It can get overwhelming when having to choose between numerous internet service providers in your area, and their internet plans and having to match them with your browsing needs. There are also so many factors to consider as well. Some internet users need the fastest speeds, which is why they opt for an internet service provider that gives them the fastest internet speed, despite its high price. Others might need a fast internet speed too because of their browsing requirement, but their decision to get a faster speed gets overshadowed by their limited budget. Moreover, some internet users who didn’t do any research, and went for an internet provider that seemed too easy for them and now are stuck in a contract which they can’t get out of. You don’t want to do that. This is why this guide is being made to help you consider all of the factors in choosing an internet provider.
Types of Internet Connection
There are four types of internet connections that are commonly provided by internet providers. Keep in mind that not all of these types of internet connections are provided by all the internet providers. Some may just serve cable internet, and others cable internet, fiber, and satellite connection. Xfinity Internet packages include cable and fiber internet connections, though fiber might not be served in some regions of the US. Viasat internet providers have both fiber and satellite internet options for their consumers.
- DSL internet connections are around 5-50 Mbps. It uses telephone wiring to provide an internet connection, though your internet is not interrupted when you receive a telephone call.
- Cable internet provides speeds up to 1000 Mbps, and as the name suggests, relies on cable wiring around the neighborhood. One drawback is that since the cable wiring is shared around the neighborhood, the same might be the case for internet connections. As a result, the internet connection might lag and get interrupted during peak hours.
- Satellite internet connection uses satellite signals to send and receive data transmissions. It is mostly used by internet users in rural or remote areas since internet infrastructure isn’t fully available in such regions. The internet speeds being offered by satellite is around 25-100 Mbps, which might seem slow but it is the best option for internet users in rural areas.
- Fiber connection offers the fastest internet speeds in the world, up to 2 Gbps (1 Gbps = 1000 Mbps). It is the most reliable internet connection, though its expensive infrastructure and limited availability make it a costly option for most. But with a fiber internet connection, most heavy-duty internet activities can be carried out, and that too on multiple devices.
Factors to consider when choosing an internet provider
Following are some of the factors, though the most important ones, that you need to keep in mind when choosing between internet providers.
Availability. If you live in an urban area, you will most likely find a wide range of internet providers serving all types of internet connections. That will give you an edge to choose any of those. However, if you live in an area that is unserved or underserved, your choices will be limited. People living in rural or remote areas have mostly choices for DSL or satellite internet connection, or in most cases, it is an only satellite internet connection.
Speed. Based on the available ISP in your area, you will also need to consider the kind of internet speed you need. If there are multiple devices being used in your household, multiplayer online gamers, heavy files downloaders, or constant use of videoconferencing software, then you need to go for a fast internet speed. Internet speeds from 5-50 Mbps will serve a single device in their online activities of streaming movies or music, downloading files, sending an email, etc. Two or more devices being used in a household should go for 50 Mbps or higher for such activities. 500-1000 Mbps internet speed will serve multiple internet users who are involved in heavy-duty online activities. Figuring out the kind of speed you need can help in determining the appropriate one and save time at the same time.
Price. After having figured out the kind of speed you need from the internet providers, you will go through the plans and their pricing being offered. Higher internet speed plans are naturally expensive, and lower-cost internet plans might not meet your needs. Apart from checking out the pricing, you must also consider contract lengths and their requirements, special promotions, discounts, equipment and installation fees, and any additional charges that are included.
Data. It includes how much information and content you can send and receive. In most internet plans, data comes at a limit. You will be charged more if these data limits are exceeded. There are also unlimited data plans, but they come at a higher cost and might not be suitable for you if you are considering your budgetary needs. Browsing the internet or sending emails doesn’t take up a lot of data, but streaming movies, playing online games, or downloading heavy files does. Hence, data is also a very important factor to consider and you should estimate how much you will need.
Reliability. You might go for an ISP that has the cheapest internet plans, but that is still a risky proposition. You have to consider the reliability of an internet provider. It includes everything from their ability to connect, downtime, security, customer service, etc. No matter how fast the internet speeds an ISP offers if you aren’t getting a reliable internet connection, it isn’t worth it.
You need an internet connection for your daily routines. You need a reliable internet connection that offers consistency and seamless connectivity. Hence, when shopping for an internet connection, you have to consider all scenarios before choosing the one internet provider that fulfills your requirement.