The Best Broadband Connection for Your Home

Broadband is something you know you need for your home and something that’s becoming ever more important in daily life, but what is it, and what are the variations between them? There are a lot of questions about it, and not as many clear answers as some would like. Broadband is a term used to describe a range of different internet services or information delivery methods. It gets its name from data being sent over multiple bands at once compared to the single (relatively very slow) streams of information used in the past, such as dial-up.

Broadband can also be described as a standard of speed set up by the FCC and defined as 25 Mbps download speed, and 3 Mbps upload speed. As of this writing, about 75 percent of households in the United States have broadband service in some capacity. However, it should also be noted that the standard is criticized by many for not meeting many modern connection needs, and that exact standard isn’t enough to do some activities online and certainly not enough to support a household of internet users.

Regardless, better understanding your internet connection will help you and your household in the long run. It will allow you to make better choices about which broadband connection you want for your home. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of connection and what you should be looking for overall: 

Types of Broadband

Perhaps the biggest factor in the quality of your internet connection is what type of connection you have in the first place. Specifically, it comes down to how your ISP is delivering your internet service. Is it done by satellite? Are fiber optic cables or phone lines used? Each type of service has its advantages and disadvantages, though some are clearly better overall than others. Some might only be available in certain areas.

Different types of broadband connections

Each will be best suited to different groups, households, and businesses. Your needs determine what is best for you. Therefore, it’s helpful to know what each of the options entails. Here’s what you need to know about each of the major types available today:


DSL internet utilizes phone lines in order to deliver information (the internet) to subscribers. DSL is notably able to use a wider range of frequencies than just those used for telephone service, so DSL does not interfere with landline service like dial-up internet (now obsolete in every way) does.

How a DSL connection works

As a general rule, DSL internet is capable of download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and 5 Mbps upload speed. However, few connections will reach either speed. The signal degrades over distance, and few households will be close enough to the station to get the full speeds available. There are faster and slower versions of DSL depending on the setup and infrastructure, but know that in the United States, the faster version is nearly universal.

However, DSL internet is one of the most widely available options in the United States and around the world. That means it can be an option for households that might not have many others and still connect them to the internet (in a slightly limited capacity). 

DSL internet is best suited for users and households that:

  • May not have many other options available to them.
  • Are just looking for basic internet service and only really do basic browsing and check messages.
  • May have a station near them and have a 100 Mbps download speed plan available to them.


Fiber internet uses fiber optic cables to transfer information rapidly. The information is transferred at about 70 percent of the speed of light through these cables through rapid pulses of light. The cables themselves are made of extremely pure glass and plastic that is designed to carry these light pulses, all through many fibers just under or over the width of a human hair.

Fiber is capable of extremely fast download speeds. The top plans in the country are 6 Gbps download speed, though most people will be getting a 1 Gbps plan, otherwise known as gigabit internet. Upload speeds can be equal to download speeds, though some providers may limit speeds to something lower than this. However, upload speeds will almost universally beat out the competition. The latency will be low with most connections (all else being normal), and connections will be consistent.

Fiber internet is generally considered the best option for most households, but it has the difficulty of not being universally available. The infrastructure is not in place everywhere, and companies are slow to expand fiber cables to places where the population isn’t dense. It can also be slightly more expensive than other options, but it is generally worth the price.

Fiber internet is best suited for users and households that:

  • Have it available to them. For those people, the only downside is the price. For most households, the extra bandwidth and speed will be more than worth the extra $10-30 a month compared to other service types.
  • Want the best possible connection in terms of speed and consistency.
  • Need to upload files regularly and need a high upload speed to keep up with that.


Cable internet utilizes the cables used to provide cable TV service in order to provide internet service as well. It has been around for some years now, but it has noticeably improved since its inception, able to provide download speeds of more than 1 Gbps. However, it should be noted that these speeds are rare and that the average user can get 100 Mbps to several hundred Mbps download speed. Upload speeds will be relatively slow (10 Mbps with many plans), though not as bad as DSL.

How a cable connection works

Cable is also more common than fiber but not as common as DSL, given how widespread cable lines are compared to phone and fiber infrastructure. Again, this is only looking at it on a wider level. Either it is available to your household, or it is not, and you don’t need to concern yourself with it if it is not.

Cable is capable of high speeds and is better than most service types, but it has a few problems. There is also the issue that cable internet is often sold in bundles with cable TV, and people might not be able to get the best internet plan without a corresponding TV plan. This is not as common as it used to be, but interested people should be on the lookout for it, whether to gain from it or avoid it. Additionally, cable speeds are less consistent than other internet types due to congestion, even if the connections themselves are stable. The more people in the neighborhood using cable internet, the worse off it is for everyone in that neighborhood. 

Cable internet service is best suited for users and households that:

  • May be interested in a TV service bundle alongside their cable internet broadband internet service.
  • Have it available in their area but do not have fiber optic service as an option.
  • People who need good download speeds but do not need as much consistency or as high an upload speed.


Satellite internet involves an ISP using a station to send data or the signal into space, where a communications satellite then redirects it to users’ homes. Users have a powered dish that is used to catch the signal, which is then converted by a modem into a workable internet connection. There is a regular back and forth of this process, and it allows anyone with a powered dish and a subscription to the service to have internet.

How a satellite connection works

Yet satellite internet is riddled with problems compared to other service types. Often satellite internet has download speeds of less than 25 Mbps, though this depends on the plan and provider. Speeds are often inconsistent and reliant on how much congestion there is on the greater system. Most satellite providers have stringent data caps on plans, and there won’t be enough data to go around for the average household unless that household wants to pay several hundred dollars a month. Upload speeds are terrible (3 Mbps max with most plans), and latency is a huge issue, making some tasks, such as online gaming and teleconferencing, impossible.

If you look just by the numbers, one might wonder why anyone would choose satellite internet if there are any other decent options available. And that’s something of the point. Satellite internet is available practically anywhere in the United States (from at least one provider), while any other option is limited by the range of its infrastructure. As long as there’s a clear line of sight to the sky, satellite internet can be installed and utilized, if not perfectly, in some areas. That makes it the best (perhaps only) option for people living in remote areas.

Satellite internet is also developing, and it is important to note that we mostly talked about geosynchronous equatorial orbit satellite internet (GEO), which has its satellite orbit the earth at a much higher altitude. This leads to the problems with latency described. There are also LEO (low earth orbit) satellite networks being launched and utilized, currently only by Starlink. Service with this type of setup is much faster (realistically 80-90 Mbps download speed), can provide better upload speeds, and has much lower latency. However, it isn’t widely available in the United States yet, and it may be some time until it is.

Satellite internet is best suited for users and households that:

  • Do not have many or any other options available to them.
  • Are concerned about the internet infrastructure in their area and are worried about the weather or a natural disaster taking it down for a long period of time.
  • Do not have concerns about latency and are mostly concerned with just having a basic working internet connection.


One of the most recent developments is fixed wireless internet, which utilizes 5G technology (usually) to provide internet service to a receiver installed on the user’s property. It isn’t as free from infrastructure as satellite internet as it requires the receiver to be within about 10 miles of the service provider’s tower, but it does remove the need for cables and has proven to be a popular option in more rural areas that don’t have much in terms of cables. However, there needs to be a relatively clear line of sight between the receiver and the tower.

How a wireless connection works

It uses radio waves (as does your WiFi network, though the two are different), and internet speeds can vary. While some providers can offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps or faster, in truth, speeds often hover around 25 Mbps. Upload speeds remain slow and usually won’t go beyond a few Mbps. However, it does not have the latency issues that satellite internet has and can have higher data allowances than satellite internet.

Fixed wireless internet isn’t perfect, and we don’t know as much about it due to the fact that it is relatively new and developing. Yet look at it if there is a provider in your area, as you might be able to score a deal and get an improvement over other, less attractive internet service options.

Fixed wireless internet is best for households that:

  • Are in a rural area but are not in such a remote area that satellite internet is the only option.
  • Are not confident in the infrastructure for wired internet in the area.
  • Need a basic internet connection for basic needs, but do not contain any power users.

Broadband Over Powerlines

Broadband over powerlines is something that is more of a curiosity these days than something to be used, at least in the United States. It utilizes standard electrical outlets and existing powerlines to transmit high-speed internet. However, special repeaters must be installed on transformers or otherwise in the power infrastructure so broadband signals can be transmitted over a special frequency. Users will plug a modem into their electrical socket, and signals are converted by that modem into a workable internet signal. While there was some broadband over powerlines providers operating in the United States, none are currently in operation, and none have been for some time.

We do not recommend broadband over powerlines for any household, if only because you literally cannot get it in the United States.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Broadband Connection

Everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to their internet connection. However, there are universal facets of internet service that customers need to decide their preferences on. And in some cases, some things are universally better for all users when it comes to internet service. Yet what is there to consider? What things should you weigh the most heavily in your final decision? While we cannot decide everything for you, here are the main things to know:


A plan that is not available is not a plan that you can consider. And some regions of the country will have more types of broadband connections available than others. It all depends on the infrastructure that is in the area. If cable lines are in a neighborhood, there’s a good chance cable internet in some form is available. The same goes for DSL internet and phone lines. Satellite internet is the only option that is practically universally available. And while fiber optic internet is a fantastic choice, it’s usually only available in more densely populated areas.

The only thing to consider with availability is to check early on what your options are and work from there. You can use this very site to do so. All you need to do is go to our home page and type in your zip code. You’ll then get a listing of plans and providers that are available to you. This will help you know which internet service types are options for you.


Speed is important to consider, obviously, as it is one of the main factors everyone looks at first. People are going to choose a 100 Mbps connection over a 10 Mbps connection practically every time unless there is a severe problem otherwise. A certain amount of download speed is practically a necessity in today’s world, as is upload speed. And that amount is only going to increase as new technology and apps become more demanding. 

When considering the speed in the context of choosing a broadband connection, there are a few facets to look at:

Download Speed: The thing ISPs advertise, and what most people look for first, is download speed. It is a measurement of how quickly your device can receive data from an outside source. It is usually measured in Mbps or, in some cases, Gbps. Download speed determines how well you can stream content and download files and has an effect on practically everything you do online. The more someone has, the better off they will be.

Upload Speed: Upload speed is a measurement of how fast data can travel from your device to another server or device. It is measured in Mbps (usually). Users generally do not need as much upload speed as download speed, given that they will download more content than they upload. Nonetheless, people working from home or on frequent video calls will want to ensure they have enough upload speed.

Latency: Latency is a measurement of how much time it takes for a device or connection to make a request and get a response from a server. While internet service type isn’t the only factor that goes into it, it does play a heavy factor. Fiber internet generally has the best (lowest) latency, and satellite internet has the worst (highest). Ideally, you want a latency that is less than 50 milliseconds, though you can get away with anything less than 70 without experiencing too many problems.

Data Cap

How much data can a plan use per month? How much data do you think you use per month? These are important questions to ask when picking out a broadband connection, as you don’t want to run out of data in the middle of the month. That’s why you need to look if there’s a data cap on a plan and how much that data cap is.

While some unlimited plans exist, many internet plans have a data allowance or a data cap. Usually, after someone reaches this allowance or cap, the ISP will throttle the connection heavily, usually to the point where the connection is only good for basic browsing or checking email. It will not be good for most of the activities one might rely on the connection for.

The data cap is less something determined by the internet service type and instead determined by the service provider. However, there are some trends. Satellite plans will usually have much stricter data caps than the alternatives. Fixed wireless plans are also likely to have data caps. With fiber, cable, and DSL internet, it will strictly depend on the provider, though if there is a cap, it is usually 1TB per month. This is more than most households use and will likely not be a problem unless you download many large files each month. 


Price matters when you are getting internet service, as it matters with practically anything you are getting for yourself or your home. Internet service will vary in price depending on the plan, add-ons to the service, whether you’re bundling services or not, and equipment costs. Look carefully at the fine print and all potential factors before writing down an “actual” price for service. Don’t generally trust what is printed in ads.

Cost is also relative to other plans and can be partially dependent on what deals or bundles you want to consider from the provider in the context of your plan. You might be able to get an introductory offer that reduces the price of service for a few months or even a year when you sign up. However, prices will eventually increase with such an arrangement. Sometimes perks may be on offer, though you should not take these heavily into account. A $200 gift card makes pales in comparison to the thousands of dollars you’ll spend on internet service. Think of the long-term costs instead of the short-term expenses or deals.

Comparing service types, satellite internet is usually the most expensive. Fiber internet is expensive but provides great value in terms of cost per Mbps. Cable and DSL can vary greatly in terms of the value provided.


A connection that isn’t always there is not a connection you’ll want to choose for your broadband connection. Dropped video calls, disconnects from a gaming server, or even interruptions when messaging or browsing can be extremely frustrating. It can often also result in lost productivity or opportunities. Therefore, when picking internet service, reliability is vital.

While it might be harder to know what connections might be more reliable, you can get clues, and it's not impossible to investigate. Note that wired connections are usually more consistent than wireless connections. Additionally, look at reviews of the service providers in your area. If disconnections or unreliable service is an issue for a provider, then you’ll know about it. 

Customer Support

Customer support is one of the things that people don’t focus on or think about until they need it. Once someone is dealing with customer service, though, they’re either grateful they picked a good company for it or not happy about their past decision. However, most internet service providers are not at the top of the rankings for customer service. And while there have been some improvements, it may be some time yet until there are major improvements.

On your end, look for a company that has a reputation for responsiveness and getting results, both on a national and a regional level. Looking at customer reviews (though with a grain of salt) is your best option here.

Overall, though, the experience of your day-to-day life with your internet connection is far more important than customer support, which you might use at most a few times a year. A company providing fiber optic broadband service with poor customer service is still a better option than a DSL provider with the best customer service in the world.

Type of Connection

The type of connection will influence all the factors listed above, and we strongly suggest you carefully review the broadband types listed above again. Take notes on what might be best for you, and compare that to what’s available. Try to look for a fiber connection or failing that a cable connection. A wireless (satellite or fixed wireless) is the best choice for people who live in remote areas most of the time. There might not be a perfect option for everyone, but there is a best option. And know that when we say that it has profound effects on your internet quality, regardless of what the advertisements say, we really mean it.

Find the Best Broadband Plan for Your Home

The best broadband plan for your home will vary based on your needs, location, and more. What are you going to use your internet for? You have to consider that fundamental question in addition to what is available to you. Only you can answer the first question. As for the second, you can use this site to learn more about your options by entering your zip code into the field. 

To help guide you as best we can, here are some common types of internet users (or those searching for service) and what they might want to prioritize:

First-Time Users

There might be few first-time users of the internet these days, but there are often young adults who are striking out on their own for the first time. This means they’re choosing internet service for themselves or their apartment for the first time. First-time users will want to pay special attention to how easy a plan is to set up and ensure that everything is as stress-free as possible. Also, they might want to plan on a bit more bandwidth than they think they might use in the first place. There will be more devices over time, and having the bandwidth to support that helps.

Price may also play a key role, so first-time buyers will want to check out potential deals and offers. Just make sure to think long-term with them.

Film/TV Buffs

Film and TV buffs are likely to be streaming a lot when they are using the internet, meaning they will certainly want to prioritize download speed above all else. Latency can also matter for matters of buffering, depending on the streaming service used. A quality internet plan will allow them to get all the content they want to watch quickly, without hassle, and without buffering. With a fast enough connection, even the largest movie downloads can take just minutes.

Those who download many films or seasons of their favorite TV show will also want to watch whether there is a data cap on their plan. While even 1TB is a lot, frequent downloaders of high-quality video files could run into the cap some months. An unlimited plan is best, if available.

Work from Home

People who have to work from home will want a plan with a higher-than-average upload speed, as teleconferencing and more frequent uploading of documents and files require it. More download speed is also better, of course, and those that are frequently on calls will want to consider having lower latency. People working from home also might want some extra bandwidth if they want more than just their work happening at home, whether it's something they have on in the background or something another family member is doing.

Once a good connection is acquired, people working from home will be able to do everything easier, and probably work from home completely or more often if the workplace allows it. It also opens up new tools and options for enhanced productivity.


The best internet plan for students will depend on their living situation and their exact needs. If they’re living alone, then a decent but not ultrafast connection will be needed, and stability will be the key factor. Those living with a bunch of other students or with their families will want to make sure that they can get the best connection possible. Multiple people doing things online adds up, and the costs can be split. 

Students who have quality internet access will have a notable advantage. They won’t need to search out hotspots or find a place to study. They will be able to do so from home. They will also be better able to utilize online courses. Even basic research tasks are much steadier if students can trust their internet connection. They might not need the absolute fastest plans, especially if the price is a concern, but cable or fiber internet is still recommended.

Internet and Landline Packages

Often an internet plan will be part of something greater bundle or package of services. Often this comes in the form of a landline and internet bundle, perhaps DSL service. Whatever the case, it offers savings to the customer and a more devoted customer to the company. Additionally, some people might not want to split their services between several bills.

Seniors and students might want to take advantage of these plans, but only if they plan on using the services involved. In such cases, make sure to choose quality options for every service. Something you’re saving on but don’t want to use is worse than something you’re not saving on but use regularly. Nonetheless, such plans can provide the best savings for those who do not need much bandwidth.


Businesses use the internet more than many households, and they will have their own needs and concerns. Something along the lines of someone working on a home business will likely want the same types of packages as someone working from home. The needs will often be similar enough, and the extra costs of a business plan might not be worth it.

Fiber internet plans are generally the best option for small business clients. Businesses often have multiple users, and fiber internet is one of the few kinds that can support that amount of traffic. And businesses usually create more upstream traffic, so those higher upload speeds will be important. And finally, the additional security provided by a fiber connection will be something businesses appreciate, though they should also have many other data security measures in place.

As far as the largest commercial and business internet packages for a large group of people working all at once from the office, that is a different set of needs from what we mostly discuss here. There are great deals to be had and some extra things you should know, so please look up more specialized information on that topic.


There are many internet plans, and types of broadband connections on the market, and not all of them are made equally. While we cannot talk about everything relating to the subject in this article, we hope that you understand what you need to know to make the right choices moving forward. Don’t be afraid to switch providers if you feel the need, and use this site if you’d like to better know what plans and providers are available to you. Once you have that information and have a clear idea of your own priorities, we know you won’t be able to make the wrong choice. Thank you for reading, and good luck with your search.


What is FTTP?

FTTP generally stands for fiber to the premises, and it is a type of fiber setup in which fiber optic lines extend all the way to the end-user premises. Furthermore, all the equipment and infrastructure used are designed to provide connections to residents. It is the fastest model, though it is notably more expensive to roll out (though not as expensive to maintain). It contrasts with other types of fiber setups, such as fiber to the node, which notably has a “last mile” and slower data transmission rates.

What is the difference between WiFi and broadband?

While these two terms are regularly used in place of one another, they are two distinct things. WiFi is a wireless setup that uses radio waves and a router to allow devices to communicate over a network, usually in small ranges. Broadband is a set of different technologies used to deliver high-speed internet service. Broadband is what gets the internet connection to your home. WiFi is the network in your home that usually connects to broadband.

What is the most common type of internet connection?

DSL is the most common type of internet connection worldwide, though things are changing. It’s possible that more people will be using cable or fiber in just a few years. The answer switches to cable if you’re looking at just the United States.

However, some might argue that the most common internet connection is quickly becoming mobile data if it is not that already. Billions of people use their smartphones to connect to the internet, and many do so exclusively using mobile data instead of a more traditional internet connection.

What is the best fiber internet plan?

Given how many of them there are and how they differ, there is no one best internet plan. There may be different considerations regarding the best plan, and different people will have various priories. In general, look for a plan that offers equal upload and download speeds, is priced well, is considered reliable in the area, and has good customer service. The answer to this question will vary based on your region, so search locally and ask questions locally.

How do I know my internet connection type?

The information should be readily available from your internet service provider, if not from your basic knowledge of how your setup got installed. You can easily look this information up if you go online and make a quick search. Simply check providers in your area and what types of service they provide. Then compare the plan you have with the service type associated with that plan.

InternetAdvisor Team

We are passionate about aggregating large, accurate data sets and providing it all to our users in an easy-to-use format. Simply put, shopping is easier for the consumer when he/she knows all available options. We are not beholden to any single provider and therefore are dedicated to transparency and giving you unbiased information on all providers.

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