Internet access is a significant monthly expense and you may be paying more than you need to – as well as, not receiving the best possible service or speed.
Everyone’s Internet needs are also very different. Your surfing habits may mean you are paying for speeds you don’t need, or your provider choice may mean you are not getting the service you should.
Like everything else a little knowledge can make the difference. Read through the tips below to make sure you get the best deal for yourself.
Broadband and Types of Internet
There are a number of different types of Internet available so let’s take a look at their advantages and disadvantages.
This kind is normally delivered by a telephone company and uses the phone line. It offers speeds of up to 25 Mbps, but with also the possibility of speeds up to 100 Mbps for ADSL or other technologies based on DSL. The disadvantage is DSL is that the speed of your Internet will be dependent on your distance from the office delivering your Internet.
Cable Internet is delivered by your cable company over their cable infrastructure. It can reach speeds up to 100 Mbps, but the difference, compared to DSL, is that with cable you share the infrastructure with your neighborhood. This means that it can slow down considerably during peak usage times.
This uses the satellite TV infrastructure. It has speeds below 20 Mbps and is more expensive. The only reason to choose this option is if you live in a remote rural area and it is the only one available.
Or also known as FIOS, is the latest technology with your Internet delivered over hair-thickness glass tubes. It can deliver speeds of 500mbps to 1gbps, but it is not available in many places outside the big cities as they roll out the infrastructure.
All of the above options are different forms of broadband – A term is used to describe any of the post dial-up services that provide always-on Internet connection. For young people in the cities this may sound strange but in the early days of the Internet every time you wanted to use it you had to dial-up to create a connection, listen to a grating sound, and then have to wait five minutes to download a photo. When broadband came around it was a big deal.
What to consider when getting your Internet service?
Finding out your options
The first thing to do is to find out what is available for your local area. You should check both of these sites, BroadBandMap.gov and ISPProvidersInMyArea.com, and see what services are near your home and what they say about the strength of the signal. This is important because the Internet speed advertised for an ISP is usually a maximum speed and the FinePrint will tell you that this is not guaranteed. If you are looking for a DSL provider and you are a long way from the provider’s location you need to know what kind of speed you are going to get. Don’t rely on the figure on the website of the ISP. Similarly, you need to understand what speed you are likely to get at peak times for a cable service.
When choosing between different Internet services or even between the different packages provided by an ISP, it might appear that you want the faster the better, but this is not necessarily the case. High-definition streaming video needs a certain amount of Mbps to stream seamlessly and after that, the extra Mbps have no use as you don’t need the movie you watch to go any faster. You can go to Netflix site to see their recommendations:
0.5 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for DVD quality
5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
7.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for Super HD quality
As you can see you can watch streaming HD quality video with a 5 Mbps connection, but there are reasons why you may need more speed:
- The above is for one person not for a family all with different watching habits.
- Do you do a lot of online gaming?
- Do you do a lot of downloading or uploading to YouTube?
- Are you perhaps working from home and need to upload a lot of video or large files?
Limited video – Of course, this is based on you watching a lot of video. For simply checking email and looking at web pages you can get by with much less bandwidth.
Data Cap Limitations
Is there a monthly cap on how much you can download? Again referencing Netflix you can see on the link that an hour of streaming an HD movie is around 3GB of data, making just two hours a day of Netflix over 40GB a week. If you are also doing this across a family and then gaming and downloading, you will be using way in excess of 200 GB a month. Make sure that you get a package with this amount. Alternatively, if it says the package says unlimited check the small print to see if it is truly unlimited as often even unlimited policies have some limits.
Modem Rental Fees
Besides, the monthly rental fees for the Internet service check if there is a monthly rental fee for the modem. If there is you might want to buy your own modem or router to save this fee and get a better product as ISP products often don’t have the same level of performance as products from a specialist modem or router manufacturer. For more information read this article.
Check if the monthly fee is for the duration of the contract or just for a few months.
As your Internet comes from a cable or telephone company, they will inevitably have a number of different packages of their services including voice calls and TV. Choose a bundle of services that suits your requirements.
They may also provide a number of other services:
Web server, online storage space and your own email address – You may be interested in some online storage space for your home movies, and the prices might be comparable to Dropbox or another service, but think about how easy it is to move your files if you change your ISP after a year or so. In most cases, unless you perhaps have your own business, you won’t need a specialist email address like @yourname.com.
WiFi hotspot access – This can be very useful. Your ISP may have set up, or have deals with, WiFi hotspot providers in hotels, coffee shop chains, and restaurants that mean you will get a password to use these services for free. If you are frequently outside with your notebook, then this service will be very helpful.
Security software – Perhaps they will bundle antivirus software that you can install in your home devices. Check if there is a cost involved as free alternatives are available anyway directly from several companies. More importantly, the modern home has many devices so the security software should also be available for smartphones, even better if it is on the router itself.
By following through on the above steps you can get the best deal for your Internet service. However, the best possible Internet service doesn’t mean you home WiFi will be seamless. You can do a number of things to extend your signal coverage by tweaking your router and you should also understand which are the best devices and different ways they can boost WiFi.
Securifi is the company behind the award-winning Almond 3, a mesh router and smart hub combined in one. With Almond 3 you can blanket your home with seamless WiFi, connect up all your smart devices, and then control them with voice, buttons or an app.