All You Need to Know About Choosing Internet for Your New Home
Choosing the best internet service for your new home can be confusing—especially when you’re dealing with all the other stresses of moving. You’ll need to determine local availability and the right fit in speed and delivery method. Then you may have numerous providers, plans and deals to compare.
We’ve broken it down for you here to make your life a bit easier. Check out these three steps for all you need to know to choose an optimal internet service.
1. Figure out what speed you need
Most internet packages place great emphasis on speed, leading a lot of users to ask, “Well, what internet speed do I need, anyway?”
Broadband speeds are measured in ‘megabits per second’, often shortened to Mb Mbits p/s or Mbps. Bits are tiny units of data, with a megabit representing a million of them. The higher the number of Mbps (megabits per second) you have, the speedier your online activity should be. A high number should mean that downloads complete more quickly, web pages load faster, streaming of music or videos begins more rapidly and any video calls or online games played should display smoothly.
Check out this chart to help you decide which bandwidth speeds you should be looking for based on your online activities.
|If you want…||You’ll need about…|
|Basic email and browsing||1 Mbps|
|Streaming video in standard definition||3-5 Mbps|
|Streaming video in high definition||5-8 Mbps|
|Online gaming||3-5 Mbps|
|Video conferencing||1.5-4 Mbps|
|Frequently sharing large files||50 Mbps|
You can check out what speed you have now by using our internet speed checker.
Caveat: Got multiple internet users in your home? Or is it possible that you’ll be doing more than one of these activities at once? You’ll need to further increase your internet speed to watch Netflix in the living room while your son streams Twitch in his bedroom. Add up the Mbps for each activity that may happen simultaneously.
2. See what’s available in your area
Once you know what internet speed you need, you can find out which providers serve your area with which types of service. There are few types of internet connections you may want to consider, although availability will vary by location.
DSL is short for Digital Subscriber Line. It is delivered to your house through your existing telephone line. Generally, DSL is the cheapest form of broadband internet available to your home. Most DSL connections are available at different speeds up to 25 Mbps, though newer phone services are coming online that can raise that to 100 Mbps. The biggest drawback with DSL service is that it’s entirely based on distance. The further you are from the service provider, the slower your service (as a general rule of thumb).
Cable internet is delivered to your home via your cable service. The advertised speeds for cable service are higher than for DSL, often ranging above 100 Mbps. However, the big drawback with cable service is that you’re actually sharing the service with people in your neighborhood, which means that it can be much slower during busy times; that’s rarely true with DSL.
Satellite internet is delivered to your home via a satellite service. Compared to the ones above, satellite service is slow, generally sticking below 20 Mbps. If you live in a highly rural area, satellite may be your only option for broadband service.
Fiber-optic internet—sometimes called FiOS—is available in some areas and rolling out rapidly. It functions much like DSL service, but it can offer speeds up to 500 Mbps in some places and getting even faster as technology improves.
3. Find a company and package that fits your style
Now that you know what you’re looking at, you’ll need to sift through the different packages and offerings. There are few important considerations:
Many cable companies offer bundles with different combinations of phone, internet and television service. Think hard before signing up for these bulk deals—companies often try to upsell and lock in customers with more services.
Do you really need a landline? Can you get by with streaming television from your new internet service, rather than a whole cable package? In some situations, bundling services might make sense, but weigh the cost and value before deciding.
You’ll often be able to find promotions to entice first-time customers. You can find good prices with these deals, but make sure you’re ready to either pay full price or cancel your service at the end of the promotional period.
Negotiating prices and services with your provider can pay off. Among consumers who attempted to negotiate a better deal, Consumer Reports found that 40% received a new promotional rate, 16% received extra channels, and 12% got faster internet speeds.
Does the company put a monthly “cap” on how much data you can download? Some services do, and this is generally a negative. This is more important if you’re a frequent Netflix or Youtube user, as non-video web surfing and email will generally never approach such a cap.
Some internet service providers will try to sell you add-ons such as antivirus software and firewalls. Don’t pay for these, at least not directly from them. While antivirus and spyware protection is a good idea, there are free versions available online that will suffice.
Plan Ahead for Internet Service
Moving is stressful enough as it is—don’t get stuck without internet service at your new home, too. Time is of the essence when it comes to setting up your internet connection in your new abode. Planning ahead will help minimize inconvenient waiting times and allow you to get up and running as quickly as possible.
Find your new internet service provider and plan today. See what’s available in your new locale.
These tips were partially compiled from nerd wallet and The Simple Dollar.