Internet service providers promise amazing speeds in order to beat the competition. The increased speeds are in part powered by new broadband technologies. But before you jump at the next unbelievably fast offer that comes your way, ask yourself, do you really need it?
The last decade has brought a lot of changes in broadband technology. The average consumers can now access speeds once reserved for large corporations. Today, the average internet connection speed ranges from 2Mbps – 10 Mbps, but now some providers are offering consumers speeds of up to 20 Mbps. While you might be able to do a lot more at these higher speeds, you’ll need to consider if they’re worth the extra costs.
First Things First, Is It Available In Your Area?
If you live in an urban area where upgrades have been done on the telecommunications infrastructure, then it’s safe to assume that you’ll have access to these higher internet speeds. Rural areas might be limited to standard broadband connections. If you’re truly interested in these super-fast internet speeds, your first step should be to check the home page of Internet Service Providers in your area. There’ll you’ll be asked to provide your address or zip code to see the available packages.
Understand The Technology Used
Blindingly fast internet connections use fiber optic cables instead of the standard ADSL broadband connection. A standard ADSL connection is widely available since it uses telephone lines to send and receive data. Broadband through fiber optic cables is limited to select areas since setting up the infrastructure is very costly.
Some providers use ADSL2+ connections instead of fiber optics to offer speeds that are higher than standard connections. The ADSL2+ also uses phone lines, but the technology is updated to provide faster connections. With a connection like this, providers advertise speeds of up to 24Mbps, which boils down to about 16Mbps in the real world.
Is It Worth The Cost?
As you can probably imagine, these higher than normal speeds come with a hefty price tag. Putting the price aside, you need to ask yourself if you really need the higher speeds. Most internet users can more than get by with a standard broadband connection offering 5-8 Mbps. At those speeds, you’ll be able to surf the net, play online games and stream videos online with no problems. If you choose to download videos, you’ll be able to download an entire movie in as little as half an hour at that rate. So, if these activities detail the extent of your internet experience, then there’s no need to upgrade your package.
Heavy gamers and movie lovers who like to download games and high definition movies on the web might feel limited by a standard connection. In such instances, a faster connection might be in order. Be prepared to pay as much as 50% more than you would pay for a standard connection, and again it would be subject to availability in the area in which you live.
Photo credit: Nathan E Photography