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Internet speed plays a vital role in how you stream, download, upload, and surf through the web. It can make or break your experience, which is why service providers invest resources into increasing network capacity and capabilities.

AT&T is one of the most well-reputed, and popular service providers in the US. From traditional and high-speed DSL to advanced fiber-optic internet, AT&T has done a remarkable job at providing America with some of the cheapest internet packages available in the market. Albeit the AT&T internet service proves to be one of the most efficient for users.

If you are considering subscribing to AT&T, but wonder how fast is AT&T Internet, here is a detailed guide to help you understand the variety of connection types and speed tiers from AT&T.

AT&T Internet Connection Types and Speed Tiers

AT&T offers more than just one kind of internet service to consumers in 21 states. And, each connection type comes with its own specifications, based on what kind of network infrastructure is used to deliver it. Since network capacity and capability varies from one region to another, connection types and speed tiers available in different AT&T service locations also vary. But, AT&T vows to offer you the fastest available speed at your address at a competitive rate. Let’s talk about the different types of internet connections that AT&T puts forward.

Fiber Optic

Fiber optic internet is all the rage these days. Because it is the fastest possible type of internet connection available. Fiber internet tech utilizes fiber optic cables which transfer data via light pulses at speeds that are comparable to that of light. These cables can carry data over long distances, at ultra-fast speeds without much degradation occurring on the way. So, when fiber-optic lines are used to transfer data all the way from a provider’s hub to your premises, you get lightning-fast speeds with great bandwidth. The reason why this type of internet is fast becoming popular, although the availability of fiber internet is still limited due to the cost of extending the infrastructure to close proximity of neighborhoods. AT&T is the largest fiber optic internet provider in the U.S. with the service available to 36 million people—however, this constitutes only 30% of AT&T service locations as of yet.

Some key highlights of AT&T fiber internet service are:

AT&T Fiber Plans
AT&T Fiber 100Max. 100 Mbps download and upload speeds with unlimited data
AT&T Fiber 300Max. 300 Mbps download and upload speeds with unlimited data
AT&T Fiber 1000Max. 940 Mbps download and 880 Mbps upload speeds with unlimited data

IPBB

IPBB is short for Internet Protocol Broadband. This term is used by AT&T for branding their internet service that is delivered via a mix of ADSL2 , VDSL2, G.Fast, and Ethernet technologies—all variants of DSL internet technology. The AT&T network which delivers IPBB connections relies on both copper and fiber-optic lines. And, the speed you get is dependent on how far you are located from the distribution point, and how long is the “last mile” over copper lines. Because of how widespread the copper line infrastructure is, IPBB connections from AT&T are widely available across all service locations.

If you are wondering how fast is AT&T high-speed internet, here are the widely available and popular AT&T Internet tiers.

Speed Tier Max. Download Speed Max. Upload Speed
AT&T Internet 2525 Mbps 5 Mbps
AT&T Internet 5050 Mbps10 Mbps
AT&T Internet 7575 Mbps20 Mbps

All of the above plans come with 1TB monthly data allowance

DSL

You may think DSL internet connections are pretty old-school now. Considering the advancement in tech and the newer types of connections being offered. However, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), is still one of the most widely available internet types. Particularly so in rural America where the copper line network has come to cover large swaths of territory over the past century or so.

DSL technology transfers data over telephone lines, and the farther you are located from the provider hub, the slower the speed of the internet is. But, in non-urban regions, the demand for speed is nearly not as high as in urban and suburban parts of the US. And, slow traditional DSL speeds still get the job done for a significant cross-section of the population. Plus, in these regions, other available internet types include mobile broadband, fixed wireless, satellite, or dial-up. The coaxial cable network is present in certain regions, for instance, the Suddenlink network, but for the most part wired DSL presents a cost-effective and efficient option for rural inhabitants.

To answer how fast is AT&T internet speed with the traditional DSL connection, take a look at popular speed tiers.

Speed Tier Max. Download Speed Max. Upload Speed
AT&T Internet Basic 7680.768 Mbps256 Kbps
AT&T Internet Basic 1.51.5 Mbps256 Kbps
AT&T Internet Basic 55 Mbps384 Kbps

All of the above plans come with 1TB monthly data allowance

Fixed Wireless

For parts of rural America where access to AT&T wireline network is not possible, AT&T offers a fixed wireless service. AT&T uses LTE tech to make internet access possible for qualified homes and businesses via an outdoor antenna installed at the consumer’s premises and an indoor Wi-Fi gateway.

As for how fast is AT&T fixed wireless, the connection is able to provide up to 25 Mbps fast internet. And, AT&T endeavors to ensure the least available speed is at least 10 Mbps. You get a 250GB data allowance per month which is plenty for modest internet consumption.

Mobile Broadband

Branded as AT&T Wireless, mobile broadband service from the provider is available far and wide. AT&T mobile broadband services in the mass market limit access to certain network technologies or impose a maximum speed limit. But, there are also options that allow access to all available technologies and deliver the highest possible speed at any given location.

AT&T 3G/4G network can deliver up to 7 Mbps download and 1.3 Mbps upload speeds. The 4G LTE network is more capable and can give you up to 64 Mbps downstream and around 12 Mbps upstream speeds. While the most hyped about 5G network is able to bring you up to 140 Mbps download and 23 Mbps upload speeds.

While these numbers tell you how fast is AT&T wireless internet, it is worth noting that AT&T does not guarantee a minimum speed mark in the case of its mobile broadband service. Because a great number of factors can affect how fast a speed gets delivered to the consumer.

Checking How Fast is AT&T Internet Speed

Now, if you are already an AT&T internet subscriber, you must not wonder how fast is your connection. There is a simple and easy way to judge that. And, that is a quick speed test. But, before you run the test, you’d need to do a few things to ensure you get an accurate result.

Pro Tip: Testing your internet speed during a non-peak time frame can help get more accurate results. Avoid testing the speed at or around 7 to 11 pm.

Key Factors That Determine the Quality of an Internet Connection

Whether you are an existing AT&T subscriber trying to better understand what could affect the performance of your internet service. Or you are thinking of switching to an AT&T internet subscription. Either way, it is important that you understand the key factors which play a role in determining the performance of an internet connection.

Internet Speed

The term internet speed is usually used to refer to the download speed, however, upload speed is also critical for that is what you require when you are video chatting or uploading large work-related files, etc. Internet speed is measured in Megabits per second and depicts the number of bytes that travel to and from your device in one second.

Download speed, as the term suggests, tells you how fast you receive data on your machine. So when you are watching Netflix for instance, you are using your download speed to stream Netflix content. On the other hand, when you get onto a video conference call or take backup on the Cloud, it is the upload speed that determines how fast data will transfer from your machine.

Bandwidth

To explain it in a simple way, we can say bandwidth is determined by an internet connection’s maximum capacity to transfer data. Bandwidth has to do with the amount of data being transferred in a given amount of time, while speed tells how fast that data gets transferred.

Imagine, filling up a bathtub. If the faucet comes with a wide opening, you can fill the tub quickly. Because the wider the faucet opening, the more water will flow and at a faster rate, than if the outlet were narrow. Here, the amount of water flowing represents bandwidth and the rate at which water flows represents internet speed.

Alternatively, think of a highway that sets the maximum speed limit at 120 km/hr. During the rush hour, quite obviously you won’t be able to hit the max speed mark, because there are too many vehicles on the road. But, at other times when there is little traffic, you may be able to reach the maximum speed comfortably. Here, the number of cars moving represents the bandwidth, while how fast vehicles can travel represents speed.

Every internet provider allocates a certain bandwidth to an internet connection, but very often this bandwidth is shared by other users in your neighborhood, who are connected to the same ISP’s network. And, that is why at peak times you are likely to get slower speeds.

Modem or Router Quality

The quality of your modem and router or for that matter the modem-router combo gateway device plays a critical role in the performance of your internet connection. Not only must your devices be compatible with the internet service you are subscribed to, but able to support the speed plan you have signed up for. If these pieces of equipment are not able to support the service you are getting, the performance of your internet connection is bound to be less than optimal.

This is the reason ISPs encourage the use of equipment provided by them. Most allow you to BYOD, but it is recommended if you are not tech-savvy, you opt for your ISP-provided equipment. This way you can get tech support whenever needed. Whereas in the case of third-party equipment, most ISPs do not come forward with technical support.

Modems and routers should not be made to last forever. So if you own your own modem or router, and it's been in use for a good while, it may be better that you buy a new device so that you can judge the performance of your connection accurately.

Wrapping up

Existing AT&T Internet subscribers, before trying to figure out how fast is AT&T internet speed and why make sure you understand which key factors work together and form good indicators. At times, it is not the connection that is causing a slow down of the internet, rather your usage pattern may have just changed imperceptibly over time.

As for those looking to subscribe to AT&T Internet, we’d suggest you make sure to assess your own requirements before you pick an AT&T Internet plan. Knowing how much bandwidth and speed would do the job for you is the key here. Also, remember that all connection types have their limitations, so if you have a choice, use it wisely. Now, that you have a good idea of how fast is AT&T fiber optic internet and also how fast is AT&T high-speed internet, you’ll be able to form a more complete picture. For pro advice, you can always talk to AT&T professionals at 1-855-925-2541.