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ByDanika Miller Internet & Entertainment Writer

Danika is currently covering the internet and entertainment beat. Her previous work lives in random corners of the internet and fiction anthologies hidden in university libraries.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the fastest internet speed?
What about local internet providers?
How do I decide what internet speed to get?
What should I look for when purchasing a business internet plan?
Can I use a hotspot for my home internet?
Should I buy my own router?

What is the fastest internet speed?

Internet speed varies by connection type. The FCC measured the actual vs. advertised speeds of providers across different connection types, represented in its Measuring Fixed Broadband report. DSL suffers the most consistently, while cable is more reliable across the board. The reliability of both fiber and satellite internet varies by provider, with Verizon gaining the edge for fiber and HughesNet being the clear winner for satellite. Currently, the fastest internet speed is around 2,000 Mbps, but the reliability of achieving that varies.

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What about local internet providers?

In some situations, the little guy might be your best bet. Smaller local internet providers, like Cincinnati Bell or Hawaiin Telcom, are always better rated for their customer service. If there’s one available to you, we recommend comparing quotes with national providers.

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How do I decide what internet speed to get?

We recommend erring on the side of more speed. This is partly because the number of devices adds up quickly. Your computer isn’t the only thing connected to the internet — phones, tablets, TVs, video game consoles, home security systems, and smart technology all pull data from your connection. It’s like being on a highway: Even if the speed limit is 60 mph, too many cars will cause traffic to slow to a crawl. That’s why light users with many devices need as much speed as a heavy user with a few.

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What should I look for when purchasing a business internet plan?

Business internet shoppers will want to pay close attention to bandwidth, as you’ll likely have lots of devices connecting. When you purchase business internet, you receive a dedicated bandwidth — which means the internet goes only and directly to your business. Translation: fast speeds, no neighborhood traffic jams, and less latency. Residential internet operates on a shared bandwidth that delivers to hundreds of neighbors. Check out our review of the best business internet providers here.

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Can I use a hotspot for my home internet?

Internet is internet, and you can use 4G mobile broadband just the same as you do traditional internet. Hotspots aren’t just for a quick connection when you need to send an email in a place with no Wi-Fi, either; you can use them for at-home internet needs, too. This option best suits smaller households with fewer connected devices, as you’ll have more limited data capacity than with traditional ISPs. It's also more expensive than traditional internet, especially to get a reasonable data usage. We wouldn’t recommend this option unless you’re only using the internet for light web browsing and emailing. You can use your current phone provider, but we recommend Verizon Wireless in our review of the best 4G mobile broadband for its best-in-class customer service and coverage.

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Should I buy my own router?

We vote yes. A router is the piece of equipment that communicates wirelessly from the modem to your device. Most ISPs will charge around $10 each month to rent a router, and that same router is likely being rented to all of your neighbors. This can cause spatial traffic, as all of these devices communicate on the same frequencies. Buying your own router saves on rental costs and puts you on a different frequency, ultimately giving you faster speeds. While we have some favorite wireless routers for home use, your purchasing decision depends on how big your home is and how many devices are tuning in.

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What’s Next?

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