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How to Set up a Mesh Network with T

Apr 09, 2023Apr 09, 2023

by Josh Kirschner on February 17, 2023in Tips & How-Tos, Computers and Software, Internet & Networking :: 13 comments

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet can be an effective replacement for traditional cable and fiber ISPs. However, because T-Mobile's Home Internet relies on cellular signals rather than wiring into your home, it usually requires placing the 5G gateway near a window facing the direction of your local cell tower. While that placement optimizes the signal into your home, it may not be ideal for sending a WiFi signal throughout your home or apartment. And the best way to overcome issues with in-home WiFi coverage for your T-Mobile Home Internet is to install a mesh network.

I have been testing T-Mobile 5G Home Internet for the last six months and connected it to my Eero mesh system. Setting up the mesh network with the 5G Home Internet gateway was straightforward. I’ll walk you through the steps and give you an essential tip for optimal performance. These steps will be the same whether you’re using Eero, Google Nest, TP-Link, or any of the other major mesh systems.

And that's it; you should be all set with strong wireless throughout your home. This process will be the same if you already have an existing mesh network set up in your home and are switching from cable to T-Mobile for internet access.

Based on my experience and feedback from our readers, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet can be a life-changer or rather frustrating, with occasional internet drops, depending on your local cell tower congestion. The good news is that if you’re not happy with cable and considering moving to T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, the cost is $50 total per month (no extra fees) and has no contract or setup fees. So you can test it out to see if it works well for your home with very little financial commitment.

[Image credit: Josh Kirschner/Techlicious]

Josh Kirschner is the co-founder of Techlicious and has been covering consumer tech for more than a decade. Josh started his first company while still in college, a consumer electronics retailer focused on students. His writing has been featured in Today.com, NBC News and Time.

From Graham Martin on March 01, 2023 :: 1:01 pm

Did you use a different SSID and password for the routers than what the gateway was broadcasting?


From Josh Kirschner on March 01, 2023 :: 6:40 pm

When setting up the mesh network, I would use different SSIDs to avoid any drops or glitches from devices hopping between the two WiFi networks.


From Shari on March 31, 2023 :: 7:02 am

I keep seeing something about Bridge mode, can you explain if I need to do this with the mesh router. thanks.


From Josh Kirschner on April 03, 2023 :: 1:46 pm

Bridge mode is something you would set on your router to pass through the internet connection to another device (e.g., your mesh router). This would essentially turn off WiFi on your router to eliminate any interference or conflicts.

However, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet routers don't support bridge mode, nor can you manually turn off the WiFi. So to use T-Mobile 5G Home Internet with Eero, Nest or another mesh router system, follow the steps above to get it set up and help reduce potential WiFi interference.


From Griff Glowen on April 16, 2023 :: 3:08 am

Thanks for this. I’m not particularly tech-minded but have switched to Three 5g and now looking into buying a mesh system since the best position for the Three Hub is upstairs a long way from most of the devices that need it.Just wondering why you connect using Ethernet rather than just using Wi-Fi?Do you have any tips on what to look for in a mesh? Eg is Wi-Fi 6 a big deal for a home where speeds aren't likely to exceed 200/300 mbps anyway?


From Josh Kirschner on April 16, 2023 :: 8:07 pm

I haven't tried setting up a mesh network via WiFi to your modem/router/gateway. It won't work for Eero and I’m making an educated guess that it won't work for other systems, either. You can set your mesh system to bridge mode so that it will use the same WiFi network as your T-Mobile router. However, you may lose certain features of your mesh system and I just prefer having a clean, separate mesh network. Here are the steps for setting your Eero into bridge mode.

WiFi 6 isn't necessary, but it does have advantages beyond a slight speed benefit, such as better battery management for connected devices. Since WiFi 6 prices have come down a fair amount, I would recommend going with a WiFi 6 system for those reasons as well as overall future-proofing. But if all you can afford is an older mesh system, that will be fine for most uses.


From Gene on April 21, 2023 :: 2:24 pm

Josh, I love the T-Mobile service. Its fast and inexpensive. But, I have multiple Sonos audio devices that I guess expect a Static IP address and the T-Mobile 5G connection uses dynamic IP addresses. My option is to add a separate wifi router system and others on some Sonos community discussions refer to using eero routers to solve the issue. Do you know if adding a couple eero routers to my T-Mobile system will fix the issue? I cannot listen to more than 30 minutes of music before the Sonos system loses connection to the T-Mobile service. Thanks for any help. Both T-Mobile and Sonos are pointing fingers at each other.


From Josh Kirschner on April 21, 2023 :: 3:47 pm

I researched this and came up with a lot of murky explanations, some of which don't make sense (including from Sonos). My best guess from what I’ve read is that it has to do with the way the T-Mobile 5G router assigns and shares access between the 5GHz and 2.4 GHz WiFi bands which prevents the speakers from connecting to each other through the network. There are two possible easy solutions to try before you buy another router or mesh system.

First, set the WiFi network to only run in 2.4GHz in the T-Mobile Internet app settings. By forcing everything to remain on 2.4GHz, it may fix the communication issues. There is a little downside to killing the 5GHz as far as network speed and congestion, but it probably won't be significant.

The second option is to plug your first Sonos speaker into the 5G router via Ethernet and then continue the setup with the other Sonos devices. I’ve read (but haven't confirmed) that this will cause the Sonos speaker to set up a private 2.4GHz network for communicating with other Sonos devices, avoiding the T-Mobile WiFi network entirely. It's not clear to me if you have to keep this speaker plugged in to Ethernet or can remove it to use on WiFi after setup.

If neither of those options work, then you may have to try Eero or another system that offers more flexibility in the router options and, perhaps, better cross-band sharing. Eero would also resolve any issues with internal static IP addresses, though I’m not clear that is actually the issue as the T-Mobile router shouldn't be swapping IP addresses on your network every 30 minutes.

Please let me know what ends up working for you.


From Gene Morel on April 21, 2023 :: 4:32 pm

I will try and switch to the 2.4 GHz band. I did try something like that before but didnt like the adverse effects but that was before I added the Sonos devices. I did talk to eero support and they recommended putting a TP-Link TL-SG105 unmanaged switch in the middle. I start to lose technical expertise here so I dont know why this would help but I am sure that if I order the system config like this, the instructions will help me out. I do have one Sonos device connected directly via ethernet cable but the problem doesnt go away. The other devices still say they are connected to the T-Mobile wifi and not Sonosnet. I did ask Sonos about that and they have yet to respond. Thanks for the help.


From Josh Kirschner on April 25, 2023 :: 9:37 am

I don't understand why they are recommending the switch, either. You should be fine with just the Eero, so would try that first.

When you set up the Sonos via Ethernet, make sure you have everything unpaired and reset before you plug in that first speaker to start the process so it defaults to the Sonosnet vs re-pairing with the prior T-Mobile network (at least that's how it should work, in theory).

From Jim on April 22, 2023 :: 11:44 pm

T-mobile says that their Home internet now has a built-in mesh in the little tower. One of the salespersons says that he uses a Google Mesh without any ethernet connections. I also read that Google, Eero, and all major brands will do the same. Any comments on this? I hoped to place the unit by a window and the mesh in a media closet. I only get 4 bars when the unit is in my media closet and five bars at a window.Thank you for your feedback.


From Josh Kirschner on April 25, 2023 :: 9:52 am

The T-Mobile Gateway does NOT have built-in mesh networking. You can use Nest or Eero to create a mesh network with the T-Mobile Gateway only using WiFi by putting the mesh router into bridge mode, but you will lose some of the advanced network features offered by the mesh network provider. And given how limited the T-Mobile features are, that may not be ideal for many people.

To learn more about the trade-offs of going this route read this article on setting your Eero into bridge mode.


From Gib on May 16, 2023 :: 10:08 am

If I keep the same network name on the mesh routers that I currently have my devices running on wirelessly will I have to setup and connect the devices after I switch my router from my current ISP to the t-mobile gateway?


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