How To Understand The Terminology Of Internet Providers
Folks trying to compare internet service options are frequently unsure what all of the terminologies mean. Before you choose an internet provider, you should understand these four concepts at least at a basic level.
For most people, download speed is going to be the biggest issue. They want to know whenever they connect to a website or streaming service, that the internet provider's systems will send the stuff as fast as possible.
Typically, an internet service provider will offer download speed as a number in terms of megabits per second. An ISP's MB/s download rating gives you an idea of the peak potential performance of its system.
Higher is always better, especially if you need to split your connection among several devices. For example, if 5 people in a household with devices simultaneously maxed out a 100 MB/s connection, they'd each have roughly 20 MB/s for each device. Notably, downloads never achieve perfect top speeds so you'll want to have some overhead to ensure there won't be any slowdowns in a high-consumption household.
This is effectively the opposite of download speed. It measures how fast data goes from your system out to the internet. Folks who need to send big files, for example, will want the best available upload speeds. Similarly, gamers who compete live and online with others will want the best available. Livestreaming and many other video or audio activities also tend to benefit from good upload speed ratings.
Modems and Routers
A modem is a device connecting your location to the internet provider's line into your home or business. It represents a single point where all the traffic comes and goes.
People often make the mistake of using the terms modem and router interchangeably. However, a router is a device that spreads a connection out to other local devices, such as a computer, phone, or TV. Many modems are combination devices that include routing capabilities. This often includes Wi-Fi connectivity for wireless routing so you can use a mobile device without plugging into anything.
Some ISPs offer uptime ratings or even guarantees. They usually provide this as a percentage. If an ISP offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, that means you can expect your connection to suffer about one hour or less of downtime per 1,000 hours of operating time.
Uptime matters because it's a measure of how stable your connection will be. A company willing to provide an uptime guarantee is generally confident in its systems and its ability to meet customer demands over months and years.