According to the latest data available, the US ranks 10th (see PDF Report 2017) among the countries with the highest average Internet speed (18.7 megabytes per second or Mpbs). To the chagrin of citizens and politicians, high-speed Internet is not yet widely available. We can not even agree on the extent of the problem. According to the FCC, around 7% of the US population – that is 19 million Americans – still has no access to a broadband connection. A recent survey by the research firm NPD Group assumes a much higher estimate: it is said thathave no access to a connection at 25 megabits or faster.
Read more: Life on the Slow Track: Welcome to the Internet in Rural America
However, the majority of Americans have access to at least one type of high-speed service. Mostly it is a cable, Internet or digital subscriber line connection (commonly referred to as DSL). If you are lucky, it is fiber. If you're less fortunate, it's a satellite or fixed LTE connection. As a last resort for those in remote rural areas, there is a dial-up. And nowoptions are appearing. The different types of Internet services are distinguished in order from fastest to slowest:
There are many variables involved in choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP). To make matters worse, these variables – speed, cost, reliability and customer service – can vary from place to place. Although the vendor is identical, the experience may not be: The Oakwood Comcast experience may be fundamentally different from the one in Comcast Atlanta, just as the McDonalds may have a different experience in your hometown than mine, even if both operate the same menu.
Instead of recommending the best Internet service provider for you, based on national download speeds or prices, let's go another way. We're leaving whistle-out, a comparison shopping vendor, with the heavy lifting in terms of speed and pricing for vendors in your area (see below). And we've spent our time trying to identify the pros and cons of the technology in question and some general buy recommendations.
Please note that CNET may receive some of the revenue from the sale of the services offered on this site, including the services accessed through the WhistleOut tool embedded below.
- Typical Bandwidth: Download 50-1,000 Mpbs
- Average service price range: $ 50- $ 100 / month
Fiber optic cables are the backbone of the global telecommunications system, serving as the main lanes for most of the world's Internet, cable television and telephony services. Until recently, fiber was used exclusively to connect cities and countries. Over the past decade, some providers in some cities have begun to expand fiber optics into individual residential and commercial properties.
The Fiber Optic Internet Service provides the fastest and most reliable Internet connection at speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second for downloading and uploading . This is orders of magnitude faster than the typical cable or DSL connection. Unfortunately, a fiber optic link may not be a viable option for you in the near future, unless you live in a large metropolitan area in the US. About 25% of the US population currently has access to it.
If you live in a location that supports fiber optic internet, you're in luck. Fiber Optic Broadband offers everything you expect from an Internet connection: symmetric speed – equivalent to download or upload performance. Reliability; robust signal strength; and super-low latency. Whether you're streaming videos, uploading large files to the cloud, or playing the latest online games, a fiber optic link provides fast, consistent performance with an almost imperceptible delay.
- Extremely fast download speeds, low latency, reliable service
- Own bandwidth (no sharing with neighbors), no data restrictions
- The best option for data-intensive applications Applications such as video streaming and gaming
- Requires a professional installation
- Less providers
- Very limited availability
The major telecommunications companies such as AT & T, Comcast and Verizon continue to expand their fiber infrastructure in the US. And other companies are also entering the business. Google Fiber is available to residents of Atlanta, Charlotte, Kansas City, and a handful of other cities. However, it is expected that the great fiber rollout, which has many technical problems, will last for years.
- Typical Bandwidth: Download 25-200Mpbs  Average service price range: $ 50 to $ 150 / month
Cables are generally faster than any other type of Internet service except fiber. This makes it a solid option for high bandwidth activities such as streaming video and music, playing games, and downloading (or uploading) large files. It will be delivered on the same physical line as the cable television service – and some providers will offer discounts if you sign up for both. Although available in most parts of the US, the cable Internet market is generally (at best) an oligopoly, with two large companies dominating most states or regions, or (at worst) a monopoly with only one licensed provider. This can lead to high prices, poor service and the existential agony of supporting a business that you despise.
- Fixed, stand-alone connection
- Faster and more reliable than DSL, satellite, or dial-up
- Suitable for data-intensive applications such as video streaming and online gaming
Cable Disadvantages:  Neighborhoods share the bandwidth, so heavy use by others may affect the connection speed during peak hours.
Most cable companies charge between $ 50 and $ 150 per month for service, depending on where you live and the level of service you choose. I'm paying $ 65 a month for Spectrum's standard cable Internet service, which offers speeds starting at 100 Mbps. In reality, when downloading I get about 45 Mbps and when uploading via Wi-Fi about 10 Mbps (and closer to 65 Mbps and 10 Mbps if there is a direct connection to the router). As with any type of internet service – and with each provider – your own mileage varies. On the positive side, the cable Internet service generally has no data restrictions. This means that you can consume as much bandwidth as you want without being affected by the additional costs associated with other types of Internet services. And a tip: Given that many vendors charge an additional fee to rent a combined modem / router, you can potentially save a few bucks and improve your speed and performance by purchasing your own router. There are currently not many reasons to recommend the dial-up Internet. Less and less vendors offer it and it is only the last resort for the most rural and remote regions. The only requirement for dial-in is access to the telephone service. If you have a landline connection, you can access the Internet. Dial-Up Advantages: Dial-up issues: But – as people from a certain age will remember the beginnings of AOL, Prodigy and their contemporaries – the connection is extremely … agonizing … devastatingly slow. Nowhere else can you do anything fast enough than load a simple website or send an e-mail. A handful of vendors – including NetZero, EarthLink, and Juno – continue to provide dial-up access, and the largest name in the dial-up game, AOL, offers a range of plans. The entry-level service costs just $ 4.99 per month and provides 5 hours of connectivity. The top rate, which costs $ 19.99 a month, provides unrestricted access.
Most cable companies charge between $ 50 and $ 150 per month for service, depending on where you live and the level of service you choose. I'm paying $ 65 a month for Spectrum's standard cable Internet service, which offers speeds starting at 100 Mbps. In reality, when downloading I get about 45 Mbps and when uploading via Wi-Fi about 10 Mbps (and closer to 65 Mbps and 10 Mbps if there is a direct connection to the router). As with any type of internet service – and with each provider – your own mileage varies.
On the positive side, the cable Internet service generally has no data restrictions. This means that you can consume as much bandwidth as you want without being affected by the additional costs associated with other types of Internet services. And a tip: Given that many vendors charge an additional fee to rent a combined modem / router, you can potentially save a few bucks and improve your speed and performance by purchasing your own router.
There are currently not many reasons to recommend the dial-up Internet. Less and less vendors offer it and it is only the last resort for the most rural and remote regions. The only requirement for dial-in is access to the telephone service. If you have a landline connection, you can access the Internet.
But – as people from a certain age will remember the beginnings of AOL, Prodigy and their contemporaries – the connection is extremely … agonizing … devastatingly slow. Nowhere else can you do anything fast enough than load a simple website or send an e-mail.
A handful of vendors – including NetZero, EarthLink, and Juno – continue to provide dial-up access, and the largest name in the dial-up game, AOL, offers a range of plans. The entry-level service costs just $ 4.99 per month and provides 5 hours of connectivity. The top rate, which costs $ 19.99 a month, provides unrestricted access.
- Typical Bandwidth: Download 1-6Mpbs
- Average Service Price Range: $ 40- $ 80 / Month
DSL is technically considered broadband Internet. And although DSL may be considerably faster than dial-up, it is also considerably slower than one would expect from a wired connection. This is sufficient for basic productivity tasks such as surfing the Internet and sending e-mail, but not fast enough for data-intensive tasks such as streaming videos or playing online games.
- Generally available
- Multiple providers
- Relatively inexpensive
- Bandwidth is dedicated and not shared with neighbors
- Particularly low connection speed Uploading Data
- Speed and performance depend on proximity to your provider.
- Such as telephone services that may be disturbed by weather conditions.
However, DSL is widely used because it runs over a telephone infrastructure. Although the Internet runs on the fixed network, it is transmitted at a higher frequency, so you can connect to the Internet and make phone calls at the same time.
Note that there are two types of DSL connections: Balanced connections that offer the same speeds for downloading and uploading data. and asymmetric, which gives you faster downloads – which is the lion's share of most people's Internet activity – than uploading.
Fixed Wireless LTE
- Typical Bandwidth: 5-10 Mbps
- Average Service Price Range: 50 to 85 USD / Month
Fixed LTE Internet services are transmitted by the same wireless towers that enable LTE mobile communication , In rural areas where there is no reliable wired Internet service but where cell towers exist, it is more common for you to install a dedicated antenna on or near your home.
Fixed LTE wireless benefits:
- Provides adequate broadband Internet service in rural and remote areas.
- Does not require any cable or line infrastructure attached to the house.
Requires the installation and setup of a professional antenna.
At some point, the next generation of wireless technology, 5G, will be available in some fixed wireless networks. (More on that below.) But 5G and fixed Wi-Fi are not synonymous. Not all fixed wireless networks support 5G. And not every 5G network is necessarily a fixed wireless network.
Currently, fixed LTE can be one of the most expensive types of Internet services, as it usually contains a limit on the amount of data that you can download each month. additional fees will follow if you exceed your allowance. For example, one of AT & T's fixed LTE service plans costs $ 50 per month for 215 GB of data – plus $ 10 for each additional 50 GB increase. Likewise, Verizon's entry-level plan costs $ 80 per month (including a monthly $ 10 access fee) for 8GB of data plus $ 15 for every additional 1GB of data.
- Typical Bandwidth: Download 10-30Mbps
- Average service price range: 50 USD – 150 USD / month
How about an Internet connection that is broadcast from space? Satellite Internet service is exactly what it sounds like: a dish placed on or around your home sends and receives signals from the hub Most satellite Internet service providers, such as Viasat or HughesNet, rely on a handful of large satellites in a geostationary orbit about 35,000 kilometers above the Earth.
- Widely used itet, even in rural and remote areas.
- Multiple vendors usually run at competitive prices.
- Requires installation of a satellite dish on or near your home
- Can be expensive and / or require a multiyear service contract.
- Data limitations can lead to costly overcharges or lower speeds.
- Delayed and prone to failure.
Although a satellite Internet connection normally exists It is not always robust enough for modern applications. Latency can be a serious problem, and streaming video and games can be impossible when data is being re-transmitted to space.
It is worth noting that Elon Musk's SpaceX is currently building and launching a new network of 12,000 satellites to enable commercial Internet access via satellite. But it is probably too early to endure to the end. Musk does not expect the service to be operational by the middle of the next decade.
New but not yet widely used: 5G
- Typical Bandwidth: 250-4,000Mpbs  Average Service Price Range: To Be Established
The next generation of mobile technology – the fifth generation, therefore 5G – promises a new era of Internet access, first on mobile phones and then at home with dramatic improvements Network speed, coverage and responsiveness. CNET has already tested early 5G speeds in several cities around the world, from Los Angeles to Seoul. Andand the wait may be worthwhile.
Example: The Verizon network has seen speeds of more than 1 Gigabit per second in some regions – 10 to 100 times faster than traditional cellular connections. That's even faster than the speed that a physical fiber link provides to your home. And it's not all about speed: 5G networks have extremely low latency. So there is virtually no break between clicking on the link and loading the website or video. Sounds good, eh?
- High Speed, Low Latency
- Own Bandwidth (No Sharing with Neighbors), No Data Limitations
- Excellent for data-intensive applications such as video streaming and games
- Nationwide Rollout Running
- Untested Technology
- Disturbing Signal Strength
However, as with previous generations of broadband, it will take years to replace 5G 4G. The new network will be the first to apply to the next generation of high-end phones. In the future, carriers will expand the offer to private and business Internet users. However, before, installers must provide special equipment that can receive the 5G signals and turn them into a home or business Wi-Fi connection for your other devices to access. (Note that 5G and Fixed Wireless are not synonymous.) Not all Fixed Wireless networks support 5G, and not every 5G network needs to be a Fixed Wireless network.)
Verizon's 5G broadband service costs $ 50 for mobile subscribers and $ 70 for everyone else – more or less in line with other broadband services. (If you have the right to do so, read here.) AT & T's 5G mobile service is free for select customers in the first 90 days. The company then calculates $ 499 for a special 5G hotspot – plus $ 70 per month for a plan with a data cap of 15GB.
Tips for Choosing an Internet Service Provider
- Contact Your Neighbors: Ask which service and which providers other people in your area use (and avoid).
- If possible, buy your own modem / router: Many vendors charge an additional fee to rent a combined modem / router. You may be able to save a few dollars (and possibly improve your speed and performance) with .
- Pay attention to price spikes after the "special offers" expire: Many vendors offer monthly introductory prizes for the first 12 months. The price you pay afterwards is the actual price of your service.
- Be aware of data restrictions: Exceeding the monthly data download threshold can lead to costly overpricing.
- Set off for a lower bill: If there are multiple vendors in your area, you may be able to use an alternative vendor's offer to lower the price of your current monthly service.
- Consider cutting the cable for additional savings: See
Other Issues to Consider When Using the Internet Service
The slowest part of your home network – including the modem, router, and used Device (eg TV, laptop), telephone) and your service provider – ultimately determine the speed and strength of your connection. A super-fast router does not help a laptop with old network hardware, and a slow Internet service hampers all your online activity – from streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, to surfing the Internet, to sending e-mail.
In addition to the type of service you choose, there are a number of other factors that determine the quality and speed of your Internet connection. When a company advertises "speeds starting at X Mbps," it does not necessarily mean that you can reach that speed consistently.
Your neighbors' Wi-Fi, older devices, walls, floors, and even your microwave can affect your Wi-Fi signal. Most ISPs offer a modem / router combination that you can rent. However, you can also purchase your own router, add an extender if you need extra network coverage, or try out an entire home Wi-Fi system. Even if you are unfamiliar with networks, you can adjust some settings to improve performance in case of problems.
How do I buy a router?
Easy ways to speed up your Wi-Fi
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