In today’s internet-dependent world, even a minute of technical downtime can cause a lot of trouble. For corporations, this responsibility is divided and much less of a burden. But for smaller offices running from home, or even remote workers, a bad internet connection can impact your plans a great deal.
That’s why choosing the right internet provider is extremely important. Before committing to the first recommended service you see, make sure you’re making an informed decision. And to help you make the best choice, here’s a bit of information you need to consider.
Don’t Compromise on the Speed
Of course, the first thing you want from your internet connection is speed. This is not an aspect you should be stingy with because slow internet is a big no-no.
You don’t want to be in the middle of a very important Skype call and get interrupted, do you? Time is money, and the faster your internet connection is, the more efficient your work will be. This is especially true if you’re working from home or a remote location.
You should also consider the number of devices that will be using the connection simultaneously. The internet speed might be quite different at peak activity. So, make sure to ask about things like throttling and bandwidth caps.
No idea what these mean? Well, here’s a brief overview:
Internet Speed Terms You Should Know
Throttling is when the provider slows down or speeds up your connection to regulate traffic and prevent congestion. And bandwidth is the amount of data that can cross your internet connection in a second.
These two factors obviously play a very important role in your internet speeds. Apart from this, you should also consider the upload and download speeds. An internet connection for a home office should, in general, have at least 1Mbps for both.
Check Your Contract Terms Carefully
Once you’re satisfied with the speed, it’s time to move on to other factors. The first thing to address is whether you’re getting the best deal. Don’t just whiz past the contract terms. Pay attention to the details.
Is your payment contract on an annual or monthly basis? Is another operator offering something better? And do remember to check if there’s a cancellation fee in case you change operators!
Sometimes, you might even get special prices for bundled services. For instance, if you get your TV and phone services from a single provider, you might get a discount for added internet access.
Ask About the Add-Ons
Now that you know about the main stuff, it’s time to look at the extras. Sure, you really like the service you’re getting. But some providers actually give you added benefits that are cost-efficient.
Internet providers in Ontario usually have some business plans for special users. So, do let them know about your own plans, in case they have special security, email, or speed features.
It doesn’t hurt to ask because you never know what you might get. Some services might even give you a free wireless router or subscription to an antivirus program.
It’s a good idea to consider these add-ons when making your overall comparisons. The cost of buying your own software or hardware and the effort and time given might actually be balanced out by the offered prices.
Customer Service also Matters
Now, at the end of the day, your provider is who you will contact when you face internet troubles. So, it’s very important that they have good customer service.
First of all, check whether the internet provider has tech support. Also, make sure you know which hours they are available. Usually, providers should have a certain number and offer on-call services.
For business, urgency is a crucial factor. So, definitely consider how fast the provider responds to your problems, or you might have to face hours of loss in time, money, and productivity. Also, always ask for a Service Level Agreement and guarantees for uninterrupted services or uptimes.
However, customer service is more than just answering phone calls. A really good provider will also consult you on other topics so that you get the best services according to your needs.
For instance, they’ll be able to suggest the amount of bandwidth you need simply based on the employee and device count.
Other Things to Consider
We’ve got the basics covered now, but there are also a few other things you should consider.
When going on the hunt for a good service provider, you need to check everyone in your neighborhood. Sometimes, you might get recommendations for a provider, but they may not be ideal for your locality.
The ground, distance, cables, employees – everything will vary from place to place. So, definitely check out some customer reviews before committing. Some websites, like DFLReports.com, are a good place to start.
Preparedness for the Future
This may sound a bit extra, but the world is a constantly evolving place. Technological changes take place every month, and the internet is no exception to that.
For example, currently, the Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is being widely used. But eventually, it’s going to be replaced by IPv6, which is a much more advanced and efficient protocol.
IPv6 promises a much higher number of IP addresses available to users. This basically means that every device in your office might have its own IP address. This is especially important for businesses, where there’s a variety of equipment and devices that need the internet.
The new protocol will make the whole process of getting onboard the network much easier, as well as being cost-friendly. So, it’s a good idea to check whether your internet provider is ready for these changes.
The internet, quite literally, runs the world. And if you’re someone working from home, it opens up the gate to many opportunities.
Not having a proper connection and receiving unsatisfactory customer service in exchange for a lower price is only going to harm you in the long run. In general, for better services and efficiency, you’ll have to be willing to pay a little more.
As you can tell, the internet provider you commit to is going to be a very important part of your life and career. Make sure you choose wisely!