Read these 5 ISP Reliability Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about ISP tips and hundreds of other topics.
You can compare ISPs' speed before you decide to go with a specific ISP. Go to CNET at http://reviews.cnet.com/Bandwidth_meter/7004-7254_7-0.html. Enter your area code and the type of connection type you want (cable, DSL, dial-up, etc.). CNET's bandwidth meter will give you the low-down on the typical download speeds of the local ISPs in your area code. Compare ISP speeds and click on the links to determine which ISP provider is best for you.
If you're thinking about signing up with a specific ISP, but not sure about its network reliability, ask a few questions before signing on the bottom line. An ISP provider with a lot of customers but few modems is going to greatly decrease your chances of getting online. Ask the ISP about its modem-to-customer ratio. Also, if the ISP is not directly on the Internet's backbone, connectivity is going to be slowed by the number of router hops it takes to get from the backbone to the customer's computer. Interrogate an ISP about infrastructure before making a decision to go with them.
You can test ISP reliability for performance and security simply by downloading and installing a freeware application, PingPlotter, http://www.pingplotter.com. PingPlotter enables you to collect data to pinpoint where problems may be occurring. You can also test your ISP's performance online with DSL Report's online tools, http://www.dslreports.com/tools. DSL Report's online tools include line packet loss, which can help identify bad routers, and 24x7 line monitoring, a comprehensive network data collector that can help you determine if your ISP measures up to your standards. If you subscribe to an ISP, these essential tools can help you describe your connectivity problems to your provider's tech support
Before you decide on an ISP's reliability, use the most comprehensive test tool available: word of mouth. Ask ISP customers specific questions about their satisfaction with the ISP provider., like How long have you been with the ISP? How often is the service unavailable? Do you have additional access numbers in your area? How responsive is the ISP's tech support to you problems? The responses to these questions should help you decide the ISP provider that's best for you.
ISP reliability is perhaps the single most important factor in choosing an ISP. If your ISP provider costs you little or no money but isn't dependable when you try to get online, is it worth it? Let's face it: you get what you pay for. Often, discount ISPs or free ISPs have several connectivity problems because of high user-to-modem ratios, indirect high-speed connections to the Internet's backbone, saturated network capacity, and few access numbers. Before you decide to go with an ISP, check out the company with the Better Business Bureau's reliability report: http://search.bbb.org/search.html.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|