Buying access to Internet service

Needless to say now there are many internet service providers (or ISPs) offering range of access services to enable people go online. Does any one remember the dial-up service? In the early days of the internet, dial-up was the norm for accessing internet. However, as the internet connectivity has become more sophisticated, internet service providers have come up range of services to connect PCs, cell phones, laptops, and other mobile devices.

If you are in the market for shopping for an internet service, you will find there are number of ways to connect to the internet:

  • Dial-up
  • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
  • Leased line
  • Wireless

Regardless of the method that is used to connect to the internet, an ISP is involved to connect your hardware to the Internet. Once connected to the internet, the internet opens the door to surfing the web, sending emails, transferring files, chatting with friends, updating of profiles, watching or sharing of videos, and serve other vital purposes.


A dial-up connection involves a telephone network to dial a number to the ISP. Once connected to the ISP and ISP verifies the account information, the user is granted access to the internet. If you primarily will be using the internet to watch videos or use in ways that demand high speeds, dial-up service is slow to serve this purpose.

Although the connection speeds with dial-up is dependent on the modem you use, the telephone network supports connection speeds upto 56 Kbps. Your modem speeds determine how fast you send and receive data. Older PCs came with modem speeds such as 14.4 Kbps, 28.8 Kbps, and so on. The telephone network speed dictates the rate at which the data moves from your modem to the destination. So with dial-up getting high-speed access to the internet is impeded by two factors: modem speed (user-side) and telephone network (public – beyond the user’s control).

There are two popular options for using dial-up service in the world. Option one requires the user to pay a monthly or yearly fee to the ISP. Depending on the plan, the access to the internet is limited or unlimited. Regardless of the plan, the user pays the agreed fee whether or not the internet is used. On the other hand, if the internet is used rather demand-based, there is an option for that. With this option the ISP charges based on the use of internet access.

Integrated Services Digital Network

An upgrade to the dial-up service is Integrated Services Digital Network (or ISDN). A person looking for little more improvement in internet speed would use ISDN. In terms of numbers, a dial-up service provides speed of transmission of up to 56 Kbps while ISDN operates at 64 Kbps. As ISDN uses a digital line (rather than analog), ISDN provides a greater improvement in connection speed. Like dial-up, ISDN works using your existing telephone (with an upgrade from phone line to digital line). Another difference between dial-up and ISDN service is that ISDN eliminates the need for dialing of the access number to ISP because ISDN offers access that is almost instantaneous.

Digital Subscriber Line

If you are looking for more speed beyond ISDN, Digital Subscriber Line (or DSL) is the next option up to consider. Like ISDN, DSL involves an upgrade to your existing phone line. With DSL, you don’t have to wait for your modem to dial-up an access number to give you access to the internet. This is because DSL provides an always-on connection to the internet. Also, DSL enable you to use the phone for calling while surfing the internet.

Digital leased line

If you are looking for more a bandwidth connection, a digital leased line is a way to go. This option is primarily geared for businesses or for those wanting to host websites in-house, however. With a leased line, basically the subscriber:

  • gets high bandwidth speeds in Mbits/sec
  • dedicated connection to the ISP
  • a guaranteed level of uptime of 99% or exceeding 99%.


A Wireless connection is another option to get connected to the internet - conveniently and wirelessly. There are two basic types of wireless connections: mobile and fixed.

With mobile, the user can use the internet almost anywhere (in home, office or while on the go). While this option truly supports mobility, it is an expensive way to connect to the internet. If other internet connections options are not available in your area and you want the flexibility of using the internet anywhere, mobile internet access cards may be the option worth exploring.

A fixed wireless technology supports wireless internet connection but offers limited mobility. Basically, a fixed wireless involves a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is connected to the ISP to provide internet access. On the other hand, the receiver connects to the transmitter (wirelessly) for surfing internet. Fixed wireless internet access is available in hotels, college campuses, airports, and other wireless hot spots.

Important considerations for choosing an internet service

Looking at just the features or the description of the varieties of internet connection services out there is probably a poor a way to shop. While knowing the features are important to choosing an internet service, one would make a better choice if other relevant factors are also considered: speed, cost, security, and reliability.


As you shop around for internet service, you are likely to notice the speed or bandwidth. The speed will dictate how fast or slow your lets you surf the internet. An internet connection offering high speeds will let you surf the internet faster. As such, you could download videos or other large files fast. Conversely, a slower internet connection may be a practical choice for performing tasks that demand high speed. Think of how mostly you will use the internet to decide how much speed you really need to consider. If your average use will just be to send or read emails, a slow internet connection speed will probably work fine.


The cost of the internet connection fee could be fixed or may be based on your use. Be clear on how much you will be charged. Know if you have to pay for any hardware, software, or set-up costs for a particular connection.


Not all types of internet connections are available everywhere. But they are becoming more widespread.


Consider security to be your top priority when choosing an internet connection. Make your passwords and user-ids are difficult to guess. Choose an internet connection that is deemed secure. If you are not sure about the security aspect of an internet connection and if it is a temporarily connection (for example, when traveling), it is probably best to avoid this connection to do any financial or other personal transactions. You can contact the vendor to learn more about the supported security features.


Depending on what you choose for internet connection, the reliability of the connection will vary. Some options will offer greater reliability than others. The idea is to do your research early to ensure you are getting a reliable connection. If the connection provider is promising an uptime of 99% or higher, it is probably a reliable connection option. Don’t forget companies offering higher uptime will have backup systems in place to offer continuous access in case there are any issues.

Posted on 5/11/2008
by Raj Singh