Choosing And Isp Essay, Research Paper
Choosing an Internet Service Provider
As the Internet becomes more popular, both in e-commerce and personal computer use, the need for Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) grows. With so many ISP’s now in operation, the choices for service are vast and the process of finding the right provider for your needs has become much more involved than when the Internet first became accessible to the public.
The first step in choosing an ISP is to know what you need. Will you be using the Internet for business or personal use? What type of work will you be doing on the Internet? Will you be connecting more than one computer (i.e. connecting a network)?
What modem speed do you have? Once you have determined your needs, it will be simpler to determine what ISP will be able to provide the best service for you.
Some important things to consider, and questions to ask when shopping for an Internet Service Provider are:
1. Connectivity – How does the ISP connect to the rest of the Internet? This can have a large effect on your web surfing, web sites, or other Internet related activities. It is important to know what speed they are connecting at, what types of cables they are using, what type of network they are on, and what type of hardware or software they are using.
The term ‘bandwidth’ relates to the amount of traffic that the ISP’s cabling can carry at any one time. If there are lots of users, and lower bandwidth, you will experience a much slower connection. You should be looking for a provider with at least a T1 connection. Check to make sure that your modem is fast enough to support your Internet use. Most providers recommend at least a 28.8kbps modem.
2. Accessibility – How many incoming modem lines does the ISP maintain? (What is the customer to modem ratio?) Is the dial-up number a local call? Can you connect from another city? All of these are important questions to ask about the perspective ISP. An ISP with only two or three telephone lines may not be as reliable a connection as one with five or six. The lesser amount of telephone lines could result in busy signals that are more frequent. Though most cities have local ISP’s, some rural communities face the challenge of finding local dial-up numbers. For these people, this could play a large role in the decision making process. For business travelers, it may be important to note if their ISP is accessible from another city, and if they have an out of area 800 service.
3. Services – What kind of additional services does the ISP provide? For the average user, most basic connections include just the connection, and one email account. In non-commercial sites, it is common to receive web site space on the server with a basic connection. There are many other services offered by some ISP’s that can be considered when choosing a provider.. Here are some of the more common services that can be found:
? Additional email accounts.
? Email forwarding.
? Commercial web space.
? Web site design services.
? Email and web browser software.
? Internet classes.
4. Cost – Does the ISP offer a variety of service plans? What are your billing options? To some, the most important aspect when making the decision to use an ISP. It is important to remember that sometimes a lower cost can result in a lower quality of service. Make sure you are aware of any restrictions on the service you are considering. These restrictions could include a time limit per day; services only good during certain hours of the day; and the price could only be valid for the first month. These are just a few of the ISP restrictions you might find. On the average, for a basic Internet connection with unlimited hours and email, you can expect to pay about $ 20.00 a month. Business connections average around $ 40.00 a month.
5. Customer Service – All providers will tell you they provide technical support, so you need to ask a few more questions to get a feel for just what it is they offer. What is the ISP’s reputation? How accessible is technical support? What is the average response time for online support? Customer service, in my opinion, is the most important thing to consider when making any consumer decision. How quickly the provider responds to customer inquiries, both online and off, and how quickly they respond to service interruptions could both be indications of whether or not the company is well organized, efficient, and customer service orientated. Good technical support on almost a 24-hour basis is essential for a competent ISP provider.
These are just some of a few critical issues that must be explored before choosing your connection to the Internet. If you are an experienced computer user, price, user ratio, network access, modem speed, and the type of business you are dealing with are likely your main concerns. If you are a new user to computers, the personal contact and technical support capabilities should carry additional weight. The bottom line is that mass access to the Internet is relatively new, and as such there are vast differences in what various Internet Service Providers offer, do a bit of investigation, it will pay off.
“Choosing Your Internet Service Provider: What You Need to Know” Online, www.
“How to Select an Internet Provider For Your Business” Online, http: //www. bosbbb.org/lit/0348.htm.
“Learning the Internet for Business” DDC Publishing, 1999