What is wireless broadband?
Wireless broadband is a term that’s widely used - some people use it to refer to broadband that you can connect to via WiFi (so multiple devices can be connected at any one time), while others use it as another way to describe mobile broadband.
In general, the distinction is that mobile broadband uses mobile networks while wireless internet works via the router that’s placed in your home.
Who is wireless broadband good for?
In terms of broadband that you can connect to via WiFi in the home, because you don’t need to connect to broadband via a cable or wire, wireless broadband is good for:
- Large families, who have multiple broadband users and devices that need to be connected to the internet at any one time - from phones, to tablets, to games consoles.
- Gamers, who need a strong wireless broadband connection to play online without any lag.
- Students, who live in shared accommodation. Like large family groups, any household with multiple internet users will benefit from wireless broadband.
Mobile wireless broadband can also be really useful, especially for people who need access to the internet on the move, however it’s worth noting that a fixed line into the home - with a wireless router to provide WiFi - will generally offer higher speeds and higher data allowances.
Why choose wireless broadband?
Opting for broadband with a wireless router included is a no-brainer for anyone who has more than one device that they need to connect via WiFi in their home. It’s fair to say that this is the vast majority of us nowadays.
Who provides wireless broadband deals?
Wireless routers are available with broadband packages from:
One of the fastest wireless broadband deals is the Connect 360 plan from Virgin Media. Meanwhile, Vodafone has the cheapest wireless broadband package, coming in at €40 for the first 6 months, and €45 thereafter.
How do I compare wireless broadband deals?
Comparing wireless broadband deals is easy using our comparison tool. When you’re reviewing plans, think about:
- Price. This will probably be the most important factor when it comes to choosing a broadband package.
- Broadband speed. The speed you need will depend on what you’ll be using the broadband for, and the speeds available to you will depend on the broadband packages available where you live.
- Contract length. Make sure to check this before signing up so you know how long you’ll be tied into your plan, and when you’ll be free to switch again.
- Discount period. Sometimes discounts last for the whole contract length, and other times they’re for a shorter period. Check this before signing up, and make note of when the discount period ends, so you can budget accordingly.
- Set-up costs. Some providers offer free installation, while with others there’ll be an upfront charge.
How does wireless broadband work?
Wireless broadband works by using a wireless router, which converts an incoming signal and transmits it throughout your home. This signal is then picked up by any wireless-enabled devices within the transmission area, enabling them to connect to the wireless broadband.
What is a router?
A router is a networking device that is connected to a modem and transmits WiFi signal throughout your home. As WiFi has become increasingly important, broadband providers have started to invest more and more into their equipment - like modems and routers - to improve customers’ experiences. Some of the newest routers include:
- The Virgin Media hub, which has performed better than any other provider’s router in independent testing.
- The Sky Q Hub, which delivers speeds up to 3 times faster speeds than the previous generation of routers. You can connect up to 64 devices to this router at once.
- The Vodafone Fibre Broadband modem (with inbuilt router), which works with Vodafone’s fibre broadband services.
- eir’s F2000 modem, which broadcasts its WiFi network on two WiFi frequencies, so you can see which one suits each device best.
How do I set up wireless broadband?
When you sign up for a wireless broadband plan, you will arrange an installation date with your new provider, who will come out and set your modem/router up for you. They’ll let you know your network name and password (this can also usually be found on the equipment itself). After that, you’ll just need to switch WiFi on on your device, and sign into the network.
If you have any specific questions about how your modem/router should be set up, your provider’s website will usually have plenty of information on this. Alternatively, you could call your provider’s customer care line to talk through it.
Can I get wireless broadband without a phone line?
Many broadband providers will require you to have a phone line in order to provide you with a service. However, Virgin Media doesn’t require this - and you can also get broadband-only deals from many broadband providers in Ireland, even if they do require a phone to install your broadband.
If a phone line is an issue for you - perhaps because of where you live - you could also opt for satellite broadband or mobile broadband.
Can I add TV or home phone to my wireless broadband plan?
Yes, many providers will allow you to bundle your broadband with other services - like TV or home phone - and if you do need both services, you will usually save by doing this.
- If you want to get a TV and broadband package, there are 4 main providers in the Irish market - eir, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone. The Mix 240 plan from Virgin Media is the cheapest package on the market at the moment.
- Meanwhile, if you just want to bundle broadband and phone, Pure Telecom offers the cheapest plan.
- You can also opt for a triple-play package, which comes with broadband, phone and TV all in one. The cheapest broadband, TV and phone package on the market at the moment is the Mix 240 plan from Virgin Media.