Setting up Internet service is usually at the top of the to-do list when moving into a new apartment. Some apartments come pre-wired for Internet with a selected Internet Service Provider (ISP). Depending on your specific situation, this can be an extra convenience, or it can be limiting — especially if you have specific Internet needs that the preferred service doesn’t offer.
If you want to upgrade the Internet that is available at your new apartment, or choose a new Internet provider all together, here is some food for thought.
Pros of Using a Preferred ISP
Sticking with the preferred ISP and service that is contracted by your apartment complex is definitely the simplest choice. If you use the existing ISP, you won’t have to worry about shopping around or setting up an installation appointment.
Additionally, monthly fees for preferred Internet services may be included as part of your rental agreement. Even if it’s not included, some complexes that have invested in a pre-wired Internet service will offer packages at a discount to encourage residents to use their preferred provider.
Cons of Using a Preferred ISP
The biggest drawback of using the preferred Internet package is the lack of flexibility. You don’t have any say about the ISP, the speeds, or the price. If you want to have the fastest, most reliable Internet service, it can be frustrating to be stuck with an ISP that doesn’t offer what you need.
Depending on the type of arrangement your apartment complex has with the ISP, you could also end up encountering slow connectivity when multiple residents are using the Internet simultaneously.
Pros of Setting up a New ISP
Control is the top benefit of opting out of the pre-selected ISP. When you install your own Internet service, you get to choose the provider, the speeds, and the price you want to pay. Your own, dedicated Internet connection could also limit buffering or other issues during high traffic times.
Cons of Setting up a New ISP
It can be difficult to add Internet from a non-preferred ISP. Usually the preferred company is already using the main line, meaning that a different provider would have to set up a new line in order to provide service. Some complexes prohibit new lines in their contracts, so you’ll need to verify what is or isn’t allowed with your landlord before proceeding.
If you are allowed to subscribe to a different ISP, you can end up paying twice if the provided service is already included in your rent.
Other Aspects to Consider Before Making the Switch
Before you make a decision about using a preferred ISP or branching out on your own, there are a few factors every Internet user needs to consider. Take a look at the list below and make sure you know what you need in each area before moving forward.
- Speed: If you regularly use the Internet for things like gaming or streaming video, you need reliable, fast speeds — especially if there are multiple users and devices in your home. Find out if the Internet service provided by your apartment meets your speed requirements. If it does, you won’t need to go through the hassle of finding an alternative ISP.
- Availability: It doesn’t matter if a certain provider can deliver the speeds you need if they’re not available in your area. Due to infrastructure and other limitations, not all providers or service packages are available in all locations. Learn which ISPs are active in your area and what packages they offer.
- Cost: For those on a tight budget, adding another expense may be difficult. Be sure you understand what, if anything, you’re already paying for as part of your apartment lease. If your budget can withstand an additional monthly fee, it might be worth it for you to have the type of Internet service you want. Look for deals for new customers; many ISPs offer promotional rates or discounts when you sign up.
- Latency: The time it takes for your network to process data is called latency. When you experience a delay in loading a page or buffering a video, you may be having a latency issue rather than a bandwidth issue. One of the biggest contributors to latency is high usage of bandwidth, usually caused by too many users on the same connection. If latency is a concern for you, upgrading or switching services is probably a good idea.
Sorting out the pros and cons of using a preferred Internet service or setting up your own ISP is worth the effort. Once you understand what your Internet needs are and the best way to get them, take the next step to purchase or upgrade to the type of Internet service that delivers what you want.