Internet Guide for Families

An internet connection is important to your family’s day to day life. The kids need to do homework, you and your spouse need to keep up with Facebook, emails and paying the bills. This, of course, is on top of your busy life consisting of school, work, family time, chores and extra curricular activities and hobbies.

The last thing you need to worry about is your internet.

What Families Need the Internet For

A family’s needs for internet is going to be very broad:

  • Kids need to do research, write and print off reports and papers.
  • Parents might need to complete tasks for their jobs.
  • Emailing.
  • Keeping in touch via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
  • Watch movies, download music, play games, etc.
  • Run small businesses from home.
  • Take care of small business needs, such as taxes, payroll or scheduling.

Internet Service Recommendations for Families:

  • Speeds of 12 Mbps or higher.
  • Avoid mobile plans (3G/4G) for primary source of internet.
  • Wi-fi internet network.
  • Bundle services when it makes sense.

To find out what internet service providers are available in your area for you and your family, just fill out the form below. Once you click the Find Offers button, a new window will open up and you’ll be shown a list of internet providers and offers available to you.

Here are the recommendations broken down so you can see why I recommended a certain size or speed.

Internet Speeds for Families

We recommend that families buy internet with speeds of 12 Mbps or higher. However, depending on the size of your family and what you use the internet for, you might want to start higher — 15 or 20 Mbps.

The reason why we recommend higher speeds is because as a family you’ll be sharing the internet, so for every member that’s on the internet the speeds will be a little bit slower. Then you factor in speed intensive tasks such as streaming movies or gaming and the internet can become pretty slow.

Families Should Avoid 3G Plans

A 3G mobile plan isn’t the best solution for families, at least for a primary source of internet.

The reason being is that there are no family friendly plans. Most plans have a data cap of 5 or 10GB, which isn’t very much for a family that watches videos or plays games online. So you’ll undoubtedly go over the limit, which is very expensive at $10 per GB (over your limit). Unlimited plans are non-existent now, too, as most internet service provider have phased them out.

That said, there will be family plans in the future, around mid-2012. However, these will be shared data plans (like shared minutes with cell phones), and unless data caps are increased it still won’t make sense for a family that uses the internet heavily.

So our recommendation is to have a fixed internet connection as your primary source of internet access. Not only will it be cheaper, but you can create a wireless network so that family members with Wi-Fi enabled cell phones and pc tablets can still connect online. A mobile plan should be in addition to your fixed line, for maybe when you’re on the go or in case of emergencies.

Create a Wireless Network Instead

Instead of purchasing a mobile plan, or multiple internet plans, your family should create a wireless network. It’s easy enough to do.

All you need for a wireless network is a router, which plugs into your computer and modem. Then each device in your network will need a wireless modem, such as a USB stick or wireless card. Many modems are built into laptops, tablets and phones nowadays, too. In that case all you’ll need to do is connect your laptop or tablet to your network.

Having a wireless network will mean that you can buy one internet plan and the whole family can use it as long as they’re within range of the signal (pretty much inside the house or maybe in the yard). So you can do work in the study, your wife can catch up on Facebook from the couch and your kids can do their homework from their bedrooms.