Internet service is no longer a luxury. It has become as vital as phone service or electricity to many people. Not only does it keep us connected to each other and the outside world, but it has also changed how we work and learn – One such example is Coronavirus related lockdown and people working from home.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but prices and plans for internet service are very competitive right now. Whether this is your first time connecting your service or you’re looking for a new provider, using an internet service locator will allow you to learn about all of your options for service providers before you commit to a company.
What Type of Internet Connections are Available?
No matter if the connection is used for work or play, having a reliable, fast internet connection is essential. Think about how much money you’ll save just by cutting the cord and accessing all of your favorite movies and TV shows from a streaming service.
But, what type of connections are there, which is best, and how do they work? Before we move on to discuss different internet service locators, let’s talk a little bit about internet connections.
See: This map shows free WiFi passwords from airports worldwide
There are seven types of internet connection, and not all are available in every location. For example, someone living in a remote area would have to rely on satellites rather than a hard-wired direct connection. Those living in apartment complexes will have different availability than someone in a single-family home.
Here’s a brief overview of connection types, prices, and speeds. The speed of Mbps stands for megabits per second and relates to how much data is transferred.
Believe it or not, there are still people who use dial-up service. This is the most affordable option, priced at under $20 a month. However, the speed and reliability leave a lot to be desired. The typical bandwidth is only about 0.4 – 0.5 Mbps.
* Fiber optic:
Now the most common telecommunications platform around the world, fiber optic networks truly keep us all connected. However, it has been much slower at connecting individual homes and businesses than it is at connecting countries and cities. Locally, fiber internet is mostly available in major metro areas.
This is the solution for about 25 percent of the US, bringing speeds up to 1G for uploads and downloads. Expect to pay between $50 and $100 per month for bandwidths up to 1,000 Mbps.
* Cable internet:
Second, only to fiber in speed, this is the connection of choice for many families and those who transfer a lot of data. For a standalone, always-available service, expect to pay about $50 – $150 per month for bandwidth up to 200 Mbps.
This stands for digital subscriber line and refers to what is more commonly known as a broadband connection. Although not as fast as cable internet, you can use this type of connection if you perform a lot of data-intensive activities like gaming or video streaming. You’ll get up to 45 Mbps for between $40 and $80 per month.
The most expensive option, it is mostly reserved for people who live in places that are inaccessible through other types of connections. You’ll also have to rent or buy the satellite equipment and have the whole unit installed by a professional. The cost is $50 – $150 per month for up to 30 Mbps.
* Fixed wireless LTE:
These internet connections provide service via the same cell towers as mobile phones. That means that you will be unable to access fixed wireless in areas where cell service availability is an issue. If you can find a provider in your area, expect to pay $50 – $85 per month for up to 10 Mbps.
The newest and speediest option, but it offers the lowest availability. However, this could all change when the tech becomes more common. Expect to get up to 4K Mbps at a price point between $50 – 70 per month.
Need some more advice? Here are some pro tips for choosing the right service for your area, budget, and requirements.
* Buy your own router rather than renting from the company whenever possible to avoid an additional monthly charge. You’ll also have the latest tech when you buy it.
* Ask your neighbors about their service. This will help you get a better idea of services in your area, and most neighbors are happy to give you their opinion about local companies.
* Find out if your service provider has data caps. Some companies will charge extra if you go over a pre-set limit. However, be aware of companies that claim to provide unlimited service, but slow your connection speeds, a process known as “throttling”, once you hit a certain data limit.
* Don’t be afraid to negotiate. One of the cool things about competition is playing companies off of one another to get a better deal.
* Make sure that the price you pay now is what you’ll be paying in a year. Some companies offer a low rate initially, leaving customers shocked when the contract renews at double the price.
5 Top Internet Service Locators
Not all internet services are the same, even when the price is comparable. You might get better speed with one and more features with another. Even among the same provider, your service price and availability will vary by location. Comcast in Virginia and Comcast in Washington state could leave individual users with a completely different experience.
That’s what makes finding the best locator essential. Here are our picks for the top five.
This website features an easy interface where you can just type your postal code into a search bar and find broadband providers in your area. Broadband Search also provides extra information via its extensive knowledge base that contains a resource section and blog.
This website is less user-friendly than Broadband Search, but it still allows you to filter queries via a sidebar menu of various DLS and connection types. They’ll identify various service providers in your area and request quotes from each on your behalf. You can also get quotes for voice service, data service, and combination services.
When you use this service, you’re accessing WiFi hotspots throughout North America. It’s similar to the FON service available in Europe and the UK that allows regular customers to open their connection to others, who pay a small fee for limited access.
They also have packages and plans for cable. mobile phones, and landlines.
This ISP service locator finds services for businesses and residential customers. It offers the largest and most multi-functional search interface. allowing customers to search by zip code or clickable link on the homepage to your state of residence. You can also search for TV and phone services through CenturyLink, and they can hook you up with bundled service or a plan.
Unlike locators for individual service providers, you don’t have to be a customer to create an account, and registration is free.
Although this is a locator for a single company, it will allow you to easily search availability in your area from one of the top providers in the game. You can search by connection type and device type both locally and internationally.
If you’re looking for internet service for your business, here are the top 5 internet plans for companies:
Staying Safe While You Surf
Security continues to be a huge issue, especially for business owners and families with children. There are several ways that you can protect yourself and your information without degrading the quality of your service.
The first thing you can do is install a VPN on your router to protect your privacy while you surf and access geo-blocked streaming content. For those who have IoT devices installed on your network or who need a separate line for business and personal internet use or several devices, segmenting your router will allow you to keep everything separated in the event of an issue with a line or a data breach.
Free antivirus programs can also offer you an effective way to mitigate malware and phishing websites. Although many paid packages claim to offer additional required benefits, free programs offer a plethora of options for the average user.
Most ISPs also enable parental controls. That means you can block certain URLs and monitor your child’s internet time. Business owners can use this or a similar feature to block access to some websites on work devices. Access control can also be achieved through your browsers.
With so many more choices for internet access, evaluating all of the options will allow you to find the best internet service provider in your area.
We’ve tried to give you the most up to date information about connections and providers so that you can make the decision that’s right for your access requirements and budget.
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