When it comes to choosing what type of high-speed internet you need, it can definitely be an intimidating process. There are many technical terms you might not be familiar with, and you might and feel lost when trying to figure out which specific package might be right for you. The whole process of purchasing high-speed internet becomes a lot easier when you know what specific questions you need to ask your internet service provider (ISP).
"How will I be using the internet?"
First of all, you need to be sure what sort of speed you’re looking for. What do you do when you’re using the internet? Do you simply check your email? Do you browse the web or play online games? These questions are extremely important, as their answers determine the speed you’ll want when it comes to purchasing a plan. Some internet use, such as using the internet for checking your email, doesn't require a top-tier package, while other activites, such as streaming movies or playing online games, may need for an extremely fast internet connection.
"What type of internet service is available?"
There are different types of internet services that can be purchased. The types include digital subscriber lines (DSL), cable modems, fiber optics, and satellite internet services.
- DSL is the slowest of the group, offering internet access via telephone lines without interfering with your telephone service.
- Satellite is faster than the DSL option and is generally used by people who live in rural areas. Like satellite TV, extreme weather can disrupt the service.
- Cable modems can receive up to 100 megabytes per second, depending on the specific package you purchase and your provider. You access the internet through cable lines without interfering with your cable TV service.
- Fiber optic services are the fastest of the group. This type of internet service provides access through one fiber optic line and can offer speeds of up to one gigabit per second.
Generally, if you’re looking for cheaper internet, you should look into the initial three options on the list above. Fiber optics might be too expensive or not be available in your area. Playing games online would require faster speeds, while checking your email could only require DSL or a cable modem.
"What promotions or discounts are available?"
Once you find out what you need your internet for, it’s important to look for specials or discounts. Often, ISPs will offer special promotion prices. The promotion prices don’t include additional fees or taxes, and are often available for a limited time. Some promotions could last six months while other promotions might last a year. Remember that your bill will go up after the promotion is over, but don’t be afraid to ask if there’s another promotion after your current one has expired.
Discounts are a more permanent option, and they can vary from age discounts to bundling services. Discounts last as long as you fulfill the requirements, so if you’re on a bundling discount for example, you must always have telephone and/or television services from your ISP. Promotions and discounts may not always be available, but asking never hurts! The worst the ISP can say is “no.”
"What long-term internet speeds can I expect?"
Once you’ve settled on a high-speed internet package, be sure to ask what speeds you can expect. Promotional packages can affect the speed of your internet, so be sure to ask what speeds you’ll expect from both the promotional package and your normal package once the promotion runs out. The actual speeds depend on many factors, such as what applications you’re using, who is using the internet at the same time, and the lines you’re connecting to, but you can ask your ISP to check your speeds and report them to you.
"What security features are offered?"
Security is an issue that affects everyone in the online world nowadays, so it’s important to ask what security measures comes with your high-speed internet package. Is the connection security enhanced? Do you include any anti-virus or anti-spyware software with your service? Some companies will provide you with software to protect your computer permanently or as a trial to ensure basic computer security. As with the promotions and discounts, it never hurts to ask.
"What about latency?"
One of the most important questions to ask is whether your ISP offers low latency. High latency can cause interruptions in service or noticeable delay from the time you request your computer to go to a website to the time that it actually completes your request. This is extremely important if you’re looking to use the internet for gaming, video streaming, or anything that would require high internet speeds.