How to compare WiFi broadband deals
In this guide
- What type of WiFi deals are available?
- Can I get wireless fibre broadband?
- What WiFi broadband bundles are available?
- How to set up your WiFi
- What if my WiFi isn’t working?
- Wifi vs wired broadband
- Frequently asked questions
Wireless broadband, or WiFi, revolutionised home internet provision by allowing us to connect from any room without an ethernet cable. WiFi also allows multiple internet users to get online at the same time, in the same place.
WiFi stands for ‘wireless fidelity’ and uses radio frequencies to send signals between your router and devices.
Life is much easier with WiFi, so we’ve put together a page that includes the best WiFi broadband deals currently available from some of the UK’s most popular internet providers.
What type of WiFi deals are available?
Three types of WiFi broadband are currently available in most areas of the UK, which vary in speed and reliability. The WiFi broadband deal that’s right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your household, how many users want access at the same time, and the types of things you enjoy doing online - such as streaming TV, movies and music, downloading or uploading files and playing games.
ADSL / standard broadband – ADSL broadband uses pre-existing copper phone lines to deliver an internet connection, and is available in most areas of the UK. This type of broadband delivers average speeds of 10Mbps, and is ideal for those who live alone or smaller households made up of light internet users.
Fibre broadband – Fibre broadband uses fibre-optic cables to deliver an internet connection. With average speeds of between 30Mbps and 60Mbps, it’s faster and more reliable than ADSL broadband, though prices are now comparable for the two types. For a household of 3 or more people, a fibre broadband deal is usually the sensible choice, especially if anyone regularly streams video or plays games online.
Cable broadband – Available from Virgin Media, cable is the fastest broadband service on offer in the UK. For large families or big groups of students sharing accommodation where everyone wants to be online at the same time, cable broadband can make for the best internet experience. Speeds are now as high as 516Mbps for this type of broadband.
If you’re not sure which speed is right for your household, use you guide to work this out.
Can I get wireless fibre broadband?
Yes, you can get wireless broadband wherever fibre broadband is available in the UK. Currently, that’s in most areas, though there are still some parts of the country where it’s not yet possible.
Less than 5% of UK properties are unable to access fibre broadband. These are usually remote or rural parts of the country that don’t have access to the fibre cable network yet, though some urban areas are also not connected due to complexities in laying the necessary fibre cabling.
What WiFi broadband bundles are available?
Many of the UK’s most popular broadband providers offer WiFi broadband bundled together with other services. Combining them in this way can often save you money, as well as offering the convenience of paying one monthly bill. You’ll also only have to contact one provider with questions or if things go wrong.
Wireless and phone: Many UK providers offer great deals that put together WiFi broadband with landline call packages. Deals often include things like free evening or weekend calls, though restrictions often apply. This type of deal can be a money saver for those who regularly use a landline phone.
Wireless and TV: Broadband providers including Sky, BT and Virgin Media combine digital TV services with WiFi internet in some affordable package deals You can often build a package that includes channels based on your hobbies and interests, catering for both adults and kids.
Wireless, TV and phone: If you’d prefer to combine broadband, TV and phone into a single monthly bill with one provider, you can always opt for one of these packages. Like a phone or TV bundle, you’re able to personalise the channels and calls into a package that suits your needs.
WiFI broadband providers and their routers
Each broadband provider has their own WiFi router, which will be provided when you sign up for a wireless broadband deal.
Here’s some information on the different routers available from each WiFi broadband provider, along with some additional information on what to expect from their WiFi internet provision.
Home Hubs and Smart Hub BT
If you subscribe to BT Superfast fibre broadband, you’ll enjoy the very powerful Smart Hub, which has a great wireless range. BT’s Complete WiFi (available for an additional £10 per month) extends your signal into every room in your home using extenders called discs. A strong connection in each one is guaranteed, or the company will give you £100 cashback.
EE Smart Hub and Bright Boxes
According to EE, their smart router is a real game-changer. It’s included free in all of their fibre broadband plans for new customers and is also super easy to use. You won’t need an engineer to install the hub – simply plug it in and you’re good to go. It can handle loads of devices and automatically adapts to deliver the best possible speeds.
Plusnet Hub One
When you sign up to a Plusnet fibre WiFi deal, you’ll receive their Plusnet Hub One – their ADSL deal comes with a Hub Zero. The Hub One supports dual band WiFi and is able to provide you with faster internet speeds and more range compared to the Zero.
Broadband Hub and Sky Q Hub
Sky Sky Broadband Boost extends Wi-Fi into every room of your home for around £5 per month and is included, as standard, with the brand’s Superfast Boost package. As with BT, there’s also a money-back guarantee if this service fails to deliver. Sky also performs daily line checks to make sure your broadband is healthy. Both are able to reach impressively high speeds of up to 1Gbps and allow you to connect a whopping 64 devices.
TalkTalk WiFi Hub and Super Router
TalkTalk makes it easy to get up and running with their hub. All you have to do is plug it in, switch it on and you’re connected. It’s also been designed to look attractive in the home and works seamlessly with TalkTalk’s network to give you the best possible performance. The hub knows what type of devices you’re using and tailors the speeds it sends to each based on their individual requirements.
Virgin Media Hub 3.0
Virgin Media provides the impressive Hub 3 for their superfast broadband. It has five antennae and delivers the fastest 5GHz WiFi, supporting download speeds of up to 1Gbps. The Hub 3 is an extremely powerful router and ensures you always get the most reliable signal wherever you are in house. It also cleverly self-optimises – quickly sorting any WiFi issue you might have.
Use our WiFi broadband checker to see which deals are available in your area. All you need to do is enter your postcode and we’ll show you the deals that you can get where you live.
How to set up your WiFi
Once you’ve used our tool to check the WiFi broadband deals available in your area, and found a package that suits your needs, you’ll need to set up your new WiFi connection.
Some companies will simply send you a router in the post, along with some instructions on how to install it. Others may arrange for an engineer to call round and install your WiFi connection for you.
If you’re installing your own WiFi broadband, the process is simple.
- Plug in your router and switch it on. Your connection should be automatic.
- Set a new WiFi password (the original password can be found somewhere on your router, usually a long jumble of uppercase and lowercase letters mixed with numbers.
- Personalise the name of your WiFi network, if wished.
- Connect your devices (you’ll only have to do this once. After this, they will memorise your router information and will connect automatically unless your password is changed again).
If you need more help with setting up your WiFi, our guide to WiFi in your home will help you every step of the way.
What if my WiFi isn’t working?
If your wireless internet isn’t working, or isn’t running as fast as it should be, there are a few things you can try:
- Check your router to make sure WiFi access is turned on.
- Make sure you’re attempting to connect to the new and not the old wireless network.
- Turn the router off, leave it for a few minutes, and switch it back on again to reboot the network.
- Try a new location for your router, away from any obstructions like large items of furniture and electrical items.
You can use our broadband speed test to see what speed you’re currently getting and if it stacks up against what you’ve been promised.
Wifi vs wired broadband
WiFi gives you the freedom to use the internet in any area of your home, so you may question why anyone would choose to be restricted by wired internet, which requires an ethernet cable.
In reality, there are pros and cons to both WiFi and wireless internet:
Benefits of WiFi
Connect almost any device: Nowadays, almost anything can be connected to WiFi. It’s not just for your phone and tablet. Many modern gadgets such as kettles, fridges, scales and smart speakers use WiFi too.
Simplicity: When you’ve connected wirelessly to a device once, that device will memorise your password and connect automatically whenever it’s in range.
It’s truly wire-free:Being truly free from wires is the main advantage of WiFi. You can use your connection any time on any device, without having to worry about wires, plugs or chargers.
Benefits of wired broadband
Speed – WiFi transmits using radio-style waves, which is fast, but not in comparison to the speed of a physical cable. For most basic needs, WiFi will probably be fine. If you’re downloading large files, watching TV, or gaming, an ethernet connection comes in handy.
Blind spots – If you live in a large house, you may have noticed that the quality of your WiFi changes as you move from one room to another. This can be annoying, especially if it happens in rooms where you want to use the internet a lot.
No interference – In a busy neighbourhood, your WiFi is constantly battling other people’s connections. This can lead to slow speeds as well as other problems. Other electric items in your home can sometimes cause interference with your WiFi signal, too. A wired connection is immune to these problems.
The good news is that once you have a broadband connection, you can use both WiFi and wired internet at home, switching between the two if necessary. You might want to use an ethernet cable for your TV, for example, while keeping the WiFi for your phone and tablet.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best WiFi deal?
WiFi broadband deals start from £16.99 per month but it depends on your needs and how you use your WiFi. You can compare all WiFi deals using our WiFi comparison tool.
There are different types of WiFi:
- WiFi via home broadband – This is where broadband is connected via a fixed line. WiFi is then used to connect your devices in your home
- WiFi via 4G/5G home broadband – This is where broadband is connected via a mobile network. No fixed line or landline is required. WiFi is then used to connect your devices in your home
- WiFi via mobile phones – This is where you connect to the internet via a mobile network. Most common uses for this connection is on your mobile phone. You can also tether devices to a hotspot
What is the cheapest WiFi deal?
The cheapest WiFi deal is £16.99 per month. See also, our 4G home broadband comparison for WiFi with no fixed line to your home.
Do I need broadband to get WiFi?
No. You can buy a router without buying a broadband deal. Although you won’t have access to the internet, by applying some solid technical know-how, you can connect all of your computers to each other. This is called a ‘wireless local area network’ (wireless LAN).
Can I get a WiFi only deal?
You can access only public WiFi hotspots if you wish, but a regular home broadband deal will be cheaper, more convenient and, possibly, faster. Public WiFi hotspots are better for short-term WiFi usage and will soon put you out of pocket.
Is WiFi secure?
It is possible to hack WiFi, but basic security measures will usually be enough to protect you. One of the most important things is setting a password. Leaving your home WiFi network without a password is like leaving your car door open with the keys inside - not a good idea!
What's the fastest WiFi?
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your router can support 802.11ac WiFi. This will give you access to high speeds.
Is WiFi dangerous?
It would be irresponsible of us to say whether WiFi is dangerous or not. What we can say is that there is no consistent evidence that suggests WiFi poses health risks.
What's the difference between broadband and WiFi?
Broadband is your general home connection and WiFi is the wireless network that your devices can connect to. Your broadband connection creates a WiFi network for you to use.
What does WiFi stand for?
Funnily enough, WiFi doesn't stand for anything! It’s the trademarked name for the wireless technology that uses radio waves to allow laptops, smartphone and other devices to connect to the internet. A common misconception is that WiFi is short for wireless fidelity, but this isn’t the case. It’s just a name.