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Home / Tips and Tricks / Best Internet Service Providers 2019: How to choose cable versus DSL versus satellite and more

Best Internet Service Providers 2019: How to choose cable versus DSL versus satellite and more



In today's world, high-speed Internet services have become as important as other tools such as electricity and water. It is the gateway for everything from education to news, restaurants to from and all modes of entertainment, from games to music – and even what we used to call "TV". For most Americans, a reliable and high-speed Internet connection is now a mandatory part of both work and family life.

The United States ranks 1

0th (see PDF report 2017) among countries with the highest average Internet speeds (at 18.7 megabits per second, or MPs), according to the latest available data. But to the shame of citizens and politicians, high-speed internet is not yet universally available. About 7% of the US population – that's 19 million Americans – still doesn't have access to a broadband connection, according to the FCC. And we can't even agree on the extent of the problem. A more recent survey by research company NPD Group puts the estimate much higher: It says that 100 million Americans do not have access to 25 Mbps or faster internet speeds.

Read more: Life in the Slow Path: Welcome to the Rural Internet in America | The Best Web Hosting Providers for 2019

As I said, the majority of Americans have access to at least some type of high-speed service from their Internet service provider. Most often it is cable, internet or a digital subscriber line (commonly known as DSL) connection. If you're lucky, it's fiber. If you're less fortunate, it's a satellite or fixed LTE connection. As a last resort for those in far-flung rural areas and remote regions, there is dial-up internet connection. And now internet providers offering alternatives 5G are starting to emerge. Here's how the different types of Internet services rank in order for the fastest Internet to become the slowest:

Internet service types, compared

There are many variables involved in choosing an Internet service provider and Internet package. And further complicated things, these variables – Internet speeds, cost, reliability and customer service – can vary from place to place. Although the service provider is identical, the experience may not be: The Comcast experience in Oakland may be completely different from the one at Comcast Atlanta, just as McDonald's in your hometown may offer a different experience than the one in mine, even if they both serve the same menu.

As such, instead of trying to recommend the best ISP for you based on national download speeds or pricing, we are taking another effort. We let WhistleOut, a comparative shopping supplier, handle heavy lifting as far as speeds and prices for suppliers in your area (see below). And we have dedicated ourselves to mapping the pros and cons of the technology in question, along with some general buying advice.

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CNET / Sarah Tew

Fiber

  • Typical bandwidth: download 50-1,000 Mbps
  • Average service price range: $ 50- $ 100 per month

Fiber optic cables form the backbone of the global telecommunications system, which serves as the main connection path for most of the world's Internet, TV and telephone services. Until recently, fiber optics were used exclusively to connect cities and countries. But in the last decade or so, some suppliers in some cities have begun to expand fiber optics to individual homes and businesses.

Fiber Optic Internet Service delivers the fastest and most reliable Internet connection, with speeds that can reach up to 1 gigabit per second to download and . These are orders of magnitude faster than the usual cable or DSL connection. Unfortunately, unless you live in a major US metropolitan area, a fiber optic network is probably not a viable option for you in the short term. About 25% of the US population currently has access to it.

If you live in a place that supports fiber internet, you're in luck. Fiber-optic broadband offers everything you want in an internet connection: symmetrical speed – meaning equivalent performance whether you download or upload; reliability; robust signal strength; and super-low latency. And even though the main fiber line can be shared between homes or businesses, it is unlikely that customers will experience the type of speed shared jointly for other types of shared connections during high usage hours. Whether you are streaming video, uploading large files to the cloud or playing the latest online games, a fiber connection will deliver fast, consistent performance with almost impossible delay.

Fiber Pros:


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