Choosing an internet service provider is an important decision that should be based upon careful research of every available internet company in your area. A few of the most important factors to take into account include download speed, upload speed, cost, contract, reliability, equipment and customer support.
One final factor that customers should consider: connection type. Though this option is a bit more technical than the metrics mentioned above, the type of internet connection that you choose will have a significant impact your overall experience. (As well as the cost associated with that experience!)
Broadly speaking, there are four main types of internet connection: satellite, DSL, cable, and Fibertel. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of each of these connection types.
Short for Digital Subscriber Line, DSL Internet actually operates through telephone lines in a similar fashion to dial up internet. (Albeit with significantly faster speeds and without disabling phone calls!) Usually the cheapest broadband option available, DSL offers reliability, even if it is not the fastest option out there. It is also important to note that the farther away you are from the provider’s central office (CO), the slower your DSL connection will operate.
Why do so many cable companies double as internet service providers? The answer is all about infrastructure. Coaxial cable TV wires, which are used to bring you those 500 channels you enjoy so much, also happen to be highly functional as internet carriers. Cable internet connections are faster than DSL and Satellite internet — and they are also especially easy to bundle with other services, which leads to increased savings. They are not beholden to location in the same way that DSL connections are, so you don’t need to worry about your distance from the CO. However, cable connections do tend to slow down a bit during peak TV hours — so if you tend to binge Netflix during primetime hours, then you might want to search for a different internet provider.
Connecting to the internet through satellite infrastructure tends to be both slower and costlier than both cable broadband and DSL internet. Why do such connections exist at all? In many rural zip codes, DSL and cable infrastructure simply does not exist — and, when forced to chose between a satellite-based broadband connection and good old dial up, most users are happy to settle for satellite.
Fiber Optic Service
FiOS is undoubtedly the future of internet, as its speeds beat those of DSL, Cable, and Satellite internet by ridiculous margins. Unfortunately, Fiber Optic Service is only available in limited areas — and its low supply tends to translate to high prices. All the same, if you are looking for a lightning fast connection, then there is no replacement for FiOS internet service.
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