What Are the Average Speeds for Wireless Internet?

by Christopher Tebbutt

There are four main types of wireless Internet connection: satellite, broadband, 3G and 4G. These services are all designed to deliver an Internet connection without the need for phone lines or cables. Wireless Internet speeds are not exact and will vary due to a specific connection's location, network strength and the number of simultaneous users at any given time; however, estimated data download speeds have been calculated for each of the four types of Internet connection.


Satellite Internet service is transmitted to users through Low Earth Orbit and geostationary satellites, and is normally used in areas where terrestrial Internet is not available. Users must have a suitable satellite dish to receive a signal, so satellite Internet connections have significant limitations as environmental factors such as heavy rain and dense tree coverage can effect the signal to a user's geographical location. It is also the slowest form of wireless Internet; the estimated speed of wireless satellite Internet is up to 400Kbps.


Broadband Internet is transmitted through radio waves, similar to TV and cellphone signals. Wireless transmitters receive data from the Internet via your broadband network; transmitters then convert the data in to radio waves and send it back to complete your Internet connection. The estimated speed of wireless broadband Internet is up to 1.5Mbps.


3G is the third generation of mobile Internet technology and is used to transmit Internet signals to electronic mobile devices such as cellphones. A number of 3G transmissions have been developed by cellphone network providers, all competing to offer their customers the quickest mobile Internet access. Mobile broadband speeds are difficult to measure, as variables such as a network's location, specific developer and number of users can significantly affect the signal. The estimated speed of wireless 3G Internet is up to 3.6Mbps.


4G is the fourth generation of mobile Internet technology and is used to transmit Internet signals to electronic mobile devices such as cellphones. There are numerous different network types considered to be 4G; in America the primary such networks are provided by Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.; Wireless Internet speeds vary greatly across these networks, with the download speeds ranging between 2-12Mbps.

About the Author

Christopher Tebbutt started writing professionally in 2004. He's had content published on both the "Guardian" and "TimeOut" magazine's websites, amongst others. He has written for internationally renowned brands such as Burberry, Boots and Party Gaming. He has also worked for journalists within the BBC, Reuters and BSkyB as a researcher. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics and history from Nottingham Trent University.

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