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How do I Choose the Best High Speed ISP?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Options for high speed Internet have come a long way since the days of dial-up. To choosing the right high speed ISP it is important to understand your options and weigh them against your needs. If you live in or near a city, you'll likely have the choice between Cable and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service. Considerations between these two options include whether your house is pre-wired for cable service, what bundle packages may be offered and the speed each is capable of in your area. Sometimes it's simplest just to use your existing land line phone service provider or cable provider as your high speed ISP, but to get the best price and service, it's a good idea to weigh all of your options. If you live in a remote area, your only options for high speed ISP may be satellite service and 4G WiMax. To choose the best of these two options you may do well to compare pricing structures, connectivity issues and speed capabilities.

Cable Internet is delivered via your existing cable television infrastructure, while DSL is delivered through the existing telephone infrastructure. If your house is already wired for cable and telephone, there should be minimal cost involved to get started with either a cable or DSL high speed ISP. These two major sources of high speed Internet are often available from your existing providers of cable television and phone services. This has the effect of simplifying billing, and often these providers will offer money-saving bundle packages. However, you're often not locked into using their services. Third party providers will sometimes be able to offer cable or DSL Internet services, so it's a good idea to research these options in your area as well.

Where speed and performance are concerned, DSL has historically been faster than cable, though the infrastructure in your area and the plans that are available will be the determining factors. Many times cable will actually be the faster of the two services in some areas, though it's important to consider that cable Internet typically suffers more from slowdown than DSL during peak usage times. If a constant, uninterrupted speed is important to you, then DSL is probably going to be the way to go. However, if cost is the most important concern, then make sure to look at comparable speed packages from both cable and DSL providers. DSL providers have commonly offered faster speeds for higher prices, and even cable providers are now doing this in various markets. So it's important to compare apples to apples in terms of speed.

Satellite Internet for those living in rural areas usually involves a small satellite dish, similar to those used for satellite television, while 4G WiMax utilizes wireless signals from existing cellular towers. Each of these has benefits and drawbacks to consider. If you live in a rural area or travel a lot in an RV, satellite Internet may be the best choice for you. Oftentimes it isn't possible to get cable or DSL in remote areas. However, when considering satellite Internet, it's important to take into account the high latency that you might encounter in certain applications, such as gaming. If you don't play games on the Internet, then this probably won't matter to you.

WiMax can also exhibit high latency, though this is largely dependent on your location in regards to 4G enabled cellular towers. This can be a viable high speed ISP in terms of both speed and price, though you need to determine where the nearest cellular towers are before choosing it. If you're too far away from the cellular towers, your speed may be fast, but your latency may increase as well with a WiMax high speed ISP.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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