In its relatively short history, the internet has become almost indispensable. Like a Kenmore refrigerator in 1962, the internet is a necessity few of us could imagine doing without today. Its uses in our homes are varied — entertainment, information, work functions, connecting with others — but it is increasingly essential. Now the world is brought to into our homes and businesses by the connections we are able to make on the internet.
What can your Internet Service Provider (ISP) do for you? Or more importantly, what should you be looking for when choosing an ISP? Very often it starts with price. What seems to be the cheapest? Who has the best deal?
From there it often goes to internet speed.
“Speed” though, is usually bursts of speed; most ISPs will advertise how fast we can splash up a web page: 5 Mpbs, 10 Mpbs, maybe 15 Mpbs, or more, but of course, that’s just the bursts of speed. As we know, often what is more important is the speed that can be sustained. It’s sustained speed that lets you watch movies, game in real time, or download large files or updates for your computer.
Then after that, we look to latency, because it’s very important that your internet service provider has good, solid, fast connections with the other servers that make up the World Wide Web. So, the longer it takes for one server to talk to another is measured as latency. And the longer the latency, not only the slower the connection, but the more mistakes that can be made in the transmission, which then requires that the packets – the bits and bytes of data – be retransmitted.
Then in a way, that all comes down to reliability. That’s the thing that is most important. You get what you pay for and it isn’t much good if you get a very low price, but the service that you get is inconsistent. Maybe it works great and fast one day and that seems fine, but then the day you really need it, it doesn’t work – for example, the movie you’re trying to watch buffers, or the connection is lost entirely, or working from home the connection is spotty and you can’t get email or the report off to your boss. So, in many ways, the most important thing your ISP should provide is consistent reliability. That means that the service provider you’ve chosen gives you the same speed, day in and day out, the same latency, day in and day out, and provides the same, consistent through-put, day in and day out.
For that consistency, an internet service provider has to have built a very robust network behind your connection, and constantly attend to it. Indeed, it is equally important that your service provider has the team of people standing behind their network all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that if something isn’t right, they’re right there quickly to fix it – hopefully before you, as the customer, really knows there’s a problem.
Finally, consumers have another choice to make beyond price, or just how fast or how consistent the internet service is. They can choose what kind of company they would feel good in giving their business to. There are many choices, sometimes overwhelming choices – from large, national ISP, telecom or cable companies, all the way down to smaller local ISPs, like SpeedConnect – an independently owned and operated local provider with service and support teams right in the community in which we invest.
So what can your ISP do for you? The answer is many essential things: speed, low latency, consistent reliability, a robust, uncluttered network and a local, in-community 24/7 team to stand behind it.