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Choosing The Right Internet Service Provider

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Choosing an internet service provider isn't always a simple task. There are various types of high-speed connections, which are all commonly referred to as Broadband. Depending on the area you live in, you may have several types of internet service provider options — cable, satellite, digital subscriber line (DSL), or fiber optic (FiOS) are all high-speed internet options available. Dial-up internet is even still an option, though it's mostly used by people in really rural environments. Of course, unless dial-up internet service is your only option, you should disregard it completely. Learn more about various broadband options so you can choose the right internet service provider for your household.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

DSL internet operates using your phone line, like dial-up internet services does. However, unlike dial-up internet DSL doesn't tie up your phone line and it runs a lot faster. When you're looking at DSL internet, you'll see a range of numbers similar to 1.5 Mbps/128 Kbps. The first number refers to maximum download speed — how fast your internet pages populate — while the second number refers to how fast you can upload pictures, videos, etc. to the internet. As of 2017, it's possible to find DSL service with download rates as fast as 6 Mbps and upload rates as fast as 768 Kbps. While DSL internet service is a bit slower than cable or fiber optic service, it's also usually cheaper, making it a good option for moderate internet users and people on a budget.

Cable and Satellite Internet

Cable and satellite internet providers offer broadband service that's really similar. Both offer download speeds up to 50 Mbps, which is ideal for families who enjoy streaming videos, music, and playing online games. Depending on where you live, you may not find much of a difference between cable and satellite internet services, so it comes down to your personal preference. People who live in rural areas, however, may not have access to cable internet service. Satellite internet service is available practically everywhere.

Fiber Optic (FiOS)

Fiber optic internet service operates using fiber optic lines that are actually as thin as human hair. They offer downloading speeds as high as 300 Mbps and uploading speeds as high as 65 Mbps. While fiber optic internet service is the fastest service available, it is only available in limited areas.

Ultimately, the internet service provider you choose should offer service that fits your family's needs. If your family constantly uses the internet, streams a lot of movies and music, and needs to be able to do work or schoolwork from home, you should consider choosing an internet service provider with fast download and upload speeds.