Tips & Advice
What is a bandwidth limit?
Bandwidth limit basically refers to the amount of data you are allowed to download, per your contract. Some internet plans have bandwidth limit on how much data you can download, and, once you have reached that limit, you have reached your bandwidth limit. You will not be allowed anymore data, or your download speed can drop, or, as is usually the case, the ISP will gladly charge you for the additional bandwidth. It’s a good idea to have an unlimited data plan to combat this issue.
Which type of ISP offers the fastest connection?
Cable is considered to be the fastest internet connection available, of course with anything there are variables in service. It comes down to cable vs. DSL in speed. Cable is capable of supporting approximately 300 megabytes per second (mbps) of bandwidth in many areas, whereas most forms of DSL reach speeds of only up to 100 Mbps. Will you notice the difference? Maybe. This is mostly theoretical and the actual difference may be negligible to the average user. However, those two are considered the fastest connections with cable separating itself from the pack by a nose.
Types of internet service providers
There are several basic types of ISP, starting with the two types: dial-up which only connects when a person initiates it and broadband (in which the connection is always on). The basic types of service include digital subscriber line (DSL), cable, fiber optic service (FiOS), wireless (Wi-Fi), satellite, and cellular. Each service has a varying degree of technology behind it. This can affect speed and download capabilities, but often the differences can be negligible. All provide a reasonable quality of service. The least effective is satellite service, which is mostly used in rural areas that lack real internet access. Speed, limited access, and bandwidth limitations are normal with satellite internet. You also might not have 24 hour access. All the rest provide reasonable to excellent internet access.
What is an upstream provider?
An upstream provider is basically a larger ISP that provides smaller ISPs with access to the internet. The larger ISPs, usually tier 1, send data or service “downstream” to the smaller ISPs that do not have the infrastructure the tier 1 providers do. The smaller providers go “upstream” to the tier 1 providers to get their data or service because they are lower down on the ISP food chain.
What is a tier one network?
A tier 1 network is considered a top level network on the internet. There are about a dozen tier one networks (like AT&T, Sprint, etc.) globally. Tier 1 providers exchange internet traffic with other tier 1 providers through peering agreements. They are also called backbone providers because they provide the infrastructure necessary to accommodate all internet providers.
How to set up an internet connection?
Once you have established a connection through an ISP (which means a provider has turned on access), you run a cable from the internet connection (usually from a wall outlet) into a router box. From the router you run a cable to your computer and/or your TV/cable box (you’ll need a splitter for this). If you are running a wireless router (the most common), you won’t be running cables from the box to your computer or TV, the connections will be made wirelessly. Once this is set up, you will need to connect your devices.
Usually you will have software, or you’ll have to connect directly to the router via an Ethernet cable, and these will walk you through the specific steps of connecting and configuring your network(s) and passwords. From there you can use these passwords and network information on all devices, including your phone. Most devices will automatically recognize your network once it is set up, and all you should need is the password to connect. Or, if this is too nerve wracking you can just call a service provider.
An ISP is an internet service provider. It is simply an entity or business that provides access to the internet for businesses or personal home use. Most people now have wireless internet connections to run their computers and their TVs, which allows streaming of content.