Today, I will guide you how you can connect to the internet – Nearly 70 percent of homeowners now have broadband, says a Pew Research survey, which includes DSL, cable and fiber-optic connections. People still have several ways to get connected to the Internet, from dial-up to fiber optic. Get an understanding of how you want to use the Internet and compare that against the ISPs offering services near you. Choose the wrong service and you’ll regret it each time you check your email or watch a streaming movie.
How Fast Should My Internet Connection Be?
One of the key parameters you’ll look at when researching ISPs for your home is the speed. Netflix recommends these minimum download speeds for watching streaming videos online (in megabits per second — Mbps):
- DVD quality movies: 3 Mbps
- HD quality movies: 5 Mbps
- Super HD quality movies: 7 Mbps
When you compare types of service, such as Verizon FiOS vs. cable, note upload and download speeds. The download speed will be most important to you at home. Businesses and people who work from home will be more interested in upload speeds if they need to send large files across a network.
What Methods Do I Have connect to internet?
Dial-Up. Yes, people still use dial up. Almost 3 percent of Americans use dial up to connect to the Internet, Pew says. This is usually in rural areas where no other service is available. It is the slowest and most frustrating connection, and you would use it only if you had no other choice.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). DSL is a broadband option, which refers to non-dial-up Internet connections. DSL uses phone lines, but they are faster than dial-up and do not tie up phone lines. Download speeds average 25 Mbps. DSL tends to be the least expensive connection option, but it has limited quality and availability.
Cable. Your cable company typically offers this connection to your home through a co-ax cable. An installer runs cables to your house from the nearest service box, which often shares space with the telephone company’s wiring. Download speeds run 3 Mbps to 100 Mbps with the higher speeds being more expensive. This is available in most areas that are served by cable TV, and the speeds are normally higher than DSL and satellite. You will share the bandwidth with other customers in your area so your speed could vary depending on the people online and what they are doing.
Satellite. This requires installing a dish on your roof to receive signals from the satellites in orbit around the Earth. Download speeds can reach 15 Mbps. This is often the only option when others are unavailable in the area. Satellite is more expensive that DSL and cable and the upload speeds tend to be much slower.
Fiber Optic Service (FiOS). This is delivered to your home using small fiber-optic cables. The download speeds can be as high as 300 Mbps, and upload speeds are higher than the other options. FiOS is available in limited areas based on how much cable the provider has been able to install in a neighborhood.
What Other Factors Matter With Home ISP?
Other factors to consider when researching ISPs for your home include:
- Length and cost of a contract
- Cost to terminate a contract early
- Restrictions on the amount of data you can download/upload each month
- Reliability of the service in your neighborhood
- Customer satisfaction with support
- Add-ons such as email, anti-virus protection and free websites
Lifehacker notes that one add-on to look for is free access to the provider’s hotspots. If you’re working out of your home in a public place such as a coffee shop or library and close enough to a hotspot, you can use your provider’s network for free if this is included in your service.