Whether you plan on switching to a different Internet service carrier or you are about to sign up for the first time, there are several aspects you need to consider in order to get the most enjoyable experience. To make the most out of your Internet and everything your provider has to offer, make a list of a few key particulars you would like to have a addressed. The following are important questions to ask your Internet provider before you sign up:
1. How Much Speed (Bandwidth) Can You Deliver and What Do You Need?
Think of bandwidth as the rate of which your system can download the data, either for viewing web pages or for downloading other content. How much bandwidth do you need and what does your Internet service provider deliver? Basically, the bandwidth will be measured according to megabits per second, commonly referred to as mbps. At a high speed, your files will download relatively fast.
The important question is, do you require the highest available speed? The answer is, it will depend upon how many devices in your household will share the Internet. If you are using multiple computers, televisions smartphones and tablets, all sharing the same Internet connection, you will need high speed to handle all of it. At a lower bandwidth, your systems could suffer from a noticeable lag. A slow connection, or a struggle to maintain a connection, could mean loss of productivity, especially if you use your computer for work. At the very least, it could mean a major inconvenience.
Also, consider this: Do you stream music or movies a lot? Do you download content with large files? Do you use your computer for online gaming? All of these factors will mean you need fast download speed. If more than one device is streaming simultaneously, 1-5 mbps will not be adequate, especially if you are streaming in high definition or 4K. However, if you are only using the Internet to surf the web, chat or email, 1-5 mbps should be sufficient. Your Internet service provider can help you decide which speed will be suitable for your household use.
2. Is the Service Available In Your Area?
Keep in mind that some Internet service providers may not be able to service a particular area, especially in rural communities. If you live far from the city or out in the remote countryside, be sure your provider will be able to service you. If you have your heart set on using a particular carrier that does not service your area, ask about their expansion plans or when they might expand to your location.
3. Are there Data Policies To Be Aware Of?
Is there a limit to the amount of data your household may use per month, or will you receive unlimited data? Plans may differ. If there is a limit or cap on data, what will happen if you go over that amount? Will you receive notification warnings if you are about to hit the cap or limit? Ask about the overage charges beforehand so there will be no surprises when the bill comes.
4. What Equipment Will Be Needed, and is it Provided at No Additional Fee?
With your Internet plan, you may have the the option of purchasing your own wireless router or you may rent one from your provider. Some companies also offer a plan that includes the use of a router at no additional fee.
Do you plan on recording TV programs on a digital video recorder (DVR)? If so, ask your Internet service provider about plans that include multi-room DVRs to rent. Some package deals may include this as part of a bundle, so inquire about it if you plan on recording your favorite television shows.