Read these 4 National ISPs 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.
Popularity does not always equate to quality when evaluating ISPs. Ironically some of the most popular (and most expensive) of the ISPs do not offer the full suite of standard ISP services. In particular, check to see if an ISP offers Usenet news access before signing any agreements; some of the popular ISPs have recently dropped Usenet support or are charging their customers extra for it. Also, if you need shell access, none of the most popular nationwide ISPs currently have it as an option. Some of the most popular ISPs also have bad records for ISP security. Don't just believe their paid advertisements -- read people's reviews about them online.
National Internet access is great for travelers who need to constantly access the Internet from hotel rooms, although it's becoming less important as more hotels are offering high-speed Internet access. They tend to offer 24/7 phone support (although the quality of the phone support is generally not that high). National Internet access providers usually have lots of bandwidth so (assuming reasonable load and latency) you'll have fast access. They have lots of equipment and good redundancy, so the odds of you losing service will be low. As with all large companies, the personnel even out; there will usually be someone around who knows something about what's going on.
Most national ISPs have a reputation for having poor telephone support. This is in part due to having mechanized systems handle lots of phone calls and having outsourced operators handling the rest. Usually it will be impossible to access a person who's actually working in your area of interest. National Internet service providers may or may not have worse latency than their local counterparts due to distance considerations. National ISPs are also frequently behind the times with regard to cutting-edge ISP technologies. Being larger companies, it usually takes them longer to adopt a new ISP technology.
National ISPs are large corporations that provide Internet access and other ISP services nationwide. They will typically provide Internet access via telephone line and modem nationally (and sometimes internationally). They have the normal pros and cons associated with big businesses. When calling for support expect to be answered first by a machine, and then long wait times, and finally a human in another country who may or may not speak your language.