For some people, connecting to the NBN isn’t an option, so it follows that they would look for an alternative. If you’re one of those, WiFi or home wireless broadband is a great option. You don’t need to wait for a technician to set your connection up, so there are practically no delays. You can even bring the router with you so you can get online anywhere, as long as there’s a signal.
The difference between the NBN and WiFi broadband
Both of these internet connection options contain the word ‘broadband’, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same.
The National Broadband Network, or NBN, consists primarily of fixed-line wire connections that are installed underground. On the other hand, WiFi broadband plans in Australia use 3G, 4G, or even 5G signals to connect your devices (laptops, tablets, mobile phones) to the internet.
There are places where it’s more costly to run a fixed line connection, so, likely, the NBN won’t be available. These same places, though, could have stable and reliable signals enough for a wireless internet connection, making WiFi broadband a viable option for those living in such areas.
WiFi broadband and mobile broadband
Even if you didn’t mix up the NBN and WiFi broadband, you may be thinking that mobile broadband and the latter are the same. However, while they both use mobile networks to connect to the internet, there are key differences.
First, with WiFi broadband, you can get more data each month compared to mobile broadband. Second, such plans include a modem-router rather than a pocket WiFi hotspot or dongle; the modem-router also has standard security options along with ethernet ports to let you connect a computer directly to the modem.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of a home wireless broadband plan is the possibility of a speed cap. This is to help keep mobile phone networks from becoming too congested.
Top WiFi broadband plans available
Because companies in the telco industry know it’s necessary, most, if not all ISPs offer WiFi broadband plans in addition to their fixed-line connection plans. Here are some of the top picks so far.
Optus’s 4G Home Internet Everyday plan doesn’t have a speed cap, which means that whatever the speed of the 4G connection in your area, you’ll be able to tap into them. This plan comes with a home wireless modem, 500GB of data, and costs $69 per month. Another option is the Home Internet Lite plan, which costs $59 a month and includes 200GB of data.
Unlike most other ISPs, iiNet offers unlimited data and a free modem with their Home Wireless Liimitless plan. It costs $59.99 a month, and in addition to the free modem, new customers get their first month free. However, the downside is a speed cap of 20Mbps, and you need to return the modem if you switch providers before 24 months have passed.
TPG is offering a similar plan, the Home Wireless Unlimited. Like with iiNet, customers can get their first month free along with a modem at no extra cost. Also, like iiNet’s WiFi broadband plan, you’ll need to return the modem if you leave within the first 24 months, and there’s a speed cap of 20Mbps. However, the cost per month is $54.99, which is a little less than iiNet’s.
As you can see, choosing a WiFi broadband plan is just a matter of looking for plans that fit your and your household’s needs, then narrowing down your choices by the costs, speed, data inclusions, and other details.