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Compare wireless broadband deals

Looking for cheap broadband? Compare prices from top providers and get a great deal

Wireless broadband has come a long way in the past decade, gradually removing the need for Ethernet cables between our internet-connected devices – much like how wireless earbuds freed our audio from pesky wires. Wireless broadband capability has revolutionised homes and public spaces, allowing for flexibility in how, when and where we access the internet.

The good news is that most broadband deals offer wireless broadband as standard, meaning you can get a wireless router in your home without much hassle.

Plusnet – Full Fibre 145
Monthly Cost
£27.99
Average speed
145 Mb
Contract term
24 months

Monthly prices are subject to increase each year on 31 March by Consumer Price Index rate of inflation + 3.9%.

Our top recommended broadband providers
Plusnet
Fast speeds & reliable customer service
Virgin Media
Ultrafast speeds at affordable prices
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Perks for existing mobile customers
BT Broadband
The UK’s largest broadband provider

What do I need to get wireless broadband?

According to Ofcom, 97 per cent of homes in the UK are capable of receiving superfast broadband (30Mbps and above), so all you need to do is sign up with a provider and wait for its router to arrive. You can check average broadband speeds at your home address before committing to that provider.

The broadband router will link up with a wired, underground connection – whatever’s available at your address – or a mobile data network. The wireless part of the broadband is essentially just wifi: the over-the-air signal that emits from the router to reach devices in your home (TV, laptop, phone, etc).

The broadband routers shipped by internet providers will be wifi enabled as standard, though many still come with physical Ethernet ports for those who would rather use cables – giving up the convenience of wireless internet for a faster, more secure connection. You can also buy a dedicated wired router if you wish.

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How do I compare wireless broadband deals?

There are many wireless broadband providers, and that can make it difficult to parse all the options out there. Luckily, if you use our comparison tool, you’ll get a simple overview of the providers, deals, speeds and prices available, enabling you to choose the wireless broadband deal that works for you.

How can I find deals on the best wireless internet in my area?

To find the best wireless internet in your area, you have to check what’s available at your address. 

While some broadband providers use the same networks – such as Openreach, which is used by Sky, TalkTalk and BT – others have their own alternatives, and internet capability, reliability and speed varies hugely between them. You can be connected to ultrafast broadband for one provider and painfully slow speeds for another – if they can service your location at all. 

You can use our postcode checker to find broadband providers in your area  – this will show what’s available on your doorstep. Some providers also offer joint bundles for broadband and TV deals or broadband and phone deals, so keep an eye out for these options.

What considerations should I make when looking for wireless broadband deals?

There are many things to consider when looking for wireless broadband deals.

The key question is what you’re using the broadband for. Light internet users who mainly use broadband for emails and web browsing will have vastly different needs compared to someone who works from home with frequent video meetings, watches a lot of 4K TV shows or enjoys competitive online gaming.

Once you’ve determined your needs, you can look at broadband speeds, which vary widely between providers and plans. You should always use a postcode checker to see the maximum speeds offered by a provider at your address and not be disheartened if one provider only offers 10Mbps – another may offer a faster speed through its own network. A broadband speed test is a great way to ensure your broadband provider is living up to its promises.

And last, there’s the price: each deal will have its own monthly cost, either on a no-contract broadband basis or for a longer one-to-two year contract. But even if a plan seems inexpensive to start, any discounted offers may jump up to a less reasonable price after the initial contract length is over – so it’s well worth checking what you’ll be paying in the long run. Costs tend to go up annually in line with inflation, too, if not slightly above it.

Who are the best wireless broadband providers?

There are a host of worthwhile wireless broadband providers in the UK, both great and small. The biggest players are BT, Sky and Virgin Media, which cover 63 per cent of the UK market between them (via Statista).

BT has the biggest market share, owning both EE and Plusnet and running the Openreach network used by most major providers. It’s a little pricier than some competitors and locks you into a lengthy two-year contract, but it offers discounts on BT Mobile contracts if you sign up for broadband.

Sky is a great choice for broadband and TV packages, thanks to the company’s extensive number of TV channels. Its subsidiary, NOW Broadband, offers similar entertainment bundles including Sky Sports, Sky Atlantic and Sky Cinema.

Virgin Media beats both BT and Sky for internet speed, using an alternative fibre optic network and boasting top speeds of 1,130Mbps in certain locations, though the provider racks up considerably more complaints from its customer base (twice as many as BT, according to Ofcom).

Otherwise, you can check out TalkTalk, Vodafone or the BT-owned EE and Plusnet – the last of which has the highest customer satisfaction rates of any provider in this list. If you want to consider some lesser-known options, there are additional providers, such as Three Broadband, NOW (owned by Sky) and Shell Energy (acquired by Octopus Energy in 2023).

What are the pros and cons of wireless broadband?

Upsides Downsides
Convenience: wireless routers can cater to multiple devices simultaneously, without complex installation or cables running across the room. Security: it’s easier to hack wireless connections, so an Ethernet cable is generally more secure.
Mobility: wireless devices can be moved without impacting a physical connection. Speed: wired connections are faster and more reliable than the radio waves emitted by wireless routers.
Accessibility: wireless broadband can reach areas that a fixed internet line wouldn’t be able to access easily. Latency: for two-way video calls or gaming on a PC, a wired connection is going to be more stable with fewer interruptions.
Community: wireless broadband is much more conducive to areas with lots of footfall, such as cafes and libraries, helping to connect passers-by in a flexible way. Interference: wifi signals move through the air and are therefore impacted by walls, floors or other aspects of the architecture in your home.

What types of wireless broadband are there?

When we talk about wireless broadband, we’re really describing how the router functions to wirelessly connect to devices in our homes. How the broadband gets to that router is another matter.

Fibre broadband is the broadband you want these days; due to the efficient way that light can be transmitted through fibre optic cables, it’s much faster than older cabling systems and has seen home broadband speeds rise significantly across the UK and elsewhere. However, while most homes in the UK can access fibre broadband, levels of access vary – you might end up with a part-fibre connection that uses a mix of different cabling standards rather than full fibre.

You may well have a cabinet in your postcode connected to fibre optic internet, but if the final stretch of cabling from the cabinet to your home is simple copper wiring, those impressive speeds end up slowing down considerably before they reach your router. You ideally want fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband rather than just fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC). 

Cable broadband is a halfway house between older copper connections and fibre optic, connecting to your router with an insulated coaxial cable.

If you don’t have that, you may be using ADSL broadband (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line). ADSL is considerably slower than both cable and fibre but utilises existing copper telephone lines to connect internet into your home; this means it can provide minimal internet speeds without needing to build new network infrastructure.

Sidestepping cables entirely is mobile broadband, which uses mobile data connections such as 4G or 5G to power a wireless router. You may also have heard of satellite broadband, which uses orbiting satellites to connect your router to the internet, albeit with a far higher latency than you’ll find with most wireless broadband deals: it takes time to send signals into space and back.

Wireless broadband FAQs

Yes. Broadband packages generally come with line rental included, throwing in a landline number for no extra cost. However, the phone line doesn’t have to be active for you to use the internet.

No internet connection is 100 per cent secure, and the effectiveness of safeguards will vary depending on the level of encryption and type of protocols being used. In general, wired connections are more isolated and therefore harder to hack into, though wireless connections tend to have higher levels of encryption because of the increased vulnerability of over-the-air connections, which can potentially reach outside your home and be accessed at a distance. In either case, if security is on your mind, you should consider using a VPN.

It’s crucial to set up your wireless broadband router in a place where it receives cellular data effectively and can also share that connection with devices around your home. The key thing is to prevent objects from blocking signals to and from your router – that means you should elevate the router off the floor, ideally on a counter or cabinet, and find a central location where it can reach your disparate rooms and devices.

It depends. If your router receives a strong signal but can’t reach far enough to cover every room in your home – say, a far-off bedroom or second floor study – then a broadband extender can pick up that signal and expand its range. These handy devices plug into a mains socket and act as a mid-point relay between the router and any remaining blind spots in the home. Signals can still weaken as they pass through walls and solid objects, though.

henry st leger

Henry St Leger

Consumer Tech and Software

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former news and features Editor at TechRadar, where he specialised in consumer technology, software, and home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, soundbars, and smart speakers.

He has been writing about technology and related topics for over six years. His work for the Independent Advisor focuses on cyber security and internet-connected software including VPNs.

Henry has written for a wide number of prominent websites including NBC News, Healthline, The Times, Edge, T3, iMore, and GamesRadar.

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.