How to Pick an Internet Service Provider
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    How to Pick an Internet Service Provicer
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How to Pick an Internet Service Provider

Are you hunting for a suitable internet service provider? Have you recently shifted to a new place? Or have grown sick of the pathetic service meted out to you by your previous internet provider? Or perhaps, you are trying to upgrade your internet connection. In any case, this time, you want to sign up for a service that delivers the best service to you at the best price. Great! Let’s help you in your search for a great internet service provider.

But, there is a teeny, tiny, small thing that you should consider before we embark on the quest together. Roughly a quarter of people living in the United States have access to only one internet service provider. If you happen to belong to that group, you are stuck with that service provider. No wonder, customer satisfaction in the internet service industry has hit a seven year low. On the other hand, if you belong to the other three-quarter group, read on.

Need For Speed

Internet service providers offer various internet plans, each of which come with various speeds. These are usually represented as 1Mbps, 5Mbps, 50Mbps, and so on. Mbps stands for Mega Bits Per Second. A lot of people usually mistake bits for bytes. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that internet companies do this deliberately too.

See, the thing is 1 Byte = 8 Bits. This means that 50 mega “bits” per second speed is roughly equal to 6.33 mega “bytes” per second. As you can understand, 50Mbps sounds a lot faster than 6.33MBps. Because data storage is always expressed in terms of bytes, as 50MB, 500MB, or 1TB, this creates some confusion here.

This means that on an internet connection of speed 50Mbps, you can download a 50MB file in about 8 seconds, not 1. This is important for you to know so that you can decide how much speed you need.

How Fast Is Fast Enough?

For most homes with a small family, speeds of about 5Mbps should be enough. Speeds from 1Mbps to 3Mbps give you decent connection for most of your necessities like emailing, social networking, enjoying occasional videos, and so on. If you frequently watch videos online, you need speeds around 5Mbps to enjoy videos in high definition. If you enjoy 4K streaming, then a speed of 7-8Mbps is the bare minimum.

Similarly, as the number of your family members, who use the internet, increases you need more and more speed. This way, all of you can use the internet simultaneously without any interruption. For this, internet connections with 15Mbps and higher speeds are more suitable.

Speed Caps and Data Caps

Before you are smitten by the high speeds offered by the service providers, make sure that you check out if there are any caps on the data, or speeds. Many service providers offer the advertised high speeds up until you reach a specific data transfer limit. This limit includes both downloaded and uploaded data. After you have consumed the monthly data cap, your internet connection speed with be downgraded to lower speeds.

If your monthly internet usage is quite heavy and exceeds the data caps, then check out the speeds that are offered after the caps. If post-cap speeds are too low, or if the data cap itself is too low, then it is not suitable for a heavy user.

Further, the download speeds and upload speeds are not always the same. It is a norm in the industry for upload speeds to be lower than that of download speeds, which is not a problem because we download a lot more than we upload.

Type of Connection

There are various types of connections offered, such as DSL, cable, satellite, and fiber-optic connections. DSL are the slowest and fiber-optic connections are usually the fastest. But, not all of these are available in all the regions.

DSL is the cheapest and usually the slowest, but is available in most of the regions. But, it is the satellite internet service that has the most coverage. However, satellite internet services are among the most expensive, and also come with small data caps.

This means that you cannot use satellite internet connections heavily, unless you want your bills to run into hundreds of dollars a month, if not thousands. The good thing is that in many rural areas, satellite internet service is your only option.

If you happen to live in urban areas, then you might find yourself in fiber-optic internet coverage. This gives you speeds as high as 500Mbps. Cable Internet services offer speeds as high as 200 Mbps in some areas of the country. In regions where you get all types of connections, your order of preference should be – fiber optic, cable, satellite, and as your last option, DSL.