What is a 5G Modem and How Do You Choose the Best One for You?

5G broadband networks are the latest development in broadband connectivity offering up to 10 Gbps at peak performance. With these speeds, 5G networks offer faster connections than even fiber optics.

What is a 5G Modem

So, wireless internet providers are starting to offer 5G connections through 5G modems for home usage, allowing you to access 5G speeds from a laptop.



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Netgear Orbi 5G Tri-Band WiFi 6 Mesh System

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Comcast xFi 2022 Gateway

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What is 5G?

Before covering 5G modems, we first need to establish what 5G technology is. 5G technology refers to the 5th-generation standard for broadband network technology.


In comparison to 4G, 5G technology accommodates faster downloads of up to 10 Gbps and a higher bandwidth. A higher bandwidth leads to a host of benefits, including higher download speeds, enough bandwidth for simultaneously running applications, the ability to connect multiple computers to the internet at the same time without any loss of connection quality, etc.

All of this allows 5G technology to provide internet services highly competitive to those of modern fiber optics networks.

How Does 5G Work?

5G technology works by utilizing orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) to transmit a digital signal through different channels minimizing interference. It also uses sub-6 GHz bandwidth waves to widen bandwidth.

What is a 5G Modem and What are They Used For?

A 5G modem brings a 5G network into the building. Typically, broadband networks only provide access for mobile devices, but with a 5G modem, users can connect at-home or at-work devices to a 5G broadband network. This gives you 5G speeds without requiring any traditional cabling.

with a 5G modem, users can connect at-home or at-work devices to a 5G broadband network

Although 5G networks promise they can provide up to 10 Gbps download speeds, this rarely occurs in real-world use cases. Whether bandwidth is impeded by the connection speeds or distance from a 5G tower, average connection speeds come closer to 100 Mbps. Based on this average value, fiber connections can typically offer faster download and upload speeds.

So, what is the purpose of a 5G modem?

Generally, 5G modems find use in rural or suburban areas with limited fiber connectivity. These areas can lack the infrastructure and population density to make fiber optic cabling economically feasible for internet service providers. But, even areas with low population density need internet connection these days. As a result of adding, modems that can connect to 5G networks to rural and suburban communities, the high-speed internet becomes accessible to areas without fiber optic cable lines.

On top of providing internet connection to areas without fiber optics access, 5G modems are also great for solving internet dead spots inside the buildings. Instead of running new internet access lines to a dead spot in a building, you can use a 5G modem to achieve great bandwidth and fast connection in those areas.

The 3 Best 5G Modems in 2024

Determining the best 5G modem in 2024 partially depends on your specific use case. Some users need one that provides both 5G and WiFi 6 connectivity. Others need one that offers support for IoT devices. And some simply want that famed 5G speed. With these use cases in mind, here are the 3 best 5G modems in 2024:

Oppo logo

OPPO’s 5G CPE T1a boasts instant ultra-fast 5G and WiFi 6 connectivity. Powered by the Snapdragon X55 5G chip, the OPPO modem is exceptionally easy to use.


All users need to do is plug in a 5G sim card and the OPPO is ready to connect their devices to the internet.

Logo Netgear
Netgear Orbi 5G Tri-Band WiFi 6 Mesh System
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Netgear’s Orbi 5G Tri-Band WiFi 6 Mesh System brings mobile 5G technology into your home and offers up to 1 gigabit internet speed.


As a mesh system, the Orbi 5G Tri-Band WiFi 6 Series provides coverage up to 5000 square feet without needing to reconnect to different routers as you move through the building. With reliable WiFi 6 technology, it can provide speeds up to 4.2Gbps for up to 40 devices. Certified with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Comcast Xfinity logo
Comcast xFi 2022 Gateway

Comcast’s xFi Gateway Lines, Shapes offers a simple plan to bring 5G internet to the home. It features tri-band technology giving users 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands to best fit their current needs.

Comcast xFi 2022 Gateway

On top of tri-band connectivity, Comcast’s xFi Gateway also offers support for IoT devices, so you can keep every device in the building connected.

What is the Difference Between a 5G Router and a Modem?

In a typical internet connection scenario, an internet service provider supplies a wired internet connection to the modem via either a coaxial or fiber optics cable. Devices can then use Ethernet cables to connect to the modem itself for direct internet access or a router can be hooked up to the modem. A router then creates a small wireless network within a building allowing devices to connect to the hardwired connection wirelessly through Wi-Fi.

5G routers and modems work similarly. Except, instead of the modem connecting to a hardwired connection, the modem connects to a 5G broadband network and converts that connection to allow non-5G devices to connect to the internet. A router then takes that signal acting in the same way as a traditional router by creating a small network within a building. These devices can also be combined into a 5G router modem that accomplishes the responsibilities of both a modem and router in a single device.

Summing it all Up

To sum it all up, bringing 5G access to non-compatible devices through a modem can expand internet connectivity to rural or suburban areas that lack high-speed internet access. With a single device and a 5G sim card, 5G modems do not require any hardwiring to offer internet access making them a great solution for filling out internet dead spots in a building.

You can find every internet dead spot in a building using NetSpot’s signal heat mapping function. Signal heatmaps provide a visual representation of internet strength throughout an area.

Wifi Heatmap

Using this heatmap, you can find the ideal location for a 5G modem to enhance internet access throughout a building.


WiFi analyzer app runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.12+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10/11) with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax wireless network adapter.

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Are there any 5G modems available?

There is a wide range of 5G modems available on the market today.

Which 5G modem is the best?

Depending on your use case, the best three 5G modems are the OPPO 5G CPE T1a, the Netgear Orbi 960 Series, and the Comcast xFi Gateway.

Do you need a special modem for 5G?

A special modem is required for 5G connectivity. It differs from a cable and fiber modem in that it is not wired to receive data from your Internet service provider, but rather uses a wireless connection to fetch the 5G signal to your home.

What does 5G modem mean?

A 5G modem refers to any modem that can connect to a 5G broadband network and then provide that connection to devices not compatible with 5G broadband.

Is 5G in the modem or router?

5G is the technology standard for broadband cellular networks. If you have a 5G modem, you can wirelessly connect it to a 5G network distributing signal in your area and fetch the signal to your home. Then your router converts the signal into WiFi that covers your living space making internet available to the devices connected to your wireless network.

Read next in Other Hardware

If you want to get more information about Wi-Fi, check out the following articles about Wi-Fi Hardware etc.

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