What Is An Internet Service Provider?
Everyone relies on the internet, but where does it come from? The entity responsible for providing internet connection to your home, business, and phone is called an internet service provider (ISP). These providers use a variety of methods to get service to your location including fiber optics, cell towers, and satellite antennas.
Depending on your area, there could be dozens, or no providers available. For those who have few options, choosing a provider is relatively easy. For others, the options can be overwhelming and complicated to understand. Let’s take a look at some describing terms and see what they mean for your connection.
What Makes A Good Internet Connection?
The main designation between internet provider service packages is speed. This is typically displayed in megabits per second (Mbps), a unit of measurement for bandwidth and throughput on a network. The higher, the better. For reference, a high quality stream (YouTube, Netflix) requires about 5 Mbps.
Internet service can be imagined like water flowing through a pipe. Imagine the size of the pipe as the bandwidth, measured in Mbps. If the diameter of your pipe is 10 Mbps, a netflix stream is going to take up about half of it.
The water itself is your internet connection. It’s rate of flow is called latency. Latency is the time it takes for your internet request (“go to google.com”) to get sent and responded to (the page displays). Latency is measured in milliseconds, and lower is better. Latency is often referred to as “ping,” after a command line tool used for testing latency and website responses.
The final consideration in internet service is upload speed. Typically, service will come with more download speed than upload, because most network traffic is downloading. However, applications such as website hosting, video conferencing, and video gaming do rely on upload speeds, and therefore are a consideration. Note that speeds listed by service providers are almost always download speeds, and the upload will be much less unless otherwise noted.
So, a good internet connection is made of lots of bandwidth and low latency. But, how much of it do I need? Luckily, internet service packages are separated out and let you choose. Typical usage per person is around 5-15 Mbps. Activities like video streaming, downloading files, and using iCloud will use more bandwidth than online gaming, browsing websites, and sending emails. If you plan on uploading content in any way, be sure to inquire about the upload speeds, as you’ll likely need more than basic packages offer.
What’s The Best Provider For My Area?
At ACS, we get this question all the time. For greater Northern California, there are hundreds of providers, and lots of areas where services are limited. Thus, there is no blanket service that we suggest. However, there are providers that stand out when available. Below is an infographic describing service providers in Nevada County and surrounding areas, ranked by the overall quality. This list applies for businesses and residences, as all of these providers sell packages for both.
Finding The Right Provider Can Be Tricky. Let ACS Help.
With over 20 years of experience in Nevada County and surrounding areas, we at Absolute Communication Solutions know the in’s and out’s of telecommunications services in the area. We are proud to be resellers of fiber internet, and internet phone lines. Customers who switch to our services typically save anywhere between $5 and $150 per month on their phone/internet bill by switching to a internet/phone package provided by ACS.