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Sagemcom 5866 5G modem and Ralink RT3290, and 1st impressions

Level 2

I recently switched from a plan for NBN 50Mb/s unlimited data bundled with a landline for $75/month to TPG's 5G Premium Home Broadband 100 Mb/s for $65 with $10 off for six months and one month free. I notice that my previous ISP now offers $10 off for twelve months for a 50 Mb/s plan at $65. Had they made me that offer, I probably wouldn't have switched.


The Sagemcom 5866 5G modem arrived after four business days, and it was reasonably easy set up. I configured the LAN and Wi-Fi settings exactly as they were before, changing the router's admin password, its address to, and the SSID and Wi-Fi password. I would have liked to change its DNS servers, but they are locked down.


When I started to set up the new modem, I simply moved the Ethernet cable from the old to the new; then I accessed the new modem on its web interface at the original address from my PC and applied my modifications. Logging in at the new address worked, but I couldn't see any of the wireless network devices (printer, TV, Chromecast) from my PC. It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that there were now two identically configured Wi-Fi networks in the house, and my PC was connected to the new modem, and everything else to the old one. After switching the old modem off, everything was working for all major Wi-Fi devices in the house: printer, phones, tablets, Chromecast, smart TVs without any change to those.


Except that a day later, I got my laptop out, and it didn't want to connect to the new modem at all. "Unidentified network" was the message in the Network and Sharing Center, and pings to the router responded with "Destination host unreachable." After several hours, I concluded that the Ralink RT3290 wireless network card could not communicate with the Sagemcom 5866. I desperation, I ordered a Simplecom NW811 AX1800 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter for the laptop. A good time later I discovered that two settings in the Sagemcom wireless setup were responsible for the failure: 802.11 b/g/n/ax, and WMM Wi-Fi Multimedia On. Setting them to 802.11 b/g/n and WMM Off (either one alone didn't fix it) resolved the problem. After researching the pros/cons of channel widths for the 2.4 GHz spectrum, I had already set it to 20 MHz, and I didn't change that. The Simplecom adapter will arrive in a few days, and I hope that I can then return the Sagemcom to its Wi-Fi 6 settings.


I learned much more about Wi-Fi and networking than I would have liked in this episode. A proper manual for the modem might have had appropriate advice; alas, there is none.


Conclusion: the modem has now worked reliably and continuously for four days. It shows almost always four green bars, occasionally three (we are ~350 meters from the tower). Speeds measured on the PC are well above 100 Mb/s down (often above 150) and 20 Mb/s up, ping time ~35 ms. When close to the modem, down speed is ~10 Mb/s on my very cheap phone, on better phones double that, on a tablet about 50 Mb/s. One of these days, I might run a speed test on a TV. I really would like to be able to change DNS servers on the modem, because I had an ISP's servers temporarily fail in the past. The same applies to the inability to configure the time server(s). The Device Info page for connected devices ought either retrieve hostnames from the devices consistently or allow assigning them. The error log, which is remarkably slim, ought to have provision for a log server; a firewall log would be nice. I'm using one Ethernet port now, but the other two might come handy for some. The time-out of the administration web interface, which seem to kick in regardless of activity, ought to configurable – it's infuriating as short as it is. It should provide basic testing tools like ping and trace route. DHCP address reservation throws error messages and doesn't seem to work. Glaringly, there is no explanation to be found anywhere what the USB slot can be used for.