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Is 5G Home Internet the Solution to Your Broadband Needs?

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It’s no secret that many of us are tired of being tied to with cumbersome contracts, low speeds, restrictive terms and rising fees. Indeed, a . All too often, though, we have

Could be the answer? The technology powering the  also wants to tackle our home needs. The earliest 5G plans, available from names like , and , offer respectable speeds at a straightforward price — but availability is limited to select cities and regions. Let’s dig in and see how it works, how fast it gets, what it costs and where it’s available.

What is 5G home internet? 

Simply put, 5G stands for fifth generation. Fifth generation of what, you ask? The fifth generation of wireless data networks. You’re probably most familiar with hearing 5G used to describe and . You’re not wrong: 5G networks, which use different radio frequencies than previous generations, aim to provide faster data speeds with much less lag or delay than we had with 4G.

My CNET colleague . Millimeter-wave technology uses much higher frequencies than previous generations and subsequently provides much faster speeds and connections. But those higher, gigabit speeds come with a price — the data doesn’t travel the same distance as 4G and has more trouble with obstructions. To combat that, midband technology, which offers speeds averaging between 300 and 400 megabits per second, increases the coverage area provided by millimeter-wave. Finally, low-band 5G offers a range similar to 4G but with a speed that tops out between 100 and 200Mbps.

Is 5GHz the same thing as 5G home internet?

Nope. One common mistake is to see the “5GHz” setting on your router and assume you have access to 5G. also use short-range radio frequencies — typically either 2.4GHz or 5GHz — to transmit your internet signal to connected devices within your home. So 5GHz is one of the band options for your home’s Wi-Fi system, but it’s not the same as 5G, a cellular technology that uses higher-frequency waves.

Coaxial cable with connectorCoaxial cable with connector

Cable, fiber and DSL home internet plans require wires that connect your home to the provider’s grid. With a fixed wireless service like 5G, your home connects to the provider’s network over the air.

Taylor Martin/CNET

How is 5G home internet different from fiber or cable internet?

Most ISPs deliver internet service via phone lines or cables connecting your home to a more extensive network. That includes common , like digital subscriber line, coaxial cable and fiber-optic internet. Those are all wired connections from your provider to your home.

5G home internet, on the other hand, is a type of fixed wireless internet service, digitechbuzz which means that the connection between your provider and your home is not a wired one. With 5G, your provider will need to install an indoor or outdoor 5G receiver at your house to pick up the signal. It’s similar to satellite internet, but instead of beaming in a signal from satellites orbiting in the night sky, it’s relaying information from a much closer wireless hub. Even though you’re using the same 5G network as your mobile phone, the gateway is specific to your location and cannot be used elsewhere.

Which ISPs can provide 5G home internet?

As stated already, 5G is still being deployed across the country. Due to that, the number of providers currently offering any 5G home internet plan is relatively limited. For example, provides a 5G mobile service, but its fixed wireless solution does not currently utilize its 5G network. So, right now, your main options for 5G home internet are , and . Let’s explore what each offers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

 is a relatively new player on the ISP field. The company, which started in 2016, does not lean into the 5G connection: It does not use 5G NR radio technology, which is a focus of mobile providers, but it does use millimeter-wave technology as a critical aspect of delivering fixed wireless home internet to customers. “We operate in 24GHz and 37GHz spectrum bands and our network technology is the same across all our markets,” a Starry spokesperson said.

The monthly price includes unlimited data, free equipment and installation, and no contracts. It’s also the only 5G home internet provider listed here that features symmetrical or near-symmetrical download and upload speeds, similar to what you’d find with a fiber internet service.

Lastly, Starry also offers a “30-Day Happy Interneting Guarantee” that features a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with the service and cancel within the first 30 days. 

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Starry Internet plans and pricing

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly rate

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

Starry Basic

50Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

$30

None

None

None

Starry Plus

200Mbps download, 100Mbps upload

$50

None

None

None

Starry Pro

500Mbps download, 250Mbps upload

$65

None

None

None

Starry Gigabit

1,000Mbps download, 500Mbps upload

$80

None

None

None

T Mobile

T-Mobile Home Internet features the lowest broadband speeds among our listed providers. That’s because it wavers between  and 5G. It’s not exclusively 5G. T-Mobile “anticipates” that most customers will average between 33 and 182Mbps download speeds.  and we hit a max of 132Mbps on the service.

T-Mobile’s home internet service includes all setup fees and taxes. There is no annual contract or data cap. Its current deal features Paramount Plus free for one year ($5 a month version with limited ads) and, for eligible Magenta MAX customers, half off the price of YouTube TV for the first year.

.

 

T-Mobile Home Internet plans and pricing

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly price

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

T-Mobile Home Internet

33-182Mbps download, 6-23Mbps upload

$50 ($30 for eligible Magenta MAX mobile customers)

None

None

None

Sarah Tew/CNET

Verizon’s 5G internet service, which uses ultrawideband 5G technology, boasts max download speeds of up to 1 gigabit and average speeds of around 300Mbps. However, upload speeds are not symmetrical and will plateau at 50Mbps or less because Verizon does not exclusively use the millimeter-wave technology but a mix of .

Verizon 5G Home Internet pricing is $50 a month for a two-year price guarantee or $70 a month to lock in the price for three years, plus some extra perks. Either way, it’s an all-in price that includes equipment, setup fees and taxes, and like all other Verizon plans, it requires no contracts or data caps.

Verizon also offers many promos and deals to sweeten the pot for potential customers. First, it provides an early termination fee credit offer to give qualifying customers a bill credit of up to $500 if they switch from their current ISP and are charged an ETF. Second, 5G Home Plus customers get an eight-piece SimpliSafe Smart Home Security Bundle. Lastly, customers with qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile plans will get 50% off the monthly cost of either plan.

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Verizon 5G Home Internet plans and prices

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly price

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

Price guarantee

Verizon 5G Home

85-300Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

$50 ($25 for qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile customers)

None

None

None

2 years

Verizon 5G Home Plus

300-1,000Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

$70 ($35 for qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile customers)

None

None

None

3 years

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Now playing:

Watch this:

5G: The next five years

9:37

Where is 5G home internet service available?

Let’s not sugarcoat this: 5G home internet service is not yet widely available. While the list of cities seems to expand nearly every month, most are larger US cities. 

T-Mobile Home Internet is the most widely available service among the three providers we’ve highlighted. While  that its 5G home internet service is , T-Mobile has leapfrogged that by . Yet T-Mobile acknowledges it does not have unlimited availability across those locations due to network capacity and a limited inventory of its router. You can check out this  to see the expansive list of metro areas.

is currently offered in approximately 900 markets. That means that although the total number of households in which it is available is less than T-Mobile, it does cover more cities.

Starry Internet is available in Boston; Columbus, Ohio; ; ; and Washington, DC. Its 2022 expansion roadmap includes approximately 30 million households in , , Dallas, Detroit, , Indianapolis, Memphis, Miami, Philadelphia, , Portland, and .

Does 5G home internet make sense for you?

The first thing to be said is what we always say regarding ISPs. No matter how good the service, it’s all moot if unavailable at your address. 5G technology is still being rolled out across the country, so we should expect to see some bumps in the road as that effort continues.

Still, 5G home internet availability is increasing at a pretty rapid pace. The affordable, straightforward pricing is vastly appealing — and what jumps off the page for me. Time will tell if that trend holds as availability continues to expand. Still, it would be a real step forward if 5G could emerge as a viable broadband option for traditionally underserved parts of rural America. As CNET alum Rick Broida put it , “imperfection is a lot more tolerable when you’re paying less than half what you were before.”

5G home internet FAQs

What does the ‘G’ stand for in 5G?

It simply means generation. In other words, 5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology.

What’s the difference between 5G home internet and cable internet?

Cable internet — whether coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable or a hybrid of the two — relies on wires to transmit data from a central hub into your home. But 5G home internet is a fixed wireless solution that uses an internet gateway to connect your home using radio frequencies to connect to a cell tower or data hub nearby. 

How much does 5G home internet cost?

5G home internet is one of the more affordable options available considering the decent download speeds that current plans average — T-Mobile averages just over 100Mbps, Starry chimes in at 200Mbps and Verizon’s median speed is 300Mbps. The lowest monthly cost among the three main providers is $25 (Verizon 5G Home with the Verizon Unlimited discount) and the highest is $70 (Verizon 5G Home Plus without the Verizon Unlimited discount). But each of the providers’ monthly costs includes all fees, taxes, equipment fees and installation charges. So the monthly charge you see is the monthly charge you pay. Lastly, none require term contracts, so you won’t have to fear any early termination fees.

DIGITECH THE DROP Polyphonic Drop Tune Pedal \u2014 Buzz Music

How fast is 5G home internet?

In theory, 5G should enable a speedy connection that will match or better what you get with cable or fiber internet. But when it comes to the reality of 5G home internet, that’s simply not the case. To increase the reliability and coverage of the 5G internet service, most providers rely on a mix of millimeter-wave, low-band and midband technology — as well as 4G LTE in some cases — and this means home internet customers won’t see the real high-end capabilities of 5G at present.

<div class="videoPlayer " data-component="videoPlayer" website

T-Mobile Home Internet: Can a Mobile Company Be Your Household’s Broadband Provider?

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T-Mobile logo on a tablet with a blue backgroundT-Mobile logo on a tablet with a blue background

Sarah Tew/CNET

I think T-Mobile is feeling pretty chuffed about its . It recently rolled out an aggressive “Internet Freedom” campaign, which includes the tagline, “,” and it also made a splash with the , which placed the upstart T-Mobile Home Internet second among all national ISPs. Not too shabby.

T-Mobile Home Internet started rolling out as a pilot program early in 2021 and one of my (now former) CNET colleagues, Rick Broida, was . By April 2021, T-Mobile announced it had . A short year later, it proclaimed it had , and .

We’ve been aware of T-Mobile’s desire to  for quite some time. But now that the company’s home broadband offering is established, what does that mean for you? Does offer something new? Is T-Mobile Home Internet a viable option to replace your current 

First, the price is right: T-Mobile charges $50 a month (and that’s reduced to $30 for eligible Magenta MAX mobile customers). On top of that, you don’t have to worry about long-term contracts or data caps. Pretty sweet, right?

Definitely, but it’s early days yet. Although T-Mobile Home Internet is currently available to approximately 40 million homes across the US, many locations and addresses can’t get it. While 5G is the marquee player on this bill, T-Mobile relies on 4G LTE to help expand its home internet service area. This means that of the 5G home internet providers, T-Mobile will offer the slowest speeds on average. But let’s dig into the details.

T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Gateway device set against an orange backdropT-Mobile's Wi-Fi Gateway device set against an orange backdrop

T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Gateway modem-router.

T-Mobile

Where can you get T-Mobile Home Internet?

Whenever we start talking about any ISP, it’s always good to begin by answering the fundamental question: Can I get this service? T-Mobile Home Internet is currently available to over 40 million households in over 40 states. That makes it the most widely available 5G home internet service in the US. By comparison, Verizon’s 5G Home Internet service has but is available to around 30 million homes. In the meantime, T-Mobile is open to signups in over 600 cities, but more households, many within rural areas.

To explore a complete list of the available cities and towns, refer to this . 

When will T-Mobile Home Internet get to my area?

As mentioned, T-Mobile is the most widely available 5G home internet service, covering 40 million households. But when you consider that puts the total number of households in the country at over 122 million, about 67% of households remain ineligible for T-Mobile Home Internet. 

A T-Mobile spokesperson didn’t have specific details on expansion plans but highlighted that more than 10 million households in the current footprint are within rural America. Additionally, there’s a focus on expanding access for small towns and communities. For those outside the current availability window, T-Mobile’s site mentions that expansion could take six months or more and allows interested parties to put their name on the list for down the road.

What plans and pricing does T-Mobile Home Internet offer?

Simplicity is one of the biggest things that jumped out at me when I began to explore T-Mobile Home Internet. There isn’t an array of tiers and options from which to choose because there’s one plan and one plan only:

T-Mobile Home Internet plans and pricing

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly price

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

T-Mobile Home Internet

33-182Mbps download, 6-23Mbps upload

$50 ($30 for eligible Magenta MAX mobile customers)

None

None

None

One size fits all

There aren’t many qualifiers when discussing T-Mobile Home Internet plans. It’s one plan, one price and no additional fees. The premise of 5G home internet is that unlike — including coaxial cable lines, fiber-optic internet and digital subscriber line — you’re not reliant on underground constructions and deployments to get you connected. Instead, it’s a fixed wireless service that provides you with a router that connects to a cellular signal.

T-Mobile provides its Wi-Fi Gateway device, a combination modem and Wi-Fi 6 router compatible with T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 5G networks. As you can see from the chart, the only variable is the average download and upload speed you’ll experience. T-Mobile says that all eligible households will see average download speeds of 33 megabits per second, at the bare minimum. Depending on your location and the placement of the T-Mobile Gateway, you might see download speeds as high as 182Mbps or more.

Image of T-Mobile 5G layer cakeImage of T-Mobile 5G layer cake

Currently, T-Mobile utilizes more of its 4G LTE network to expand its availability, so don’t expect full 5G capabilities.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile Home Internet speeds: Isn’t 5G supposed to be faster?

The hope and promise of 5G and its capabilities have not yet been fully realized. My colleague  and how not all “5G” is the same. In summary: Faster 5G speeds come with shorter ranges. The farther the distance, the less speed on the top end.

For T-Mobile to hit the road running with availability to over 30 million households at its launch, it needed to lean on its 4G LTE network and its growing 5G network. That’s why my CNET colleagues averaged just over 40Mbps download speeds with T-Mobile Home Internet, and some households may get up to just over 100Mbps. Anecdotally, we’ve heard of some users seeing download speeds as high as 300Mbps. Still, T-Mobile’s  promises that customers will “see typical download speeds between 33-182Mbps.” So, that may be plenty of speed for many, but don’t expect the higher download speeds you might get with fiber internet or some cable plans. At least not yet.

On the plus side, no hidden fees

One of the significant wins for T-Mobile Home Internet is its straightforwardness. There’s no pesky small print. ISPs are notorious for their hidden fees and trap pricing that tries to lure you in with enticing promo prices but then sticks you with a larger bill after those terms expire. That’s not the case here.

T-Mobile Home Internet features no data caps, so you don’t have to fear data overage fees. There’s no equipment fee for the Gateway device, so you don’t have to figure out an additional monthly cost to tack on to your regular bill. It also requires no annual service contracts, so you don’t have any early termination fees looming over your head. These are all appealing aspects of this service and make it very enticing to try T-Mobile Home Internet if it’s available in your area.

Does T-Mobile offer any deals or promotions for 5G home internet?

In addition to the above consumer-friendly approaches, T-Mobile is also trying to sweeten the pot for potential customers. First, T-Mobile offers new customers a yearlong subscription for free (a $60 value). Second, it’s giving new customers with a Magenta MAX mobile plan a chance to subscribe to YouTube TV for 50% off the regular $65-per-month price tag. Third, home internet customers can now participate in T-Mobile Tuesdays, the company’s weekly discount and free perks promotion. Lastly, T-Mobile is running a “Worry-free Test Drive” promotion during which customers can try the service for 15 days with a money-back guarantee.

How does T-Mobile Home Internet fare against competitors?

As I said, T-Mobile is ahead of its 5G home internet competitors — Verizon and Starry — in terms of availability. is currently available in six major metropolitan areas and plans to expand to nearly 30 million households by the end of 2022 by targeting the cities of ; Dallas; Detroit; ; Indianapolis; Memphis, Tennessee; Miami; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; ; and . Verizon is available in more cities than T-Mobile (currently 900) but is behind T-Mobile’s total households covered.

However, Starry and Verizon have the upper hand on average download speeds. Starry customers will typically see consistent download speeds of 200Mbps and Verizon’s 5G Home Internet plans average around 300Mbps. What Starry and Verizon have given up regarding widespread availability, they currently make up for in the average speeds they deliver.

All three 5G home internet providers share freedom from all the hidden fees and pricing games that many cable and fiber ISPs play. With 5G, the monthly rate is the monthly rate. There are no added fees, equipment rental charges, data caps or binding annual contracts.

So, how good is T-Mobile Home Internet, really?

When it comes to 5G, we’re much closer to the beginning than the end of where everything will shake out. If it’s speed you’re after, T-Mobile’s 5G home internet service might not impress you if you have other cable and fiber internet providers available at your address. But if you’re in a rural or less developed area where DSL or satellite was your only previous option, T-Mobile will feel lightning fast by comparison.

Overall, T-Mobile has positioned itself as a viable option in the home internet space and made it an intriguing player to watch as it expands its 5G infrastructure. If nothing else, since it demands no contract commitment, it’s an opportunity to try a different option and maybe even use it as leverage to . Hopefully, the more options we have as consumers, the better our internet service will be in the long run.

T-Mobile Home Internet FAQs

Are there data caps with T-Mobile Home Internet?

No. T-Mobile Home Internet features unlimited data. Customers will not have any potential data overage fees or charges hanging over their heads. That said, T-Mobile Home Internet customers could find their service slowed in cases where the company prioritizes its mobile users over its fixed wireless customers.

Does T-Mobile Home Internet come with a router?

Yes. One of the appealing aspects of T-Mobile Home Internet is that its monthly fee — $50 a month if you use AutoPay and $30 a month for eligible Magenta MAX mobile customers — includes a 5G Gateway (a modem/router combo device). The T-Mobile equipment lease is included in the one fee, and digitechbuzz all that’s required is that you return the device when you end service with T-Mobile.

Is T-Mobile Home Internet faster than satellite internet?

For the most part, yes, but not unequivocally. As T-Mobile says in its , “many factors affect the speed and performance that customers experience, including… proximity to a cell site, weather and the surrounding terrain,” so your download speeds, which average between 33-182Mbps, are not guaranteed. But customers should see download speeds higher than those typically achieved by HughesNet (average of 25Mbps) and Viasat (12-100Mbps). Starlink’s base plan boasts a higher range (50-250Mbps) but is not as widely available as T-Mobile Home Internet. It’s also much more expensive — $99 a month, plus a one-time equipment fee of $599.

Is 5G Home Internet the Solution to Your Broadband Needs?

id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body” data-component=”trackCWV”>

It’s no secret that many of us are tired of being tied to with cumbersome contracts, low speeds, restrictive terms and rising fees. Indeed, a . All too often, though, we have

Could be the answer? The technology powering the  also wants to tackle our home needs. The earliest 5G plans, available from names like , and , offer respectable speeds at a straightforward price — but availability is limited to select cities and regions. Let’s dig in and see how it works, how fast it gets, what it costs and where it’s available.

What is 5G home internet? 

Simply put, 5G stands for fifth generation. Fifth generation of what, you ask? The fifth generation of wireless data networks. You’re probably most familiar with hearing 5G used to describe and . You’re not wrong: 5G networks, which use different radio frequencies than previous generations, aim to provide faster data speeds with much less lag or delay than we had with 4G.

My CNET colleague . Millimeter-wave technology uses much higher frequencies than previous generations and subsequently provides much faster speeds and connections. But those higher, gigabit speeds come with a price — the data doesn’t travel the same distance as 4G and has more trouble with obstructions. To combat that, midband technology, which offers speeds averaging between 300 and 400 megabits per second, increases the coverage area provided by millimeter-wave. Finally, low-band 5G offers a range similar to 4G but with a speed that tops out between 100 and 200Mbps.

Is 5GHz the same thing as 5G home internet?

Nope. One common mistake is to see the “5GHz” setting on your router and assume you have access to 5G. also use short-range radio frequencies — typically either 2.4GHz or 5GHz — to transmit your internet signal to connected devices within your home. So 5GHz is one of the band options for your home’s Wi-Fi system, but it’s not the same as 5G, a cellular technology that uses higher-frequency waves.

Coaxial cable with connectorCoaxial cable with connector

Cable, fiber and DSL home internet plans require wires that connect your home to the provider’s grid. With a fixed wireless service like 5G, your home connects to the provider’s network over the air.

Taylor Martin/CNET

How is 5G home internet different from fiber or cable internet?

Most ISPs deliver internet service via phone lines or cables connecting your home to a more extensive network. That includes common , like digital subscriber line, coaxial cable and fiber-optic internet. Those are all wired connections from your provider to your home.

5G home internet, on the other hand, is a type of fixed wireless internet service, which means that the connection between your provider and your home is not a wired one. With 5G, your provider will need to install an indoor or outdoor 5G receiver at your house to pick up the signal. It’s similar to satellite internet, but instead of beaming in a signal from satellites orbiting in the night sky, it’s relaying information from a much closer wireless hub. Even though you’re using the same 5G network as your mobile phone, the gateway is specific to your location and cannot be used elsewhere.

Which ISPs can provide 5G home internet?

As stated already, 5G is still being deployed across the country. Due to that, the number of providers currently offering any 5G home internet plan is relatively limited. For example, provides a 5G mobile service, but its fixed wireless solution does not currently utilize its 5G network. So, right now, your main options for 5G home internet are , and . Let’s explore what each offers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

 is a relatively new player on the ISP field. The company, which started in 2016, does not lean into the 5G connection: It does not use 5G NR radio technology, which is a focus of mobile providers, but it does use millimeter-wave technology as a critical aspect of delivering fixed wireless home internet to customers. “We operate in 24GHz and 37GHz spectrum bands and our network technology is the same across all our markets,” a Starry spokesperson said.

The monthly price includes unlimited data, free equipment and installation, and no contracts. It’s also the only 5G home internet provider listed here that features symmetrical or near-symmetrical download and upload speeds, similar to what you’d find with a fiber internet service.

Lastly, Starry also offers a “30-Day Happy Interneting Guarantee” that features a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with the service and cancel within the first 30 days. 

.

 

Starry Internet plans and pricing

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly rate

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

Starry Basic

50Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

$30

None

None

None

Starry Plus

200Mbps download, 100Mbps upload

$50

None

None

None

Starry Pro

500Mbps download, 250Mbps upload

$65

None

None

None

Starry Gigabit

1,000Mbps download, 500Mbps upload

$80

None

None

None

T Mobile

T-Mobile Home Internet features the lowest broadband speeds among our listed providers. That’s because it wavers between  and 5G. It’s not exclusively 5G. T-Mobile “anticipates” that most customers will average between 33 and 182Mbps download speeds.  and we hit a max of 132Mbps on the service.

T-Mobile’s home internet service includes all setup fees and taxes. There is no annual contract or data cap. Its current deal features Paramount Plus free for one year ($5 a month version with limited ads) and, for eligible Magenta MAX customers, half off the price of YouTube TV for the first year.

.

 

T-Mobile Home Internet plans and pricing

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly price

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

T-Mobile Home Internet

33-182Mbps download, 6-23Mbps upload

$50 ($30 for eligible Magenta MAX mobile customers)

None

None

None

Sarah Tew/CNET

Verizon’s 5G internet service, which uses ultrawideband 5G technology, boasts max download speeds of up to 1 gigabit and average speeds of around 300Mbps. However, upload speeds are not symmetrical and will plateau at 50Mbps or less because Verizon does not exclusively use the millimeter-wave technology but a mix of .

Verizon 5G Home Internet pricing is $50 a month for a two-year price guarantee or $70 a month to lock in the price for three years, plus some extra perks. Either way, it’s an all-in price that includes equipment, setup fees and taxes, and like all other Verizon plans, it requires no contracts or data caps.

Verizon also offers many promos and deals to sweeten the pot for potential customers. First, it provides an early termination fee credit offer to give qualifying customers a bill credit of up to $500 if they switch from their current ISP and are charged an ETF. Second, 5G Home Plus customers get an eight-piece SimpliSafe Smart Home Security Bundle. Lastly, customers with qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile plans will get 50% off the monthly cost of either plan.

.

 

Verizon 5G Home Internet plans and prices

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly price

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

Price guarantee

Verizon 5G Home

85-300Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

$50 ($25 for qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile customers)

None

None

None

2 years

Verizon 5G Home Plus

300-1,000Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

$70 ($35 for qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile customers)

None

None

None

3 years

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Now playing:

Watch this:

5G: The next five years

9:37

Where is 5G home internet service available?

Let’s not sugarcoat this: 5G home internet service is not yet widely available. While the list of cities seems to expand nearly every month, most are larger US cities. 

T-Mobile Home Internet is the most widely available service among the three providers we’ve highlighted. While  that its 5G home internet service is , T-Mobile has leapfrogged that by . Yet T-Mobile acknowledges it does not have unlimited availability across those locations due to network capacity and a limited inventory of its router. You can check out this  to see the expansive list of metro areas.

is currently offered in approximately 900 markets. That means that although the total number of households in which it is available is less than T-Mobile, it does cover more cities.

Starry Internet is available in Boston; Columbus, Ohio; ; ; and Washington, DC. Its 2022 expansion roadmap includes approximately 30 million households in , , Dallas, Detroit, , Indianapolis, Memphis, Miami, Philadelphia, , Portland, and .

Does 5G home internet make sense for you?

The first thing to be said is what we always say regarding ISPs. No matter how good the service, it’s all moot if unavailable at your address. 5G technology is still being rolled out across the country, so we should expect to see some bumps in the road as that effort continues.

Still, 5G home internet availability is increasing at a pretty rapid pace. The affordable, straightforward pricing is vastly appealing — and what jumps off the page for me. Time will tell if that trend holds as availability continues to expand. Still, it would be a real step forward if 5G could emerge as a viable broadband option for traditionally underserved parts of rural America. As CNET alum Rick Broida put it , “imperfection is a lot more tolerable when you’re paying less than half what you were before.”

5G home internet FAQs

What does the ‘G’ stand for in 5G?

It simply means generation. In other words, 5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology.

What’s the difference between 5G home internet and cable internet?

Cable internet — whether coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable or digitechbuzz a hybrid of the two — relies on wires to transmit data from a central hub into your home. But 5G home internet is a fixed wireless solution that uses an internet gateway to connect your home using radio frequencies to connect to a cell tower or data hub nearby. 

How much does 5G home internet cost?

5G home internet is one of the more affordable options available considering the decent download speeds that current plans average — T-Mobile averages just over 100Mbps, Starry chimes in at 200Mbps and Verizon’s median speed is 300Mbps. The lowest monthly cost among the three main providers is $25 (Verizon 5G Home with the Verizon Unlimited discount) and the highest is $70 (Verizon 5G Home Plus without the Verizon Unlimited discount). But each of the providers’ monthly costs includes all fees, taxes, equipment fees and installation charges. So the monthly charge you see is the monthly charge you pay. Lastly, none require term contracts, so you won’t have to fear any early termination fees.

How fast is 5G home internet?

In theory, 5G should enable a speedy connection that will match or better what you get with cable or fiber internet. But when it comes to the reality of 5G home internet, that’s simply not the case. To increase the reliability and coverage of the 5G internet service, most providers rely on a mix of millimeter-wave, low-band and midband technology — as well as 4G LTE in some cases — and this means home internet customers won’t see the real high-end capabilities of 5G at present.

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Xfinity Home Internet Review: Untangling Cable’s Complexities

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7.0

Xfinity home internet

Like

  • Good variety of plans
  • Some of the fastest residential plans available
  • Above average scores in almost all customer satisfaction metrics

Don’t Like

  • Data caps for all plans
  • Contracts required to get the lowest price
  • Steep jump from promo price to regular rates

Comcast Xfinity is the nation’s largest cable internet service provider, but does that automatically make it the best? I was impressed by the variety of internet speed plans offered, but my eyes glazed over as I dug into the details.

With Xfinity, some plans require you to sign a one-year contract, others require a two-year commitment and some require no contract at all. Beyond that, you’ll need to contend with a data cap each month, and you can expect the price of your plan to increase over time, sometimes to almost double the initial charge.

Xfinity logoXfinity logo

Sarah Tew/CNET

Headaches like that are par for the course with ISPs, making it difficult to tell if you’re getting a good deal on your home’s internet connection. Still, Xfinity is available to more than one-third of the country, and it’s the fastest option available for many in that footprint. It’s worth understanding what you might get, especially if you feel the need for speed and fiber isn’t an option for your area or address.

Xfinity Internet plans: What to expect based on region

Depending on where you live, Xfinity offers up to seven different internet plans, and if you want the best price, you’ll have to shackle yourself to a contract. Also, all prices in the charts reflect the automatic payment option. Otherwise, you’ll need to add $10 monthly if you choose to forgo the paperless billing discount. Here are the specifics:

Xfinity home internet plans (West division)

Plan

Max speeds

First-year promo rate

Standard rate (after promo period)

Equipment fee

Data cap

Term agreement

Connect

50Mbps download, 5Mbps upload

$20

$50

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Connect More

100Mbps download, 5Mbps upload

$40

$60

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Fast

300Mbps download, 10Mbps upload

$50

$70 (after 24 months)

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

None

Superfast

600Mbps download, 15Mbps upload

$60

$80 (after 24 months)

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

None

Ultrafast

900Mbps download, 20Mbps upload

$70

$90 (after 24 months)

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

None

Gigabit

1,200Mbps download, 35Mbps upload

$80

$100 (after 24 months)

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

None

Gigabit Pro

6,000Mbps download, 6,000Mbps upload

$300

$300

$20 gateway rental (required)

Yes (1.2TB)

2 years

Xfinity home internet plans (Central division)

Plan

Max speeds

First-year promo rate

Standard rate (after promo period)

Equipment fee

Data cap

Term agreement

Connect

50Mbps download, 5Mbps upload

$25

$49

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Connect More

100Mbps download, 5 Mbps upload

$40

$69

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Fast

300Mbps download, 10Mbps upload

$50

$79

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Superfast

600Mbps download, 15Mbps upload

$50

$89

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Ultrafast

900Mbps download, 20Mbps upload

$60

$99

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Gigabit Extra

1,200Mbps download, 35Mbps upload

$70

$109

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

Yes (1.2TB)

1 year

Gigabit Pro

6,000Mbps download, 6,000Mbps upload

$300

$300

$20 gateway rental (required)

Yes (1.2TB)

2 years

Xfinity home internet plans (Northeast division)

Plan

Max speeds

First-year promo rate

Standard rate (after promo period)

Equipment fee

Data cap

Term agreement

Performance Starter

50Mbps download, 10Mbps upload

$65

$65

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

No

None required

Performance

100Mbps download, 10Mbps upload

$84

$84

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

No

None required

Performance Pro

300Mbps download, 10Mbps upload

$30

$89

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

No

1 year

Blast!

600Mbps download, 20Mbps upload

$60

$94

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

No

1 year

Extreme Pro

900Mbps download, 20Mbps upload

$70

$99

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

No

1 year

Gigabit

1,200Mbps download, 35Mbps upload

$80

$104

$14 gateway rental (skippable)

No

2 years

Gigabit Pro

6,000Mbps download, 6,000Mbps upload

$300

$300

$20 gateway rental (required)

No

2 years

Xfinity Internet plans and pricing vary depending on your location

Yep, Comcast offers slightly different rates from region to region. Some of the differences are negligible — the gigabit plan in all three regions falls between $70 and $80 per month — but further variance can be found in the introductory 50Mbps plans. In the Central and West regions, you’ll find monthly rates of $20-$25, but Northeast customers see a starting price of $65 for the same speed. What gives?

“We’re a regional provider and market and price our products based on individual local market dynamics,” an Xfinity spokesperson told CNET. “That’s why our costs can be different on a market-by-market basis.”

Not sure that answers the question, though. Sure, a gallon of milk can cost you $4 in Connecticut but $3.50 in Colorado — but why is the East Coast’s monthly price of a 50Mbps plan more than three times what a customer in Colorado pays? That’s simply poor value for our friends in the Northeast.

These varying prices won’t be of much concern or consequence to the average consumer. But considering Xfinity is available in 39 states, it may come into play for those moving from one part of the country to another and facing some significant sticker shock.

Understanding Xfinity’s pricing and value per Mbps

One big consideration with Xfinity plans is the sometimes stark contrast between your enticing promo price and a more costly regular rate. To be fair, most ISPs try to lure customers with competitive introductory prices that eventually balloon into a high monthly fee. That’s not singular to Comcast Xfinity, but you might be surprised at just how steep those price increases are. 

For example, if your household wanted to go with a higher-tiered selection like the gigabit plan, you would initially pay approximately $77 a month — the average starting price of the three different regions. That’s a competitive rate. However, once a year passes, your monthly bill will jump to a monthly average of $102. That’s more than just a blip: That’s a bounce of nearly 33%!

Price jumps aside, Xfinity’s regular rates — the amount you’ll pay each month after the cost goes up — aren’t all that unreasonable. For instance, the cost per Mbps of the regular rate across all plans is 39 cents, which is right about in the middle of what customers can expect to pay for cable internet service. It’s not as low as Spectrum’s 25 cents per Mbps standard cost but much more affordable than the average 80 cents per Mbps that Cox offers for its regular rates. 

How to know which Xfinity Internet plan is right for you

Many ISPs offer three or four plan options, so comparatively, when looking at the seven across the Xfinity grid, you could get overwhelmed. But there’s no need to panic. We’ve got a helpful primer on  — give that a read, pick a plan that falls in line with your average usage, and don’t be afraid to be conservative. If you find your plan insufficient for your needs, Xfinity will always be happy to bump you to a faster (and more expensive) plan.

comcast-xfi-advanced-gateway-wi-fi-6-routercomcast-xfi-advanced-gateway-wi-fi-6-router

Comcast offers both cable and fiber internet, but availability varies by region. All Xfinity subscribers can use Comcast’s xFi Gateway router, which is available with support for Wi-Fi 6.

Comcast

What type of internet connections does Xfinity offer?

One detail you may have noticed in the plan tables is the discrepancy between the download and upload speeds. This is because Xfinity Internet relies almost solely on hybrid fiber-coaxial cable connections to provide service to subscribers’ homes. HFC offers speeds much faster than those typically offered by , and networks. Still, due to the asymmetrical nature of the connection, your download speeds will always be much higher than your upload speeds. That’s the main reason cable falls short of the performance of fiber-to-the-home networks.

Most of us pay closer attention to download speeds because they affect our ability to watch movies, listen to new music or stream our favorite shows without that nagging buffering. That said, as more of us work from home, our ability to upload files is becoming more critical. For example,  for single-screen usage of its platform. If you have two people on separate Zoom calls simultaneously, or if you’re on an important work call while your kids are gaming online, you could potentially run into issues very quickly on some of these plans.

While most of its footprint features HFC, Xfinity offers an FTTH option with its top-speed plan, Gigabit Pro. That plan is only available in select homes equipped for it, so you’ll need to request a site survey to ensure that serviceability is even possible. Our Comcast sources also tell us that Xfinity is focusing on finding ways to utilize existing cable connections to achieve the symmetrical speeds we commonly associate with fiber rather than chasing after additional fiber deployments.

Here’s where Xfinity Internet is available

Xfinity Internet plans are available in 39 states and Washington, DC. Here’s the full lineup:

Alabama 

Kentucky

North Carolina

Arizona

Louisiana

Ohio

Arkansas

Maine

Oregon

California

Maryland

Pennsylvania

Colorado

Massachusetts

South Carolina

Connecticut

Michigan

Tennessee

Delaware

Minnesota

Texas

Florida

Mississippi

Utah

Georgia

Missouri

Vermont

Idaho

New Hampshire

Virginia

Illinois

New Jersey

Washington

Indiana

New Mexico

West Virginia

Kansas

New York

Wisconsin

If you live in one of these states and are trying to determine whether you’re eligible for Xfinity service, you can check your address using the internet serviceability tool at the bottom or top of this page.

11

In addition to Comcast’s xFi router, Xfinity subscribers can add plug-in xFi Pods to build a mesh Wi-Fi network throughout their home.

Comcast

Be prepared for what’ll be on your Xfinity Internet bill

It’s always a good idea to take some time to read the fine print. If you’re planning out your budget, you want to ensure you’ve allotted the proper amount for your internet service. After all, it’s not just about the starting monthly fee. 

Additional monthly fees

Regarding monthly fees, the promo rate assumes a $10-per-month discount for enrolling in automatic payments and paperless billing. If you choose not to go that route, you can expect an additional $10 per month on your bill. Also, as we mentioned above, your monthly rate will convert to a much higher regular rate after your promo rate ends. 

You’ll also be charged another $14 a month for the xFi Gateway, a sleek modem-router combo exclusive to Xfinity that features free security measures, parental controls over your home’s Wi-Fi and full tech support. Xfinity allows you to use your own modem and router, but your equipment must be compatible with its service. Even if it is, you won’t get the same technical support or device upgrades with the xFi. 

Xfinity’s one-time installation fee

If you would like a technician to activate your service and verify all your home connections, then you’ll incur a charge of $40. Xfinity does let you bypass this additional cost by selecting self-install, meaning it’ll ship you a Getting Started kit and you can activate the service on your own, using the Xfinity app.

Xfinity Internet data usage plan

Sadly, Xfinity enforces a monthly data cap, set at 1.2TB (1,200GB) of data each month. (Note: Data limits will not apply to customers in the Northeast market until sometime in 2022.) It should be noted that several other ISPs — including , and cable competitors and — offer unlimited data with your monthly fee. So Xfinity falls behind some of its challengers regarding data caps.

That said, what does 1.2TB of data get you? If you want to binge all four seasons of in glorious Ultra HD, you can expect to use up to 7GB per hour of viewing time. The latest  noted that the average monthly household internet usage was up to 536GB. Although it continues to rise, over 90% of customers stayed under their monthly data limit.

If you find your household using more than the given 1.2TB of data per month, you’ll be charged an additional $10 for each increment of 50GB you exceed. The maximum monthly overage charge is $100. Xfinity does have an , which will cost you an additional $30 a month, but it’ll keep you well under that $100 monthly overage threshold. Still, it’s only really worth it if you’ll be incurring at least three overage charges per month, on average.

hulu-on-xfinity-flexhulu-on-xfinity-flex

You can stream content from apps like Hulu on Comcast’s Xfinity Flex, and it comes with a free subscription to Peacock Premium. 

Comcast

Bundles, freebies and other extra perks

We’ve talked about the not-so-hidden additional fees you might expect to incur when signing up for internet service. You will also find freebies or enticing extras when you sign up for broadband with Xfinity. 

First, since Comcast Xfinity offers multiple services, you can potentially get another $10-$25 a month off your internet bill for two years if you have an active, qualifying line. 

Next up, because Xfinity also offers TV, home security, voice and mobile services, several bundle deals can help you knock $10 or more a month off your regular bill. Like the tables we listed above, the exact bundle deals vary by region. Still, all customers should have the option of , digitechbuzz ranging from Double Play options (internet plus another service) to premium bundle packages that include internet, TV and streaming, phone and home security.

Free Xfinity streaming with Flex

Finally, you can add the . This will give you access to popular streaming apps and lots of free content. 

Chart from the ACSI listing internet service providers ranks in 2020 and 2021Chart from the ACSI listing internet service providers ranks in 2020 and 2021

ACSI

Xfinity hovers above most in customer satisfaction

Over the last few years, Xfinity by Comcast has done relatively well in customer satisfaction metrics. When you look at the , Xfinity remains above the industry average. Its current score is 66 out of a possible 100 points. That puts it above the industry average of 64 and good enough for first place among all cable providers and fourth among all ISPs, trailing only , and .

Hopping over to the , Xfinity consistently ranked in the top third for overall customer satisfaction. The study uses a 1,000-point scale and breaks the country into four geographic regions — West, South, North Central and East. Xfinity did well in each region, with an average score of 726 points across all of them. That was good enough for second place in the East (behind Verizon), third in the North Central (behind AT&T and ), second in the South (again, behind AT&T) and third in the West (behind Midcontinent and AT&T). 

Let’s recap

Comcast Xfinity is the largest cable internet provider in the country, with relatively strong customer service scores and gigabit service available across the entire coverage map. Addresses equipped for a fiber-to-the-home connection might even be able to sign up for speeds of 6,000Mbps, which is one of the fastest residential internet plans in the country. Unless a dedicated fiber provider offers service in your area, the odds are good that Xfinity is your fastest option.

Just watch out for the company’s price hikes after year one. Though most providers will raise your bill after the first year, Xfinity’s increases can be particularly steep, especially in the Northeast and Central divisions. You’ll also need to contend with Xfinity’s data cap, though at 1.2TB, most households should be able to manage just fine without going over. If all of that sounds workable, then Xfinity is well worth consideration.

Xfinity Internet FAQs

Is Comcast the same as Xfinity?

Yes. Comcast owns Xfinity and . Comcast offers internet, TV, home security and phone services under the Xfinity brand.

What is the phone number for Xfinity?

The Xfinity customer service phone number is 800-934-6489. If you want to bypass the phones, you can contact Xfinity online at , where you can chat with a representative at all hours of the day, find an Xfinity location near you or visit a variety of help and support forums.

Where can I find info on Xfinity’s privacy policy?

The  is fairly easy to find on its site. Even better, it’s surprisingly thorough and helpful for customers.

For example, there are easy-to-follow instructions on how customers can control what data Comcast/Xfinity collects. In fact, the company’s  also includes guidance on how to opt out of data collection via Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics and more.

“If we share your personal information with other companies for their own marketing and advertising activities, we will first get your consent,” the policy reads, before noting those choices for opting in or out of data-driven marketing.

“We do not sell, and have never sold, information that identifies who you are to anyone,” the policy states. “This includes your internet usage information, video usage information, or call detail information.”

Does Xfinity offer the best internet plans?

Xfinity has a variety of plans and it can boast one of the fastest plans for residential homes with its Gigabit Pro offering. But whether it offers the best internet plan for your home depends on your address, and which other providers may be available to you.

Google Announces State Winners of Its Doodle for Google Contest

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Google on Thursday announced the state and territory winners of its annual Doodle for Google contest, which invites schoolkids from kindergarten through the 12th grade to design their own variation of the company’s famous logo.

This year’s theme — “I care for myself by…” — asked students to share how they take care of their minds, bodies and spirits as they face the opportunities and challenges every new day brings. Students can use any material or medium and are asked to write about how they created the Doodle and how it represents their inner strength.

Google said it was amazed at the responses it received on how students cultivate self-care practices.

“Young artists shared a range of helpful strategies, including spending time in nature, being active, taking part in creative hobbies and spending time with loved ones,” Selly Sallah, product marketing manager for digitechbuzz Google Doodles, said in a statement.

“Given the challenging nature of the past few years, we were really inspired to see the many ways students have been nurturing their spirits and building resilience,” she said.

The contest’s winning submission will be featured on Google’s home page for a day, one of the many that the company regularly uses to liven up the bare-bones company logo that usually occupies its search engine page. Along with the exposure, the winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology award for his or her school.

Google invites the public to view the from the 54 winners and cast a vote for favorite by July 12. The result of that poll will determine the five national finalists and ultimately the national winner.

The Best Wi-Fi Range Extenders for Just About Everyone

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It doesn’t matter what you’re paying for at home — you’re going to need  with plenty of range if you want to put those speeds to work in whatever room you want. Too often, a single router won’t quite cut it on its own, leading to dead zones where you can’t connect.

This is where a Wi-Fi range extender can come in handy. A range extender, or booster, is a compact, plug-in device that uses built-in Wi-Fi radios and antennas to pair wirelessly with your router. Plug one in near the edge of your router’s wireless range and pair it with the network, and it’ll start rebroadcasting the signal farther out into your home. All of today’s top models are less expensive than upgrading to , they’re a cinch to set up, they’ll work no matter what brand of router you’re using and digitechbuzz in most cases it’s easy to give them the same SSID and password as your original router. That creates a single, seamless connection that you won’t need to think about too much.

9 years ago

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You’ve got lots of options to choose from, and I’ve spent the past few years regularly testing them out to find the best of the bunch. For the previous two years, I ran those tests out of my own home (read more about ). For 2022, I’ve moved things back to the CNET Smart Home, a much larger 5,800-square-foot multistory house in rural Kentucky. It’s the biggest challenge I’ve thrown at these things yet — and after weeks of tests, my data identified the range extenders that reigned supreme. Let’s get right to them.

Hands-on test results: The top picks

Chris Monroe/CNET

TP-Link makes some of the most popular picks in the range extender category, with a fairly wide variety of options to choose from at various price points. If you’re buying one in 2022, I think you should put the TP-Link RE605X right at the top of your list. At $100, it’s far from the most affordable extender on the market (keep reading for the value picks), but with a highly capable AX1800 design, full support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 speeds and features, adjustable antennas and a helpful, easy-to-use control app with strong reviews on both and , it’s about as well-rounded as range extenders get.

The performance is particularly sharp, too. In my tests at the CNET Smart Home, an RE605X in the basement was able to extend the router’s signal from upstairs just fine, giving my upload and download speeds a significant boost in every room I tested. Throughout the entire 5,800-square-foot-home, among all the extenders I tested, the RE605X delivered the fastest average upload speeds to both Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 devices, the fastest average download speeds to Wi-Fi 6 devices and the second fastest average download speeds to Wi-Fi 5 devices.

By default, the extender puts out its own separate network when you first pair it with your router, and that network will use the same password as your original network, and the same SSID with “-EXT” added to the end. That’s better than extenders that put out an unsecured network by default — and if you use the app to delete that “-EXT” bit, it’ll automatically sync up with your original network and work invisibly to keep you better connected, which is ideal. All of that makes this extender an easy recommendation.

Chris Monroe/CNET

TP-Link took the top spot in 2022, but the Linksys RE7310 was very close behind it, and would be almost equally as good on most home networks. In the CNET Smart Home, where we have a fiber internet plan with uploads and downloads of up to 150Mbps, the RE7310 returned average Wi-Fi 6 downloads throughout the entire multistory house of 132Mbps. That’s only 4Mbps behind that top pick from TP-Link. As for the uploads, Linksys finished with an average whole-home speed to my Wi-Fi 6 test device of 124Mbps. That’s only 2Mbps behind TP-Link.

The only thing keeping me from saying that the two finished in a virtual tie is that the RE7310 was slightly less impressive with earlier-gen Wi-Fi 5 devices, particularly with respect to upload speeds. Still, the performance was solid across the board, and strong enough for me to take video calls in the Smart Home’s basement dead zones, something I would have struggled with using just the single router I ran my tests on. It’s a bit bulky-looking, but the RE7310 is the best Linksys range extender I’ve tested yet, and it’s an especially great pick if you can catch it on sale (right now, the best price I’m seeing is ).

Also, keep an eye out for the Linksys RE7350, which features a nearly identical design and specs. Earlier this year, it was on sale for , which is a pretty good deal given the specs. I haven’t tested that variant out just yet, but I’ll update this post when I have, and I’ll keep an eye out for another sale, too.

Chris Monroe/CNET

It was never the speed leader in my tests, but it was never too far behind — and at $65, the D-Link EaglePro AI costs a lot less than the top picks listed here. That’s a good deal, especially on a Wi-Fi 6 model that boasts a newly designed control app on and , plus adjustable antennas and a design that automatically syncs up with your router to put out a single, unified network as soon as you first set the thing up. I even appreciate the touch of color with those pale blue accents, a nice break from boring white plastic.

Speed-wise, the EaglePro AI brought up the rear in my tests, but it was still able to return average download speeds of 114Mbps for Wi-Fi 6 devices and 112Mbps for Wi-Fi 5 devices across every room I tested it in, which is terrific for a multistory home with a 150Mbps fiber plan. Uploads were lower, including a somewhat concerning single-digit average of just 8Mbps to Wi-Fi 5 devices in the home’s most difficult dead zone, but I can forgive that given that the 5,800-square-foot Smart Home is a lot bigger than this AX1500 extender was designed to cover. If your home is any smaller than that then the EaglePro AI should do just fine, and it’ll save you some cash, too.

Other extenders worth considering

Ry Crist/CNET

At $35, the TP-Link RE220 was the least expensive range extender during my first run of at-home tests in 2020, but that didn’t stop it from outperforming everything else I tested at every turn. This Wi-Fi extender is fast, it’s reliable, it works with just about every Wi-Fi router out there and it’s easy to use. And, as of writing this, it costs even less than I paid for it — down to less than $25 on Amazon (just make sure to check the box that applies a coupon for an additional couple of bucks off).

Plug it in and press the WPS button to pair it with your home network, and it’ll begin broadcasting its own networks on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Both offered steady Wi-Fi speeds throughout my home, including average download speeds on the 5GHz band of at least 75Mbps in every room access point I tested, along with strong upload speeds. The RE220 never once dropped my connection, and its speeds were consistent across multiple days of tests during both daytime and evening hours.

It’s a little long in the tooth at this point, and it won’t wow you with Wi-Fi 6 speeds, but the strong ease of use and the steady, dependable level of performance it offers mean it’s still an absolute steal. It’s not as fast as the top models I’ve tested in the years since, and I haven’t had a chance to retest it at the CNET Smart Home just yet — but it’s still a great choice if you want to boost the signal from the Wi-Fi router to a back room that sits beyond the router’s reach, but you’d like to pay as little as possible to get the job done.

.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

TP-Link and Linksys each put in strong performances during this latest round of tests, but it was arguably Asus that led the way with the RP-AX56, a Wi-Fi 6 range extender that retails for $100. However, a poor approach to device security keeps me from recommending it. 

Let’s start with the good. The RP-AX56 finished in a virtual tie with TP-Link for the fastest average download speeds to my Wi-Fi 6 test laptop, and it led all range extenders when I reran my tests with a Wi-Fi 5 iPad Air 2. On top of that, the RP-AX56 delivered the fastest average download speeds to both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5 devices in the CNET Smart Home’s basement guest bedroom, which was the most persistent dead zone throughout my tests.

That said, the RP-AX56 requires a bit of futzing. After I first paired it with the router, it put out its own, separate Wi-Fi network with a generic name and no password at all. That’s something you’ll want to change immediately, but on iOS the 1.5-star reviewed  doesn’t offer a quick option for changing the SSID and password. Instead, you’ll need to enter the extender’s IP address into a browser bar and log in using its default admin credentials — and by the way, those credentials were username: admin and password: admin. So, yeah, you’ll want to change those, too.

Once you’ve done that, you can change the SSID and password to match your router, at which point the extender will work seamlessly within your existing network. Still, that’s a pretty low level of default security for a plug-and-play device that most people won’t want to futz with at all. I’ll keep an eye out for updates on this one — if Asus makes some changes to the app and to the default settings, the RP-AX56 could jump right up into the top picks.

Ry Crist/CNET

Last year’s top pick, the RE505X is just a slightly less powerful version of the RE605X that costs a bit less. I wasn’t able to retest it at the CNET Smart Home yet, but I’ll update this post when I get the chance. For now, I think performance-minded users will be glad they spent up for the better upload speeds of the RE605X or the Linksys RE7310, and value-minded users will likely be better served with the less expensive D-Link EaglePro AI and TP-Link RE220 range extenders.

That leaves the RE505X as a bit of a middle child at this point, but I’d pounce on it if the price dropped substantially below its current price of $90, as it was an extremely capable and consistent performer in my 2021 tests.

Chris Monroe/CNET

As soon as you plug the Netgear Nighthawk X4S range extender in and pair it with your router, it’ll start working with your router to put out a single, unified network, one that automatically routes your device between the router and extender as needed. That’s great, and the extender offers a well-featured app for quick controls, too.

The main problem is that this model doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, but still typically costs more than $100. It features a tri-band design that’s quite fancy by range extender standards, and the performance was better than every other Wi-Fi 5 range extender I’ve tested. Even so, it couldn’t quite keep up with the dual-band Wi-Fi 6 models I tested, and it costs more than some of them, to boot. If you catch it on sale for less than $100, it might be worth a look, but in most cases, I think Wi-Fi 6 is worth prioritizing at this point.

Ry Crist/CNET

Another strong model from my 2021 tests, the D-Link DAP-X1870 is an excellent performer that does a great job of creating a single, unified network as soon as you pair it with your router. That keeps things easy, but at a retail price of $120, it feels a bit too expensive here in 2022.

Fortunately, it isn’t too hard to catch it on sale. As of writing this, Amazon has it listed for a much more reasonable $80, though I’d probably stick with the $25 TP-Link RE220 if I were just looking for the best value pick. I’ll keep an eye out for any other good sales and update this post as I spot them, and I’ll give this post an update when I’ve had a chance to retest the DAP-X1870 at the CNET Smart Home to see how it stacks up against the newest models, too.

An outside view of the CNET Smart Home at night with lights on.An outside view of the CNET Smart Home at night with lights on.

I spent weeks testing these range extenders at the CNET Smart Home.

Tristan Rinehart/CNET

How I test Wi-Fi extenders

Like a lot of people, I spent much of the past two years working from home, and that included my yearly roundup of range extender tests. I’ve put dozens of extenders through my controlled tests by this point, and that’s generated a lot of useful data for comparison purposes. 

Now, in 2022, I’m happy to say that we’re back testing gadgets at the CNET Smart Home, a 5,800-square-foot multistory home in the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky, that we use as a living lab. It’s a much better environment for testing wireless devices at range than my somewhat cramped, shotgun-style house — and with more ground to cover, it’s a much bigger challenge for these extenders.

CNET Smart Home single router Wi Fi speeds graphCNET Smart Home single router Wi Fi speeds graph

This is the control graph, showing you the average speeds in each room I tested with no range extenders in play at all. On its own, a single, entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router in the laundry room was able to deliver decent speeds on the main floor of the home (the first four rooms in this chart), but speeds plummeted in the basement (the last four rooms), especially the upload speeds.

Ry Crist/CNET

CNET Smart Home range extender tests

The CNET Smart Home has a fiber internet connection with matching upload and download speeds of up to 150Mbps. That’s a far cry from the more and more of us have access to (not to mention the new,  emerging in some parts of the country). However, it’s in line with the average internet speed in the US, which makes it a great place to test how home networking products will work for the average consumer.

For my purposes, I started by setting up a router in the Smart Home’s laundry room, which is where the modem is set up. I went with the , a perfectly decent model I reviewed last year. It offered reliable performance but limited range when I tested it — and that’s exactly what I wanted for these range extender tests.

Netgear router on a wooden floor.Netgear router on a wooden floor.

I ran all of this year’s range extender tests with a Netgear R6700AX router running the network. It’s a low-power, budget-price Wi-Fi 6 model that offered consistent performance when I first tested it out, making it an ideal control router for these tests.

Ry Crist/CNET

Sure enough, the router was able to deliver strong speeds on the home’s main floor, but as soon as I headed down to the basement level, speeds started to fall. That includes single-digit upload speeds in the bourbon room and the mud room. (Yes, the Smart Home has a bourbon room that the previous owners used to age their own barrels. We don’t have any barrels of our own, but it smells amazing in there. Kentucky, folks!)

Bring in the extenders

With my control speeds established, it was time to start adding in the range extenders and seeing which ones improved things the best. Pairing each one with the router only required me to plug it in nearby and press the WPS button on both devices — after that, I relocated them downstairs, to the basement rec room, which was the farthest point from the router that still had a decent signal and speeds. Whenever you’re using a range extender, that’s typically the best place to put it: just shy of the edge of your router’s range, where it will still receive a strong enough signal to put out a strong signal of its own. The best way to find that spot? Grab your phone or laptop and .

In the end, I ran a total of at least 96 speed tests for each extender, two rounds of 24 tests to find its average speeds to a Wi-Fi 5 client device (an iPad Air 2 from 2015) and another two rounds of 24 tests to check its speeds to a Wi-Fi 6 client device (a 2021 Lenovo ThinkPad laptop). In each case, I started the first round of tests with a fresh connection in the laundry room, closest to the router, and then started the second round of tests with a fresh connection in the mud room, farthest from the router. With each test, I logged the client device’s download speed, its upload speed and the latency of the connection.

Solid results from the 2022 crop

Ready to see how the range extenders did in terms of upload and download speeds? Let’s take a look.

Two graphs as described in the captionTwo graphs as described in the caption

These graphs show you the average download speeds by room (left) and average upload speeds by room (right) for a Wi-Fi 6 laptop connected to each extender. All five models I tested were able to deliver noticeable improvements to the connection, but some did a better job than others.

Ry Crist/CNET

On the left, this first set of graphs shows you the average download speeds by room for each extender I tested. On the right, you’re looking at the average upload speeds. All of these speeds are to my Wi-Fi 6 test device, a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop from 2021.

So what jumps out? First, all five of these extenders did a decent job of boosting speeds in those last four rooms, down in the basement. With all of them, I had a faster connection throughout the house than I had when I connected through the router alone. The D-Link EaglePro AI struggled a bit with upload speeds in the basement, but still kept things above a minimum of 20Mbps or so.

That was with a Wi-Fi 6 device, though. How did the performance look with an older Wi-Fi 5 device from several years ago?

Two graphs as described in the captionTwo graphs as described in the caption

Again, this is average download speeds by room on the left, average upload speeds on the right — this time, to an older Wi-Fi 5 device.

Ry Crist/CNET

Things get interesting here — you can see a greater gulf between download and upload performance, as well as some more distinct weak spots and dead zones throughout the house. Each of the five extenders struggled to keep uploads speedy in the upstairs dinette, for instance. With Wi-Fi 6, we barely saw any issues there at all, save for the Netgear Nighthawk X4S.

Meanwhile, in the basement, our top picks from TP-Link and Linksys (as well as the high-performing Asus RP-AX56) were each able to keep download speeds above 100Mbps, which is great. Uploads were another story, as all of the extenders struggled. None of them failed to deliver a usable upload connection outright, though the D-Link EaglePro AI came close with single-digit upload speeds in the basement’s farthest reaches.

Another key takeaway from these tests is that Wi-Fi 6 delivers some of its most noticeable speed boosts on the upload side of things. If you’re looking to make lots of video calls, upload lots of large files to the web or anything else requiring sturdy upload performance, then upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 hardware should be high on your list of priorities (assuming you haven’t already made the jump).

Affordable Wi-Fi extender picks

For my first batch of range extender tests a few years back, I tested four bargain-priced models to see which one offered the most bang for the buck. It was the start of the pandemic and people were scrambling to bolster their home networks — I wanted to be sure we could point them to a good, budget-friendly pick that would do the best job as a signal booster offering an extra room’s worth of coverage in a pinch.

In the end, the aforementioned  was the runaway winner. Currently available for $25 or less, it remains a solid value pick.

I’ve separated these four models from the other six because the test setup was different in 2020 and it wouldn’t be fair to make direct comparisons with those results. You’ve already read about the TP-Link RE220, but here are my takeaways from the other three I tested:

White range extender on the wallWhite range extender on the wall

With two adjustable external antennas, the D-Link DAP-1620 is pretty powerful for a budget-priced range extender, but it wasn’t as consistent as our top pick.

Ry Crist/CNET

: This was the only range extender that ever managed to hit triple digits during my 2020 tests, with an average speed of 104Mbps in my bedroom during evening hours. Setup was just as simple as what I experienced with TP-Link, too. I was able to stream HD video, browse the web and make video calls on the extender’s network without any issue.

Network speeds were inconsistent though — and much slower in daytime hours, with a bigger dropoff than I saw with TP-Link. The device also dropped my connection at one point during my speed tests. On top of that, the app was too finicky for my tastes, refusing to let me log in and tweak settings with the supplied device password, something that ultimately forced me to reset the device. That’s too much hassle for me to recommend outright, but it’s selling for less than $30 these days, so consider it as a potential alternate pick if the TP-Link RE220 goes out of stock.

a bulkier range extendera bulkier range extender

The Netgear EX3700 wasn’t powerful enough for the price.

Ry Crist/CNET

: It’s a dated-looking device and it wasn’t a strong performer in my tests. The 2.4GHz band was able to sustain workable speeds between 30 and 40Mbps throughout most of my home, which was strong enough to stream video with minimal buffering, or to hold a quick video call with a slight delay. But the 5GHz band was surprisingly weak, often dropping into single digits with only a single wall separating my PC or connected device from the range extender. 

I wasn’t a fan of the web interface, as it seemed more interested in getting me to register for the warranty (and opt in to marketing emails) than in actually offering me any sort of control over the connection. WPS button-based setup lets you skip all of that, which is helpful, and some outlets now have it listed for as little as $20, but even so, this is one you can safely pass by.

range extender without visible antennasrange extender without visible antennas

The Linksys RE6350 left a lot to be desired.

Ry Crist/CNET

: My speeds were consistent with the RE6350 — they just weren’t fast. 

By default, the device automatically steers you between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, but with download speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 35Mbps throughout all of my tests over multiple days, it might as well just default to the slower 2.4GHz band. The device supports automatic firmware upgrades, which is great, but you can’t use the Linksys Wi-Fi app to tweak settings — instead, you’ll have to log in via the web portal.

On top of all that, the RE6350 seemed to be the least stable of all the extenders I tested in 2020, with more than one dropped connection during my tests. Still priced at about $50 from most retailers, it has just too many negatives and not enough value for me to recommend it.

Sample screens from the appSample screens from the app

Most plug-in range extenders only offer basic features at best, but the TP-Link Tether app includes a signal strength tester and a High-Speed Mode in the app.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Other things to consider

Aside from my speed tests, I made sure to stream video on each extender’s network, and I made several video calls while connected through each one. I also spent time playing with each extender’s settings. You shouldn’t expect much, but most will at least make it easy to change the extension network’s name or password. Some include app controls with extra features, too.

My top pick, the TP-Link RE605X, makes it easy to tweak settings via TP-Link’s Tether app on an Android or iOS device. Again, the features make for slim pickings, but you can check signal strength or turn on High-Speed Mode, which dedicates the 2.4GHz band for traffic from the router to the range extender, leaving the 5GHz free for your normal Wi-Fi network traffic. That mode actually wasn’t as fast as sharing the 5GHz band like normal when I tested it out, because those incoming 2.4GHz speeds are limited, but it still might be a useful option in some situations.

It’s also worth noting that setting a range extender up is about as painless as it gets. Most support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS, which is a universal protocol that wireless networking devices can use to connect with each other. Just plug the range extender in, wait for it to boot up, press the extender’s WPS button and then press the WPS button on your router within 2 minutes. Voila, connected.

It’s also worth making sure that your range extender includes at least one Ethernet port (almost all of them do). If you can directly connect your wired device (like a smart TV), then you’ll enjoy speeds that are as fast as possible.

three white square pucks with textured tops and the name orbi on the sidethree white square pucks with textured tops and the name orbi on the side

A mesh router with its own, dedicated range extenders will do an even better job of spreading a speedy Wi-Fi signal throughout your home — and you can get one for less than you might think. For instance, this three-piece setup from Netgear Orbi is far from the most powerful you can buy, but it’s currently available for just $100.

Netgear

Should I just get a mesh router?

One last note: If you’re living in a larger home or if you need speeds that are reliably faster than 100Mbps at range, then it’s probably worth it to go ahead and upgrade to a mesh router with its own range-extending satellite devices. You’ve got more options than ever these days, and like the ones tested here.

For instance, I had a three-piece mesh router on hand during my 2020 tests, so I set it up and ran some speed tests alongside the four range extenders I initially tested. My average speeds stayed well above 100Mbps throughout my entire house, even in the back. Everything was consolidated to a single, unified network by default and the mesh automatically routed my connection through an extender whenever it made sense. Simple!

Better still, a three-piece version of that system with a router and two extenders — and it’s just one of several decent mesh setups you can get for under $200. For instance, the 2019 version of Eero’s mesh system now costs . Meanwhile, the AC1200 version of the  is my top value pick in the mesh category, with a three-pack that’s available . None of those systems support Wi-Fi 6, mind you, but even so, options like those are why I don’t recommend spending much more than $100 on a range extender.

If you’re willing to spend more than $200 on a mesh router, you’ll start seeing options that support , as well as tri-band models with an additional 5GHz band that you can dedicate to traffic between the router and the extenders. If you can afford it, my recommendation is to invest in a system that does both, as tri-band design paired with Wi-Fi 6 makes for

We’re also seeing a new crop of mesh routers that support , which adds in exclusive access to the , ultrawide 6GHz band. I’ve got plenty of information on systems like those in , so be sure to give that a look, too.

That said, if all you need is for your current router to maintain a steady signal one or two rooms farther into your home, then a simple range extender will probably do just fine — especially if you buy the right one. For my money, the TP-Link RE605X, the Linksys RE7310, the D-Link Eagle Pro AI and the TP-Link RE220 are the best places to start.

Range extender FAQs

Got questions? Look me up on Twitter () or send a message straight to my inbox by clicking the little envelope icon . In the meantime, I’ll post answers to any commonly asked questions below.

How effective are range extenders?

Plug-in range extenders like these can help boost your speeds when you’re connecting far from the router, but they can only do so much. The actual speed boost will depend on a multitude of different factors, including the layout of your home, the type of router you’re using, the type of device you’re trying to connect with and your internet plan’s speeds. 

If your home’s internet connection offers top speeds of 100Mbps or higher, then a decent, well-placed range extender should be able to boost your download speeds in a dead zone or when you’re in range by at least 50Mbps, if not 100Mbps. That’s enough to browse the web or stream video online. Upload boosts are typically a little lower, but should still be enough to ensure that you can make a video call or upload a file to the cloud.

Is a range extender good for Wi-Fi? Does it slow it down?

Most range extenders will put out their own separate network — usually the name of your original network with “_EXT” added to the end, or something like that. Having a separate network like that under the same roof as your main network could potentially cause a small amount of interference, but I haven’t seen any noticeable slowdowns on my main network during any of these tests. And, in most cases, you can rename the extender’s network and password to match your main network, at which point you’ll have a single, seamless network that automatically passes your connection back and forth as you move throughout your home.

That said, keep an eye out for client devices (phones, laptops and so on) that automatically connect to whichever network offers the best signal at the time. If you’ve used a device like that on both your main network and the extender’s network, then it’s possible that your device will jump from one to the other without you realizing it. For instance, if your laptop is on your main network and you move a bit closer to the extender than the router, then your laptop might lose its connection and jump over to the range extender’s network for the stronger signal strength, even though the speeds on that extender network might be slower.

How do I know if I need a range extender?

Plug-in range extenders are a good fit when you need to boost the signal in a single dead zone. If you have more than one dead zone in your home where the speeds plummet, then you might be better off just upgrading to a good mesh router (we’ve got there, too).

The best way to figure out how many dead zones you’re dealing with is to grab your phone or a laptop and run some speed tests in each room where you need to use the internet. Start with a fresh connection to your network in the same room as the router, and then pull up a good speed-testing site (I like , but there are you can use). Run at least three speed tests in the room, jot the download and upload results down for each one, then move to the next room and repeat. 

Once you have average speeds for each room, look for spots where your speeds fall below 30% of whatever ISP speeds you’re paying for each month. Those are the rooms that could use a boost — if it’s just one (or two that are close together), then a single range extender might be all you need. If there are more than one, then maybe mesh is the way to go.

More internet advice

Verizon 5G Home Internet: Plenty Fast for Phones, but What About Your Home?

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Verizon 5G Home GatewayVerizon 5G Home Gateway

Verizon 5G Home Gateway

Sarah Tew/CNET

First launched in 2018,  availability has surged in the last year. this January, making . While Verizon Fios, the company’s 100% fiber-optic internet service, typically scores well on customer satisfaction studies, it’s only available in the Northeast, so 5G’s wider availability area marks a significant expansion for Verizon’s broadband options.

Unlike , , and  that get you online with a wired connection, cellular internet plans like Verizon 5G Home Internet take a fixed wireless approach. As the name suggests, your home will get its internet connection wirelessly through a receiver that picks up Verizon’s signal and broadcasts it throughout your home as a Wi-Fi network. 

In this article

Fixed wireless connections like  and  are typically a lot slower than what you’ll get from a wired cable or fiber connection, but that’s not the case with 5G. In some regions, including parts of Verizon’s coverage map, you’ll find 5G plans capable of hitting near-gigabit download speeds.

That makes 5G especially interesting if you live without high-speed cable or fiber internet access. Verizon is one of the top names leading the effort to bring the technology to as many homes as possible. With straightforward pricing, no data caps and no contracts (all of which seem to be emerging standards across ) there’s a lot to like about what Verizon’s selling. Still, it’s a moot point if the service isn’t available at your address. 

Here’s everything you should know about Verizon 5G Home Internet, including what sort of speeds, prices and terms you should expect if you sign up.

Verizon 5G Home Internet coverage map: Where is it available?

verizon-5g-and-lte-service-mapverizon-5g-and-lte-service-map

Each dot in this Verizon coverage map is a city with access to 5G Ultra Wideband, which Verizon uses to deliver the fastest 5G Home Internet speeds. The dark red regions of the map indicate where Verizon offers 5G for mobile customers — those are the likeliest spots for future 5G Home Internet expansions.

Verizon

Verizon 5G Home Internet availability

Verizon 5G Home Internet is available in many places, but most are centered around America’s largest metro regions, where the development of 5G infrastructure is the furthest along. That puts it on a similar trajectory as fiber, with service primarily focused in America’s largest cities, where the population density makes expansion more cost-effective.

That said, deploying new cell towers and upgrading existing ones is generally faster than wiring entire regions for fiber, neighborhood by neighborhood. So, while availability is still somewhat limited, there’s room for hope that 5G might be able to bring speedier home internet to underserved parts of the country faster than fiber, cable or other, more common modes of internet.

Check your address to verify Verizon 5G Home Internet serviceability

Even if Verizon 5G Home Internet is available in your city, there’s no guarantee it’s available at your address. Serviceability requires relative proximity to one of Verizon’s 5G cell towers and a strong, steady signal.

Take me, for instance. I live near downtown Louisville, Kentucky, where Verizon’s 5G Home Internet is an option for some. But Verizon can’t offer service at my address yet, even though I have a cell plan with Verizon and service that’s strong enough for my phone to connect over 5G semi-regularly when I’m at home. That lack of availability might change soon (and I’m eager to test the service out and tell you all about it), but for now, all I can do is wait.

Want to see if Verizon 5G Home Internet is available at your address? .

Verizon 5G Home Internet plans, speeds, prices and terms

Verizon keeps things pretty simple. There are two options: you have your choice of whether you want a two-year price guarantee — at $50 a month, including all taxes and fees — or a three-year price lock at $70 per month (plus extra perks), everything included. No matter which of the two options you choose, you can get an additional 50% off if you have a qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plan. 

Speeds will vary based on the connection quality at your address, but Verizon says most customers should expect average download speeds of about 300 megabits per second. In select parts of the coverage map, speeds can get as high as 940Mbps. As for your uploads, which affect video calls and posting large files to the web, most homes should expect to see speeds between 10-50Mbps.

Verizon 5G Home Internet plans

Plan

Max speeds

Monthly price

Equipment fee

Data cap

Contract

Price guarantee

Verizon 5G Home

85-300Mbps download, 10Mbps upload

$50

None

None

None

2 years

Verizon 5G Home Plus

300-1000Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

$70

None

None

None

3 years

verizon-5g-nycverizon-5g-nyc

Verizon’s 5G network is capable of hitting gigabit speeds in select areas.

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

How does Verizon 5G compare to Verizon 4G LTE speeds?

With , customers can typically expect download speeds ranging from 25Mbps to 50Mbps, with uploads in the single digits. 5G is , and that’s because the standard’s millimeter-wave technology (aka mmWave) sends signals at much higher frequencies than LTE. Those higher frequencies can deliver gigabit speeds in the right circumstances, but the tradeoff is they don’t travel as far and can struggle with obstructions.

5G accounts for those high-speed range limitations by mixing slower mid- and low-band signals that travel farther for digitechbuzz better coverage. On those frequencies, you can expect your 5G speeds to dip down to around 300Mbps on midband or down to double-digit LTE levels on low-band. That’s why your 5G mileage will vary as far as speeds are concerned — it all comes down to the location of your home.

Verizon 5G Home Internet has no data caps, contracts or hidden fees

Verizon’s terms are about as straightforward as you’ll find in the home internet market. The monthly rate includes all taxes and fees, and you won’t need to pay an additional equipment fee as you will with most providers. In December 2021, Verizon announced a  available to new Verizon 5G Home Internet customers. 

Additionally, there are no service contracts or early termination fees and no data caps. That means you can use your connection as much as you like without fearing overage charges for using too much data. On top of that, Verizon 5G Home Internet doesn’t come with a promo rate, so your bill won’t arbitrarily jump up after the first year.

All of that is pretty appealing, and it matches what we see from and , the other two names of note offering 5G home internet plans. Like Verizon, neither of them enforces contracts, data caps or equipment fees. That seems like a smart strategy for providers hoping to tempt customers into trying something new.

Verizon 5G Home Internet vs. the competition

I mentioned T-Mobile and Starry — two other providers currently offering 5G home internet plans. is the notable absence here. The company has its own 5G network and currently offers fixed wireless home internet service too, but that service doesn’t use 5G, at least not yet.

T-Mobile and Starry offer appealingly straightforward terms just as Verizon does, but the prices and speeds are different. For example, consider . T-Mobile uses a mix of 5G and 4G LTE signals and is slower than Verizon but a bit less expensive than the 5G Home Plus option. You’ll spend $50 per month on home internet speeds ranging from 33-182Mbps download to 6-23Mbps upload. 

Starry is more impressive, as $50 per month gets you to download speeds of 200Mbps and upload speeds to 100Mbps. That makes it the only cellular internet provider that gets close to fiber’s symmetrical speeds.

As for each company’s coverage map, T-Mobile offers the most comprehensive availability, with cellular internet service currently available to over . Verizon told us in February that it now offers 5G home internet service to  and targets 50 million by 2025. Starry is the smallest provider of the three and is available in six cities. Still, the company plans to expand access to 30 million homes in new markets by the end of 2022.

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Verizon 5G speed test vs. 4G

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Bundling Verizon 5G Home Internet with mobile offers the best value

Verizon could potentially offer the best value if your average speeds are high enough, but it’s difficult to say for sure with such a wide range of possibilities. With Starry, $50 per month for speeds of 200Mbps comes to about 25 cents per Mbps. With T-Mobile, your average cost per Mbps would sit at about 27 cents, assuming you’re routinely hitting those max speeds of 182Mbps. 

As for Verizon, the company says that 5G Home customers should typically expect downloads between 85Mbps to 300Mbps. So, if your average is 193Mbps (the midpoint), you’re paying about 26 cents per Mbps each month. If you have a strong connection and average download speeds are closer to 300Mbps, that cost per Mbps falls to 17 cents, but if the connection is weak and your average sits at around 85Mbps, the number shoots up to 59 cents. Like I said, your mileage may vary.

If you opt for 5G Home Plus, your monthly figures will be slightly different: Verizon’s value figures come out to 11 cents per Mbps for average speeds at 650Mbps, 23 cents at 300Mbps and 7 cents at 1000Mbps. Those numbers dip lower if you apply the Verizon mobile plan discount.

That stacks up pretty well with the top cable providers, who typically charge at least 25 cents per Mbps. However, , with most plans typically coming in between 9 and 17 cents per Mbps. If you’re choosing between fiber and 5G, I’d lean toward fiber in most cases.

Verizon 5G Home Internet special offers and deals

Remember how I mentioned that 5G home internet providers are trying to lure customers away from other ISPs? That’s certainly the case with Verizon. The company currently offers many sweeteners for anyone thinking about making the switch.

If your current provider charges an early termination fee for ditching it before your contract ends, Verizon will cover that cost when you switch (up to $500). On top of that, new Verizon 5G Home Internet customers get a 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee: if you’re not happy with your service, you can get a full refund. Verizon 5G Home Plus customers will also receive a complimentary SimpliSafe Smart Home Security Bundle. 

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Angela Lang/CNET

The bottom line on Verizon 5G Home Internet

On paper, there’s not much to criticize here. Verizon 5G Home Internet offers some genuinely outstanding terms, and the download speeds could potentially match what you’d expect to see from cable or fiber. And don’t forget that Verizon is consistently ranked as a top ISP for customer satisfaction by organizations like the and . I wish the uploads were faster than 50Mbps, especially given that Starry promises uploads as high as 100Mbps — but that might also indicate that there’s room for Verizon to improve over time as its 5G network expands.

That expansion of 5G infrastructure will be the key to bringing availability to more people and strengthening the signal for Verizon’s existing customers. Suppose Verizon can continue growing its service map at a fast clip, and its simple, straightforward approach to pricing proves popular. In that case, Verizon’s 5G Home Internet service might be a potential game-changer. We’ll continue to watch this space, and I’ll update this post as soon as I can test the service out for myself.

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