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What is the best internet for working from home?

Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Arsalan Dezham

What kind of internet connection do I need to work from home?

Where you live determines your best options for work-from-home internet. Where available, fiber internet generally has the best possible specs for browsing, email, cloud applications, video calls, and VoIP phone service. In areas that don’t have fiber yet, you can still get valuable speeds from cable, DSL, satellite, or mobile hotspot service.

Best kind of internet for working from home in the city or suburbs

  • Fiber: Fiber internet offers download speeds above 100 Mbps, upload speeds symmetrical with download speeds, and virtually no lag—which for you, means dependable chat and email, crystal-clear voice calls, easy-breezy video meetings, and consistent cloud backup during your workday. Fiber also leaves extra bandwidth for other family members using the internet during your workday.
  • Cable: Cable internet offers comparable download speeds to fiber internet and upload speeds around 35 Mbps or 50 Mbps maximum.
  • DSL: DSL internet can offer speeds up to about 140 Mbps and upload speeds between 1 and 20 Mbps, depending on the area.

Tip: You may see DSL advertised as “high-speed internet.” As one of the earliest internet technologies, DSL earned that name in contrast to dial-up, which runs at speeds under 1 Mbps.

Businesspeople discussing business on virtual staff meeting while working from home.

Best internet for working from home in rural locations

  • DSL: DSL internet is occasionally available in rural communities, but unless you live close to the provider’s operating centers, you may not get the speeds needed for daily work tasks.
  • Satellite: Satellite internet typically offers speeds up to 25 Mbps, but some providers offer as many as 100 Mbps in select areas. You’ll need to watch out for hard or soft data caps with satellite—you could pay extra in overage fees or have your speeds slowed partway through the month.
  • Mobile hotspot: Mobile hotspots can run up to 30 Mbps on a 4G LTE connection and 50 Mbps or higher on 5G. The plans may have data caps, however, and availability still depends on strong cellular coverage in your area. 

Best work-from-home internet for frequent travelers

For remote workers that commute frequently—whether you hop airplanes or crawl local coffee shops—a mobile hotspot may be your best bet for consistent work-from-anywhere internet service. And it’s more secure than the free Wi-Fi networks at airports and cafes.

Internet that doesn’t support working from home

Dial-up still serves basic internet access to homes in rural areas, but it won’t help people who work from home. At speeds under 1 Mbps, even browsing and email are too slow for critical work tasks.

What is the best internet speed for working from home?

Up to 25 Mbps for basic browsing, email, and occasional video calls

In 2015, the FCC defined broadband internet as a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps.

As of 2022, the agency hasn’t updated the standard. But at these speeds, you can generally expect to stay available, connected, and able to do most work tasks.

Video calls and heavy cloud backup or file sharing may strain your network, though—especially if you frequently have to present during meetings or find yourself multitasking during the boring ones (we won’t tell).

Up to 100 Mbps for better quality and more users

With work-from-home internet speeds up to 100 Mbps, you can expect better performance on most of your business apps. Plus, you’ll have more bandwidth to support little ones who love their screen time, or other remote workers you share space with.

Above 100 Mbps for superconnected homes

When you work from home, your work internet and recreational internet are almost always the same service. If multiple people in your household share your connection all day, 100 Mbps or more should keep everyone happy—especially if they’re streaming and gaming.

What is the best internet for working from home in my area?

Internet types, speeds, and prices vary a lot based on where you live. To find the best internet for working from home, search in your ZIP code specifically.

CenturyLink offers fiber and high-speed DSL internet in 36 states. Check availability here or view speed options here.

Services/Speed may not be available in your area.

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