How to Choose Your Internet Service Provider
Pennsylvania offers residents many options when it comes to internet service providers. Many activities require high-quality internet connections, fast speeds and larger capacities, which makes selecting the right internet provider even more crucial. If you are moving, then you will want to already make a determination on who your new internet service provider will be before your move. Rushing the decision can also have its consequences as you can be locked into a one year contract with a provider whose service does not work well in your area or does not deliver as promised. Business owners whose businesses rely heavily on computers will want a service provider that offers enough reliability and power to successfully handle multiple computers at once. The below information explains how you can choose a suitable internet service provider for your needs.
How much speed do you need?
Most service providers like to boast about their speeds for both uploads and downloads. Most consumers do not really know what that means. The download speed is how fast the connection is when pulling data from the internet. The upload speed refers to how fast your computer is able to send out data. These speeds generally relate to how fast you can access data on the internet and how fast your emails will transmit. Internet service providers measure both of these speeds in megabits per second (Mbps). If you are just looking for a simple internet service for your home, then one Mbps is enough. However, if you like to play games or stream television shows, then you will want to opt for more Mbps.
Getting Connected in Pennsylvania
In PA, there are five basic options for connecting to the internet. First, you can opt for a DSL connection. This was one of the first types of high speed internet connections, and it is still a viable option today. While DSL is the cheaper of all the connection types, it is not the fastest. Most internet service providers offer this service as a residential and business line. They utilize at least one already existing phone line to provide this service, or a service provider will run another phone line. The business DSL lines tend to be able to handle larger loads, and in many areas this service can be bundled with other phone services. You do not actually have to be a business in order to have the business line installed.
Wireless connections are available in most areas, but not all. With these types of connections, your computer uses the 4G networks available through phone companies and mobile phone groups. If your computer has a built in wireless card, then you can access the wireless network. The cost is comparable to what you would be paying for DSL, and this services often come included in a bundled phone and internet package.
Cable internet connections are extremely popular for several reasons. These plans tend to be still in the affordable range, depending on what extras are ordered. They can be bundled with other cable television products for a discount. The internet is provided using the cable connection, however many users report having connection troubles, or slower than average speeds, during peak usage hours. However, even with these slower times, cable connections are faster than DSL connections.
Satellite internet connections are also available and are comparable in cost to the cable internet connections. The pricing tends to be the draw for most customers, but if you live in an area that experiences a lot of inclement weather, such as snow or heavy rain, then consider that during those times you may have slower connection speed.
Fiber optics are currently only offered in select areas in PA. However, as a new technology, it is likely that at some point it will become more mainstream. The connection speeds are the highest of the three types of internet services.
Installing Service Provider Equipment
In general, and depending on your provider and type of connection, you may not need to have any of your own equipment. Some providers will offer their own routers for your use. Others will require you to “lease” the equipment, while others will ask you to use your own router and peripherals. This is a very important distinction to make when speaking with potential service providers in your area, as sometimes the advertised price does not include the equipment. Some companies will waive the equipment fee, which is substantially high, if you agree to a one year contract.
Check Service Availability
Not all types of internet services are available in all areas of PA. To locate whether or not a service provider extends its services to your particular area, you can go online and use various search tools that allow you to search for DSL, Cable and Satellite internet service providers. Some of these tools allow you to also create a comparison between the services you are considering, so you can compare benefits, costs and levels of service offered. If speed is most important to you, then there are search tools that allow you to find the fastest internet service providers that have been tested by real time users internationally.