Compare types of internet connections

Discover which type of internet service is right for you

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What is the best internet service in your area?

The best internet providers and plans in your area depend on where you live and what you’re looking for. Allconnect can help you find which internet service providers offer high-speed internet near you.

Some of the best internet service providers of 2018, according to Reviews.com, include the following popular brands:

  • AT&T - Great customer service, offers DSL and fiber internet
  • Cox - Most internet speed plan variety, offers cable internet
  • HughesNet - Best for rural areas, offers satellite internet
  • Spectrum - Great contract buyout offer, offers cable internet
  • Verizon Fios - Best fiber internet provider, offers DSL and fiber internet
  • XFINITY - Fastest maximum internet speeds, offers cable internet

As ranked by Reviews.com as of 08/30/18. Reviews.com is owned and operated by an affiliate of Allconnect, Inc. However, Allconnect, Inc. is not involved in or responsible for the production of Reviews.com content, including the rankings cited on this page.


Use Allconnect to find out which providers offer high-speed internet in your area, then shop plans, internet connection types, speeds and pricing to find the best internet service for you.

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Types of internet connections

Learn about different internet connection types and which browsing habits they best serve. Based on your internet usage, Allconnect can help you find the best connection, provider and plan for you.

  • Best for moderate users
  • Web browsing
  • Stream movies and music
  • Great for gaming and video chats
  • Largest providers include XFINITY and Charter Spectrum

  • Best for occasional to light users
  • Budget-friendly
  • Casual browsing
  • Check email, social media and news updates
  • Largest provider is AOL

  • Best for light to moderate internet surfers
  • Stream movies and music
  • Largest providers include HughesNet and Viasat

  • Best for moderate users
  • Great for streaming, browsing and gaming
  • Largest providers include AT&T Internet and CenturyLink

  • Best for avid users
  • Great for streaming, gaming, video chats and downloading large files
  • Fast upload speeds
  • Largest provider is Verizon Fios Internet

Many internet connection types offer a range of internet speeds, so in some regions, shoppers can get similar speeds from a variety of providers. In other areas, one type of internet connection may be distinctly slower or faster than another type.

The internet provider available in your area also affects what speeds you can get. For instance, some DSL internet providers offer speeds up to 15 Mbps while other providers offer speeds up to 140 Mbps. Use Allconnect to view providers and plans available in your area.

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What type of internet service do you need for your home?

Depending on your browsing habits, a certain type of internet connection may work best for the needs of you and your family. Keep in mind that certain types of internet connections may or may not be available where you live and that providers offering the same type of connection may supply drastically different speeds.

 

Compare cable, DSL, fiber and satellite internet connections

If you’re trying to find the best internet connection for your home, compare DSL vs. cable, cable vs. fiber internet and more based on which types fit well with certain online activities.

 

 Activities  Suggested speeds Cable  DSL   Fiber  Satellite
Email, web surfing & online shopping on 1-2 devices 5-10 Mbps
 
 
 
 
   
Email, web surfing & online shopping on 3+ devices 10-25 Mbps        
Streaming video in standard definition 5-10 Mbps        
Streaming video in HD 10-30 Mbps        
Online gaming, 1-2 devices 10-25 Mbps        
Online gaming, 3+ devices 25+ Mbps        
Working from home 40+ Mbps        

How we determined the suggested connection types

The chart above is based on minimum required connection speeds, internet reliability during peak usage, latency and upload speeds. For instance, satellite internet provides speeds adequate for gaming, but has high latency, which often prevents a consistent gaming experience.

Additionally, cable internet and fiber connections can handle most online activities. However, satellite or DSL internet may be better value options if you mainly use the internet to browse or stream on occasion.

The best internet for your home varies by how many connected devices you use, your online activities and the reliability of your provider. Use Allconnect to find out which internet providers offer high-speed plans in your area.

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Compare internet service features

When it comes to choosing the right internet connection for your household, price, speeds, availability and service reliability all matter. Consider how these features fit your browsing habits to select the best connection for you.

 Internet connection Price*  Speed range*   Latency  Availability Service Disruptions 
Cable   $$-$$$$  1.5 Mbps to 2,000 Mbps  Moderate to low latency  Offered by cable television providers  Low to moderate likelihood of service disruptions
Dial-up Up to 56 Kbps   High latency Offered across most of the U.S.  Moderate likelihood of service disruptions 
DSL  $-$$$   0.5 Mbps to 140 Mbps Moderate to low latency  Offered in most metro areas of the U.S.  Low likelihood of service disruptions 
Fiber-optic  $$$-$$$$   50 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps Low latency  Limited availability: Offered where fiber-optic networks are established   Low likelihood of service disruptions
Satellite  $$-$$$$   12 Mbps to 100 Mbps High latency   Offered in remote, rural, underserved areas  High likelihood of service disruptions

*Price and speed varies based on internet service provider and selected plan.

What type of internet connection do you have now?

If you know who your current internet provider is, we can help you find out what type of internet connection you have right now.

Internet plan name  Internet connection type Max internet speeds
AT&T Internet Basic and AT&T Internet DSL Up to 100 Mbps
AT&T Fiber℠ Fiber Up to 1,000 Mbps 
CenturyLink Pure Broadband or CenturyLink High-Speed Internet DSL Up to 140 Mbps 
CenturyLink High-Speed Internet 1 Gig Fiber Up to 1,000 Mbps  
Cox Internet Cable Up to 1,000 Mbps   
Frontier FiOS Fiber Up to 500 Mbps 
Frontier Vantage Fiber Fiber  Up to 500 Mbps 
Frontier Vantage internet FTTN (a mix of fiber and DSL)  Up to 115 Mbps 
Frontier Broadband DSL Up to 24 Mbps 
Spectrum Internet Cable Up to 1,000 Mbps
Verizon High Speed Internet DSL DSL Up to 15 Mbps
Verizon Fios Fiber Up to 1,000 Mbps 
XFINITY Internet Cable Up to 2,000 Mbps 

Frequently asked internet connection questions

Typically, fiber internet is the fastest type of internet. However, different cable providers recently implemented DOCSIS 3.0 technology to enable faster speeds. Multiple cable internet providers offer internet speeds up to 940 Mbps, and XFINITY offers up to 2,000 Mbps.

Cable internet and fiber internet are both reliable, but fiber has a slight edge. Fiber internet tends to give the lowest latency (delay in data communication) and is less likely to get clogged up by other internet users than cable internet. According to a 2016 FCC report, Optimum, Spectrum and Verizon Fios consistently perform at 90% or faster than advertised speeds.

An internet provider with a large number of Wi-Fi hotspots can help you go mobile. XFINITY and Optimum offer the most—each have millions of Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S. You can also pair XFINITY internet service plans with XFINITY mobile phone plans.

AT&T Fiber℠ offers equal upload and download speeds for all fiber internet plans. Verizon Fios comes close to providing equal upload and download speeds. The fastest Fios plan offers upload speeds up to 880 Mbps instead of matching the plan’s download speeds of up to 940 Mbps.

Look for a reliable internet connection such as cable or fiber. The speed you need depends on the size of your business and what kind of daily online communications your business uses. The more connected devices you have, and the larger the files you download and upload, the more bandwidth your business needs. When shopping, ask about included business internet features such as free email accounts, customer Wi-Fi, internet security systems, cloud backups and more.

No matter what type of internet connection you have, your wireless internet may deliver speeds slower than you pay for. Home internet can slow down because of other users in the area, your internet router needs reset, materials at home block the signal and other reasons. You can boost your internet by moving your router, resetting it, using a different transmission channel or using other internet boosting strategies.

Last updated 9/4/18.

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Now that you’ve learned about internet connection types, enter your ZIP code above or give us a call to shop internet service providers in your area.

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