How to Choose the Right Internet Plan | EarthLink

Updated 5/16/22
summary : From internet speed to association type to internet service supplier, there are many factors to consider when choosing a newfangled home internet plan. Our complete guide walks you through how to find the best high-speed internet service for you .
Between choosing an internet serve provider ( ISP ), the type of internet, and the travel rapidly, you ’ ve got a fortune of choices to make. On top of that, some ISPs try to sell you outsized internet packages or unnecessary bundles that good don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate fit what you need. It doesn ’ t have to be that complicated, thus lashkar-e-taiba ’ s expect at how to find the best internet plan for you.

How Do Most People Use the Internet?

First things foremost. How do you use the internet ? Are you a casual surfer, by and large using it to check e-mail and coil social media ? Or do you like to stream movies and play television games ? The room you use the internet helps determine what speed you need — but then does the number of devices that are connected .
broadly speaking, the more people or devices you have in your family, the more speed you ’ ll need. Higher speeds will help prevent a bottleneck when multiple people are logged on. But any devices you have connected require speed, besides. Doorbell cameras, fresh speakers, and smart thermostats besides require data and speed — and take up space on your plan .
so, it ’ s authoritative to consider what you ’ re using your high-speed internet joining for, how many devices you have connected at a time, and how many people are using the internet simultaneously ( or, if you ’ re a multitasker, how many devices you ’ re using at once ) .

Does your current design speed cover it, or are you noticing bottlenecks and connectivity issues ?

If you ’ re notice consistent problems connecting, you can check what accelerate you should be getting by looking at your bill and comparing that to the speed you ’ re actually getting by taking an internet accelerate test. Need help reading your results ? here ’ south how internet focal ratio tests work .

How to Find Internet Providers in Your Area

Where you live will impact what internet service providers and internet speeds are available to you. Most urban and suburban areas will have higher speeds available and may have more choices when it comes to internet military service providers .
Finding a supplier is a dim-witted as searching internet near me .

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once you ’ ve found your perfect internet supplier, you can start to compare plans, speeds, and pricing. Let ’ s break down some travel rapidly suggestions depending on your habits and democratic service types .

What Internet Speed Do You Need?

now that you ’ ve listed out what you use the internet for, it should be easier to decide on the accelerate you need. To find your estimated speed needs, we ’ ll detail the issue of devices in your family, plus the command speed for your distinctive activities .
pro point : when counting connected devices in your home, preceptor ’ triiodothyronine forget about smart home devices. flush if you ’ rhenium not using the smart capabilities every day, if it ’ randomness connected to your network, it requires some extra travel rapidly .

Number of Devices Activity Recommended download speed
2-4 Surfing the web, email, social media, occasionally streaming or gaming 100 Mbps or more
5-8 Online multiplayer gaming, HD streaming, photo sharing 500 Mbps or more
More than 9 Working remotely, attending online classes, playing multiplayer games, 4K streaming, multiple smart home devices 800 Mbps or more

The top tier of internet speed ? anywhere from 1 to 5 Gigs ( or 1,000 to 5,000 Mbps ). At these speeds, there ’ s much no limit on the count of devices that can be connected, and many data-consuming activities can be taking target at once .

What Type of Internet Connections Are There?

The type of internet you have — like fiber, radio home internet, cable, or satellite — influences the speed you can achieve. While we ’ ve detailed the most common options here, it ’ mho important to note that where you live besides impacts the type of connection you can get .

Fiber Internet

Fiber internet is presently the best high-speed service with speeds of 1,000 Mbps. It uses a dedicated line, so you won ’ t feel things like interference or slower speeds when your neighbors are besides on-line. Fiber besides has symmetrical upload and download speeds, meaning you can upload and download data promptly. Upload speeds are crucial when on video calls, sending large e-mail attachments, or playing multiplayer on-line video games .

If you ’ ve ever had coworkers tell you that you ’ ve frozen — all while you can still see and hear them — you can probably thank slow upload speeds .

Fiber ’ randomness dedicated tune besides gives you the strongest available signal and most reliable service. But, because it requires new infrastructure, it ’ s not yet available everywhere .

Wireless Home Internet

Wireless home internet is the latest technology for rural underserved areas. It delivers speeds that are faster than DSL or satellite, and it ’ mho more authentic than satellite, besides. alternatively of choosing a accelerate, you ’ ll choose a data plan that fits your needs ( it ’ s kind of like choosing a cell phone plan, but for your family internet ).

You ’ ll mechanically be connected to the fastest speeds available from surrounding cell phone towers. Plus, this type of internet can support more devices than a hot spot ’ south cell phones and get speeds up to three times faster, excessively. In other words, you could see speeds up to 100 Mbps .

A clipboard with a checklist that reads: the best internet service for me!
Wireless home plate internet is easy to set up and offers high-speed internet to areas that may have been stuck with behind, treacherous internet in the past. If fiber international relations and security network ’ t available near you yet, this could be your best internet option .

Cable Internet

While cable internet is more wide available, because it ’ south delivered through the same physical copper line as television overhaul, there can be speed problems. Plus, cable providers much push customers towards unnecessary bundles — and many people wind up with more than they need to get a short-run, discount price that promptly increases .
If you ’ re a cable internet drug user and you ’ re experiencing more patronize fluctuations in your internet speed, you ’ ra not alone. Peak-usage windows ( after 7:30 post meridiem ) are a matter of the past, and cable television internet is beginning to look like a construction-filled highway — it ’ ll draw you there, but it will take ( much ) longer than it should .
Unlike fiber internet, cable ’ sulfur speeds are asymmetrical, where upload speeds are often slower than download speeds. Most people download higher amounts of data than they upload, but as videoconferencing and on-line gambling become more and more common, upload speeds become more crucial. What does that mean for you ? When it comes to fiber vs. cable television internet, fiber wins every clock time .

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is a popular choice for more rural areas that don ’ metric ton have access to cable television or fiber internet. It functions like satellite television does, with a dish positioned on or near your home that sends and receives signals from your ISP via a satellite orbiting the earth. You can get speeds up to 100 Mbps with satellite internet .
While satellite may be a effective option for rural areas who want higher speeds than dial-up or DSL internet provides, there can be disruptions and interim times. Because this overhaul requires facility of the cup of tea ( and frequently a contract ), the equipment costs are typically higher than either fiber or cable. That ’ south why radio family internet is a better choice than satellite for many households — with lower lag times, more reproducible signals, and no contracts, it ’ s a no-brainer .

Why Upload Speeds Matter

If you ’ re choosing a wired internet plan, the most big number will probably be the download accelerate. Download speeds indicate how long it takes to download a file from the internet ( such as downloading a movie to watch offline or viewing a photograph that a friend emailed to you ). Historically, download speeds were the most authoritative part of your internet package .
now, that ’ mho change and upload speeds are becoming more authoritative than ever. Upload speeds indicate how long it takes to send information. This includes things like posting the latest photograph or being on a videocall. ( If your coworkers are constantly saying “ I can ’ metric ton learn you ” or “ You ’ rhenium flash-frozen, ” slow upload speeds are to blame. )
The good newsworthiness ? Fiber internet has symmetrical upload and download speeds — in other words, whatever your download focal ratio is, your upload amphetamine will match. As videoconferencing, telehealth, competitive on-line bet on, and early places on the web become more interactional, upload travel rapidly is going to continue to matter more and more .
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What Type of Internet Do I Need?

Wondering how to find the best internet design for you ? While there ’ s a wide kind of internet types available, different people need different connections. If your family does a lot of data-intensive activities ( like stream, gambling, or remote work ), fiber will work good and things like satellite in truth won ’ metric ton work. But if your family by and large uses the internet to check electronic mail and browse social media, radio home internet could be the right burst .
Take your habits — and hobbies ! — into report when choosing your joining type and provider. Be leery of things like accredit checks, data caps for fiber internet, and drawn-out contracts. But if you need a small more help, you can check out the b est internet provider for streamers, gamers, and students. Or, use our empty squatter ’ s guidebook to choosing an internet plan .
Of path, you can constantly call our Internet Experts with any questions at 866-383-3080 .

What Do I Look for in an Internet Service Provider?

similar to the type of internet connection you can have, your ISP will besides depend on where you ’ ra located. careless, there are two authoritative questions you should always ask.

Do you have to bundle like my cable provider?

As we mentioned earlier, a bunch of ISPs promote unnecessary bundle ( particularly with cable internet ), which gives you services you don ’ t need in recurrence for a ephemeral discount. When choosing an internet provider, choose for matchless that has transparent price and no unnecessary bundle. ( hint : that ’ s us. )

Do you have data caps?

While the details are a bite more complex, internet data caps are basically a restriction on how much data can be sent over your home internet. It ’ s not how much time you ’ rhenium spend, but how much information you ’ rhenium sending ( such as streaming television, sharing pictures, and using your smart home devices ). If you go over your limit, you can be hit with a huge fee or be throttled down to lower speeds until the next placard cycle. possibly you ’ ve never had a problem with your data detonator, but you ’ re reaching your limit now that you ’ ra working from home or gambling and streaming more. The bottom line is, you want to choose an ISP with no roughage internet data caps .
immediately that you ’ ve gone through the steps of researching your own internet use and learning how to choose an internet supplier, you ’ re ready to take the adjacent measure and find your best internet service. And, if you ’ ve decided you want high-speed, authentic internet with no credit checks and no unnecessary bundling, EarthLink home internet is the right association for you .

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