ISP is an acronym for internet service provider, and it is a company that grants access to the public internet by acting as a gateway. It performs various jobs like providing last-mile infrastructure, assigning an IP address to your systems/devices, and also offers DNS support.
For many homes and businesses, internet access is just as essential as other utilities. Most businesses use internet access for literally everything, from customer communication (email, VOIP, etc.) to the processing of credit cards. In the absence of the internet, some businesses will find it difficult to operate.
Apart from business needs, many home users also use the internet as their primary source of entertainment. This is as a result of the growing video streaming services and social media.
Therefore, before you choose an internet service provider for your business or home, there are certain crucial factors to keep in mind.
How to Choose the Best Internet Service Provider
Reliability and Availability
These are likely the most significant factors in the decision. Reliability is different from availability. Availability means the internet service provider should offer service in your area, as a high-speed cable or fiber connection does not have any benefit for your business if the provider does not service your area.
Reliability, on the other hand, refers to the consistency of speed and service. Although a variation across a region is quite understandable, there should be consistency for each end-user. Experiencing an unreliable internet is stressful and counterproductive.
If you happen to be in an industry that cannot risk internet service interruptions, it will be wise to consider an ISP that offers a Service Level Agreement (SLA). SLAs are service contracts that particularly state how reliable the connection should be.
Customer services go hand-in-hand with reliability. Good customer service is a game-changing technique for any organization. This is especially so for ISPs as a result of the typical role they play in connecting users. Internet Service Providers must meet the expectations and demands of internet-dependent users.
No matter how perfect a connection is, there is a high probability of issues arising one day, whether a dying hardware or a physically damaged line. Anything can go wrong at any time. And as a user, you would want to know what went wrong and how an internet service provider will fix it as soon as possible.
Good customer service is a measure of how fast they can help you get back up and running, as most businesses can not afford to experience delays, like waiting for several days for new hardware to get shipped to them. As a result, they require a very high level of service.
Therefore, look for ISPs that provide good customer service, as well as technical support for resolving connectivity issues.
Type of Connection
The type of internet connection that is provided by an internet provider varies. For example, there is a fiber connection, copper, and wireless internet connection. For higher speeds and the best performance, you should choose an internet service provider that offers fiber broadband over copper and cable internet.
Furthermore, some ISPs offer the internet wirelessly. This is possible by installing a receiver unit at your premises, which minimizes the hassle of laying down lines in a new place. But due to physical limitations, the wireless internet may not achieve the performance level of its fiber counterpart.
Speed is a critical factor in determining how rapidly you can access the internet. This describes how fast you can get data to or from a server. Internet service providers also understand this importance, and this is why all their marketing materials always state the high speeds they offer.
Before choosing a broadband connection, the first thing to look at is the download and upload speeds offered by the internet provider. Generally, you will get a much faster download/upload speed with expensive plans. But recently, even the most basic type of internet plan provides a download speed that is enough for daily tasks.
An aspect closely associated with speed is the underlying technology being used. 5G technology commonly offers 100x more speed than 4G. Yet, not all internet service providers have the infrastructure to upgrade to 5G.
It would be best to choose an ISP that processes the desired internet speed within your budget. But as a business, you must make sure you have chosen the one with sufficient speed that will not disrupt daily use, even when demand is at its highest.
In addition, it is essential to note that the download and upload speeds offered by the ISPs are in Mbps, that is, Megabits per second. On the contrary, the numbers you see in your download manager or web browser are displayed in MBps, that is, Megabytes per second.
1 byte equals 8 bits, which means a speed of 10Mbps will appear as 1.2MBps in your browser. Hence, you should not get confused between the two when looking at the internet speed.
Indeed, a higher download speed will allow faster downloads and better streaming quality without buffering. You can find several speed test results on YouTube, as well as on other platforms that will give you an idea of what you are getting into. However, note that these numbers may vary depending on your location.
Choose Value Over Cost
Even though the cost is an important factor for any offer, you should not just look at cost in choosing an internet service provider. Instead, you should evaluate the value the service adds.
For instance, assuming an ISP charges you $10 per month, but your usage is limited to 100GB of data, and there is another that charges you $15 per month but offers you unlimited bandwidth and usage, you should hop on the second option if you’re a heavy internet user. But if you are a passive internet user, the first one may be better. Either way, ensure you choose the value of an ISP over cost.