In this guide, you will find:
What is Home Wireless?
Home Wireless broadband connects your home to the Internet via one of Australia's 4G or 5G mobile phone networks, rather than via the NBN network.
It can be a great alternative to an NBN connection, keeping in mind that home wireless broadband coverage tends to be metro-centric, especially when it comes to 5G.
One benefit of Home Wireless broadband is that it doesn't require a visit from a technician, which can be useful for renters. Often there are no lock-in contracts, which is renter-friendly.
When you sign up for a Home Wireless broadband service, your new Internet provider will send you a new pre-configured modem or router.
Simply plug it into a power point and you're up and running. It can access the mobile phone network and then share that Internet access to devices around your home via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cables.
Pros and cons of Home Wireless plans
|Pros of Home Wireless plans
Cons of Home Wireless plans
- Access the Internet without NBN
- Plug-and-play wireless broadband modem setup
- No need for a technician to set up your wireless modem, so there are no delays
- Renter friendly
- No lock-in contracts
- Not available in all areas as it relies on mobile network signal
- Can be more expensive than fixed-line plans
- Some services are speed capped
- The modem needs a power supply to work
- Peak hour speeds and congestion can fluctuate more than on fixed-line services
The best Home Wireless Internet plans
Just as with fixed-line services, not all Home Wireless broadband plans are the same. It's important to study the fine print to ensure a plan caters to your needs and your budget. Some things to cover include:
Home wireless broadband services run over Australia's 4G and 5G mobile phone networks, which are operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone/TPG.
A few other Internet providers also offer Home Wireless broadband but still rely on one of these three network operators. You'll want to check coverage maps to see which providers can supply 4G and 5G home wireless broadband in your area.
If you're seeking the fastest speeds, consider a 5G wireless broadband plan. Although these plans may have a higher price tag, it provides lightning-fast Internet connections, enabling seamless streaming, gaming and video conferencing.
Keep in mind that 5G network coverage isn't as widespread as 4G. Also, remember that all mobile connections are more susceptible to network congestion than fixed-line services. This means that peak-hour speeds can fluctuate more than on fixed-line services.
Some modems come with both Wi-Fi connectivity and built-in Ethernet ports. Ethernet ports let you connect multiple devices directly to the modem via Ethernet cables for optimal speeds.
Other modems may only offer Wi-Fi connectivity, which can be suitable for households with fewer devices or less demanding Internet needs.
If you're after a home wireless Internet plan that includes a home phone service, keep an eye out for plans offering VoIP services.
This is typically cheaper than a traditional phone service, allowing you to make and receive calls over your Internet connection. Keep in mind, it's not as reliable as a traditional home phone service.
At Compare Broadband, we've reviewed and analysed numerous wireless Internet plans – so you don’t have to. Call our hotline or use our comparison tool above to get started. We are here to help you find the best home wireless broadband plans for your needs.
How does Wireless Internet compare?
Every broadband connection technology is different, so it's important to understand how Home Wireless broadband compares to the alternatives.
Wireless broadband vs Wi-Fi
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two very different things. Home Wireless refers to the connection that gets the Internet to your house, while Wi-Fi refers to your in-home wireless network for sharing the Internet around your house.
Regardless of how the Internet reaches your house, you can always set up a Wi-Fi network for connecting your Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi features are often built into the modem or router supplied by your Internet provider.
Wireless broadband vs NBN Fixed Wireless
NBN Fixed Wireless is a part of the NBN which uses radio signals to connect your home to the Internet. While both NBN Fixed Wireless and Home Wireless broadband rely on radiowaves, both differ in terms of infrastructure, pricing and available speeds.
NBN Fixed Wireless relies on NBN's transmission towers, which can reach homes up to 14 kilometres away. If your home is within that coverage footprint, you need an approved NBN technician to install an outdoor antenna so you can receive the signal.
You also require an NBN connection box, installed at the point where the cable from the outdoor antenna enters your home.
This device requires power to operate and can only be installed by an NBN-approved installer. Your phone and Internet provider should arrange the installation when you sign up for the service.
Meanwhile, Home Wireless broadband is a lot less complicated. It relies on mobile phone networks, which extend right across the major cities and most regional areas (although there are coverage blackspots).
If your home is within a provider's coverage footprint, it will send you a modem or router and you don't need an installer to visit your home. Nor do you need an external antenna on the roof.
Wireless broadband vs mobile broadband
While both use mobile phone networks, wireless broadband and mobile broadband differ in terms of connection devices, speed and plans.
Mobile broadband works at home but is also intended for on-the-go Internet. You can connect by creating a wireless hotspot on your smartphone, or you can use a dedicated device such as a USB dongle that connects one computer or a dedicated wireless hotspot that connects many devices.
Meanwhile, Home Wireless broadband is designed for stationary, in-premises use with a dedicated modem. The home wireless broadband modem supplies Internet access to the devices in your home, but you can't take it with you when you walk out the front door.
Mobile broadband plans typically have lower data allowances compared to home wireless broadband, as these are designed to cater to individual users and their portable devices rather than cater to the needs of an entire home.
Often mobile broadband plans are also faster than Home Wireless broadband, which is focused more on reliability than raw speed.
4G vs 5G Home Wireless Internet
The new 5G Home Wireless broadband services offer greater speeds and less lag than 4G, to ensure your Internet connection is fast and responsive.
With average download speeds ranging between 20 Mbps to 50 Mbps, 4G home wireless broadband is ideal for streaming, web browsing and social media.
Meanwhile, cutting-edge 5G technology offers download speeds between 50 Mbps to 225 Mbps. The increased speed enables seamless streaming of HD movies and TV shows, as well as a lag-free gaming experience.
The faster speeds also make it particularly beneficial for households with multiple users and devices, as it minimises slowdowns and ensures everyone can enjoy a reliable home Internet connection.
One trade-off is that 5G Home Wireless broadband isn't as widely available in Australia as 4G. The more extensive network coverage of 4G ensures that homeowners in many rural and remote areas can stay connected, even when traditional broadband options may not be available.
Always consider your household's specific needs when deciding between 4G and 5G wireless Internet. If you require a high-speed connection for multiple devices and data-heavy tasks, 5G home broadband may be the best choice. However, for areas with limited 5G network coverage, 4G Home Wireless plans may suffice.
Home Wireless Broadband speeds
Most 4G home Internet plans enforce a speed cap, which is the maximum available download speed, even if the network can go faster. The exact speed cap depends on your provider.
Vodafone's 4G home broadband plans are speed capped at 20 Mbps, which includes services from Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, Internode and Kogan Internet.
Optus' 4G home Internet plans have a slightly higher cap at 25 Mbps. Southern Phone, SpinTel and Yomojo also use the Optus 4G network, although some of the Home Wireless broadband services are capped at 20 Mbps. Telstra doesn't offer 4G home Internet plans, only 5G home Internet plans.
Keep in mind, that these speeds are not always guaranteed, as congestion and coverage can impact the performance of a 4G home Internet connection. Providers rarely advertise typical evening speeds.
Stepping up to 5G, you have a choice of two styles of plan: capped plans with maximum speeds of 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps, or uncapped plans with speeds as fast as network conditions allow.
Once again, these speeds are not always guaranteed and actual speeds vary from provider to provider. For instance:
Optus reports typical speeds of 83 Mbps during busy hours on its capped 5G Home Wireless broadband plan and 225 Mbps on its uncapped plan.
Telstra reports typical download speeds of 378 Mbps on its 5G home Internet plan, with a range of 50 Mbps to 600 Mbps. It doesn't offer the option of speed cap plans.
Vodafone reports typical evening download speeds of 49 Mbps for its capped 50 Mbps Home Wireless broadband plan and 100 Mbps for its capped 100 Mbps plans.
Home Wireless Internet speeds vs NBN speeds
When comparing Home Wireless Internet speeds to the NBN, a 4G home Internet connection is roughly similar to an NBN 25 plan. That makes it potentially suitable for one or two people, but likely inadequate for larger households.
Alternatively, capped 5G home Internet plans are equivalent to NBN 50 or NBN 100 plans. Meanwhile, uncapped 5G home Internet plans can surpass NBN 250 plans and even compete with the typical evening speeds offered by some NBN 1000 plans.
However, keep in mind that all wireless services can be less consistent than fixed-line NBN services in terms of speed.
For example, when testing Telstra's 5G home Internet, speeds typically range between 300 Mbps and 500 Mbps. In comparison, NBN 50 or NBN 100 plans report close to maximum potential speeds during busy hours.
Home wireless broadband providers
Each of Australia's Home Wireless broadband service providers supplies unique offerings to suit various consumer needs.
iiNet is renowned for its excellent customer service. Optus focuses on providing competitive plans and extensive coverage. Telstra, as the largest provider, boasts superior network coverage and reliability.
TPG offers affordable and flexible plans which appeal to budget-conscious consumers. And Uniti is an emerging provider with a focus on delivering high-speed Internet through innovative solutions.
By comparing these providers, Australians can find the best home wireless broadband connection to meet the right requirements and preferences.
Compare Wireless Broadband plans with Compare Broadband
When it comes to comparing wireless internet plans, the right choice doesn’t always come out to be the biggest, fastest or cheapest plan. It’ll be often a combination of factors that end up giving you the best internet experience.
Price is often one of the first things that people look into when comparing plans. However, the price shouldn’t be the only thing you consider. Weigh all the details that make up a plan and compare it to similar plans. Don’t just signup for a provider because it’s the cheapest or it’s the most expensive.
Be critical and look into caveats of discounts and special price offers on your internet plan. If there are perks offered, make sure you compare them with other deals and standard prices as well. While the offer may indicate you can pay at a much lower price during your first few months, the plan may turn out to be more expensive after that offer expires.
Need help finding the right wireless broadband plans? We have experts who can help you. Call us up on Compare Broadband and sign up for the best home wireless broadband services today!
About the author
||Adam Turner is an award-winning Australian technology journalist, corporate writer and podcaster who has been writing for more than 20 years about the technology challenges facing Australian businesses and consumers.