4G LTE Internet Providers
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What is 4G LTE Internet?
4G LTE Home internet uses the same cellular signal that your cell phone uses. This allows people to connect to the internet anywhere they can get phone reception using a dedicated mobile hotspot or 4G LTE home router. Unlike a phone plan, however, 4G LTE internet plans work more like a traditional internet plan. Plans are generally geared toward meeting the needs of an entire household, with higher data caps or unlimited data.
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The main advantage of 4G LTE home internet is that it uses existing cell infrastructure, which already covers the vast majority of the US population. Large cell phone providers like Verizon and T-Mobile each have their own extensive 4G networks, while smaller companies like UbiFi purchase bandwidth from multiple providers, extending their availability even further. If you can get a phone signal in your house, you can probably get 4G LTE home internet.
You can usually find 4G LTE home internet plans for a reasonable price, around the same cost per month as cable, fiber, or DSL. It also doesn’t require the more expensive equipment and installation needed for a satellite connection, so there are fewer upfront costs too.
Providers like Ladybug Wireless offer mobile hotspots rather than fixed home internet. Unlike most other types of internet connection, you can take your 4G LTE hotspot with you wherever your provider has service. Although 4G hotspots are not as portable as a cell phone that you can keep in your pocket, you can easily take your hotspot with you on vacation or on business trips to keep using your normal internet service even when away from home.
The biggest downside of home 4G LTE is that it’s slow. If you own a smartphone, you’re probably familiar with how long it takes to download a video when you’re not on Wi-Fi, so the idea of those wait times on your home computer might not be very appealing. Data rates also drop the farther you get from a cell tower, so if your house is near the edge of a cell boundary, you might get even less than expected.
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4G LTE Home Internet FAQ
Can I get unlimited 4G LTE home internet?
Yes, you can get unlimited 4G LTE home internet. In fact, unlimited data is one of the main reasons to get a dedicated 4G LTE home internet, rather than getting internet through your standard mobile wireless plan and simply using your phone as a hotspot.
If you’re going to have multiple people in your home using your internet connection, it’s helpful to have a dedicated router/hotspot and a plan with high data caps or unlimited data.
What’s the difference between 4G home internet and a 4G hotspot?
4G LTE hotspots are portable, which means that you can take them outside of your home and still connect using the same internet plan as long as you still get reception. 4G LTE home internet is designed to be used in your home and won’t function if you take your router to a different location.
These fixed plans, like those offered by Verizon and T-Mobile, are usually cheaper and have higher data caps or unlimited data. So if you don’t need the flexibility of a mobile hotspot, getting 4G LTE home internet is usually a better option.
What’s the difference between 4G and 4G LTE?
LTE stands for “long-term evolution,” or in other words, tech that’s moving toward 4G in the long-term. 4G is the fourth generation of cellular technology, but when the 4G standards were first released, cell providers were a long way from meeting them.
4G LTE is a marketing term for cellular networks that couldn’t hit true 4G speeds but still used many 4G technologies. Providers called their networks “LTE” to show they could eventually upgrade them to handle a true 4G network.
4G LTE speeds have improved dramatically over the past decade, but since “LTE” covers all networks that are still working toward meeting 4G standards, you’ll still find a great deal of variation between carriers.
It’s also important to note that although 4G LTE networks don’t reach true 4G speeds, all 4G devices are compatible with these networks. You don’t need a special router or hotspot to connect to a 4G LTE network. Any 4G device will work.
Can a 4G hotspot replace home internet?
Yes, a 4G hotspot can be used for home internet and can even replace other kinds of internet service. Mobile 4G LTE hotspots are generally more expensive than plans for fixed 4G LTE home internet and have lower data caps. So if portability isn’t an important factor, you should get a 4G LTE home internet plan instead.
4G LTE, whether fixed or mobile, isn’t the fastest type of internet connection. If you have the option for cable, 5G, or fiber, you probably wouldn’t want to replace it with a slower 4G connection. 4G and 4G LTE are definitely faster than dial-up, and in some cases might be an improvement over satellite or DSL. If you’re not sure which is faster, it’s a good idea to contact your local 4G provider and ask about specific speeds for your area.
Is 4G home broadband any good?
4G home internet is good enough for doing a lot of tasks, such as checking email and surfing the web. For more bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming Netflix or online multiplayer games, 4G probably doesn’t quite cut it. If you’re not sure what your household bandwidth requirements are, check out our How Much Speed Do I Need? tool.
Is 4G considered high-speed internet?
The FCC defines high-speed internet (or broadband) as an internet connection with at least 25 Mbps download speeds. Some 4G LTE providers reach these speeds, but many do not.
Does 4G internet use a router?
4G internet uses a specialized router/receiver, usually called a hotspot, though the terminology changes a bit depending on the provider. This device connects to your provider’s cellular network and then broadcasts a Wi-Fi network inside your home that your devices can connect to.
What is the best 4G Wi-Fi router?
There are a lot of 4G hotspots on the market, but the best one for you depends a lot on which providers have reception in your area (or areas you might travel). For that reason, it’s often best to pick a hotspot you can buy through your cell phone provider. For more information, check out our round up of the best mobile hotspots on the market today.
How does 4G LTE compare to 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology, and it is much faster than 4G and 4G LTE. As it becomes more widespread, this new tech will be great for mobile phone users, but it will be especially important for home internet. 5G offers the speeds necessary for multiple devices to connect to your home network and do things like watch videos and play online games.
The downside is that the higher frequencies used by 5G signals have a much shorter range, so it will require the construction of many more cell towers much closer together to cover the same area as 4G. This means it will take 5G a long time to reach rural areas.
The great thing about 4G home internet is that 4G and 4G LTE networks are already here.
4G LTE home internet is one of the most widely available types of internet and can be a definite improvement if you’ve got a slow dial-up, DSL, or satellite plan. That said, it’s still one of the slowest choices, so if you have other options, you can usually get a much faster speed for the same price.