Should You Buy the Cheapest Internet?The cheapest internet is dictated based on providers available in your area. For our purposes, let’s consider Time Warner Cable, which has a wide selection of speeds and pricing and are available in numerous markets. Below is a list of Internet speeds TWC offers, and to help you pick the service that is right for you, there’s a breakdown of what to consider when choosing an Internet package beyond how much it costs. *Please note that pricing and speeds can vary widely depending on where you live and your market, and not all speeds are available in all areas. Internet Services Everyday Low Price Speed (Upload/Download): 2 Mbps / 1 Mbps Basic Speed (Upload/Download): 6 Mbps / 1 Mbps Standard Speed (Upload/Download): 15 Mbps / 1 Mbps This package also includes access to TWC WiFi Hotspots, where available. Turbo Speed (Upload/Download): 20 Mbps / 2 Mbps This package also includes access to TWC WiFi Hotspots, where available. Extreme Speed (Upload/Download): 30 Mbps / 5 Mbps This package also includes access to Home Wifi and TWC WiFi Hotspots, where available. Ultimate 50 Speed (Upload/Download): 50 Mbps / 5 Mbps This package also includes access to Home Wifi and TWC WiFi Hotspots, where available. Ultimate 100 Speed (Upload/Download): 100 Mbps / 10 Mbps This package also includes access to Home Wifi and TWC WiFi Hotspots, where available. Ultimate 200 Speed (Upload/Download): 200 Mbps / 20 Mbps This package also includes access to Home Wifi and TWC WiFi Hotspots, where available. Ultimate 300 Speed (Upload/Download): 300 Mbps / 20 Mbps This package also includes access to Home Wifi and TWC WiFi Hotspots, where available. Picking An Internet Package It may be tempting to select the cheapest Internet service that will get you online, but doing so may result in you being stuck with a connection that doesn’t fit your needs. TWC is like many service providers in that they offer reduced prices for new customers, so if you want to change your speed, you may end up losing your discount. Before making a final choice, you may want to learn about how download bandwidth, upload bandwidth and latency can affect your connection. Download Bandwidth Pricing and download speed are the two main things that most people base their decision on when figuring out which Internet package to go with. Download bandwidth, or your top download speed, is very important because it determines how fast your connection is. If you just check your email and pay your bills on the Internet, you can probably get by with a slow connection, but if you spend a lot of time online, you may find that you need at least a mid-range package. A slow connection won’t stop you from visiting websites, but it can make them take a long time to load. Additionally, if you watch videos online or play streaming games, you’re going to need a fairly fast connection. However, it’s also important to note that your Internet service isn’t necessarily just for connecting your computer to the web anymore. Many devices now use the Internet, like gaming consoles, Blu-Ray players and smart TVs. The more devices that go online at your home, the faster your Internet connection needs to be because you’re splitting up the bandwidth. If you pick an extremely inexpensive Internet package with low bandwidth, you may have trouble if more than one or two devices that connect to the Internet are in use. Upload Bandwidth It’s not uncommon for people to completely ignore the issue of upload speed when selecting an Internet package. The majority of things that you do online are downloads, but if you do things that involve sending files, you’re going to want a solid upload speed. Most Internet service providers offer packages with an upload bandwidth that is 10 percent of download bandwidth. As a result, you may end up needing to go with a service that has a faster download speed than you need if you do a lot of activities that involve uploading. Anything that you do that sends files on the Internet, be it attaching documents to an email, sharing a picture on social media or uploading a video to YouTube, is an upload. Sending data also falls under uploading, so if you’re playing a streaming video game or trying to share streaming video, such as with Periscope, you are relying on your upload bandwidth. If you only share pictures on social media or email attachments occasionally, you’re probably not going to need to worry too much about your upload speed. Even if you spend a lot of time uploading files, a low upload bandwidth will generally only make the process take more time, though it can lead to latency, which will be explained shortly. However, if you’re doing anything that relies on upload in real-time, and playing online video games is the most common example, a lower upload speed can have a negative effect. Your characters will be slow to react as it takes time for data to be transferred, and if you live stream videos, they’re likely to be low-quality and choppy. Latency Even if you have a fast Internet connection, you may still run into latency, which can make your Internet speed seem slower than it is. While your bandwidth determines how fast you can download, latency determines how quickly your download starts. To be clear, downloads are any activity that involves getting data from the Internet. Therefore, large amounts of latency can negatively affect anything that you do online. Latency and download are a bit like making a phone call; the phone ringing is latency, and when the other person picks up, your download starts. The more rings, the longer it takes for a conversation to start, and the more latency, the longer it takes for a download to start. Also similar to a phone call is that if someone doesn’t pick up soon enough, the conversation won’t take place. With latency, if it takes too long for your connection to a server to be made so a download can start, it will eventually time out. In many cases, latency is caused by a poor connection to the Internet. This can either be because there is a problem with your cable lines or if you have a weak wireless signal. However, latency can also occur when your upload bandwidth is being maxed out. When you use the Internet, even if you are downloading something, you still need a bit of upload to make the connection. If you doing something that takes up all of your upload bandwidth, it can actually reduce your download speed. Sharing streaming videos, playing online video games and downloading peer-to-peer files can lead to this issue. If you do any of those types of things on a regular basis, you may want to look into an Internet package with a solid upload speed.
Author - HSI Staff