If the only option for internet (besides satellite) to your home is a less than 5mbps, one option to consider is an LTE hotspot with a data plan.
The way this works it that you get a device called an “LTE Modem” device from your wireless provider and sign up with a data plan. To get the details on this type of connection, visit an AT&T, Sprint or Verizon store and ask about it.
Note: this is a different type of connection than what Rise Broadband offers.
My experience has been that I get between 7mbps to 13mbps connection when testing with an LTE modem at my house. (See the “Pro Note” below for how I could improve this if I wanted to.)
Because this LTE hotspot service can get expensive, here are a few things to consider before you sign up for this option:
- What is the download speed on your cell phone?
The download speed on your cellphone will be a good indicator of how fast the download speed on you LTE modem will be. You can test your cell phone download speed using an app from Ookla called “Speedtest”. You can find it in the App Store (iPhone) or the Play store (android). If you run the test and get >5mbps, you can be pretty sure that an LTE modem will improve your internet connection speeds.
- How strong is your cell phone signal in your house?
An LTE modem uses the same service as your cell phone so the signal strength you get on your cell phone is the same signal strength you’ll get on your LTE Modem. A weak signal means a slower speed. A strong signal (more bars) means you’ll probably get faster speeds.
- What is your current data usage and how much do you want to spend monthly?
To avoid paying “overage” fees from using more data than you have in your monthly plan, check the data usage on you current internet connection to see how much data you use each month. If you go to your phone store, they’ll probably be able to look this up for you. You want to be careful to get a plan that has enough “data” each month so that you won’t be charged high fees for going over your limit.If you are lucky enough to live very close to a cell tower, using an LTE modem might actually provide you with much faster speeds than 5mbps.
- Know your options to turn off this plan before you sign the contract with your cell phone provider.
Sometimes this type of service works well for a home and sometimes it doesn’t. Before you sign on the dotted line for the service, make sure you understand your options for cancelling and returning the equipment if it does not work for you.
Using an LTE hotspot is one potential answer for slow internet speeds. If you have questions, feel free to post a comment below.
(Pro Note: While I get 7mbps to 13mbps LTE speeds at my home, I get much faster speeds (50mpbs to 80mbps) when I run test parked next to the cell tower on Bethany in Allen. This means that if I connect an LTE antenna to my LTE Modem, and point the antenna to the same tower, I will likely be able to get faster speeds than 7mbps to 13mbps at my home. I haven’t tested this personally but have researched the option enough to be relatively certain that I could get faster LTE speeds this way.)