The Internet has become one of the most powerful tools available to business owners.
With its capability to send, receive, and store information, you'll have a hard time finding a better asset. But, unfortunately, people do not always have the same access to the Internet as others do.
The gatekeepers of this service are known as Internet service providers (ISPs). These companies are essentially the liaison between you and the Internet.
You pay a monthly subscription, and they provide you with the access you need. Just like any other industry, every company that offers Internet as a service is slightly different than their competitors.
However, you should keep in mind that some ISPs will better suit your needs than others. Not sure which one is going to be right for you?
Read on to learn 10 questions to ask your local Internet provider before signing up.
When everyone is using an ISP's servers at once, you can experience an unwelcome slowdown in performance. As you might assume, this is a result of the servers being strained by so much traffic.
Before you sign a contract with your potential ISP, figure out what their peak usage times are. Sometimes, customers of a local Internet provider will use the service most at night.
Other times, the afternoon will be the most popular time. In general, it's best to go with an ISP whose peak times are hours when your own usage is not very high.
Stellar speed doesn't mean much if the Internet is always down. For regular consumers, this can cause hair-pulling frustration. For business owners, this can cost thousands of dollars in lost productivity.
Your ISP may beat around the bush when asked this question, but they will often point you in the right direction on where to find this information.
An outage or two here and there is normal because no service is perfect. But, if an ISP has an outage every week, you need to look elsewhere.
Now more than ever, cybersecurity is a growing concern.
People often keep their whole lives on their computers. This includes photos, music, and plenty of other personal information like tax documents and credit card numbers. Entrepreneurs may run their entire business from their laptop.
As a result, a good local Internet provider will have plenty of security measures in place. Multi-layered security that includes updated anti-virus software, firewalls, and spam filters is the standard you should be looking for.
Download speeds are crucial, especially for those who frequently share important documents.
In today's society, it's not uncommon for people to work remotely. This is especially true for those who live in rural areas and can't feasibly make the commute to the office each day.
But, this means that employees must access business information from their own computer. People achieve this by connecting to a cloud server that stores this data.
If download speeds are low, then it will be very difficult to be productive. Sharing information will take longer and performance as a whole will suffer.
But, this same concept also applies to the average consumer, as well. Poor download speeds effectively make using the Internet impossible.
This is one of the most important questions to ask your local Internet provider. Throttled Internet connections are one of the most frustrating things customers can experience.
ISPs with older equipment may intentionally throttle consumers' connections during peak times so that they don't have to spend money on upgrading. Other companies may throttle the connections of those who use too much bandwidth.
Regardless of why your local Internet provider may choose to slow down your connection, you will often find it inconvenient and irritating. The best ISPs are those who are capable enough to accommodate plenty of web traffic.
This means that they won't ever have to throttle the connections of their customers unless someone's bandwidth usage has gotten out of hand.
It's not uncommon at all for routers to fail. Whether your main Internet use is for recreation or business, you're not going to be happy. Some ISPs will repair your faulty router that evening. Others may have to do it the next day.
Some may not offer repair services on weekends, either, meaning that you won't be able to accomplish much online until it's fixed.
While it's unrealistic to expect an immediate repair, you should look for an ISP that can replace your router within 24 hours.
Many ISPs include the phrase "up to" when advertising their speeds. You should always look out for this tactic, because "up to" is essentially a simpler way of saying "under perfect conditions."
Sure, your local Internet provider may have the capability to offer lightning-fast Internet. But, if you can only ever reach top speeds from 3 AM to 5 AM, then it's irrelevant.
Just because the maximum speed offered is high doesn't mean that your daily experience will involve a fast connection.
Unfortunately, there are businesses in every industry that include deception in their businesses practices. ISPs are no exception. Sometimes, ISPs will try to hide their fees until it's time to pay them.
You should ask your potential provider if there are fees you should be aware of. These include router transition fees, set-up fees, and even cancellation fees.
You'll need to take these numbers into account when determining how much everything is going to cost you.
Invasion of privacy is a very important issue. While the common argument is "if you have nothing to hide, you have no reason to worry," this doesn't mean ISPs should be sifting through your personal data.
Good ISPs will explicitly declare that they never look at their consumer's online activity unless ordered to by a judge.
As you can expect, a dedicated connection is ideal. Shared connections involve multiple users taking up bandwidth, which may slow everyone else on the network down.
The main issue with a dedicated connection is that it can be very expensive. But, if you have the budget for it, it's definitely worth the investment.
You can accomplish this by asking your potential ISP these 10 questions. This will make sure you give your money to an honest company that offers good services.
Need to learn more about how to optimize your Internet usage and speed? Check out our blog. If you are need in Rural High-Speed Internet get in touch with our offices 855.844.9283.