Internet Service Providers, commonly referred to as ISPs are firms and organizations offering internet access and other related services to users. Internet service provider connect their users to users of other providers through networks. Most ISPs are telecommunications companies, which offer telephone and data communication services. A typical Internet Service Provider puts focus on DSL, wireless, cable modem and fiber optic services. Although not very common, some internet providers still provide dial up internet service, but it is being phased out gradually.
Types of Internet Service Providers
There are many different ISPs, each offering varying level of service and coverage. Services offered by internet service providers include; dial up access, internet access, registration of domain and hosting of domain. Here is a classification of the types of internet service providers:
- Access ISPs – use a range of technologies to enable the users to connect to their network. The technologies may include dial up or broadband. Most of the Access providers also offer email and hosting services.
- Hosting ISPs – they offer web hosting services, File Transfer Protocol, email services, physical servers and clouds, which enables customers to run their own personalized software.
- Mailbox ISPs – offers hosting services for email mailbox. They provide servers for sending, receiving, accepting and storing emails for end users and/or organizations.
- Free ISPs – they offer their services free of charge to the consumers but most of them will display adverts while the user is connected
- Virtual ISPs – they purchase services from other ISPs and allow their users to access the services through the infrastructure owned by the other internet service providers
- Transit ISPs – these ISPs offers a large amount of bandwidth that is used to connect the access ISPs and hosting ISPs together
Different options of ISPs
With the several types of internet services offered, and diverse technologies that can be used, there are 4 different options of Internet Service Providers you can use. They are:
- Cable Service Providers – Cable service is the fastest internet service. The ISPs provide internet service using the existing cable television connection. The service is very easy to access if the area you live has a connection from a major cable company. It is also very fast – up to 70 times faster than dial up.
- DSL providers (digital service line) – The DSL providers use existing telephone wires in an area to connect computers to the internet. The internet connection provided is digital, allowing use of the phone while connected to the interned. The bandwidth offered by the ISPs is consistent and the connection is fast – up to 50 times more than dial up connection.
- Satellite Internet providers – These ISPs use satellite service to provide the users with internet connection. Satellite internet service is relatively new and it is more expensive. It is most suitable for areas with no other internet service, for example the rural areas.
- Wireless internet access providers – These ISPs provide Wi-Fi, EV-DO and wireless internet broadband services using wireless networks. It is one of the most popular and the service is quite fast – up to 35 times more than dial up.
Choosing the best Internet Service Providers
When choosing an internet service provider, many factors come into play. Researching each option you have before you make a decision will help you choose the best ISP. When selecting an ISP always look for: availability of the service, good connection speed, affordable prices, good terms of service, reliability, good customer service and if possible, additional features.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Internet Providers
Finding the perfect internet service provider can be quite hectic. You may find yourself reading through loads of online technical information provided by various internet service providers and at the end you are nowhere close to making a final decision. To ease your work and help you in finding the right internet providers, here are a few simple but inclusive factors that you should consider.
- Internet speed – Also referred to as bandwidth, internet speed required will vary depending on your usage needs. If you are planning on using the internet frequently, you may want to look for an ISP who can provide high bandwidth. For intermittent users, a lower and cheaper internet speed is ideal. In addition, if you are planning on using the internet for online gaming, video communication or streaming, the bandwidth has to be high. Also, if the internet will be used by more than one person at a time, a higher broadband speed will be required.
- Location/address – Which service providers are available in your area? Internet Service Providers operate within certain geographical areas and before you choose a specific one it is necessary to confirm its availability in your area. There are numerous websites that allow you to search for internet service providers within a certain region. Alternatively you can use Google to search for service providers in your area.
- Pricing – Different internet providers will charge differently for their internet packages. The best way to choose the best pricing is by researching and comparing all options. You can easily do this online. Find out which company offers more deals, best customer care support and round the clock technical support. In general, go for a company that offers superb services at a fair price.
- Parental control - Do you have children in your home? If so, you may need to look for an internet provider who can provide a parental control feature.
- Added perks - To attract customers and improve service delivery, many internet providers will provide added perks and incentives to usual packages. They include internet security features such as anti-spam software and a free email domain
In addition to the above factors, make sure that you have explored a company’s terms and conditions before signing up with them. Is there a money-back guarantee? Will you be charged if you cancel the contract? How long is the contract?
To find the perfect internet service provider is quite hard. who has all the qualities you are looking for. Generally however, an ideal internet service provider should charge a fair price, provide excellent customer care and technical support, adequately meet your internet usage requirements and provide added perks to the normal package.
You can also use the internet to look for highly recommended internet providers or even ask for recommendations from your friends. In the end however, you should remember that everyone’s internet needs are different from those of others and you will have to work at finding your own ideal internet provider. The more effort you put into the search of the internet service providers the higher satisfaction you will experience from the services provided.