Best Off-Grid Internet Options

Hannah Rivera
Mar 07, 2024
Icon Time To Read12 min read

How to get Wi-Fi in remote areas

Embracing the off-grid lifestyle doesn't have to mean giving up on all things digital anymore. Whether you’re on the rural outskirts of your small town, homesteading in the deep woods, or hiding from the government, have no fear; we’re here to help you find the best internet for your remote location.

Getting right into it, satellite internet is always the overall best option for off-grid folk, since it will work basically everywhere you have a clear view of the sky. Our team has tested all three major satellite services, so we can guide you with confidence.

If satellite isn’t your gig, our second recommendation is wireless home internet or hotspot options through cellular network providers. We’ll also get into the details of some lesser-known and alternative internet options, like MVNO data plans, internet co-cops, and even good old DSL. So, without further adieu, let’s talk off-grid internet.

Satellite internet

Satellite internet offers you a reliable way to access the internet from totally remote areas. With it, you can enjoy the freedom of being off the beaten path and unplugging from the world, but still be able to plug in and watch some YouTube when you’re tired of talking to the critters in the woods.

Keep in mind: Satellite internet needs a power source; this could be an issue if you’re so off the grid that your setup runs on solar power and you don’t have much voltage to spare.

How satellite internet works

Satellite internet uses satellites that are orbiting the Earth to transmit and receive data. There are two main types: GEO (geostationary) and LEO (low Earth orbit) satellites.

GEO satellites remain in one position high above the Earth—more than 22,236 miles, to be exact—and provide a stable connection. However, due to their distance, there’s usually a slight delay in data transmission—like how it might take you a moment to understand what someone’s saying when they yell from a distance.

LEO satellites orbit much closer to Earth (only 111–1,242 miles), resulting in faster internet speeds. They move fast, and much like how a volleyball team works together to keep the ball in the air, a network of multiple satellites works together to maintain continuous coverage.

So, GEO satellites offer time-tested stability but have some delay (high latency), while LEO satellites provide faster internet (low latency) at the cost of requiring a new and still expanding network.

Below, we’re going to cover the major LEO and GEO satellite internet providers so you can make your off-grid internet choice with confidence.


Hughesnet pros
pro Available in 99% of the US
pro Most affordable satellite plans
pro Reliable availability
pro Professional installation
Hughesnet cons
con High latency
con Slow download speeds
con Needs a power source
con Annual contract

Hughesnet is overall more affordable than its competitors, Starlink or Viasat. Hughesnet uses GEO satellites, so the speeds from the satellite-only plans aren’t lightning-fast, but these plans are tried-and-true options that have been thoroughly tested by our team for over a year.

According to our proprietary data (collected on over 7 million speed tests), we found that Hughesnet has the slowest national download speed averages. If you want to use your Hughesnet service for all-night streaming and downloading a bunch of software, it’s not the right choice for you. However, if you’d just like to check your emails and read through your homesteading forum, Hughesnet is likely to fulfill your needs.  

Hughesnet plans and pricing

Data plan
Select$49.99/mo for 12 mo.Up to 50 Mbps
Elite$64.99/mo for 12 mo.Up to 100 Mbps
Fusion$94.99/mo for 12 mo.Up to 100 Mbps

Data as of 01/2/2024 Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Offer for 12 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra.

Last year, Hughesnet rolled out its high-speed Hughesnet Fusion plan. The plan combines both satellite internet and wireless (cellular) internet; they promise lower latency than their normal satellite plans and much faster speeds. They may be pricier than the satellite-only plans, but if you want fast internet out in the boonies, the robust data cap and speeds will be worth every cent.

Fusion isn’t available everywhere yet, as the service is still pretty new, but we recommend checking to see if you’re lucky enough to have it in your area now.


Starlink might be the new kid on the block in the satellite internet world, but it quickly solidified itself in our top three recommendations. Starlink internet uses LEO satellites and recently expanded its coverage network, meaning the service is now available in almost every corner of the USA, remote or not. We’ve tested the service ourselves, and there’s a reason people are talking about it.

Starlink pros
pro Available in 99% of the US
pro High speeds (up to 100Mbps for residential users)
pro Unlimited standard data
pro Low latency
pro No annual contract
Starlink cons
con Pricey plans
con Hefty up-front equipment purchase
con Needs a power source
con Online customer service only

If a power source isn’t an issue in your off-grid setup, and you don’t mind paying a little more, check out the plans Starlink has to offer:

Starlink Plan
Download speed
Learn more
Standard (Residential)Unlimited standard25–100Mbps$120.00/mo.
+ $599.00 for hardware
Mobile (Roam) Regional and GlobalUnlimited standard (lowest priority)5–50Mbps$150.00–$200.00/mo.
+ $599.00 for hardware
Priority (Business)Unlimited standard; 40GB–2TB high-speed priority40–220Mbps$140.00–$500.00/mo.
+ $2,500.00 for hardware
Mobile PriorityUnlimited standard; 50GB-5TB high-speed priority40–220Mbps$250.00–$5,000.00/mo.
+ $2,500.00 hardware

If you just need to set up internet for your personal off-grid home base, Starlink’s standard residential plan will get you everything you need. If your property has multiple buildings (think schoolroom, workshop, greenhouse) that you want to bring the internet into, the Mobile Regional plan’s portable satellite might suit you best—as long as you have an outlet to power it in each building.

Or maybe you’re trying to get a small business up and running in a remote area. Maybe you share your land with a cooperative and want to get the whole farm connected to the internet. Either way, we recommend choosing between Starlink’s Priority plans (40GB, 1TB, 2TB), as they have a larger capacity and can handle more digital traffic for a business.


While Viasat may not be our number one satellite internet recommendation, don't let its ranking fool you; Viasat satellite internet is still a great option for off-grid life in its own right.

Viasat pros
pro 99% availability in the US
pro Fast speeds (up to 150Mbps)
pro Unlimited high-speed data
pro No contract
pro Offline customer service available
Viasat cons
con Speeds depend on location and network traffic
con Potentially expensive installation
con Unlimited plans not available everywhere

In 2024, Viasat restructured its pricing, simplifying it to a single package with pricing and download speeds that vary depending on a customer’s location. It's an easy choice if you're a heavy data user. 

If it’s just you in your off-grid home, and you just want to check emails and read the news, we recommend any plan that offers speeds of at least 25Mbps. On the flip side, if you’ve got a whole family wanting to stream videos, take Zoom meetings, and do their online homeschooling, you really want a minimum of 100Mbps to do so comfortably.

Download speed
Learn more
Unlimited high-speed data25—150Mbps$99.99—$119.99/mo.

After internal testing, we’ve concluded a few things about Viasat’s services.

  1.  Its advertised top download speed of 150Mbps is totally enough to get the job done, but customers aren't guaranteed to ever get those speeds.
  2. It’s faster than Hughesnet in terms of download speeds, but  Starlink still dominates over both of them.
  3. If something goes wrong with your service, Viasat has a toll-free customer service phone number, while Starlink requires an internet connection (you think they’d consider that if your internet is broken, you probably can’t use the said broken internet to ask for help, but, you know, companies).  
Not fond of satellite? Enter your zip code to see if you have other internet plans available near you.

Cellular home internet

Living off-grid usually means you’re far from traditional internet infrastructure and probably don’t have access to fiber or cable options. If the satellite options we covered didn’t pique your interest or aren’t offered in your area, cellular home internet (also called wireless home internet) is another practical option that we definitely recommend.

Here are the options we’ll cover in this section, ranked at a glance, in order of which we recommend the most to the least:

  1. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
  2. Verizon 5G Home Internet
  3. T-Mobile Lite
  4. Rise Broadband
  5. AT&T Internet Air

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet pros
pro 90% 5G coverage across the U.S
pro High speeds (suitable streaming and gaming)
pro Affordable
pro Unlimited data
pro No data caps (on some plans)
pro No annual contract
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet cons
con 5G availability can vary on location
con Latency

For your off-grid internet needs, we recommend T-Mobile’s 5G home internet service above all other cellular home internet options. Most customers report they don’t struggle to connect and rarely deal with any buffering. T-Mobile’s widespread availability also makes it ideal (and a more likely option) for your rural environment.

T-Mobile 5G Internet Plan
Existing T-Mobile phone plan + 5G internet$40.00—$50.00/mo.*
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet–only$60.00/mo.*

*With Autopay.

If your address isn’t eligible for T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet, you can sign up for its waitlist, which will basically serve as a request to expand to your area. In the meantime, while you wait for 5G in your area, T-Mobile provides a 4G LTE plan that might be a good option for you.

T-Mobile Internet Lite

T-Mobile Lite is T-Mobile’s answer to servicing areas where 5G is unavailable. The Lite plans offer specifically set 4G LTE data allotments instead of unlimited 5G data. Still, getting some connection is always better than none, so T-Mobile Lite is a nice option for remote areas with no 5G. 

T-Mobile Lite pros: Offers 4G LTE data coverage to in-between places (like your off-grid home) that 5G doesn’t yet reach. There’s no annual contract, either.

T-Mobile Lite cons: The 4G LTE Lite plans, in general, have much slower speeds than 5G data, and will be speed throttled after you use up your data allotment.   

T-Mobile 4G LTE Internet Lite data plans

Verizon 5G Home Internet

Verizon’s 5G home internet isn’t available in quite as many areas as T-Mobile’s, but they still rank second on our recommended list for plenty of other reasons. Open Signal’s 2023 5G Experience Report shows that Verizon offers faster upload speeds than T-Mobile, and it actually beats T-Mobile in a few other categories, like best video and live-streaming experience. 

Existing phone plan price
Service-only price
Speed (up to)
Verizon 5G Home Internet$25.00/mo.$60.00/mo.300MbpsUnlimited
Verizon 5G Home Internet Plus$35.00/mo.$80.00/mo.1000MbpsUnlimited

AT&T Internet Air

If we’re being honest, we ranked this service really low because AT&T’s Internet Air isn’t likely to work for your off-grid lifestyle. Its coverage area is minimal right now, so the chances of it servicing your area are slim to none. Still, if you’d like to take a peak, you can check out your location’s availability on AT&T’s website.

Price with an existing phone plan
Service-only price
AT&T Internet Air$35.00/mo.$55.00/mo.75—225MbpsUnlimited (subject to speed throttling)

Rise Broadband

While we don’t recommend it above T-Mobile, Rise Broadband is a good option to explore if you’re within its coverage area. It offers decent speeds and always has some kind of promotional pricing deal going on.

However, if you’re looking for a roomy data plan that doesn’t slow down, Rise Broadband does throttle its speeds after you use up your data allotment, so it may not be the best choice for you. On top of that, its pricing usually goes up $10 per month after the first year of service.     

Rise Broadband Plan
Data cap
First-year price
25 Mbps250 GB$25.00/mo
50Mbps350 GB$39.95/mo

More wireless home internet options

There are plenty of local wireless internet providers that might be available in your area. Find out which providers service your neck of the woods:

Cellular hotspot plans and devices

If there are no 5G home internet options available in your area, fear not; you can still get internet access on your property using cellular network signal. 

What is a cellular hotspot?

A cellular hotspot uses your cellular data to create a Wi-Fi access point by connecting to the internet through a mobile network (the same way your phone does). Once connected, it broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal, which allows you to connect other devices like your laptop to the newly created Wi-Fi network.

Do hotspots work in remote areas?

Yes and no; this depends on your definition of remote. Cellular hotspots will only work in areas where your cell phone gets a signal.

If your off-grid cabin is surrounded by tall mountains, dense forest, and is miles from your nearest eligible cell tower, chances are you won’t pick up enough of a cellular signal to create a viable hotspot. A better option for you, in that case, would be satellite internet.

But, if your definition of remote means living on the outskirts of your small town, and you still get a couple of bars on your cell phone, a hotspot is definitely a viable option to get you a Wi-Fi connection.

Your proximity to a cell tower that’s compatible with your mobile hotspot is what typically decides how well your hotspot will perform. The more distance and obstructions (tall buildings, trees, and mountains) between your hotspot and its paired cell tower, the worse your connection could be. So keep that in mind when deciding on your off-grid internet option.      

Best hotspot plans

After plenty of testing and customer feedback, we’ve narrowed it down to our top three favorite cellular hotspot plans.

Cellular provider plan
Starting price
Learn more
T-Mobile 5G$10/mo2GB
Verizon Pro$60/mo100GB
AT&T Unlimited Premium$50/mo50GB

Cellular boosters

Even in the middle of nowhere, a cell booster can make your signal stronger and more reliable. Cell boosters are a great accessory for your off-grid cellular hotspot, or even if you’d just like to improve your cell phone’s signal out in the boonies.

MVNO cell phone plans

What is an MVNO?

MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. These service providers operate like a middleman between you and network providers. Instead of building their own cell phone towers, MVNOs use the existing towers of big carriers to give you a cellular connection.

MVNOs don’t have to invest the upfront cost for cell tower infrastructure, so they usually offer cheaper cell phone plans while still having the same coverage as major carriers. So, MVNOs are a great option for staying in touch off the grid while also saving you money. This is how providers like Mint Mobile manage to give you such a great deal

Since MVNOs share cell towers with major carriers, you’ll have lower priority on the network compared to direct customers. If the network gets congested—which isn’t likely, considering your off-grid location—you’ll experience slower speeds than both urban MVNO and direct carrier customers.

Let’s look at the best MVNO plans below:

Using your mobile phone for home internet

Your mobile phone can be the source of your home internet if you have the right combination of flexibility and expectations. It may not be the conventional option, but neither is living off-grid. You can choose to gear yourself up with a more expensive big cell carrier, or a cheaper MVNO.

pro No hardware purchase necessary
pro No Installation fees
pro No long-term contracts
pro Flexibility
con Subject to data caps
con Subject to speed throttling
con Frequent phone charging necessary

Some things that are important to note if you’re planning to use your mobile phone as your off-grid home’s internet:

  1. You’ll probably find yourself a victim of deprioritization (speed throttling) at least some of the time; users of MVNO plans will always take the backseat to big carrier customers in times of network congestion.
  2. If network congestion isn’t likely to happen in your area (see: the middle of nowhere), MVNOs will likely save you a seriously pretty penny on your internet cost. 
  3. If you plan to use your internet more often than not, get ready to charge your cell constantly. Running a hotspot from your phone will drain your battery at warp speed.
  4. Make sure your internet habits match with the data plan and provider you choose. Data overage fees can add up to scary amounts if your carrier charges them.

DSL internet

What is DSL internet?

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet is a seasoned veteran of internet connection options. It uses your telephone line to bring the internet to your home. Even though it's an older technology, it's still a reliable, no-frills choice for a lot of rural folks, if you have the infrastructure for it.

Note: We recommend DSL internet for you if you are in a rural area of your small town and just want to check your emails sometimes. You probably won’t be able to consider this option if you have an extremely off-grid cabin deep in the woods, as it relies on preexisting, local telephone lines.    

Best DSL internet providers

Starting Price

If you’re looking to find a DSL provider, choosing a local provider will overall be your best choice. Find out what DSL internet provider offers service in your area below.

Cable and fiber co-ops

Establishing a cooperative for cable or fiber internet might seem over-the-top, or like a pipedream, but we’ve seen it work. In some areas, rural communities are taking matters into their own hands by establishing co-ops to bring cable and fiber internet infrastructure to their locations.

In Leverett, Massachusetts, residents formed their own town-owned internet service called LeverettNet. The whole town came together and raised the funds they needed to build a fiber-optic network for the whole community.

We understand that campaigning through your town and proposing an entire co-op might have been missing from your to-do list, but in the right place and with the right people, it might just work for you. 

The future of off-grid internet

LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite networks

LEO satellite constellations are groups of satellites that orbit much lower in Earth’s atmosphere than well-known GEO satellite technology. Because of LEO satellites’s low orbit, they can send and receive data much faster than was once the norm.  

Right now, we use LEO satellites for communication, military aid, and broadband internet services like SpaceX’s Starlink.

The new and emerging Project Kuiper is Amazon’s answer to the LEO satellite boom; it promises to deliver commercial beta-testers a new constellation of broadband internet satellites to try out by the year in 2024.

Another big internet development in recent years is Eutelsat’s OneWeb; it combines both GEO and LEO satellite constellations to provide broadband internet in the UK.

In the future, we’re likely to see a lot more companies get involved with the LEO space race. We can expect expanded global internet access, improved speeds, and steady connectivity for all those living in the remote areas of the world–your local off-grid homestead and international consumers alike.

5G expansion

Fifth-generation wireless technology is becoming more widespread every year. 5G offers faster data speeds and lower latency. It provides us with better mobile internet performance, improved communication in densely populated areas, and reinforced support for emerging and advancing smart devices (known as the Internet of Things or IoT).

Government entities, venture capitalists, and regular consumers like you have a common interest in prioritizing 5G as the future of the internet: more internet accessibility for all corners of the world.     

TV White Space (TVWS)

TV White Space (TVWS) is the unused part of the broadcast television spectrum. Imagine it like the gaps between TV channels on your television. These “white spaces” show up in less-populated areas where not every TV channel is used.

Now, people are exploring how to use these empty "white spaces" to make internet accessible in underserved, remote areas, like your off-grid home. TVWS is like a brand new road that has the potential to be the supply highway for the internet to reach new destinations.

TVWS technology is just beginning to bloom, so we probably won’t see its applications to your real life for at least ten years, when Future Market Insights estimate the TVWS market is projected to reach a value of $1.9 billion.  


We rely on highly reputable sources and real customer reviews when we write these articles for you. Our team dedicates their time (so far, about four entire days) to extensive hands-on research, ensuring we provide you with the most current and true-to-life information available. We also collect the data from our proprietary speed tests and engage in customer interviews to empower you with the insights needed to make informed decisions that align with your lifestyle.

Off-Grid internet options FAQ

What’s latency, and do I want it to be low or high?

You know when you’re facetiming your mom, and she freezes mid-sentence? That’s due to high latency. In simple terms, latency is the delay or lag between your data sending a command and receiving a response. In most cases, you want your latency to be low. You especially want it to be low if your online activities include gaming and video conferencing.

What’s speed throttling?

Once you exceed the amount of data offered on your cellular data plan, cellular companies will slow—or throttle—your speeds. It’s how your provider manages network traffic and makes sure all its customers are getting their fair share.   

Are there off-grid internet solutions for boats?

Yes, there are many off-grid internet solutions available for boaters. The cheapest way to get service on a boat is with cellular data by using a hotspot or LTE home internet plan—although this won’t work if you venture more than 10 miles from the shoreline. Satellite internet and phone are the only options if you’re traveling far from the shoreline or through international waters. For more tips on getting off-grid Wi-Fi on the water, check out our best internet options for boats.

Which mobile carrier has the best service in my area?

If you’re going to rely on cellular data—either for phone service or for a home internet connection—you’ll discover that signal strength varies widely based on your exact location. In general, T-Mobile has the widest coverage right now, but in some areas, Verizon or another carrier might work the best for you. You can study coverage maps, but the easiest way to find out which carrier has the best service is to use an app like Opensignal.