Looking to find a new internet provider? This is an important decision! For many of us, internet is the most important thing we use on a daily basis. But it can also be a huge source of frustration. For this reason, choosing an ISP can be daunting. Here are some things you’ll need to consider.
Find Out What Your Options Are
First, know what your internet service choices are. To find out which internet providers are available in your area, go to internetnearme.com and enter your location.
Dial-up and DSL
Dial-up is very slow and outdated, delivering internet to your home over old telephone lines. DSL uses similar technology but is much faster and doesn’t tie up your phone lines. AT&T and Frontier both provide DSL.
Cable internet uses cable TV lines to transmit data and provides much faster speeds than both DSL and dial-up. This is because the coaxial cables used by TV providers provide greater bandwidth than telephone lines. Cable internet is available from Comcast Xfinity and Time Warner Cable.
Wireless internet is delivered over radio frequency bands connected to a receiver in your building. This is similar to how phones receive internet wirelessly from cell service providers, like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Wireless is typically slower than cable and DSL options.
Fiber optic is the newest form of internet service but isn’t available everywhere. Data is transferred over fiber optic cables via light signals which allow for the fastest internet speeds possible today. Verizon Fios, Optimum, AT&T, Frontier, and Century Link provide fiber optic in some areas.
If you don’t have access to cable internet, satellite internet may be your best option. Satellite internet can reach any remote or rural location because the data transmits via satellite. Your options for satellite internet are HughesNet and Viasat.
Choosing a Provider
You can either purchase internet service direct from the carrier or through their agents/partners. Despite what you may think, purchasing from the carrier directly will not save you money. Prices for each provider are the same no matter who you buy from.
Data caps or limits determine how much data you can transfer over the internet in a month. Before you settle on an internet provider, make sure you understand their data limits and what happens if exceed them. Some carriers will charge you for any extra data you use while others will throttle your internet speeds until the end of the month.
Many ISPs provide a modem, router, or a combination of the two when you first subscribe to their services. Modems are required to provide internet in your home while routers distribute the internet wirelessly over Wi-Fi.
Some ISPs charge rental fees for these devices. In this case, it may be cheaper to buy your own. You’ll also want to research the router’s technology. Can it support the speed, reliability, and signal strength that you need in your home?
Cost may very well be your primary concern. However, avoid paying for a cheap internet service that doesn’t meet your needs. Most of the time it is better to pay more for reliable internet.
This is especially true if you rely on the internet for your business or your job. Think about how much your productivity or customer relations will suffer from a slow connection or consistent downtime. Just be wary of ISPs offering introductory discounts because your charges may increase significantly when you renew your service contract.