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Internet service providers.

Choosing the best internet service provider.

Now that you got a new computer, the latest smart TV, and a new media streaming device for streaming video and music from online services, you’re ready to enjoy all the content you want, right? Well, no. There’s one step left. You need to sign on with an internet service provider (ISP), which in a nutshell, is the company that provides you with the access to the internet that lets you optimize your electronics.

But before you try to determine the best internet provider for you, it would probably be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different high-speed internet options available. There’s cable, DSL, fiber, satellite and cellular internet service. Each type of home internet has its strengths and weaknesses. Cable providers use the same lines as cable TV, and sometimes savings can be obtained through bundling the two services, but since you’re sharing the line with other users, speeds can be slow during peak usage times. DSL (digital subscriber line) operates over regular phone lines, doesn’t share between users and generally offers consistent, stable speeds that are typically slower than other options. Fiber internet service is transmitted over fiber optic lines using light, and is the current speed champion, but tends to have a more problematic availability and can be expensive to install. Wireless internet service rivals the speeds provided by cable and DSL but comes with monthly data limits. And satellite beamed to a dish is usually characterized by peak hour limits and relatively slow speeds, but is often the only game in town, especially in rural areas.

How do I find internet providers in my area?

Choosing your preferred provider will be a moot point however, if your internet service of choice isn’t available in your area. That’s why early in your selection process you should be answering the questions “Who provides internet in my area?” and “What internet services do they offer?” The answers to those questions will likely define your choices. You can use the “Find Service Providers” tool at the top of this page to discover the available options in your state, and that is likely a good place to start your search for “internet service near me.” Once you determine the options, you’ll want to narrow down your choices by looking at the speeds, costs and length of contract of each internet provider. You’ll also want to consider customer service since if you have an issue and need assistance, you’ll want a quick response. To that end, be sure the provider you choose offers phone, email or live chat support.

Using your internet service with home security devices.

Once you’ve selected the best internet provider for you, you’ll want to take a look at making optimal use of the service, which may include using an ethernet switch to power and connect the service to a security camera system to keep your property and loved ones safe. You can also choose to set up your home security using a Wi-Fi network. In that case, you’ll want to evaluate which wireless routers will best provide the connectivity and consistent performance you need to keep all parts of your security system working smoothly, from your outside cameras, to your motion-detecting lights, to your indoor cameras, to your wireless doorbell camera. A single band router will probably provide you with the capabilities you need if you live in an area with few neighbors and if you use a minimum of wireless devices and don’t have concerns about interference. But, if you live in a crowded, densely populated area, and have a multitude of wireless devices, you may want to go with a dual router, which switches between two frequency bands to provide a less cluttered, faster connection. You might also want to consider a mesh Wi-Fi system, which consists of a main router together with a series of satellite modules placed around your house that ensure full coverage even for homes with multiple floors and signal-blocking walls, along with an ability to handle high volume, and an avoidance of a single point of failure should something go wrong.