You sure can! Technically you can have as many internet connections as you like. Here’s HOOD’s walkthrough of how to set up multiple internet sources, and why you might want that.
Something worth mentioning upfront is that it is not cheap to do this. But there are many reasons you could need multiple internet connections – whether it be for personal or commercial use. Rather than upgrading their existing plans, some Australians opt to install and run two internet connections.
Why would I need two internet connections?
You have a need for speed
There’s a million reasons why you could need a super fast internet connection that supports downloading and uploading large amounts of data. Maybe you review video games? Or you’re sending complicated 3D models to colleagues?
For most households, the most straightforward way of getting a faster internet connection is upgrading your plan. If your network runs through NBN, you should have several speed tiers up to 250+ Mbps (which is wicked fast) available to you, depending on the kind of NBN technology at your property.
But if that isn’t enough, you may be considering a second line. This could come in a couple of forms, as we’ll discuss later. But a second internet connection would mean you could set up multihoming, joining the two networks together so you can use them simultaneously. This will take a special router and a bit of technical troubleshooting, but multihoming can significantly increase both your network’s performance and reliability.
You share a large space
Perhaps you’re moving into a new sharehouse, or you’re the parent of a large family. If speed, bandwidth or accessibility are the issue for you, upgrading your plan is still likely the easiest route. But if you’re looking to set up a network for yourself, as an alternative to the existing home connection, it is absolutely possible. You may choose a wireless home broadband solution, using either 4G or 5G if you can, as it’s a less committal and more portable option. Otherwise, you could look into getting an additional fixed line connection.
You need a failsafe
For the growing number of us who are now working from home, a stable and fast internet connection is vital. Particularly for those who conduct their business online, like ecommerce retailers and streamers, blackouts aren’t really an option.
A second connection to use as a backup, therefore, can be very valuable to home workers. You might not need your second network turned on all the time, but it’ll save you if anything goes wrong with your primary connection, or if performance starts to lag.
How to install two (or more) internet connections in one house
How much will an additional connection cost?
If you’re already the one paying for the initial internet connection, it’s going to be expensive. You could essentially be doubling your internet bill, assuming you’re already paying the maximum amount for the highest speed tier, and you want your second connection to be as fast as your first one.
You could opt for your secondary connection to be slightly slower than your primary connection, to save on costs – especially if you plan on blending the two sources into one network with multihoming. The overall performance of your network will improve incrementally with the speed of your supplementary connection, and you’ll still have the benefit of backup internet source.
What are the options?
There are two broad categories to choose from – wireless or fixed line.
Wireless home broadband uses the same network of towers that deliver internet via 4G or 5G to your phone. If your main internet connection is a fixed one like NBN or ADSL2+, a wireless backup can be a great idea. Outages in wireless internet and fixed line connections are often unrelated, so you’re more likely to maintain an uninterrupted connection. And if you live in an area with a strong 5G connection, you’ll have access to extremely fast download speeds and low latency.
Going wireless will require a new modem, one that takes a SIM card. If you want to take advantage of multihoming, you’ll need a wireless modem that has a WAN out port, like the NETGEAR 4G LTE modem.
Choosing a plan for the SIM will depend on what you need the secondary connection for. If it’s only for emergency outage backup, you could choose a cheaper phone or data SIM plan with a lower data allowance, or even a prepaid data SIM that you can recharge automatically. Internet service providers do have dedicated home wireless broadband SIM plans, which cost around the same as fixed internet solutions – these normally come in 200GB, 500GB and unlimited allowances.
Organising an additional fixed line can be a little more tricky. If your property is connected to the NBN network, it should definitely be possible to arrange a second line, as all business and residential NBN access points should have at least four connection ports.
If you go directly through an internet service provider, you’ll have to get in touch with either a business centre or a customer care team. Once you’ve settled on a plan that suits your budget, they’ll refer back to NBN to see if you’ll need to pay any additional fees for the second line installation. Depending on the NBN technology you have available at your property, NBN may need to do some physical construction in order to secure a quality second connection, which can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Different providers will have different processes for getting a second connection set up, as it is still pretty unconventional.
If you’re looking to have your two connections running simultaneously, but not joined together into a single network, you’re set up shouldn’t be too difficult. You’ll need one router per connection to distribute the signal either through a wireless network or ethernet connection. Just be sure that your routers aren’t placed too close together to avoid causing interference (especially if they’re running on the same frequency).
This solution is likely to work best for those who are looking for their second connection to supplement a large property, or those who want a separate private network for auxiliary use.
Joined network (multihoming)
Multihoming can be a great solution for businesses and home offices to ensure their internet network is as robust as possible. Whether your secondary connection is a wireless or fixed one, you’ll need a special router with multiple wireless lan ports – and possibly some additional equipment, depending on what your multihoming network is for.
These routers can be pricey, but an internet connection running twice the upload and download speed, as well as increased bandwidth and reliability, can be well worth it for the right operation.
Optimising your speeds on each connection, and how they interact with each other, will take a bit of technical know-how and fiddling with your network settings. If you aren’t technically inclined yourself, you may need a professional to get these initial parameters set up for you.