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What is wireless home internet?

Home Wi-Fi gives you wireless access to the internet from anywhere in your home. With wireless home internet, you can connect all of your devices—anytime, anywhere. All you need is a modem and wireless router to get started.

You can set up Wi-Fi for your home via DSL, cable, satellite or fixed wireless internet modems. Allconnect can help you browse a variety of internet providers and types of internet.

The best wireless internet providers for home Wi-Fi

As ranked by Reviews.com as of 09/05/18.

Once you find a plan that suits your needs from one of the top internet service providers across the U.S., you’ll be ready to set up your home Wi-Fi. Depending on the provider and the plan you choose, you may even receive equipment, like a modem and/or wireless router, for free.

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.

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How does home Wi-Fi work?

Wireless home internet is a technology that allows you to set up a home Wi-Fi network using radio frequencies so your devices are always on and connected. An internet modem translates the internet signal from your internet service provider. Then, your wireless router distributes your internet connection over airwaves to devices in your home. Instead of plugging in all your devices, they can communicate with each other, and the internet, wirelessly.

How to choose a Wi-Fi provider in your area

When setting up your home Wi-FI, consider the following factors to determine the best Wi-Fi provider near you:

  • Connection type and availability: Multiple providers offer different types of connections—cable, satellite, DSL and fiber-optic—that each work a little differently. First, use Allconnect to find which internet service providers are available in your area, and then determine what connection type might be best based on your internet usage.
  • Data usage and online activities: How you use the internet will determine what download speeds you need to set up a solid home Wi-Fi network. Most casual users need speeds of 2-10 Mbps to send emails and browse the web making DSL and satellite good choices. However, if you game or stream TV, music and videos regularly, then you’ll want a home Wi-Fi speed of 10-15 Mbps or above. This will help you minimize buffering and lag
  • Number of devices: The more devices you have connected to your home Wi-Fi network, the more your wireless internet performance will suffer. Each connected device, and what it demands of the Wi-Fi signal, will affect how quickly the network performs. The higher your bandwidth, the more devices you can connect without causing lag
  • Internet upload speeds: Many providers heavily advertise high download speeds because most people download more than they upload. But if you do a lot of online gaming or video chat from home, remember to check the internet upload speeds too. High upload speeds, which help improve live online interactions, usually come with download speeds that are twice as fast.

What equipment do I need to get home Wi-Fi?

In addition to choosing a wireless service provider, you’ll also need to get the proper Wi-Fi equipment. Here’s what you may need to get started:

  • Modem: This device connects to the internet using a coaxial cable (same as your cable TV service) to bring the internet into your home. However, it doesn’t transmit Wi-Fi through the house.
  • Router: In order to transmit your Wi-Fi signal, you’ll need to set up a wireless router. This device sends the signal to your devices, such as laptops, cell phones and smart TV.
  • Wireless Gateway: Sometimes referred to as a cable modem router, this device functions as a dual modem and router. Combining the modem and router into one piece of equipment reduces the number of devices you have to set up.

Keep in mind that the cost of equipment may not be reflected in your initial plan costs. For instance, the Frontier Simply Broadband Core internet-only plan starts at $20 per month*, but also includes a $75 one-time installation fee, a $10 per month* broadband router fee, plus taxes, fees and surcharges. 

Some providers offer free equipment with select plans; however, in many cases, you may be able to buy your own. Just make sure that any modem and/or router you purchase is compatible with your provider and plan.

*Per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. Last updated 09/07/2018.

How to choose a Wi-Fi service speed

When choosing your wireless internet plan, think about how you plan to use the internet and your home Wi-Fi network to choose internet speeds you really need

It’s important to remember that due to multiple factors, internet speeds may not perform at optimum speeds, so consider getting a speed slightly faster than your ideal Wi-Fi service speed, or you can try boosting your Wi-Fi signal.

Another thing to consider is your cell phone data plan. Having Wi-Fi for your home means you may be able to reduce your cell phone bill since you can connect your wireless devices to your Wi-Fi network.

Low-speed internet options

Speeds of 2-4 Mbps are great for:

  • Email
  • Basic web browsing
  • Online shopping on 1-2 devices

Speeds of 4-10 Mbps are great for:

  • Casual web browsing
  • Streaming video in standard definition

Medium-speed internet options

Speeds of 10-25 Mbps are great for:

  • Online shopping on 3+ devices
  • Streaming video in high definition
  • Online gaming with 1-2 devices

Speeds of 25-40 Mbps are great for:

  • Online gaming with 3+ devices
  • Large file downloads
  • Streaming video in 4K Ultra HD

High-speed internet options

Speeds of 40+ Mbps are great for:

  • Working from home
  • Large families with multiple connected devices
  • Downloading large files and HD movies
  • Video chatting and screen sharing

What speeds do I need?

Not quite sure what speeds you need? Here’s what we recommend based on typical internet usage:

The social butterfly

If you’re only using the internet to check email, keep up with social media and do some online shopping, then speeds of 4-10 Mbps should be enough.

The binge watcher

If you expect to see the “Are you still watching” prompt one too many times, you’ll probably need speeds of at least 10 Mbps. Binge watchers who stream in 4K Ultra HD though will want 25-40 Mbps.

The online gamer

If Call of Duty is calling your name, consider speeds starting around 10+ Mbps. If you have multiple devices, or you download a lot of games, you may need up to 40 Mbps to ensure smooth gaming quality.

Internet-only plans with Wi-Fi and unlimited data

Here are some internet only plans without data limits from some of our top internet with Wi-Fi service providers.

  Price Term length Internet speeds Offers or perks View offers
AT&T internet $70/mo.*
($40/mo. + $30/mo.
for unlimited data)
1 year Up to 50 Mbps Wi-Fi Gateway router included Shop plans
Frontier internet $20/mo.* 2 years Up to 6 Mbps Free Wi-Fi router rental with select plans Shop plans
HughesNet internet $49.99/mo.* 2 years Up to 25 Mbps Built-in Wi-Fi means you only need a modem, no router Shop plans
Spectrum internet $44.99/mo.* 2 years Up to 200 Mbps Free internet modem and antivirus with Security Suite Shop plans
Verizon Fios internet $39.99/mo.* No contract Up to 100 Mbps 100% fiber-optic network Shop plans
XFINITY internet $79.99/mo.*
($29.99/mo. + $50/mo.
for unlimited data)
1 year Up to 15 Mbps XFINITY xFi allows you to control your home network remotely Shop plans

*Per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. Last updated 09/07/2018.

If any of these unlimited data plans don’t quite fit your price range, some providers, such as Cox, offer lower cost internet plans with additional data you can purchase. Multiple Wi-Fi providers offer an additional 50 GB per month for $10 per month. This may be an option to consider if you want to get cheap Wi-Fi and not pay for more data than you need.

Many of our providers offer great home Wi-Fi service deals available with TV and internet packages. A package can help you save money compared to getting internet only service and cable TV service from separate companies.

Compare Wi-Fi service plans

Last updated 09/07/2018

Get cheap Wi-Fi for your home

Enter your ZIP code to see home internet with Wi-Fi providers in your area. Compare your options online, or give us a call. Our experts will  help you choose a home Wi-Fi plan that can handle all your wireless home internet needs.

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