ATT wireless router installed on a pole. I’ve got 3 buildings and trees near where I’d put the router on my house. Installing a router on a pole will place it directly in front of the cell towers. Wish I could get spectrum internet with no data caps. Will be checking with my electric coop or someone to see if they will be laying fiber in my area in my lifetime.

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    1. The good news is that they are currently not charging for data overages due to Covid-19, but I have not read how long that will last. The technician they send out will try to measure the signal for the best spot. Hope you get it where works good for signal strength and usability.

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