DSL is becoming more available and affordable on a nearly daily basis. Choosing a DSL provider that meets your needs is an important long term decision that can affect you and your family for a long time to come. Before making your decision about which DSL provider to use, there are some important factors to consider that will ensure you will be satisfied with the service you will receive.
- Important Factors to Consider. When you decide you are ready to begin shopping for DSL or any high speed internet connection there are two major factors you need to take an intense look at: bandwidth and latency.
In basic terms, bandwidth is the maximum constant rate at which data and files are able to be downloaded. Having a high bandwidth connection is important if you download large files, music, and movies or if you stream video and audio while online.
Latency is the delay it takes for a connection to process your requests. The latency of your connection is evidenced by the time between when you click a link and when it actually begins to load. If you are a savage browser, latency will be important for the shear amount of pages you will be loading and reloading.
- Choosing For Maximum Bandwidth. If you decide you would like to choose a connection that has the maximum bandwidth for your needs, every DSL internet service provider likely has a service package for you. Most providers offer different tiers of bandwidth with the cost increasing along with the amount of bandwidth you have access to. Even the lowest bandwidth level of DSL is many times faster than even the speediest dial-up connection.
- Choosing For Maximum Latency. Perhaps you would like quicker-loading pages and maximum latency from your DSL. Although this is what many people would like to see in their DSL service, finding maximum latency is much more difficult to find when compared to maximum bandwidth. Latency varies from day to day, from hour to hour and it greatly varies between different internet service providers. Normally DSL providers do not offer any data as to their average or maximum latency. For normal to above normal internet surfing latency is not an issue as most providers operate at a low latency. If you will spend significant time surfing on the internet and are worried about the amount of time your pages will take to load it is best to contact the DSL provider directly.
- Taking Other Factors into Account. Before we discuss your options you must keep several factors in mind that will affect your DSL's overall performance. You should consider your physical distance from the phone company's central location and that the amount of traffic on the phone lines experienced at any given time may affect the performance of your connection. These factors will make your actual speed vary from the maximum values.
- Evaluating Your Options. In many areas, your local phone company may be your only DSL option. For example if Verizon is your local phone company, you will more than likely have to get DSL through them as well. In some larger markets this may not be the case and you may have more options such as EarthLink or others. Not matter which service you have, most DSL providers are very similar in price. Before you make a final decision, check with your phone company to see if a discount is available for having a combination of DSL, cable TV and telephone service.