Tech News

Tips for selecting an internet service provider

  • Consult your neighbors: Ask which service and providers other people in your area are using (and avoiding).
  • When possible, buy your own modem/router: Many providers charge an additional fee to rent a combination modem/router and you may be able to save a few bucks (and possibly improve your speed and performance) with a newer, better router that you own.
  • Watch out for price spikes after “special offers” expire: Many providers offer introductory monthly pricing for the first 12 months; the price you’ll pay after that is the real price of your service.
  • Watch out for data caps: Exceeding your plan’s monthly data download threshold can result in pricy overage fees.
  • Haggle your way to a lower bill: If there are multiple providers in your area, you may be able to use an alternative provider’s offer to lower the price of your current monthly service.
  • Consider cutting the cord for additional savings: 

Other things to consider when it comes to internet service

The slowest part of your home network system — including the modem, the router, the device you’re using (e.g. TV, laptop, phone) and your service provider — will ultimately dictate the speed and strength of your connection. A superfast router won’t help a laptop with ancient networking hardware, and sluggish internet service will hinder all of your activities online — from streaming services like Netflix and Spotify to browsing the web to sending emails.

In addition to whichever type of service you choose, there are a bunch of other factors dictating the quality and speed of your internet connection. As such, when a company advertises “speeds starting at X Mbps,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll consistently get that speed.

Your neighbors’ Wi-Fi, older devices, walls, floors, and even your microwave can affect your Wi-Fi signal. Most internet service providers offer a modem/router combo that you can rent, but you can also purchase your own router, add an extender if you need additional coverage, or try a whole-home mesh Wi-Fi system. Even if you don’t know anything about networking, you can adjust some settings to improve performance when you run into trouble.

 

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