How to find the best internet service providers in your area


How to select the Best internet service provider

Are you through with your internet service provider and wants to move to new connection with a another internet service provider ?  or you are new to the internet and wants a new connection .You came to the right place.It’s very impotent you choose the right internet provider to avoid bad internet service experience . Here in this article we will discuss how to find the best internet service providers in your area , No matter where you from .

Internet Service providers are the people/companies that provide internet access services and equipment to the consumers. There are thousands of ISPs around the world . However many of them only provides services within the country borders they are situated (locally) except for few companies . So, When you are selecting a service provider you may have limited options depends on where you from. Some countries only have one or two ISPs . Situations like this can create a ISP monopoly .In such cases you don’t have much options but to use their services in order to access the internet. Hopefully , Bette understanding of these points may help you to find the best internet service provider and the package.



Why You Need The Best Internet Service Providers?

Why you need an ISP to access the internet

Internet is a connection between billions of computers around the world .No borders .It says that nobody should own the internet .Some may think Internet service providers gets internet for free . Most of the time That’s not true .Most local Internet service providers have to get the internet from other bigger ISPs (Big ISPs) .These multinational companies will charge the local ISP’s for their services .So , That’s one of the main reasons why internet is not free.There are other reasons too.These companies have to maintains a large staff and Infrastructure requirement to provide the necessary service are some of the reasons.Also , These companies wants a profit from providing these services.Not only that ,The government wants a cut too. That’s why you have to pay for your internet .However , These companies should provide internet services for a fair price .So that , Everyone can access the internet.

Finding the best internet service providers is very important . Bad internet services can lead to many problems. Let’s say you are in a middle of a zoom interview and all of a sudden your internet connection is lost , You may or may not be able to re-schedule that interview . This is why it’s important to have a steady good quality internet service.Although ,Internet connection fails are inevitable , You should be able to access the internet without any concern of connection lost or failures. That’s why you a ISP that guarantee the quality of their services.Here in this article we are going to discuss the  following topics regarding how to find the best ISP in your area.

Identify your needs

best internet service provider in my area - why you need an internet connection

When it comes to finding the best internet service providers , First thing you need to focus is the reason why you need an internet connection . There are many reasons such as working at home , Education, Entertainment,streaming and gaming are some of them. Each reason require a specific type of internet connection . Type of your internet connection depend on the type of your work you do in the internet.

Working at home
If you are looking for a internet connection for work at home ,The selection of internet connection depend on what type of work you are doing . If you are using office package apps and upload them from home , You don’t need a costly internet package .You can go for a basic internet package. But , If you are a video editor that works from home , You have to go for the best data plan .Since , You have to both upload and download lot of raw and edited footage .

Education
If you are a student that have lot of research work to do , You may need a average internet plan that have data cap at least 100GB per month.If you are a person that interested in following video courses in the internet to learn something or if you are a student that attends online zoom classes , You need a internet connection with at least 500GB data cap per month .

Entertainment
If your only purpose of using internet is for entertainment such as watching movies , listening to music, You need a hi speed internet connection with good data cap.However, This depends on the video and audio quality of the content you are watching or listening.

Streaming
If you are a content creator or an streamer , You need a interrupt internet connection with good data cap.you should decide the connection speed depend on the quality of the content you are streaming. Better the video quality greater the internet connection speed and the data cap required.In this case , You need to focus on the upload speed and upload cap .

Whatever your intentions there are certain things that you wants to look for when selecting the best internet service providers. Here are some of them and how they affect your internet experience

The Company Profile

How to find best internet service providers in your area - The ISP company profile

There maybe dozens of companies that provides internet in your area .But , You need to find best internet service providers .A well known and experienced company that care about the reputation of their company. Some companies just don’t care about the customer or the services they are providing .It’s like hiring someone for a job. You need to be aware of these companies .Big ISP companies can be a good choice , Because they can provide the lowest rates. But, sometimes They may don’t take your complaints seriously or care less about it .Because , Their customer base is very big and gets thousands of them daily , You are just one of that thousands of complains . But , A Small ISP may take your complains seriously and will attempt to fix them quickly .

Customer support

In order to find the best internet service provider ,Make sure the company you are selecting have a good customer support . Some companies uses automated voice recordings to handle customer complains and to resolve the problems . If you look at this form the company’s perspective , This is very profitable solution.But , From the customers side ,This is a time waste .Most of the time you will left without a proper answer . You need a company that provides human customer support personals .Some companies uses third party customer support services .Most of the time these companies are situated abroad . The customer support personals in these cases are foreign nationals who don’t even understand your complaint .That’s why you need a company that provides native customer support personals.So they will have a better understanding of what you say.

Technical Support

You need an internet service provider that provides both online and in field Technical support . These support personals should be available 24/7 . If the technical support is bad , You better fix the problem yourself . Because , Some technical support personals will take days if not weeks to show up in some areas. These Technical support personals should know what they doing . Some companies hire third parties to handle their technical support issues . This can lead to many irresponsible service . That’s why you need to make sure they got their own technical support personals.

Working Hours

Make sure that ISP you are selecting have customer and technical support 24/7 . Unfortunately , Most of the ISPs doesn’t have 24/7 support .Select the company that have most support hours . Ask them about their support hours on holidays . Because , some ISP’s only provide technical support 8hours during the daytime. If something went wrong at night, You may have to wait until the next day .Also ,Some ISPs doesn’t work on national holidays .Make sure that you select the ISP that have the most working hours.

Customer Base

The best internet service providers are the one that cares about their customer base. having a large amount of customers doesn’t reflect into better service . Small ISPs who have small customer base may have better care and better service .It’s not an easy task to provide services to millions of customers every day . Large amount of users means large amount of internet users at anytime of the day.Specially during the day time . This can lead to throttling of connection speed to control the bandwidth usage.This is very common in urban areas . Unless the infrastructure is improved with the increasing of the customer base , These companies have to limit your internet usage / speed . That’s why they have night and day time data quotas .

Signal coverage

To find the best internet service providers Signal coverage is one of the main things you need to look for.Specially if you are interested in using WIFI , 3G , 4G or 5G connections (Wireless internet) .Check how close you are to the ISP tower . Closer the better .Closer to the tower , Higher the signal strength. Check the signal coverage map of the ISP . If you are located at the edge of a signal coverage , You may or may not get a good signal strength . If you are in a urban area buildings and other things may interfere with the signals , This will weaken your internet signal strength.

Charges /Fees

At the end of the day it’s all about how big of a hole it digs in your pocket , Right ? .to find the best internet service providers , You need to find the company that provides internet connections for fair price . Check whether the ISP have hidden charges for your internet usage .Because , Some ISPs do charge you more for extra data usage .Compare each companies charges / Fees and come to a conclusion . Keep in mind the fees / Charges mentioned without the tax . Ask them directly how much it will cost with the tax. Also, Keep in mind that these charges /Fees can change anytime .

Reviews

Customer feedback is the key to understand how the ISP’s service is .This is the key to finding the best internet service provider in your area. You can google search your ISP company name plus the word “reviews” and go through the various websites in the google search results to find out what the customers tells about their services . It’s true that , There will be a lot of people writing negative feedback instead of positive ,Because ,Hate and frustration can make you run miles without even knowing while happiness and satisfaction can leave you on a comfortable rocking chair.A person who had a bad experience is most likely to leave a feedback than the person who had good experience . If any company having greater than 55% of positive reviews or over 5.5 out of 10 is a fairly good company .



How to Find The Best Internet Connection

internet connection typesFinding the best internet service providers involves finding the best internet connection .Connection is how the user connects to the ISP servers to use the internet .As you connects to their servers they will assign you a IP address . public, private, static or dynamic IP address .Dynamic IP address will change over the time but static IP will remains . Static IP connections will cost you more .But ,Dynamic IP address cost you less and can change every time you connects to the internet.If you are looking for the best internet service provider connection ,There are few things that you need to focus on .Here are some of them.

Signal Strength and Quality

There are two aspects to Signal strength one is the strength of the 2G ,3G , 4G or 5G signal that receives from the tower and the other one is the strength of the WIFI signal that allows your computer or phone to connects to the router. Signal strength is the power remains in radio signal as it reach to your router. That’s why we said earlier in this article , closer to the tower is better .As the signals reach the end of the tower coverage area signal gets weaken . If there are buildings ,walls and other structures around your area , This can also weaken the signal. Weak signals means slow low quality data transfer rates .That’s why it’s important to have good signal strength for better internet experience.Signal quality is the parameter that describes how stable your internet connection is . If your internet connection speed is fluctuating all the time . It means you have bad signal quality .

Best Internet Connection Type

The next thing you need to find out is what type of a connection you need . There are many to choose from .Only the best internet service providers can provide all these types.But , You can select the next best option available . Here are some of the internet connection types available and what type of works you can use them for .

Cable Internet

How to find best internet service providers in your area - Cable internet connection types

Cable internet connection is where your PC/router or modem connects to the ISPs through wires .There are many types of cable internet connections .Some are no longer use .Wired internet is not available for everyone . Due to the infrastructure costs. E.g – In Srilanka the coverage area for Broadband internet connection is limited to 2KM from the main distribution center. Here some of the cable internet connection types.

Dial up connection

In this connections your computer connects to the ISP’s servers through fixed telephone lines AKA public switched telephone network (PSTN) by dialing-up a specific number. In this case your voice and internet data will be carried through these wire lines . A device called modem will decode and the data that comes through these lines and encode the data it receives form your device and send it through these wire lines.This type of connections are very slow and unstable . No longer used .This is one of the earliest methods that used to access the internet.Mostly used where any other internet access methods are not available.Slow upload and download speeds .Good for web surfing , Email checking . Low cost and in some areas it’s free of charge.

ADSL connection

Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) is a type of an internet connection allows faster download speeds but slow upload speeds . It uses telephone lines transmit data .These data will be filtered through a device called splitter .Which will isolate the frequency bands and separate voice line from data line.This allows users to use the telephone line while using the internet without any interruption.Unlike dial-up connection, you need to be closer to a telephone exchange .Good for download but still there are speed limitations . Not good for uploading big files . Good for web surfing.

Fiber Connection

In fiber internet connections fiber optic cables are being used to transmit data.This allows data to be transmitted in near light speed , only limited by the speed of the electronic components inside the devices . Fiber optic internet connections can be very helpful when data transmitting long distances . Because , Unlike electrical conductive wires these have little or no resistance and not affected by the electromagnetic interference.But , On the down side infrastructure for fiber internet is very expensive .Maintenance of such system is very expensive . That’s why ISP will charge you more for a fiber optic internet connection . You can archive the highest download and upload speeds by using such connection .Only available in urban areas.Good for Gaming , Streaming and other high data usage activities over the internet.

Wireless Internet

Wireless internet doesn’t require wires to transfer data. It uses radio signals with different frequency bands . There are different types of wireless internet . These wireless internet connections allows higher download and upload speeds . Because , They not involves laying wires infrastructure cost is very low . One Tower can serve thousands of people .

2G GPRS

In 2G GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) radio signals being used to data transmission up to 40Kb/s .However , With the help EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) it can be increased up 384 Kb/s . But , 2G is no longer used in some countries (Eg. Australia) . Slow download and upload speeds are the limitations of these connections. Good for simple internet tasks . Not recommend  for Watching videos over the internet.

3G HSPA+

3G is a improved version of 2G .Designed for a better internet speed . The transferring speed is around 140Kb/s .However later developed 3.5G and 3.75G transmission speed can reach up to 1.5 Mb/s .But , HSPA+ Technology Introduced with 3GPP allows far more greater speeds than this (upto 54Mb/s). This was the greatest breakthrough at the time . This allows Mobile users to connect to the internet directly and experience the fast (at that time) internet . Unlike 2G This allowed users to watch videos through internet VIA mobile devices . But , In 2021 this technology is out dated . Good for web surfing , Watching YouTube videos at max 480P and other moderate internet data usage tasks .You can use a 3G dongle to access internet from your computer.

4G LTE

First introduced in 2008. The data transfer speed can reach up to 100Mb/s .However , 4G LTE-A can reach data transfer speed up to 1Gb/s (peak) .This technology is not like 2G or 3G.Where 2G and 3G supports circuit switched telephony service. But , 4G technology supports IP based communication. Good for watching high quality videos , streaming and other data intensive tasks over the internet. Higher download speeds and higher upload speeds are guaranteed.

5G

5G connections are very localized cellular networks . The 5G signal coverage areas are very small comparing to above mentioned technologies. So , There will be thousands of 5G towers in a single city.Benefit of the 5G technology is that it has higher bandwidth , upload and download speeds comparing to other wireless internet technologies.It says it can reach up to 10Gb/s data transfer rate.This advantage is due to the higher frequency data signals used in 5G technology . The disadvantage is higher frequency means short wavelength . The signal coverage by a single tower is limited.To avoid this 5G is divided into three categories Low-band ,Mid-band and high-band . Each one of these band categories have unique frequency range and different coverage areas and internet speeds.This is the best wireless connection type so far . Good for any data intensive activities over the internet.



How to Find The Best internet Internet Service Plan

selecting an Internet plan

Lets say you managed to find the best internet service providers . Now it’s time to select an internet package. Different companies have different internet packages.But , There are certain terms that are commonly used by all of them .Here are the things that you need to look for a internet package.The price or the fees for the packages depends on the connection type , Data Cap , Download , upload speed and validity period .

Data Caps

This is the amount of data capacity allowed to download and upload .Almost all the ISPs calculate the data cap by adding the total upload data and total download data. So ,It’s doesn’t matter whether you download or upload ,both counted as same . There are connection data caps starting from 1Gb to 1Tb or more . You need to select a package that allows the amount of data capacity you need .If not you may have to buy extra data for higher price or you may left with unused data capacity . If you pass the data cap the connection will be terminated or throttled until you buy extra data . But , Some connection types allows you to download or upload pass the

data cap but charge you for the excessive data usage. When calculating data cap ISPS uses different data convert methods 1MB = 1000KB , 1GB = 1000MB , 1TB = 1000GB .Why they use such convention method is unknown .

Data Quotas

To control the Bandwidth used by the users at any given time ISPS apply Data quotas . Usually Night and Day time quotas.The Day time data quota also known as any time data quota . Because , It can be used not only daytime but also at the night (If the night time data quota is over). This cause users to use less data in peak hours causing web traffic to dial down.So , Every one can use internet with a good speed.The day time data quota is from 8.00 to 23.59h and the night time data quota is from 00.00 to 7.59h .But , This time periods can vary . However , There are some packages don’t have any data quotas . You need to choose the package that provide the most data quota on your internet usage hours. Even if it cost you more , Best package is the packages that doesn’t have data quotas.

Connection Speeds

Connection speed can be measured by measuring your download and upload speed .This is done by uploading / downloading a fixed file . However , Depend on the location(Server location) of the file that you are downloading or uploading the speed may vary .Eg – If you are downloading a file from Chinese servers it the download speed will be very low . Because of the Chinese cyber Firewall . Also , The connection type have to do lot with the connection speed .Also the electronic device’s (Routers ,Modems , WIFI card ) limitations also applied .

Download and Upload speed

Different internet packages have different download and upload speeds . The speed of your connection depends on the type of your connection.Each connection type have it’s download and upload limitations. Select a package that provides the download and upload speeds for the type of work you are doing in the internet . Because ,Higher speeds can cost you ore If you are using the internet for watching videos or playing games you need a internet package that provides good download speed .If you are a streamer or video editor who has to upload large video files , You need a internet connection with good upload speed.



How to Find The Best internet Internet Service Plan

selecting an internet plan

There are mainly two types of internet packages FUP (Fair Use Policy ) and unlimited . The FUP package will terminate (capping) if the data cap was exceeded . To use internet after that you have purchase extra data . This is good to avoid extra data usage and having to pay more money for the extra data usage . Because , people don’t check the data usage all the time, They will exceed the data cap eventually . If you are not worried about the exceeding the data cap and having to pay extra for excessive data usage . You can use the unlimited package .Whatever the package type is , There are special packages offered by the ISPS . Here are some of them .

Unlimited Packages

Unlimited packages are the packages that doesn’t have data caps. These unlimited packages are not actually unlimited . Internet service providers have limited download and upload speeds for these type of internet connections . Some ISPs will apply certain conditions to such packages (Eg – No Torrent download) . Some ISPs will throttle these unlimited internet connections after certain download and upload limits . As you can see these unlimited packages are actually limited packages .The main thing you need to look for is the download and upload speeds of these type of connections. Also,You need to read the terms and conditions of these internet packages very carefully .

Basic Packages

Basic packages are for normal day today use of internet for single person . Low data cap and medium connection speed . Good for web surfing , social media use and other non-data intensive work in the internet . Low cost .

Family Packages

Family packages are for normal internet use for multiple people. Good for home internet . Medium data cap medium connection speeds . Good for web surfing , Social media use and other medium data intensive work over the internet. The intention of this connection is to provide internet for a small family . Medium data caps allow every one in the house to use the internet without worrying about the data usage.

Office Packages

Office packages are for data intensive work over the internet for multiple people . Higher data cap higher connection speeds. Good for work over the internet tasks.Designed for use for office establishments .These are Expensive packages .

Educational Packages

Educational packages are for school and high school students . These packages haves special data allocation for certain software such as Skype , Zoom and Microsoft team .Some times unlimited data caps for these software (Conditions may apply). These packages are introduced for online classes due to covid-19 . Medium data caps and medium data speeds . Low cost good for online learning classes .

Entertainment packages

Entertainment packages are for people who are interested in watching videos over the internet. These packages allow unlimited data usage on some video streaming websites such as YouTube , Twitch and Netflix (Conditions may apply). Low cost . Low data cap for other work . Only select this package if you only use it for watching videos over the allowed websites .

Social Media Packages

Social media packages allow users to use social media such as Facebook , Twitter and Instagram with or without data cap(Conditions may apply) . Good for people who are addicted to social media sites.Low cost . Low data cap for other work over the internet . Select this packages if you are only interested in using social media sites.



Other Services Provided

As we discussed early there are many things to look for when it comes to selecting your internet service provider. There are also few other things that they should provide in order to you to have a better internet experience. Here are some of the services that should be available to you.

User Web Portal

Internet user web portal

User Web Portal is a web page or pages that allows users to logged in and control or monitor the internet connection . It’s a web application or collection of applications that allows users to do things otherwise they have to go to the ISP to get these things done . With the User Web Portal user can do almost anything regarding their internet connection . Not every Web Portals are the same . Different ISPs have different limitation what uses can do or can’t do . Here are some of the basic User Web Portal features that should be available to you (User) .

Data Usage

The User Web Portal should show the up to date data usage . Some User Web Portal data usage meters doesn’t show the up to date data usage until you disconnect and reconnect your connection . This is not how it should be . There should be current usage data available to the user . Select a ISP that provides real time data usage Monitoring .The upload and download data should be displayed separated.

Data purchasing

Purchasing extra data should be available to the user VIA User Web Portal . This require User Web Portal access even if you are over the data cap. The prices of the extra data also should be available . The extra data purchase charges should be mentioned separately .

Online customer care

Since , The user can access the User Web Portal even if they ran out of data ,The user should be able to communicate with the customer care personal VIA User Web Portal. At least there should be a method to file a complaint .

Online payment

The online bill payment should be available in the User Web Portal . This gives the user the ability to pay their bills directly without the involvement of a third party or having to go to the ISP to pay the bills .

Package change

The user must be able to change the data plans using the User Web Portal . However , There may be some terms and conditions applied . E.g -Once changed You have to wait at least a month to change it back .Also , There may be limitations on how many times you can change your package .

Extra Data Purchasability

The extra data Purchasability is an essential option . However the ISP should not charge you extra for extra data purchase service . The ISP should provide the means to purchase extra data such as VIA User Web Portal , VIA S.M.S or VIA voice call . all of these options must be available for you .

Equipment

The ISP must provide the Equipment such as routers , modems , switches ,splitters, etc necessary for internet connection . However ISPs have a limitations on how many equipment they are going to provide for each internet connection . There may be additional charges for additional equipment . Most ISPs will keep a deposit for the equipment they are providing

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where to look for the ISP Customer Feedback ?

    Don’t trust the customer feedback mentioned on the website of the ISP .They are selected feedback . One way to hear from both sides is by referring to the feedback on their social media pages . If they doesn’t allow leaving feedback there . There are websites such as Yelp , Trustpilot  . Whatever the feedback is take it with a grain of salt .Because , There are many fake reviews out there .

  •  Do I have to pay to change the internet plan?

    Some ISPs may charge you for plan changes . But , Most of the ISPs doesn’t charge you for internet plan changes . However , If you are changing your internet connection type , You may have to pay the service fees and equipment fees involved . E.g – Changing ADSL connection to a Fiber internet connection.

  • Can I use the service from ISP in other country ?

    Yes , If that ISP provides service to your country or you located right next to that country’s border . This can allow you to use their services. Because, The radio signals can reach your area.

  • What is the difference between prepaid and postpaid internet ?

    Prepaid internet is where you pay before using the internet .You pay or reload the internet plan fees and activate that internet package or plan . These prepaid plans have expire dates . Once activated . You need to use the internet before that expire date.Postpaid internet is where you pay for your internet at the end of the usage period . It can be paid monthly or annually . Benefit of postpaid internet is that your internet connection won’t be disconnected at the end of the usage period . You will get a grace period to settle your bills . During that period you can use the internet as usual.However , There can be some additional fees involved .

Disclaimer – The content of this article may change or Update over the time  . The content in this article text and images are subjected to the international copyright laws .

Author : Janaka Jayathilake
Published on : 21|09|2021