Looking for the perfect Internet provider for your home can sound complicated if you’ve never been in charge of this task before. After all, when you start hearing terms such as broadband, speed, bandwidth, and routers, what do all of them mean, and how do the terms relate to the service you’ll be getting in the end?
Most people want unlimited internet capability, and while you might think this will cost a lot, the truth is that the costs are more reasonable than ever right now. That being said, here are a few questions that you might want to ask your Internet service provider (ISP) before you sign on the dotted line.
- What Are My Options When It Comes to Speed?
Lots of different factors need to be considered when you’re trying to determine what speed of Internet you need. These factors include your downloading needs, the amount of streaming you do, and even the number of devices you own. Some movie-streaming channels, for example, recommend a speed of 5 Mbps or higher just to stream HD videos through their service.
All ISPs offer several different speeds for their service, and while it’s tempting to go ahead and choose the fastest speed, consulting with the Internet company first can save you some money in the long run. This is because they may recommend a speed that is lower and cheaper than what you were planning to get. You can trust their answers to point you in the right direction so that you don’t get more or less speed than what you actually need.
- Are Your Speeds Guaranteed?
While most ISPs won’t guarantee their speeds, some of them do, so you might as well ask the question. If they do not guarantee their speeds, the next question to ask is what they can do for you if you find that the speed they provide you with just isn’t fast enough. Slow speeds can happen for many reasons, including too many people using the Internet at one time and even equipment that is going haywire.
Fortunately, there are numerous websites that allow you to test your Internet speed for free, and this is often the first step in determining exactly where the problem is. When you have unlimited internet, you often need high speeds as well, so the bottom line is you need to ask your provider what your options are if you should find that the speeds you’re working with just aren’t fast enough.
Slow Internet speeds can cause a lot of frustrations and wreak havoc on your life, so asking ahead of time what you can do about the problem is usually your best option.
- Can I Rent a Router From You or Should I Get My Own?
When it comes to your router, you usually have two options: rent one from the Internet company or purchase/use your own. Many providers don’t give you an option, but if you do rent a router from them, the advantage is that they’ll come out and repair or replace it should something go wrong. When you own your own equipment, it’s up to you to make sure that it is always working properly, and that might occasionally get very expensive.
Still, you may want to buy your own router for numerous reasons, but the important point here is to make sure that you understand each of their options and what each of those options will mean to you on a practical level.
- Is There a Contract?
You’re likely planning to keep your Internet service for a long time, but this doesn’t mean that you have to use the same service provider the entire time. Find out if there’s a contract and if it includes unlimited internet service, as well as how long the contract period is. While you’re at it, you might also ask about waived fees or any incentives if you agree to a longer contract length.
In addition to this, ask about early cancellation. Many times, this is unavoidable and you’ll want to know if there are any penalties if you should decide to cancel early for one reason or another.
- Are There Data Limits?
Not all ISPs have data limits, but if they do, there are two main types. The first is soft data limits, which means that once you reach your limit, your Internet usage speed will be a lot slower. The second type is a hard data limit. When you reach this limit, most companies either charge you for the overage or cut you off completely. Some ISPs also slow down your Internet speed if the network is unusually congested.
Depending on how fast you need your Internet to be, these limits may or may not be a problem for you, but you’ll certainly want to know what the rules are ahead of time. One more thing: make sure that you read the fine print of any contract you sign because this is often where this type of information is located.