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What is wireless home internet?

Wireless home internet is a wire-free internet connection that lets you connect all your devices wireless—anytime, anywhere. All you need is a modem and wireless router to get started.

You can set up home Wi-Fi via DSLcablesatellite or fixed wireless internet modems. Call to learn about 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 01/14/19.

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 free rentals on equipment, like a modem and/or wireless router.

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.

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 and your wireless router distributes your internet connection over airwaves to devices in your home. Instead of plugging in all your devices, they can wirelessly communicate with each other and the internet.

How to choose a wireless internet provider in your area

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

  • Connection type and availability: Multiple Wi-Fi service 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 1-10 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 3-25 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. However, if you do a lot of online gaming or video chat from home, remember to check the internet upload speeds too. High upload speeds help to improve live online interactions and 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 Wi-Fi 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 your Wi-Fi signal 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 devices like laptops, cell phones and smart TVs.
  • 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 01/14/2019.

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.

Speeds of 1-3 Mbps are great for:

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

Speeds of 3-8 Mbps are great for:

  • Casual web browsing
  • Streaming video in standard definition

Speeds of 8-12 Mbps are great for:

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

Speeds of 12-25 Mbps are great for:

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

Speeds of 25+ Mbps are great for:

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

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

Another thing to consider is your cell phone data plan. Having home 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 wireless internet network.

What speeds do I need?

Not quite sure what speeds are best for your favorite online activities? 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 sufficient.

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 will require 25-40 Mbps.

The online gamer

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

Still not sure which speeds you need? Take our quiz to see which speeds would be best for you and your household, so you only pay for what you actually need.

Internet-only plans with wireless internet and unlimited data

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

Providers Price Contract Internet speeds Offers or perks View offers
Frontier Logo

Frontier

$20/mo.* No contract Up to 6 Mbps Free Wi-Fi router rental with select plans Shop plans
Spectrum Logo

Spectrum

$44.99/mo.* No contract Up to 200 Mbps Free internet modem and antivirus with Security Suite Shop plans
Verizon Fios Logo

Verizon Fios

$54.99/mo.* No contract Up to 100 Mbps 100% fiber-optic network Shop plans
XFINITY Logo

Xfinity

$99.95/mo.* ($49.95/mo. + $50/mo. for unlimited data) No contract 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 01/14/2019.

If any of these unlimited data plans don’t quite fit your price range, some Wi-Fi service providers, such as Cox, offer lower cost internet plans with additional data you can purchase. 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 Wi-Fi service providers offer great home Wi-Fi deals available with TV and phone bundles. A bundle can help you save money compared to getting internet-only service and cable TV plans from separate companies. Call to shop internet-only plans or bundles in your area.

Last updated 01/14/2019.

Get cheap Wi-Fi for your home

Call Allconnect to learn more about wireless internet from Wi-Fi providers in your area. Our experts will help you choose a provider that can handle all your home Wi-Fi needs.

1.888.888.8888