While you may currently be focused on upgrading your tech, whether to have a few more things to do at home or to boost your productivity as much as possible, there is nothing that can relieve your frustration or help your household’s technological performance like making sure you have the best plan possible from the best internet service provider (ISP) in your area. Yet many people can be confused about what to look for from a provider and what constitutes a “good” service plan.
We want to help with that. Whether you are getting internet on your own for the first time or considering a change of pace, we want you to consider the following above all else:
Fast Download and Upload Speeds
The main selling point of most plans is the download speed, and if the download speeds are poor most ISPs will try to advertise their price or availability and downplay the download speed. It will determine how fast you can download files, how fast you can surf the web (including this very page), and at what quality you can realistically stream content. You will also need a better download speed if you have multiple users in the household, or plan on using multiple devices that might be a constant drain on the bandwidth.
Upload speeds are a bit less important for most people, but nonetheless you need a baseline to work from. It is recommended if possible that you have an upload speed of at least 25 Mbps, and 5 Mbps if 25 Mbps is not attainable.
And what determines download speeds, upload speeds, and myriad other things? While the ISP itself may optimize things and your router and modem can cap effectiveness, the type of service you have is probably the most important single factor when selecting a service type. Here are the main types to know about:
DSL: DSL internet service utilizes telephone wires, is widely available, provides poor upload speeds, and is generally slower and less consistent than other service types.
Cable: Utilizing cable television wires to provide internet service, cable service can reach great speeds, but can slow down depending on how many other people are using the lines. Upload speeds are generally slow as well.
Fiber: By every metric the best option, fiber service utilizes fiber optic lines and provides download speeds, fantastic upload speeds, and more consistent connections. Unfortunately, it is generally only available in more populated areas.
Satellite: In most cases not worth mentioning, satellite service is somewhat niche and not recommended unless you have no other choice (you live in an extremely remote or rural area). Expect restrictive data caps and unreliable service.
There are variations of quality within each service type, but you can use the above as a general guide, trying to gravitate towards the better types when possible. As for what is available, it will likely depend on where you live.
While some would say cost is a factor when choosing an internet service provider, it is probably better to think of the money spent in terms of value. If you go with the lowest cost option, you will almost certainly have a bad time and feel as though you are wasting your money. Instead, you may want to think about what speeds you need and what level of service would make you happy.
You will have to decide on the exact value higher speeds have for your household, but do note that the time saved from a faster connection can often pay for itself, not to even speak of the frustration a shoddy connection can bring. Peace of mind has a value all its own.
Good Customer Service
Last but certainly not least, there is the matter of customer service. While it may only be applicable a few times a year, those times where you have to deal with customer service can either go by smoothly and take a few minutes out of your day, or completely ruin it and perhaps a few days after while you wait to get help.
When you are looking at a potential internet service provider for your home, do yourself a favor and check out reviews of their customer service while you are at it. You will not regret it, and maybe save yourself a massive headache in the future as a result.
While we cannot list them all considering the fact that extra benefits or mitigating factors can vary greatly from provider to provider, take this as a reminder that there can always be something special or different about a potential option. These are things such as data caps, additional fees and charges, and certain quirks of service that might vary from provider to provider. You also might want to consider bundles, special offers, or additional benefits on top of the base internet plan when making your decision.
While some of the above considerations must seem simplistic or obvious to you, we can almost be certain that is something you have not necessarily considered or fully weighed before. If you take note of what you are have now and perhaps compare the other options in your area, you might even consider switching your current provider if you are currently unhappy. We hope that this article has proven helpful to you and encourage you to do additional research wherever and whenever possible.