What ISP should I choose?
The first question you might ask is “what is an ISP?” An ISP is an Internet Service Provider. They are who you use to get Internet in your home or business. Some of the possible ISPs on the Iron Range are Mediacom, Century Link, Frontier, Lake Connections, Dish, AT&T, Verizon and more.
There are a few types of Internet connections to choose from, here are some of them.
This connection will connect you to the internet from the telephone line. It will be extremely slow to load pages and download files. This connection is available almost everywhere though. Using dial-up, you won’t be able to talk on your phone while on the internet.
DSL – Digital Subscriber Line
DSL is also serviced by your phone company, but is not available everywhere. This connection is usually fairly solid in towns/cities, but when you get out in the country it is not as reliable. The speed you receive will vary depending on how far you are from the relay station. You may have a completely different speed than a neighbor down the street who is paying the same amount due to distances and conditions of the wires.
Cable internet is provided by your cable company. This connection is usually a fairly reliable connection in towns/cities that offer it. Again, this is usually only in your towns/cities, not so much in rural areas. There are caps or limits on some of the cable companies and if you go over, your bill will either go up for the overages or your speeds may go down to a crawl, or even stop. You definitely need to watch for any caps or limits that there may be on monthly bandwidth.
Satellite Internet is provided by companies such as Dish & DirecTV and others. The best thing about their services are you can get them nearly anywhere – as long as there is a clear shot to a certain point in the sky which might vary depending on where you live. The biggest issues with this service are they are not as fast as most DSL, Cable or Fiber connections, but still have decent speeds. Also, if you are a gamer, then there is latency which will cause issues on your multi-player games such as racing or shooting type games. An example you might be heading to a corner and then all the sudden you are in a different place crashed in the wall.
This is one of the newer services that offer very fast and reliable speeds. One nice thing, is unlike other types of internet, your neighbors will not affect your speed. Many fiber companies offer speeds up to around 500Mbps. The con for this is it is currently very limited on its locations across the country.
Before you decide which ISP you are going to use, decide what you are going to be using the service for and make sure they offer enough bandwidth for what you are planning. If you are going to watch Netflix movies all the time, then make sure to ask them if you will have enough bandwidth to do this.
Hopefully this helps you decide on which internet type you should sign up with. It depends on where you live, what you are planning on doing with the internet and the price points you have. If you are a gamer (racing, shooting or other multiplayer type games that have a lot of graphics) you will want Fiber, DSL or Cable. If you are just checking emails, most any connection will work. The only connection I won’t suggest will be dial-up, because if you choose that it can take minutes for a page to load in some cases.