Whether you have a typical salaried or hourly hob that allows you to work from home or you're setting up your own independent business from the comfort of your home office, finding the right internet service provider is paramount to your success. For most at-home workers, working from home would be impossible without some kind of internet service, and certain jobs require more robust service than others. Take a look at a few things that will help you choose the right internet service for your home workspace.
Everyone talks a lot about internet speeds, especially internet service providers. But if you're not an expert in the technical aspect of internet usage, it can be difficult for you to tell exactly what all of that talk means. Understanding the basics can help you get started when choosing an internet package that works for you.
The first thing that you need to know is that internet speed is measured in megabits per second, or Mbts. There are two speeds that you need to concern yourself with: download speed and upload speed. Download speed is what allows you to read, view videos, and listen to audio on the internet, and it's also the number that most internet service providers use when describing their internet packages. Upload speed is what allows you to send data from your computer out into the internet, which is important for interactive activities like teleconferencing. While this number isn't emphasized as much by internet service providers, it should be available in their marketing information, or you should be able to ask for it.
Common download speed packages vary greatly, from 1-4 Mbps packages to 50+ Mbps packages. What speed you need depends largely on what kind of work you'll be doing. If you're just going to be sending email and reading web pages on one computer, 1-4 Mbps might be OK. If you're going to be file sharing and using video applications, opting for at least 10-15 Mbps is a better option, and if you're going to be using multiple devices simultaneously, you're better off choosing a speed over 15 Mbps. Speeds over 50 Mbps are not usually necessary for home workplaces.
When comparing the prices of different internet service providers, it's important to take into account any equipment that the ISP provides for you. For example, if you want a wireless network, you could purchase a wireless router for somewhere between $40 and $170, depending on the level of functionality you're looking for. Wireless N routers offer faster speeds and a greater range, but they're also more expensive than Wireless G routers.
However, some internet service providers include a wireless router with their service or charge you a lower cost for their wireless router than you would spend to buy one for yourself. When comparing costs, it's important to take any offer of free or reduced price equipment into account.
Everyone wants good service from their internet provider, even if they only use the internet for everyday recreational purposes. But for an at-home worker, prompt and professional customer service is absolutely vital. You can't risk not being able to get online for an important video conference with your boss or a potential client. You can't afford to lose work because of frequent internet interruptions. You can't chance leaking client data because of a security breach.
For all of these reasons and more, customer service and reliability are high on the list of things that you need from an ISP, and unfortunately, they're among the hardest things to judge before signing up for a service. Contact any ISPs you're considering and ask if they offer any special service guarantees to home workers. Find out if your home business qualifies for commercial service instead of home service.
You can also talk to other at-home workers about their ISP experiences, as they will better understand the particular needs that at-home workers have and casual workers do not and may be able to guide you to providers that they've had good experiences with (or warn you away from less responsive companies.)
Working from home is becoming more and more common, and internet service providers are an important part of that change. Keep the following factors in mind as you choose you provider, and don't be afraid to ask an ISP how they can best address your specific needs as an at-home worker. For more information about available providers in your area, you can visit sites like http://www.rtconline.com.