If you watch commercials or read pamphlets about internet service, a lot of seemingly important terms tend to repeat themselves. Fast, reliable, great for streaming, great for gaming--they all have wonderful boasts, but what do they really mean? Here are a few explanations of popular internet service features and offers to help you figure out what you really need.
Fast Versus Consistent
Fast internet is probably the most important concept for most internet users. For most residential internet users who need to see the results of their plan, the main issue is making websites load quickly or watching videos without the word buffering constantly interrupting their movie or TV show.
The basic point of fast internet boasts is how quickly data can be downloaded. Fast internet is also high-capacity internet, meaning that you have a bigger "pipe" of internet connectivity to pump internet content in and out of your home network.
Bandwidth describes the capacity, or size of an internet line or pipe. The bigger the bandwidth, the more information you'll get at once. The speed of the data moving through the pipe is important, but such a common quality that only technicians need to worry about it.
One major cause of slow speeds isn't the bandwidth, but many internet users know nothing about it. Inconsistent internet happens when data is lost, such as using wireless internet when there's something blocking the antenna or otherwise interfering. Other interruptions come from hitting the your bandwidth ceiling and hitting errors when the next request comes zooming in, which usually means getting a bigger pipe.
There are some other issues that need to be fixed by either you or your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Viruses can sometimes take up internet speed, or cause system problems that interrupt whatever you're using for internet access. This means crippling your browser (Internet Explorer, Edge Browser, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) or streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) to the point that they can't use the perfectly fine internet pipe.
Your ISP may be having issues in the local area, such as wiring damage, or internal business issues nowhere near your home. If it's happening in your house, it's your responsibility and the ISP may help you with it. Outside of the house, call the ISP and report the issue until it's fixed--it's their problem, and you need great service as soon as possible!
Great For Gaming? Great For Streaming? Why?
When an ISP says that a plan is great for a specific task, they're actually tackling one big problem with internet service and science in general; the public isn't that great with numbers!
You need to be able to understand what speeds your home network needs. Network requirements are evaluated by figuring out what everyone on your connection uses during every part of the day. This is as simple as adding up how much internet is used on Person A's computer for Netflix, Person B's computer for World of Warcraft, Person C's computer for downloading big files for work, and Person D's computer for talking with Voice Over IP.
Monitoring is easy with the right tools, but rough estimates are good enough. An online gamer needs a good download and upload to talk to the game server seamlessly, while everyone else just need fast download speeds. For entire households, you just need to increase that internet pipe to accommodate everything added together.
Contact a business like Valley TeleCom Group to discuss the kinds of internet activities in your household to get paired with a plan at the right speed and budget point.