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Wireless Internet Access




Get Online Without Wires

  • The Wireless Hotspot:
    You can buy a small box from the wireless carriers or secondary sources that accesses a cellular network and re-distributes the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection to several devices.

  • Wireless Modem:
    This can be an external box or a small USB adapter that plugs in to your desktop computer or laptop. These plug-in devices can be moved among equipment and locations. Carriers and re-sellers offer special plans for these adapters, usually with Unlimited broadband usage with 4G LTE speeds.

  • Wireless Home Phone + Internet:
    AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet
    A single box connects your home phones and online devices through a wireless connection.   Connection to your computer and other devices is made through a wi-fi connection.

  • Cellular-Enabled Devices:
    Many tablets offer the option of accessing the Internet directly, both at home and away. Many wireless carriers and re-sellers now offer special tablet plans with Unlimited broadband access often at 4G LTE speeds. While some devices need to have internal circuitry that will work with cellular broadband, others can accept just a SIM or USB plug.

  • Your Smart Phone:
    You can use a Smart phone for all of your Internet activities at home including accessing a printer and other conveniences. Some Smart phones offer "tethering" which enables you to connect a computer or similar device to the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection provided by the Smart phone. Some wireless plans and some carriers restrict tethering capability.

  • Satellite Broadband:
    It sounds like it should be available anywhere but you still need a cellular connection for the uplink. It may work in a location where other things have failed and it can be bundled with satellite TV service.

  • Fixed Wireless:
    Fixed Wireless normally includes a separate antenna that is professionally mounted on or near the exterior of your home or business to provide a strong signal for better connectivity. Fixed Wireless is primarily available today in areas where other high-speed Internet connections are not offered. Fixed Wireless may be offered by a number of independent ISP's in several parts of the country and is expanding nationally by AT&T. With 5G, Fixed Wireless will become more common, some with self-installing simplicity.

Considerations for Wireless Internet:
  • Make Sure Your Wireless Coverage is Good
    It's preferable to be on your carrier's own network without roaming and check every room of your house for coverage, including the basement. Don't just assume wireless works well at home, do speed checks in different rooms with your Smart phone or one borrowed from a friend. Make sure you can return a device if performance isn't what you expected. If not, you should find a carrier that works better with Cellular Carrier Reviews, or you may need a Cellular Signal Booster in your home.

  • Check Your Speed
    If you plan to use cellular as your 'broadband' connection make sure the network offers high enough bandwidth for your usage. 3G might be fast enough, but 4G LTE is better. Some plans 'throttle' your data speed after a certain allotment, some down to dial-up speeds although there are others that only slow you down to 3G.

  • Do The Math
    Make sure your changes make economic sense. Consider increased wireless costs and the loss of any 'bundled' discounts. Don't be fooled by short-term promotions. Project your costs out a year or two to make sure the promotional price makes the regular price you pay later, acceptable.

  • Consider an Unlimited Data Plan
    Don't accidentally go over your bucket of Data. Some plans for Hotspots have limits so you might consider a plan just for one device that is Unlimited. Some of these plans start as low as $10 per month.

  • Pay Your Bill
    All your precautions go down the drain if the carrier cuts you off for nonpayment, and they can do it faster than a wireline company can. Better, set up automatic payment from a credit card or checking account. Make sure to keep your credit card information current so you don't lose service if your credit card expires, or watch your checking account for enough balance to pay the next bill.

  • Independent Wireless Networks
    There are many independent networks that offer non-cellular wireless service to homes and businesses with download speeds ranging from 1 to over 50Mbps. Often these services are provided by small telephone companies and rural communications co-ops.

How Fast is Wireless Internet?
  • RootMetrics tested the four major carriers in 2014 to find out which one operates the fastest network in the America. The firm found that AT&Ts 4G LTE network is the fastest with download speeds averaging 18.6 Mbps and average upload speeds of 9.0 Mbps. The carrier had unmatched maximum download speeds, which topped the charts at a whopping 57.7 Mbps, and impressive maximum upload speeds of 19.6 Mbps. When LTE wasn’t available the company’s HSPA network still offered decent speeds. AT&T’s older 3G network averaged download speeds of 4.3 Mbps and upload speeds of 1.1 Mbps, well ahead of comparable 3G offerings.

  • Verizon Wireless was found to operate the second fastest LTE network with average download speeds of 14.3 Mbps and upload speeds of 8.5 Mbps. Speeds on the carrier’s network reached 49.3 Mbps for maximum downloads and an “extremely fast” 19.7 Mbps maximum upload speed. While Verizon’s network was found to be slightly slower than AT&T’s, the company has a larger footprint and was available in all 77 markets tested, compared to 47 tested markets for AT&T’s LTE service.

  • Sprint's LTE network showed great potential. The carrier averaged 10.3 Mbps for LTE downloads and 4.4 Mbps for LTE uploads, but was available in just five of the 77 markets tested. Sprint’s high-speed service maxed out at 32.7 Mbps down and 9.9 Mbps up.

  • T-Mobile has just started to roll out its 4G LTE network. While the company markets its HSPA+ network as 4G, it can’t really compete with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. The company’s HSPA+ network averaged download speeds of 7.3 Mbps and upload speeds of 1.5 Mbps, both of which are impressive for non-LTE offerings.

  • Independent wireless networks that offer non-cellular wireless service to homes and businesses with download speeds ranging from 1 to over 50Mbps.

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