Smart Home & AI

How To Get The Best Internet Speeds At The Lowest Cost

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It’s almost impossible not to connect to the internet. Everything from your phone to your dishwasher now can connect you to vast amounts of data. We all want the fastest speeds at the lowest price because none of us enjoy seeing the “spinning wheel of death” on our screens. Let us help you with your search for the best internet for your household.

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What Are The 6 Ways To Get Internet, And How Fast Are They?

The more devices you have connected to your WiFi, the more it drains your internet speed. If you (or someone in your household) is an avid video gamer, uploader or streamer you may find that you require higher bandwidth for your home WiFi. The same goes for overall connections in your neighborhood.

How is internet speed measured? Back in the day of dial-up it was measured in Kilobytes per second (Kbps), then came broadband (cable) and we were introduced to Megabits per second (Mbps), and now with Fiber and 5g we are talking Gigabits per second (Gbps).

  • 1,000 Kbps = 1 Mbps
  • 1,000 Mbps = 1 Gbps

The fastest fiber-optic cable speed ever recorded, by the Japanese company NTT, was for 1 petabit per second back in 2012.

Here are 6 common ways to get your internet, with associated companies, ranked by speed:

  1. Fiber (up to 100 Gbps) – similar to cable, a Fiber internet connection can get speeds up to a blazing 100 Gbps (Gigabit per second).
  2. Mobile (up to 10 Gbps) – you can connect to a cell tower, and now with 5G speeds, you can get up to 10Gbps (never thought mobile speeds would surpass cable did you?). The downside is your data bill may add up quickly, especially if you’re watching videos.
  3. Cable (up to 2 Gbps) – including COX, Mediacom, Optimum, Spectrum and Xfinity. Still one of the most reliable ways to get Internet, now offering speeds up to 12Ggbps.
  4. Satellite (up to 150 Mbps) – including Viasat, HughesNet and DISH. More common in rural areas where it’s difficult to run cable or fiber or there is no cell reception. We compare satellite internet providers.
  5. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line; up to 35 Mbps) – including AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon. The slowest of the bunch, this dial-up technology is quickly getting outdated and unless you’re in a rural area will be difficult to find.
  6. Dial-Up (up to 56 Kbps) – the slowest of the bunch, but it also brought us the first Internet experiences. Providers included NetZero, AOL and People PC. Remember the AOL CD’s? This is the slowest way to get internet and for the most part is not available anymore.

Prices are lower and speeds are faster for Fiber and cable, so they are typically more sought after. Unfortunately, they aren’t always available in rural areas. So if you’re a rural customer, your options are mobile, dial-up, DSL and satellite.

Satellite is faster than dial-up, and it doesn’t use up your phone or cable lines while in use.

How To Speed Up My Existing Internet

When you purchase your internet, it is in reference to the upload and download speeds. Sometimes these speeds can get slowed down if you have a lot of devices on your WiFi or you’re using a lot at once.

One way to extend your internet connection is to disconnect devices from your WiFi that you don’t regularly use. Do you only use your laptop on the weekends? Is the smart crockpot getting used every day? What about the tablet that you use for road trips to keep the kids entertained? Turn the WiFi off on these devices, so they aren’t slowing down your internet.

Another option is to purchase a high quality WiFi router or extender. Depending on your home’s layout, you may notice a drop in connection when you change rooms or levels in your home. It may be as simple as relocating your router to a different area in your home.

Kimberly Alt

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post. In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

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