5 Essential Concepts You Need to Grasp When Choosing an ISP


Choosing an internet provider can be difficult and confusing, especially with the variety of choices that exist out there, many of which rely on technical jargon to highlight their advantages. For this reason, we made a handy list of the most essential things to know when studying  internet service providers and their offers:

1. Speed

One of the first things you need to think when choosing an internet provider is how often and for what purpose will you use their connection. If your activities on the internet consist mainly of browsing and watching Youtube videos, you will need a lower speed than someone who works with online programs or plays video games.

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It can be difficult and confusing to measure speed. One basic thing you have to know is that it is measured by megabits downloaded per second, called Mbps and that 100 Mbps equals 1 Gbps.

Another thing that you have to know is whether their speed is offered over cable or over DSL/fiber because cable speeds tend to vary a lot over the day. While it is almost impossible to know what the internet speed be at your house will be, generally the further you are from the ISP’s main office, the lower the speed.

2. Types of Broadband Connection

The term broadband is used to describe several types of internet connection, each requiring a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Here are the types of broadband connection that are most common:

  • DSL is delivered to your house through the telephone line. Usually, it is the cheapest form of broadband internet available. Most of the DSL connections have speeds of about 25 Mbps, although there are newer services that can allow speeds that begin at 100 Mbps. The downside of this type of connection is that its speed depends on the distance the connection has to travel, so the further you are from the service provider, the slower the internet.
  • Cable internet is delivered in your home through TV cables and is faster than DSL, offering speeds of over 100 Mbps. However, its higher speed is not constant, because its bandwidth is shared by everyone in your neighborhood and will slow down noticeably during peak hours (usually in the evening).
  • Satellite internet is delivered to your home via a satellite service. Compared to others, this service is slower, usually below 20 Mbps. It can often have short unnoticeable hiccups in the service, but most of the time the connection is stable. If you live in a rural or remote area, this service may be the only one available.
  • Fiber-optic (FiOs) internet is available in some areas and is rolling out rapidly. This service functions similarly to DSL, but it can reach much higher speeds, sometimes up to 500 Mbps.

3. Data Caps

Check if the company puts a monthly limit on how much you can download. This is something to be avoided, particularly if you watch Netflix and Youtube videos often.

4. Additional Costs

While some companies offer modem or routers for free, others require that you buy or rent them from them. Ask your chosen internet provider about this before signing anything.

5. Add-ons

Many internet service providers offer special add-ons, services that appear useful but are totally unnecessary such as paid email services, anti-virus programs and home security services. Be careful and do some research before agreeing on any add-on. There are many better alternatives out there and you might just as well be fine without any add-ons.


Choosing an ISP is an important decision and we recommend that you compare various providers, read reviews and try to adapt your choice to your real needs, not to what you think is best. Keep the aforementioned things in mind, consult a specialist if you have to, and you will eventually find the best solution for your situation.