It is definitely possible to have two different internet providers in one house. You likely do, in a sense, without realizing it.
Hi, I’m Aaron. I’ve been in technology for the better part of 20 years and have been an electronics enthusiast and hobbyist longer than that!
Let’s cover why you likely have two different internet providers in your house today, some of the ways the internet gets to your house, and why you might want more than one provider in your house.
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- How to Get Internet In My House?
- How Do I Get Two Internet Connections in My House?
- Why Do You Want More Than One Provider?
- There are many different kinds of internet connection.
- You can use multiple types of connectivity to bring two internet connections into your house.
- You likely already have two internet connections in your house–broadband and your smartphone.
- There are some good use cases for multiple internet connections.
How to Get Internet In My House?
There are a few different options today for accessing the internet from your home. I’ll elaborate on some of them and let you guess why I think you probably have two different internet providers today.
Prior to the mid-1990s, this was the primary modality of internet delivery to the home. Your computer had a modem, that modem plugged into a phone outlet (also known as an RJ-45 outlet), and you dialed-in to an internet provider’s server.
In some very rural areas of the U.S., this is still a viable modality of internet connection. Around 250,000 people in the U.S. still use dial-up phone-based internet. Here’s a great YouTube video discussing that.
In more urban areas, phone connectivity is typically provided by a cable and internet provider. Most phone connectivity in those areas is just voice over IP (VOIP), so it uses the internet to create a phone connection. The widespread availability of cell phones and smartphones has largely eliminated phone lines in homes.
DSL, or a Digital Subscriber Line, is a method of transmitting data via phone line. It provided a faster connection than just dial-up internet. Phone companies still provide these services and it is still a method, though not viable for most, to connect to the internet.
This is by far the most common modality of internet connection today. Broadband is the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s term for high-speed data connections, but the technology is used worldwide to deliver high-speed internet to businesses and consumers alike.
If you have a cellular device, like a smartphone, cellular-enabled tablet, or mobile hotspot, your carrier is providing you a high-speed cellular data connection. That data connection, similar to your broadband provider, enables phone calls via VOIP and a connection to the internet.
Many devices can act as a mobile hotspot (aside from a dedicated mobile hotspot device). A mobile hotspot is a wi-fi router that takes the cellular data connection and parses it out to connected devices.
Satellite internet connections are growing in popularity and allow for a connection wherever you have a base station and line of sight to the satellite. This internet connection relies on a radio connection between a satellite dish and a satellite orbiting Earth.
Here’s a brief YouTube video that asks the question: is satellite internet a good idea? It also provides a great plain-language explanation of how satellite internet works.
How Do I Get Two Internet Connections in My House?
If you have a broadband connection and a cellular device, then you already have two separate internet connections in your house. That could be helpful if you’re on the go, or if one of those two connections stops working.
If you want another form of connection, that could be more difficult. In most areas of the U.S, broadband carriers have territorial monopolies: they’re the only terrestrial provider of a connection to the internet. That problem isn’t limited to the U.S., but I don’t feel that I can authoritatively speak to areas outside of the U.S. so don’t want to make unsupportable generalizations.
If you live in an area where there are multiple broadband providers, you can pay for services from both and have your house wired with connections to both.
If you don’t live in an area with another broadband provider, you can sign up for satellite internet. It doesn’t work in some places due to terrain and geography, but if you don’t have those limitations, then that could be an option for you.
You could also sign up for a contract for a phone line–some providers still provide more traditional non-VOIP phone lines–but performance would be lacking and you’d have trouble reliably surfing the web.
Why Do You Want More Than One Provider?
There are a few reasons you may want more than one internet service provider. Ultimately you need to decide what works best for you and why you might want one.
You Have a Device with a Data Plan
Again, this one works by default – if you have a smartphone or tablet with a data plan, then you have two internet providers.
High Availability Needs
Say you want to host a website or file server and don’t want to use a cloud offering. If you want that to be High Availability, or be available a large portion of the year, then you may want to have more than one internet connection into your house. That way, if you have an outage on one connection, you still have an internet connection on the other.
Maybe you have two ISPs in the area and get cable from one and internet from the other. Or you get cable from one and use satellite internet. That makes sense if you can get better performance at a lower cost from your alternative provider.
I’m a fan of testing technology and experiential learning. With two internet connections comes the opportunity to test more advanced routing technology and network infrastructure. If you want to pursue a career in IT, there’s no better way to start than by doing.
Let’s go over some questions you might have about managing multiple internet providers.
Can I Have Two Internet Providers in One Apartment?
Yes, and you likely do. Again, your cellular provider is also an internet provider, so you likely do have two providers in your apartment.
If you’re talking about terrestrial internet, then it’s possible, but only if your building is in an area with multiple ISPs and is connected to those ISPs lines. If not, you can contact your building management to see if they can help you get another connection. You may also be able to use a cellular or satellite connection, depending on your apartment’s rules.
Can I Have Two Internet Connections on One Router?
Yes, but this gets into that advanced routing technology and network infrastructure. Your equipment also needs to support that. Here’s a great how-to video on YouTube about how to set that up.
Can I Get My Own Internet In My Room?
Yes, but you probably need a cellular hotspot or other non-terrestrial internet. If there is a connection from an ISP into a house, you’ll need to call the ISP to see if they support multiple connections at your location. If they do, great! If they don’t, then you’ll need to use a hotspot or satellite internet to get a separate connection from the house.
Can I Have Two Different Wi-Fi Routers in My House?
Yes. Depending on how you set this up, it may be more advanced. The simplest way to accomplish this is to set one router up as the primary router and DHCP Server (which provides IP addresses to devices) and the other router as a Wireless Access Point (WAP) only, if the device supports that.
Here’s a YouTube video about how to do exactly that! Alternatively, you can set both routers up with separate wi-fi networks and IP spaces so that you have two separate Local Area Networks (LANs).
There are some good reasons to have two internet connections in one house–you may even have that today! If you’re in an area where you’re lucky enough to have multiple broadband ISPs, you may even be able to get two terrestrial connections into your house.
Do you have two internet connections in your house? What do you use them for? Share in the comments and let us know your experiences!
- How to Fix the “App Cannot Be Opened Because It is from an Unidentified Developer” Error on Mac
- How to Fix CoreServicesUIAgent Won’t Close on Mac
- How to Fix WindowServer High CPU on Mac
- How to Fix Mac Stuck on Checking for Updates
- How to Fix It When Mac Keeps Disconnecting from WiFi
- How to Fix External Drive Not Showing up on Mac