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We all want to get online instantly. That’s just part of why finding a new internet plan for your home and mobile devices can be such a frustrating experience. Not to mention comparing all the different benefits, variables, costs, and fine print, to find one that’s affordable and a good fit for your situation.
The good news? There are a ton of the best internet plans out there to choose from these days. The not-so-good news? Well, there’s a lot to choose from, and it can quickly get overwhelming. We took a look at a bunch of options, narrowing down our list to the best internet plans to try right now below. Here are our picks to help get you on the right path to finding your perfect plan.
What to Know About Wireless Internet Plans
From the speed to the amount of data offered, here’s what to know when looking for your next internet plan.
Home Network: Take a look at what equipment you’ve got in your home setup before choosing a plan. Do you already have a modem/router? Will you need to rent one monthly from the ISP? What type of network do you have? Most likely, your router (and accompanying devices) are running on a 2.4Ghz network, but newer 5Ghz networks are becoming increasingly common, as they’re significantly faster with less annoying interference from things like Bluetooth and your microwave. It’s helpful if your new modem/router can support both, and some can even broadcast both types of networks at once.
Data: This is the biggest thing to watch out for – if you run out of data, nothing else matters, and you’ll see your bill going up while speed goes down. Many plans will tell you they have unlimited data, but dig deep into the rules to see if there’s actually limits in place. If you go for a plan with limited or slowed-down data after a certain point, some modems and routers can provide a priority hierarchy to whatever activities you’ve got going on. For example, streaming an HD movie so it remains smooth and uninterrupted, even during a file transfer. This can be a nice option especially if you’re always multitasking online, or have multiple people constantly connected and gumming up your download traffic. Still, though, we highly recommend truly unlimited data if possible.
WiFi Speed: Speed can depend on a ton of different factors – not just your plan, but your modem, your area, the number of people on your network, even the time of day. Faster is always better, obviously, but that being said, you may not need the most breakneck speed available for your online habits, and can save some cash by figuring out what that is. Generally 100-300mbps should be fine for normal internet use, and the heavy streamers and gamers with multiple people on the network can get above 1000mbps (even during hours of peak usage with the right plan). There’s also the download/upload channel ratio to consider too. Head on over to Speedtest.net to see what you’re getting now, so you’ve got a reference point to compare it to when searching for a new plan.
Security: As always, with any information-sharing tech, this is an important one. Most plans, along with your modem/router, should have the ability to offer access to guests while keeping your network completely separated. Parental control is often available if you’ve got kids and need to restrict what they can access, and a firewall is another great option for added security.
What Are the Best Wireless Internet Plans?
Even if a plan looks like the perfect one for you, don’t sign up just yet – be sure to first check if it’s available in your area. ISPs often test the waters with new plans in certain markets before going nationwide, and some still have spotty coverage in rural areas. Here are the best wireless internet plans to consider, from Verizon to AT&T and beyond.
1. Verizon 5G Home
Verizon recently launched its 5G plans in various spots nationwide, giving you speedy and reliable 5G access, unlimited with no data caps or extra fees, and a locked-in rate for two or three years, depending on which one you choose. Download speeds can hit 300mbps and uploads up to 50mbps on the standard plan. A WiFi6 router is included – plug it in, wait for the right light to flash, and that’s it. Plus, if it gives you any trouble, there’s 30 days of included customer service help that’ll make sure to get you up and running. This is also available with extra perks if you want them, like six months of Disney+ or a Nest Mini, and is even cheaper if you combine a new cell phone plan.
2. T-Mobile Home Internet
T-Mobile probably has the most transparent plan of them all, with no fees for equipment, cancellation, installation, or going over 50GB. Compare that alone to some other companies’ plans, and the savings already start to add up. Service doesn’t skimp either – download speeds are around 115mbps (though users say they’ve hit as high as 550), while upload speeds seemed to cap out around 23mbps. This also includes a gateway that’s WiFi 6 compatible. However, gamers should be aware of potential lag and latency with this one. Bonus: T-Mobile is offering a limited-time promotion that gets you a one-year Paramount+ subscription with certain plans.
3. AT&T Wireless Internet Plan
If you’re looking to get satellite TV service as well as wireless, check out AT&T’s option that combines the best of both. You’ll get fixed wireless internet with typical download speeds of 25mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps, 350GB per month of data usage, plus 160 channels of DirecTV.
4. Comcast Wireless Internet Plan
The good thing about Comcast is that there are a ton of options available for different plans. That’s the benefit of being the country’s biggest ISP. However be aware that there are contracts, data caps, and price increases over time. The company launched its Xfinity division back in 2010, and for general internet usage, its Comcast Fast Xfinity plan gets the job done with a max download speed of 300mbps and 10mbps upload. That includes no data caps, starting at just $50 a month for the first year with no long-term contract. The rates and terms vary by region though, so check yours to see what they are before going for it.
5. Starlink Wireless Internet Plan
You may have heard about Starlink being deployed to areas of the world with no wiring infrastructure, with a mission to bring internet to all. That’s why this plan is best for those who live off the grid, in an RV, or in a rural spot with no option for fiber. The plan costs $110 per month, about double what a wired-up plan might cost in a populated area, plus a one-time fee for the hardware (including a satellite receiver) that gets shipped to you. But once you’re set up, it’s blastoff. SpaceX’s low orbiting satellites provide reliably fast connections, with low latency, as long as you’ve got a clear view of the sky.