Home Internet Cheat Sheet: Your Guide to Broadband Basics and Beyond

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with multiple internet service providers, you face a tough choice: Which will provide the best home internet connection for the cheapest price? Meanwhile, how can you connect to Wi-Fi for free while making the decision?

Whether you’re using your home internet connection for work, school or play, broadband has become a utility on par with electricity and water. Here at CNET, we’ve put together a cheat sheet full of our expert advice to help answer your most pressing home internet questions.

Which internet service provider should I choose?

Picking an ISP isn’t easy, especially these days when you have more options — hello, 5G fixed wireless! — than ever before. CNET has taken the time to examine some of the top ISPs in the country to help level the playing field for you. We can help you cut through the clutter to determine the right provider for you and what plans best fit your household’s needs.

Shopping for a faster internet speed?

We’ll send you the fastest internet options, so you don’t have to find them.

Which Wi-Fi router is best? 

Once you’ve decided on an ISP, you might consider choosing a router. We’ve tested dozens of routers over the last few years and can help you find what you’re looking for — whether it’s a Wi-Fi 6 router, a mesh router system, a gaming router or a Wi-Fi extender system.

How can I save money on my internet bills each month?

Finding ways to cut costs is top of mind for many of us. Just as we might scrutinize how often we leave the lights on when trying to trim our electricity bill, we can explore ways to save a little money on our broadband service. Whether investing in a router or learning to better manage your data caps, we’ve got suggestions to help you save.

How can I speed up my Wi-Fi?

We all want to get the most out of what we pay for. But even if we’re subscribing to our provider’s fastest plan, we may not feel the effects of those zippy download speeds in our Wi-Fi. Here are some avenues to explore to see if your setup could be better maximized, or perhaps your ISP may be to blame. 

How can I troubleshoot internet issues myself?

One way to save money (and time) is to learn how to diagnose problems independently without calling in professionals. We’ve got you covered, whether you’re battling choppy video calls or simply trying to avoid the fee that comes with a technician visit. 

What’s the best way to keep hackers off my home Wi-Fi?

You might be well versed in spotting phishing scams but not as tuned into the dangers posed to your household’s wireless broadband connections. Let CNET get you up to speed. 

What else do I need to know about home internet?

Whether you’re researching the best providers for unlimited data, the best ISPs in Chicago or whichever internet providers are available in your area, you can count on CNET to get the content you need. 

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