The Best Internet Providers

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The Best Internet Providers
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Selecting the best internet provider may seem like a daunting task if you're not familiar with the features each one offers. In addition, you may only have a choice of one or two internet providers in your area, which means it's even more important to be able to evaluate the available packages.

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As technology advances, new types of connections become available, such as fiber optic internet. In this guide to broadband internet and more, I'll give you tips and information that will help you choose the right internet service for your household.

Quickly and easily find out which internet companies operate in your area by entering your ZIP code into our convenient ZIP code checker tool. Get information on speeds, packages, and pricing, all with the click of a button.

Our Top Internet Providers

1st
  • Download Speed: 10-2,000 Mbps
  • Monthly Price: $29.99-299.95

Comcast Internet Plans

  • Pros
  • Ample choice of internet speeds and packages
  • Self-install option makes it easy to set up
  • More than 13.3 million Wifi hotspots available
  • Contract and no-contract options
  • Bundled services with phone and cable
  • Cons
  • Poor customer service
  • Cancellation fees apply to contact plans

Comcast, once just a cable provider, now offers high-speed broadband and phone service.

One unique feature that Comcast XFINITY offers is its additional Wi-Fi service. The company enables anyone to be able to purchase access passes to their Wi-Fi internet. These passes can be used on one device to be able to obtain access to the internet for an hour, a day, a week, or a month, and there is no contract needed.

Since Comcast already has service in many areas, people looking for a Wi-Fi connection can get internet access easily. The one possible catch to it is that the internet can only be accessed by the device you use to sign up with. After signing up, the Internet is instantly available.

Another unique feature is that XFINITY offers a package deal for the home that includes in-house monitoring for security purposes. Users are enabled to get live video monitoring inside and outside of their homes on a mobile phone, letting them check to make sure their homes are secure.

Related: Comcast Internet Plans

2nd
  • Download Speed: 6-75 Mbps
  • Monthly Price: $30.00-199.99

AT&T Internet Plans

  • Pros
  • 99 percent internet reliability
  • Promotional plans include free installation
  • Bundling options including home phone, cable or satellite TV
  • Fiber optic internet available in some areas
  • Great variety of internet speeds and packages
  • Cons
  • One-year contract required for bundled plans

There is little doubt that AT&T is the specialist in phone services. This means that it was largely AT&T that established the infrastructure used to provide mobile phone, U-Verse Internet, and U-Verse TV services in most places.

In many cases, other ISP companies simply rent AT&T's lines to provide their own services. Because of this, you can expect to find some great deals with this well-known company. AT&T offers some excellent deals on their U-Verse Internet and U-Verse TV bundles. Prices, however, are only guaranteed for one year, but you must sign up for at least two years to get the package. The massive company offers lots of HD channels with their DIRECTV package, starting out with 145 and going up to 240.

Related: AT&T Internet Plans

3rd
  • Download Speed: 15-60 Mbps
  • Monthly Price: $34.99-139.99

Time Warner Internet Plans

  • Pros
  • Save money with bundles
  • Good speeds at 50mbps
  • No contract plans
  • Competitive price
  • Large provider in the US
  • Cons
  • Not available everywhere
  • Customer service issues
  • Internet speeds lower than competitors offer

When it comes to sizes, Time Warner Cable (TWC), now Spectrum, is the smallest of these providers. Despite this, TWC offers competitive packages and is growing in the Internet field if you're interested in bundling. It also offers packages of phone, Spectrum Internet, and Spectrum TV. Speaking of bundling, you can bundle together packages of phone, Spectrum Internet, and Spectrum TV.

They also boast of having almost 500,000 WiFi hotspots, and also a library of over 25,000 movies that can be viewed on demand.

Time Warner Cable also offers a special security program for your home. Not only does it offer video monitoring from your smartphone or computer, you can also control your lights and thermostat from those devices, too. You can even get emails or text messages from the door, window, and other motion sensors. Doors can be locked or unlocked, and you can even arm or disarm the system, too, from your device.

Related: Time Warner Cable Internet Plans

4th
  • Download Speed: 1-500 Mbps
  • Monthly Price: $19.99-269.99

Verizon FiOS Internet Plans

  • Pros
  • Very fast connection speed
  • Consistent reliable service
  • Save money with bundles
  • Top among internet service providers in customer satisfaction
  • Cons
  • Very limited service area
  • Security and Parental controls are add-ons
  • Requires credit check and possible deposit with service

Verizon offers Internet services through fiber-optic cables. They claim that this enables them to offer movies, music, and videos without any interruptions - no buffering.

There is no doubt that Verizon FiOS provides the fastest Internet speeds around - up to 500mbps! Their lowest speed also clearly beats many of the competitor's upper speeds at 50mbps. On top of that, which none of the major competitors do, is that the upload speeds are equal to their download speeds, and their prices are still highly competitive.

FiOS also offers a special Gateway router to ensure that you can get a Wi-Fi signal throughout your house. They advertise that the signal has a 325-foot range, and it operates on two different frequencies. It has enhanced controls for parents, and it also enables them to set time limits.

There is also a guest Wi-Fi network, which enables your guests to have access to the Internet without giving them your passwords. Another great feature of this particular router is that there is a downloadable app for your smartphone which will enable you to control it from your phone. There is an additional cost for this particular router.

Verizon FiOS also offers TV service and phone plans for those who want to bundle up.

Related: Verizon FiOS Internet Plans

5th
  • Download Speed: 60-100 Mbps
  • Monthly Price: $29.99-139.99

Charter Internet Plans

  • Pros
  • Free modem and internet security suite
  • Parental controls and email inbox protection
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Affordable plans and installation
  • No contract required for internet plans
  • Cons
  • Ineffective live chat application
  • Limited internet plans and speed
  • Charges for WiFi service

Charter Spectrum internet offers all of its Internet speeds at 60 Mbps. This speed comes with all packages. It offers free DVR services with its better packages and a free modem. Members get access to Spectrum TV with 125 channels in its lowest cost package and over 200 free HD channels in their best package. There are more than 10,000 movies in its On Demand program, and more than 5,000 of them are free. When you add Spectrum voice, their phone service, users get to make an unlimited number of calls in the U.S. and to some foreign countries. The company currently offers Spectrum Voice service to 28 states.

Two of its better features are that it offers its packages without a contract. This means you do not have to worry about getting locked into a service that is no good. A second excellent feature is that Charter will pay for your fees for when you get out of your contract with your current Internet, TV, and phone provider company, and sign up to get Charter's Spectrum Internet service. This is the only one of these five companies that will do this.

Related: Charter Internet Plans

The Best Internet Providers

Key Considerations Before Choosing a Provider

The Best Internet Providers

  • Comcast – 10-2,000 Mbps download speed, $29.99-299.95 monthly price
  • AT&T – 6-75 Mbps download speed, $30.00-199.99 monthly price
  • Time Warner Cable – 15-60 Mbps download speed, $34.99-139.99 monthly price
  • Verizon FiOS – 1-500 Mbps download speed, $19.99-269.99 monthly price
  • Charter – 60-100 Mbps download speed, $29.99-139.99 monthly price

Certainly one of your main concerns is finding great internet deals. In addition to price, however, there are several other things you should take into consideration when choosing the best broadband internet provider for your household.

1. Internet Speed

What do you plan on using your high-speed internet connection for? The more demands you are going to put on your broadband connection the more speed you will need. Don't always buy the hype when an ISP claims to have a certain connection speed. They often advertise the highest possible speeds which can actually be a lot higher than the average speed.

Don't always buy the hype when an ISP claims to have a certain connection speed. They often advertise high speed which can actually be a lot higher than the average speed.

The average download speed in the U.S. is 11.9 Mbps. Your speeds, however, may vary based on your location and other factors. For example, cable internet is notorious for slowdowns during what's known as Internet Rush Hour. This is because the cable is a shared connection, and many people in the neighborhood are typically trying to get online simultaneously around the same times of the day. DSL, on the other hand, is susceptible to line attenuation, which is a technical way of saying that the farther you are from crucial parts of the infrastructure, the more speed your data loss.

2. Connection Type

High speed is closely linked to the internet delivery method you choose. In order of slowest to fastest, here are the most commonly available connection types offered by the best internet service providers:

  • DSL: A DSL Internet connection is facilitated by your phone line. It offers speeds up to 15 Mbps (megabits per second), which, according to the FCC's (Federal Communications Commission) Household Broadband Guide, is sufficient for most households. Unlike dial-up, you can use your landline phone while you're using DSL internet, and it's widely available across the nation.
  • Cable: This delivery method still dominates in the U.S. It's widely available, providing access to high-speed internet of 25Mbps or better to more than 82% of the nation, and is convenient for many customers simply because they can combine services through internet and TV bundles.
  • Satellite: As opposed to standard broadband, satellite internet service available virtually everywhere. However, it's generally preferred as one of the best rural internet options rather than for urbanites because it has low data caps, high latency (lag time), and tends to be pricey. All you need is a satellite dish and a fast Internet connection can be yours.
  • Fiber: The fiber optic craze is spreading, and it's bringing with it speeds that were unimaginable just a few years ago - between 50 Mbps and 10Gbps (gigabits per second). Fiber is mostly limited to large urban areas as of yet, but several internet providers are working on increasing coverage.
  • WISPs: There are wireless internet providers, or WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers), available in select markets, however, this technology is not completely smoothed out for large-scale deployment as of yet. Still, if you're located rurally it may be an option worth looking into.
  • Dial-Up Internet: Dial-Up Internet service is an old school means of connecting to the internet. It's definitely not fast and can be an annoyance at times because it uses your phone line to back a connection, but dial-up internet service will do the trick for those with no other options. To learn more about dial-up Internet you can head over here.

3. Other Services

You may prefer to bundle your internet with other communications services. If that's the case, the best internet provider for you is likely to be one which offers cable television and/or landline phone options packaged with their high-speed internet service. Not only does combining your services reduce the number of separate bills you have, it can also save you money.

4. Customer Service

This is an important aspect of any product or service, but especially whom you choose for your ISP. Since so much of our work and play is online these days, it is vital that you have some way of contacting your provider in case your internet goes down, so that you can find out why and for how long. You also want to be sure that should you need repairs, a technician can be dispatched to your home within a reasonable amount of time.

5. Security and Extra Services

Take the extra features into consideration. What forms of security does an ISP offer? Do they offer parental controls? Some of the top internet providers even give you perks like free antivirus software. If possible, look into an online backup service that will keep your personal information secure. User privacy is important no matter who you are.

Related: For more information about Internet Safety & Online Privacy, go here.

Where You Live May Affect Internet Provider Performance

The answer to this question will depend on your specific household's needs. Each connection type has pros and cons, and each provider offers different features, pricing, and package options. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding among home internet service providers such as these.

Take the time to read the information in the "learn more" or "show offer details" section of the provider website. This little area is a treasure trove of useful details about the plan.

  • Options Vary Greatly by Location - One of your first questions, when you're ready to order service, is "Who are the internet providers in my area?" If you're near a major metropolitan area, you may be able to choose among a fiber connection, as well as DSL and cable. You may even have the option to pick from among multiple providers in each category. Conversely, rural residents typically have a choice of dial-up, satellite, wireless, and sometimes DSL.
  • Look at the Big Picture - The best ISP is the one you're going to be happy with over the long term. As you're perusing the available internet plans and prices, remember that the discounted rate you see on the website is often just a temporary offer. Make sure you're happy with the overall rate structure and what you're getting for the money before committing to anything.
  • The Devil Is in the Details - Take the time to read the information in the "learn more" or "show offer details" section of the provider website. This little area is a treasure trove of useful details about the plan. For example, if you've got a lot of streaming going on in your household, over multiple devices, you'll want to check out the data allowance. Unlimited internet plans are scarce these days, however, you can at least make sure you're getting enough data to accommodate your family's typical online activities.
  • Budget-Friendly Options - Even though the most prominently marketed packages are those with blazing fast speeds and all kinds of bells and whistles, cheap internet providers are still out there ready to serve the budget-minded consumer. These will generally be dial-up and lower-tier DSL service or cable plans. If you're a minimalist looking to limit your online experience to only the necessary tasks, one of the more barebones options may be the best high-speed internet service for you.

Who Offers the Best Internet Service?

Again, the answer to this question is going to depend on what you're looking for. As you spend time comparing internet providers, you should read online reviews of your top choices to see what others have to say about them. You might also want to investigate news stories about the company's plans for the future. The best internet providers typically provide at least some publicity regarding their next move, particularly when it comes to deploying new technologies like fiber and gigabit-speed DOCSIS.

Look Into Local Internet Options

Sometimes the company with the best internet service is the little guy. I'm talking about local internet providers - independently owned ISPs that operate within a confined region. You may not get the deep introductory discounts of the larger companies, but you will get a payoff via a more personalized experience and better customer service. If searching for internet providers by address doesn't yield any local internet companies, try searching elsewhere online, such as in the yellow pages.

The power of local internet service should not be discounted. For example, EPB, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, offers fast internet to customers throughout Tennessee. EPB isn't a typical broadband provider. Instead, they offer high-speed internet service to their consumers faster than any cable company or phone company listed here. With download speeds of up to 10 gigs--and no caps--you can expect fast internet through fiber optic cable. No cable provider or telephone service can match those speeds as of the time of this writing.

Other Considerations

Here are a few more things you can keep in mind to help the experience of shopping for internet service go a little more smoothly.

1. Ask About Extra Charges

In addition to the cost of the monthly charges, there may also be a number of other charges, including installation. Installation ranges between $50 and $100. It's not uncommon for the top home internet providers to waive this fee if you're ordering multiple services, such as one of their internet and phone bundles. Be sure to ask for free installation if it's not explicitly offered with your plan. Oftentimes providers will extend this courtesy if you request it.

Depending upon the type of service you're ordering there could be other costs, like a setup fee. Make sure you know what the total cost will be before signing up and find out if you will need to pay this fee all at once or if they can spread it out over several months.

2. Compare the Terms

Each ISP in your area will offer package deals. You should determine your own budget before ordering the service and then compare the packages carefully. Figure out which features you need and don't buy a more expensive package that what you really have a need for. If you change your mind later, you can always upgrade. This can actually work to your advantage because some internet service providers will often add things like free premium cable channels or a higher internet speed to sweeten the upgrade deal.

3. Bundled Deals

Although many internet providers offer phone lines and services for calling, be on the lookout for those who offer VoIP service. Although they are regulated by the FCC, a VoIP service allows users to call and communicate with others through an Internet connection instead of a telephone line. This is especially helpful for mobile users or customers that live in places inaccessible to phone lines.

This isn't new information to anyone, but the Internet can be a dangerous place to those who don't take the necessary precautions to keep their information and identity safe over the web. Finding a VPN provider is a great way to keep your personal information private and safe. VPNs can also help you torrent safely if your VPN provider permits this.

If you're a small business (or maybe like things a little old-fashioned), an online fax service may be up your alley. Online fax service may come as an extra perk when browsing for internet providers, or you can check out our side-by-side comparison of the best over here. Another useful tool for a small business is cloud storage. Otherwise known as an online backup, these cloud storage services, like these here, can keep your data safe and secure.

Many internet service providers also offer home phone service at reasonable rates. You can take an in-depth look at our buyer's guide to home phone service for more information. And lastly, if you enjoy streaming or viewing Internet TV, you should check out the top-tier streaming sites to see if they're compatible with the speeds you'll receive.

Related: We compare the Internet and TV bundles across all major providers here.

How to Find Internet Providers in My Area

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Compare Internet Providers by ZIP Code

Before making your final decision, it's important that you check what is available in your area and do a side-by-side comparison. We make it easy for you to search internet providers by ZIP code by providing you with our search tool.

Simply enter your postal code in our handy tool and then take a look at the services that are offered, the speeds they claim, and the prices that they offer. Think about what you'll need in terms of internet speed and compare internet plans that offer the most attractive value. If you know anyone with the service you are considering, talking to them about their experience can be a helpful way to compare internet providers in your area.

Sometimes, the best internet providers are the ones servicing your local area. Depending on where you live, the quality of service may vary. You might even be lucky enough to qualify for special discounts or offers because of your location. Consider these internet providers, which come complete with links to plans and more information, when you start your own research:

  • Frontier Communications: Frontier, original a phone company, now offers cheap internet access to eligible customers across the United States.
  • Mediacom: A cable company who specializes in the Triple Play, bundling telephone service, cable tv, and a high-speed internet connection across their Mid-West network.
  • CenturyLink: CenturyLink provides cheap, high-speed broadband, phone service, and satellite TV to its customers across the South and Mid-West.
  • Charter Spectrum Internet: For customers in the South and Mid-West, Charter provides phone service, a fast broadband connection, and cable TV.
  • Cox Communications: Also specializing in Triple Play bundles, those who like Cox will get high-speed internet service, cable tv, and a phone line at competitive prices.

Tips & Advice

Before you decide on an Internet service provider, spend some time in our advice section to learn more about the industry. Peruse the guides to find in-depth answers to questions that may help you make a better purchase. Here are some topics to explore:

  • What should you look for in a satellite internet provider? If you live in a rural area, satellite internet service may be your only option for high-speed internet. Also, where can you put a satellite dish on your house?
  • What causes your internet speeds to slow down? Does your internet seem to be moving slower than it was before? There are a number of factors that can bog down your internet speeds.
  • On the other hand, which internet service provider is the fastest? This PCMag article ranks the fastest internet providers of 2016.
  • How can you save money with TV, phone, and the internet? If you need multiple services you might be able to save significant amounts of money by bundling.

Take advantage of all of the resources you can - the more information you have, the better chance you have of making the best choice possible.

Customer service, legitimacy, and company reputation are three important factors to consider when doing business with any of the companies reviewed in this article. Head over to the American Customer Satisfaction Index for a numerical analysis of customer satisfaction within the internet provider industry.

While the political nature of internet regulation may be going beyond the scope of investigating Internet providers, understanding the policies laid out by the FCC (like net neutrality) is important for any Internet user to understand his or her freedoms. Internet regulation is essentially restricting or controlling access to certain information over the web. Common forms include censorship and domain registration. The Heritage Foundation has a great article about Internet regulation and net neutrality that you should check out.

Recap

Location, location, location. That's ultimately going to be the dictating factor when it comes to choosing an internet provider. Be sure to check your area using our convenient ZIP code checker tool to see what is available to you. With many great options on the table, knowing what you can actually get in your home should be the first thing you consider when shopping for an internet provider.

For urban dwellers, the fastest internet provider available will likely be one that offers cable or fiber. If you live in a rural area, far from the reach of cable internet providers, you might need to consider any of these strong satellite internet providers as an option. Though it's not the fastest connection type, it can reach virtually anywhere in the U.S. For those looking for the cheapest Internet option available, DSL service will do the trick.

Finally, if you're a business owner you should check out our buyer's guide to business internet providers. For more information on Internet service providers, the FCC has several comprehensive guides available.

No matter where you live, you'll be sure to find an option that works for your household and budget.

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Internet Providers FAQs

Q What is a satellite internet service?

A

Satellite internet service delivers high speed data to consumers via geostationary satellites. The new generation of communications satellites employ Ka band to bring users download speeds up to 50 Mbps. It is necessary to lease or purchase equipment for satellite internet service. HughesNet Satellite is once such provider.

Q What internet speed should I get?

A

One way to determine what speed you need for your routine web activity is to measure and evaluate your current speeds. If you're unsure what your current upload and download speeds are boasting you can run a simple speed test. By determining your internet's current performance, you can then decide if you want to switch providers based on price, performance or a combination of both. You have quite a few options if you decide to change providers.

Often people get the terms bandwidth and speed mixed up. When measuring speed be sure to factor in the bandwidth (the size of the channel the data travels through) in relation to the rate at which it's traveling. So basically, bandwidth refers to the size of the pipe which the data is traveling through. Explore the various high-speed options including DSL, cable modem, satellite, and fiber-optic.

Q How fast is satellite internet?

A

For people living in rural areas, satellite delivers high-speed internet. The average speed of satellite internet is 10 Mbps (megabytes per second). Exede claims a maximum download speed of 25 Mbps. DishNET and HughesNet offer a lower speed option at 5 Mbps.

Q How much does it cost for satellite internet?

A

Consumers can expect to pay a monthly fee between $29.99 and $49.99 per month for basic satellite internet service. Equipment leasing typically costs $9.99 monthly. One time installation cost runs from $0 to $99.99. Activation fees run from $9.99 to $149.99, or as per quote from provider.

Q What is the fastest internet service?

A

The fastest internet service providers (ISP) are Comcast Xfinity and Verizon FiOS at 49.6 Mbps. Pcmag.com gives Comcast Xfinity a slight edge over Verizon FiOS. Other speedy providers include Suddenlink Comm at 47.8 Mbps, Time Warner Cable at 45.4 Mbps and Cox at 45.1 Mbps.

Q What does a router do?

A

A router is a device that ties your networks together and forwards data between devices. Routers govern the flow of information throughout your computer network and ensure that the right information goes to the right device. There are two types of routers: wired and wireless. A wired router is connected to the computers in a network via a cord called an Ethernet cable.

A wireless router sends data over radio waves and can connect to compatible devices without any physical connections. Wireless routers can connect to devices like phones and tablets that not able to connect via Ethernet.

Q What is the most reliable high-speed internet?

A

There are several avenues to the internet and there are plenty of different pros and cons to weigh but when reliability is your main concern there are a few things to consider. A satellite is probably the least reliable even though there are a couple quality providers out there. Poor weather conditions often result in satellite service interruptions.

A dial-up cable internet is the slowest internet option but it also fairly reliable. Even power outages might not knock out your internet through a cable provider. However, if the phone cable is used for something else like a phone call, internet service will be interrupted.

When it comes to high-speed internet, fiber-optics like Verizon FiOS, are generally the most reliable.

Q If it is cloudy will my satellite internet service be interrupted?

A

No. Generally the service you receive with satellite internet is not interrupted during light cloud coverage. It's a widespread myth that at the sight of a storm you'll lose satellite transmission. This is only true in the case of severe thunderstorms and blizzards. When this happens, you'll usually re-obtain a signal shortly after the storm passes. If you lost a signal due to a severe blizzard you should remove as much snow as you can surrounding the satellite dish, then proceed to reset the unit inside. Contact your satellite provider directly if you continue to have issues regarding internet service or latency.

Q What are the different ways to access high-speed internet?

A

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) transmits digital data using the traditional copper telephone lines pre-installed in homes and residences. This service utilizes broadband modem technology which allows you to simultaneously use your internet and telephone service.

*Download speed range: 768 Kbps- 6Mbps

Cable Modem service is linked to whichever TV cable provider you subscribe it. The data is transmitted via the coaxial cables which produce the images and sounds on your television.

*Download speed range: 1 Mbps-1 Gbps

Satellite internet is most commonly found in rural areas where other services (i.e., cable and DSL) may be excessively priced. The most recent satellites can support speeds up to 15 Mbps however it is not ideal for most gamers due to latency.

*Download speed range: 5 Mbps-15 Mbps

Fiber-Optic (Fiber)

Fiber is nearly hundreds of times faster than cable, DSL, and wireless systems. Pulses of light (electromagnetic carrier waves) are sent through optical fiber. On average, speeds reach 500/100 Mbps. This is the ideal system for heavy internet users, individuals who download large files (HD movies, high-resolution pictures, stream music) or gamers who want optimum speed and graphics display.

*Download speed range: up to

A number of providers allow you to bundle high-speed internet with other home services. The most effective way to locate high-speed providers in your area is to use a comparison engine. Broadband Expert is an independent site which allows you to type in your zip code and then see which internet, satellite, and cable providers are available near you.

*The download speed ranges are estimations. Available internet speeds may vary due to coverage, area, and the network management requirements.

Q Is a cable modem secure?

A

In the realm of high-speed internet devices, cable modems are not the most secure. Most modems don't have and security measures in place in and of themselves. A cable service shares a cable network with an entire neighborhood. So the cables that connect you to the internet are also connecting you to your neighbors, in a sense.

With lax security on your devices, neighbors might be able to see your computer address and even access file if you aren't careful. However, these issues were much more of a problem with past technologies. Today, though cable modems don't have their own security, you can protect your network with a firewall and other security measures.

Q What internet speed should I get?

A

One way to determine what speed you need for your routine web activity is to measure and evaluate your current speeds. If you're unsure what your current upload and download speeds are boasting, you can run a simple speed test using a number of online tools. By determining your internet's current performance, you can then decide if you want to switch providers based on price, performance or a combination of both. You have quite a few options if you decide to change providers.

Often people get the terms bandwidth and speed mixed up. When measuring speed be sure to factor in the bandwidth (the size of the channel the data travels through) in relation to the rate at which it's traveling. So basically, bandwidth refers to the size of the pipe which the data is traveling through. Explore the various high-speed options including DSL, cable modem, satellite, and fiber-optic.

Q What does a router do?

A

A router is a device that ties your networks together and forwards data between devices. Routers govern the flow of information throughout your computer network and ensure that the right information goes to the right device. There are two types of routers: wired and wireless. A wired router is connected to the computers in a network via a cord called an Ethernet cable.

A wireless router sends data over radio waves and can connect to compatible devices without any physical connections. Wireless routers can connect to devices like phones and tablets that not able to connect via Ethernet.

Q What is the most reliable high-speed internet?

A

There are several avenues to the internet and there are plenty of different pros and cons to weigh but when reliability is your main concern there are a few things to consider. A satellite is probably the least reliable even though there are a couple quality providers out there. Poor weather conditions often result in satellite service interruptions.

A dial-up cable internet is the slowest internet option but it also fairly reliable. Even power outages might not knock out your internet through a cable provider. However, if the phone cable is used for something else like a phone call, internet service will be interrupted.

When it comes to high-speed internet, fiber-optics like Verizon FiOS, are generally the most reliable.

Q If it is cloudy will my satellite internet service be interrupted?

A

No. Generally the service you receive with satellite internet is not interrupted during light cloud coverage. It's a widespread myth that at the sight of a storm you'll lose satellite transmission. This is only true in the case of severe thunderstorms and blizzards. When this happens, you'll usually re-obtain a signal shortly after the storm passes. If you lost a signal due to a severe blizzard you should remove as much snow as you can surrounding the satellite dish, then proceed to reset the unit inside. Contact your satellite provider directly if you continue to have issues regarding internet service or latency.

Q Is a cable modem secure?

A

In the realm of high-speed internet devices, cable modems are not the most secure. Most modems don't have and security measures in place in and of themselves. A cable service shares a cable network with an entire neighborhood. So the cables that connect you to the internet are also connecting you to your neighbors, in a sense.-

With lax security on your devices, neighbors might be able to see your computer address and even access file if you aren't careful. However, these issues were much more of a problem with past technologies. Today, though cable modems don't have their own security, you can protect your network with a firewall and other security measures.

Q Can high-speed Internet be reached through Wi-Fi?

A

Yes. Several companies offer many Wi-Fi access hotspots. Customers can access the signal over wide distances, which is far better than just at coffee shops and fast food restaurants. Currently, Xfinity (Comcast) has the most, with more than one million hotspots nationwide. Anyone with a Wi-Fi connection can take advantage of it - for a fee. Some of these companies enable customers to buy limited access based on time periods, such as Xfinity's offering passes for an hour, a day, a week, and a month. Other companies are also offering them in many places and the number of hotspots is growing rapidly. One company that is new to the field is Straightalk, but even more, can be expected soon.

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