If you have been puzzling about thinking if you should sign up for a broadband service with maximum download allowance, or should you choose a one that has maximum contract duration, or the cheaper the price, the better it is, then hold it! You are not alone. With numerous broadband providers in the market offering different packages at different prices, it is not difficult for an average person to get lost in the maze. You could go in endless circles trying to choose the service that is best for you. Here is an assembly of ten essential factors you should definitely consider before choosing a broadband service.
1. CHECK WHAT IS AVAILABLE
There are different types of broadband connections available, and it is necessary to know what broadband is available in the place you live.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband is the most prevalent type of connection and it allows data to be carried beside normal calls on standard telephone lines. Broadband is delivered through existing telephone lines, using a special router or modem. No additional telephone lines are required and you can make calls and also connect to the internet simultaneously. In the ADSL technology, the flow of data is greater in one direction than it is in the other. This is why download speeds are much higher than upload speeds.
ADSL is the most prevalent type of connection that is available. It is suitable for residential customers, who receive more data than they send. However, uploading data takes time, and is much slower.
Cable modem brings broadband to your home via the same coaxial cables that deliver pictures and sound to your TV or cable telephones, and are mostly offered by cable television companies. To receive broadband via cable, the area you live in should be serviced by one of the cable providers. Most of the cable networks have been upgraded to provide broadband services. Cable is a fast technology, though its speeds can be affected by local traffic loads.
With cable broadband, you can get broadband, digital TV and telephone all through a single connection, if your area is served by a cable operator. This means, one bill for all three.
Broadband with no wires! A broadband connection that gives you access to the internet without any wires is wireless broadband or Wi-Fi in simple words. A wireless router is essential for setting up such connections and the internet can be accessed from anywhere within the house (or an area within the coverage). Wireless broadband is becoming increasingly popular because once a base station has been set up, any number of computers can gain access to the internet.
Wireless broadband is best suited for laptop users, gamers and families where more than one member has to access the internet simultaneously. It is also the best option for accessing the internet at places where cable or ADSL installations are difficult.
Satellite broadband is the delivery of broadband services to businesses or house hold premises over a satellite. This is different from a satellite phone which transmit calls to a satellite. Satellite broadband utilizes a satellite to transmit the data, and a receiver to receive the data. Satellite broadband too like the other technologies, has its disadvantages in terms of speed and expense. This type of connection which is the best option for those living in remote areas, requires its users to have a satellite dish.
Satellite broadband is best suited for people living in remote locations where terrestrial broadband is unavailable or where local telephone exchanges may not have ADSL enabled or the distance between the exchange and home is too large to receive broadband.
2. CONTRACT DURATION
The longer the contract period, the cheaper is the monthly charge. Broadband deals mostly are available on 12 or 18 month contracts and many such deals come with freebies like laptops or free line rental. As long as you have no plans to move, signing up for a long term contract with an ISP of your choice should save you some money.
However, not all consumers require long term deals, especially if their residence is temporary. Some suppliers offer broadband with three months or even one month contracts. This would be perfect for those who do not want to be with the same provider for too long. Even so, the initial installation charges and the prices are a few factors to keep an eye out for. It is not worth paying high installation fees if you are going to stick with the same ISP for a short time only.
If you hold a permanent residence or know that broadband is a necessity that you will continue to use, a long term contract would be right. Though the price per month for a long contract would be low in comparison, switching ISP’s for a better deal or for an other requirement would be a problem. Monthly deals can be costlier, but they might sometimes be worth the extra cost.
The broadband speed is normally measured in Kb – kilobytes per second and Mb – Megabytes per second. The higher the number of bytes that can be downloaded per second, the faster is the connection. Different users need different speeds, based on how much internet they use.
Light broadband users, who do not go online everyday and use the internet to check emails and occasionally browse for short periods can do with speeds of 512 Kb to a maximum of 1Mb. Such basic broadband starter packages are very cost effective. There is always the option of upgrading to faster connections, should you require more speed in the future.
Medium broadband users are those who check mails everyday, surf for a considerable amount of time, upload photos occasionally and download music or video files now and then. In such instances, download speeds are important. Though medium users will not require broadband with top speeds, 2Mb- 4Mb download speeds should be sufficient enough.
Heavy broadband users use the internet for several hours everyday and upload photos regularly. If you are an ardent online gamer, and download lots of music and videos, then faster connections are definitely required. Many providers are offering speeds of 4Mb and above and you may choose them as long as the price fits your budget.
For simple browsing, checking emails etc, an actual connection speed of 2MB or even 1MB would suffice. This would offer a nice balance between speed and price. If you download huge amount of data, or are an online gaming enthusiast or connect two or more machines to the internet faster speeds should be considered.
Several providers offer broadband along with other services, put together in a bundle deal. This will include phone services with free calls at certain hours, or cheap calls to specific places. Additional mobile minutes and texts are offered by some ISPs running mobile phone networks. Digital TV services bundled with broadband are also increasing in popularity.
Bundles ensure that you get more than one service in one single bill, thus making payments easy. ISP’s also offer discounts to customers who opt for more than one service from them.
It always helps to know what extras including security software like virus/spam protection or anti-spam email filters, firewalls, parental controls, web space and e-mail addresses are available with the service.
To ensure that a broadband package will cater to each of your online requirements, these extra features should be taken in to account when making your decision.
The brand definitely will influence the price. Services of companies who have established a name for themselves can be compared to that of the lesser prices from new or developing brands.
Big brands sell themselves on quality rather than the price whereas smaller names might have a greater understanding of the actual requirements.
8. SUPPORT OPTIONS
Knowing how your queries will be dealt with really helps should you require assistance from your ISP. Several providers offer 24/7 telephone support, but keep yourself informed of the quality of support beforehand. For example, you might need to ask them what operating systems they support or what are their telephone queue time delays.
Issues in any broadband service is inevitable. The support service should quickly respond and fix any issues at any time of the day, or even night.
Reviews will help you know what others who really have used the service feel. Reviews can point you in the right decision and help you find the perfect internet service provider. Several broadband comparison websites offer detailed reviews on different broadband providers in the market.
Rather than considering individual comments, it is better if you understand the patterns, as many people who write reviews tend to be negative.
It pays to compare broadband packages and providers, in terms of speed, price, download limit and several other factors. You might sometimes see the same package at a lesser price from a different provider. You can also compare all deals from the same provider to choose the best for you.
It can take long trawling hours to find a perfect package but broadband comparison websites have everything ready for you and all that you require is a basic idea of what you need.
Be it signing up for the first time, or just switching providers, it is true that the choice depends on more than just one aspect. Since taking up a broadband service is a considerably big investment, making yourself fully aware of the its options is important.
Author Bio:- Zoe Terzetti blogs on all things broadband or internet. She is a gadget geek and is presently writing for a mobile broadband comparison website. Zoe loves experimenting on anything new in the tech world and is a die-hard Apple fan.