Home Wi-Fi service plans

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What is home Wi-Fi?

Instead of plugging in all your devices, Wi-Fi lets you connect them wirelessly — anytime, anywhere. All you need is a modem and wireless router to get started.

For Wi-Fi internet to work, your modem translates the internet signal from your internet service provider, then your wireless router distributes the connection over airwaves to devices in your home.

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

  • Modem: This device receives the internet connection from your provider and uses Ethernet cables to connect other devices. It doesn’t transmit your Wi-Fi signal through the house.
  • Router: This device takes the connection from your modem and sends the signal to devices like laptops, cell phones and smart TVs.

Some providers also use devices with the modem and router built in to a single device. Keep in mind that the equipment cost may not be included in your initial plan costs, and some providers let you use your own Wi-Fi devices.

The best wireless internet service providers for home Wi-Fi

As ranked by Reviews.com as of 05/06/19.

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.

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.

Unlimited home Wi-Fi plans near you

Some Wi-Fi network providers offer internet-only plans without data limits. Here are some unlimited Wi-Fi plans that may be available at your address.

ProvidersStarting price*Speeds up toOffer perksLearn more
AT&T Internet
AT&T
$70/mo.1,000 MbpsWi-Fi Gateway router includedView AT&T plans
Frontier
Frontier
$20/mo.6 MbpsFree Wi-Fi router rental with select plansView Frontier plans
Charter Spectrum
Spectrum
$44.99/mo.200 MbpsFree internet modem and antivirus with Security SuiteView Spectrum plans
Verizon Fios Logo
Verizon Fios
$39.99/mo100 Mbps100% fiber-optic network View Verizon plans
XFINITY
XFINITY
$99.95/mo. ($49.95/mo. + $50/mo. for unlimited data)15 MbpsXFINITY xFi allows you to control your home network remotelyView XFINITY plans

*Price 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 05/06/2019.

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

Many 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 TV plans from separate companies.

How to choose a wireless internet provider in your area

When shopping for 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, find internet service providers 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 determines 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 internet bandwidth, the more devices you can connect without causing lag.
  • Internet upload speeds: Many providers advertise high download speeds because most people download information more than they upload. However, if you do a lot of live online interactions such as online gaming or video chat from home, remember to check the internet upload speeds too.

Choosing a Wi-Fi service speed

When choosing your Wi-Fi 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

Speeds of 3-6 Mbps are great for:

  • Streaming video in standard definition on 1 device

Speeds of 6-18 Mbps are great for:

  • Casual web browsing
  • Streaming video in standard definition on multiple devices
  • Streaming video in high definition

Speeds of 18-25 Mbps are great for:

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

Speeds of 25-50 Mbps are great for:

  • Online gaming with 3+ devices
  • Large file downloads
  • Streaming video in 4K Ultra HD on 1-2 devices

Speeds of 50+ Mbps are great for:

  • Streaming video in 4K Ultra HD on multiple devices
  • Working from home
  • Families with multiple connected devices
  • Downloading large files and HD movies
  • Video chatting and screen sharing

One thing to keep in mind is that there are many factors that can affect your Wi-Fi internet speed, such as actual vs. advertised speeds, the number of devices connected, the time of day you’re connected and your type of online activities. Additionally, Wi-Fi service, in general, can result is slightly slower speeds since it’s a wireless connection, not a hard-wired connection.

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 use the internet to check email, keep up with social media and do some online shopping, then speeds of 6-10 Mbps should be sufficient. If you upload a lot of photos, spring for slightly faster speeds.

The binge watcher

If you expect to see the “Are you still watching?” prompt one too many times, you’ll need speeds of at least 10 Mbps. Binge watchers who stream in 4K Ultra HD will require 25-50 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.

Wi-Fi service frequently asked questions

Wi-Fi is essentially an extension of your internet service, not a service all of its own. The internet connection that comes to your modem from your ISP is the same connection that your router transmits to your devices. You need an internet connection, whether it be cable, DSL, fiber-optic or satellite, to get Wi-Fi service in your home.

It is common for a wireless connection to be slower than a wired, or LAN, connection. There are many factors that can affect Wi-Fi speeds, such as proximity to the router, the number of connected devices and the quality of the router itself. Even running your microwave can affect Wi-Fi speeds. If your home Wi-Fi speeds are slower than you’d like, here are a few tips for boosting your Wi-Fi connection.

Last updated 05/06/19.

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