For most people, Wi-Fi is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity for everyday life! But internet is never one-size-fits-all. Every household has different needs for speed and different considerations to factor into their choice. It’s important to assess your unique situation before you sign your internet contract. Here are eight of the top factors to consider when choosing an internet service provider.
The Top 8 Factors to Consider When Choosing an ISP
Availability in Your Location
Before you figure out what kind of internet best suits your needs, you need to know what your options are available in your location. If you live in a rural area, you will likely have fewer options than those who live in more urban areas. Typically, rural areas won’t have as many providers offering cable or fiber-optic networks. The good news is that satellite internet (which is more widely available in rural areas) has dramatically improved in recent years. If you haven’t tried out recently, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by how well it works.
Not sure what’s available in your area? You can always check Nomad Internet's helpful address lookup request to see what options you have based on your location.
Download and Upload Speed
No one wants to spend all day at their computer waiting for a download to complete. If you like to stream videos, you should be especially concerned about download and upload speed when choosing an ISP. That being said, you don’t want to overdo it by purchasing extremely fast internet that you can’t afford and that you probably won’t need.
Cost and Contract
Internet service providers can also charge you a wide range of prices for their services, depending on the type of service and where you are located. Only you can determine how much you’re willing to spend on your Wi-Fi.
You should factor in what your needs are when determining how much you’re willing to pay. For example, if you’re just a single person, you probably won’t need to pay a substantial amount for your internet. But if you have a house full of teenagers or you own a growing small business, you’ll probably want to splurge a little more on your internet.
You should also think about the cost in terms of the contract. While a typical caber, fiber, or DSL internet provider draws up contracts that are only up to a year in length, satellite internet providers tend to be longer, usually 2 years.
Type of Connection
When it comes to the type of connection, you’ll have a few different options. Each one has its pros and cons.
- Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)—Typically, this is the cheapest internet option, and there is a wide range of DSL speeds available. However, your DSL speed will depend on where you’re located in relation to your provider. The farther away, the weaker your connection will be.
- Cable—This is faster than DSL, but the speed will depend on how many people in your area are also using cable internet. So, for example, if you are trying to stream a movie at night when many others are on the internet, you should expect to experience a slower connection.
- Satellite—This is a widely available option, meaning if you’re in an underserved market you’ll probably still have this option. However, it’s usually slower than other options.
- Fiber-optic—Generally this is the fastest and most reliable type of internet connection. However, it’s not available in every market, and it’s usually more expensive.
- Cellular technology—If you live rurally and there aren’t many other options, you can get fast internet with a provider like Nomad, which combines the latest cellular technology of all four major providers under a single plan. This is also excellent for travel, as you can take it anywhere.
No one wants unreliable Wi-Fi! The best way to find out about the reliability of a certain internet service provider is to check out reviews online from customers in your area and see what their experience with that ISP has been. Reliability is especially vital if you’re working remotely.
It’s important to remember that a provider alone cannot make their internet reliable. You have to also consider the type of internet you have and other outside factors such as the weather. For example, adverse weather conditions can mess with an internet connection. But if you have fiber-optic internet, the lines are buried underground, which usually means the connection will be strong regardless of the weather conditions.
The security of the connection is also something to consider when looking for a new internet provider. Investing in security is key to protect your most private data. Encrypting your wireless connection is the best way to go for your peace of mind!
Your internet connection will need a router or a modem. If you already own one of these, you won’t have to worry about any extra cost associated with installing your network. But if you don’t, you’ll have to rent one from your ISP for a monthly fee.
You can usually expect to shell out $5 to $20 each month on top of your internet plan itself. This may not seem like a lot at first, but it definitely adds up. Shop around for a good deal if you can! In addition, you’ll have to pay for your provider to actually install the equipment.
No matter how reliable your connection is, you’re bound to experience some technical difficulties with your Wi-Fi at some point. You may not also be the most tech-savvy person and tend to have questions about troubleshooting your Wi-Fi.
Regardless, good customer service matters! You can usually get a feel for an ISP’s customer service after you’ve had a conversation with them, especially if you have questions. You can also look at customer reviews or consult friends about their internet providers to find one that has a stellar reputation for prioritizing customer satisfaction.
With a little research into these factors to consider when choosing an internet service provider, you can find the perfect fit for your needs! If you’re still unsure about how to choose an ISP plan, check out Nomad Internet’s guide to compare plans and help you make an informed decision.
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