Many of us are used to being in a traditional office environment, which is why the changes we’re having to make now due to the coronavirus can be difficult to navigate. With more and more employees learning how to work from home, one important factor is ensuring you have a reliable internet connection. But how do you choose between everything that’s out there?
Luckily, we’ve put together a list just in time for the work-from-home transition of what you should look for in a good internet service provider. So, don’t worry – we’ve got you!
Pricing & Packages
First and foremost, price is an important factor to consider when shopping around for an internet plan. You want to make sure what you’re signing up for is affordable, but you also need to know that you’re getting your money’s worth. While looking at different providers, compare their plans and look closely at the information to answer these questions:
- How much data is given with each plan?
- Are there any data limits, or perhaps some higher-priced plans without data caps?
- What are the speeds for uploads and downloads?
- How long is the contract, and are there price guarantees for the first 1 or 2 years of service?
The questions featured above are ones you should know the answer to because they are vital to giving you the ability to work well from home. Since there’s no opportunity for meetings in the office, you may need to utilize video conferencing to communicate with coworkers. It’s also likely that you’ll need to download files. Both of these actions, and the many more you’ll probably encounter over the next several weeks working from home, require sufficient upload and download speeds, which is why you should examine the details of each plan to find the one that will suit your needs.
Although they were mentioned above, data caps are definitely something to look into on your internet quest, because becoming a remote employee will change your internet usage needs. No longer is the internet reserved for weekends and evenings after work – being home all day means you will be using more and more data, and you’ll want to be able to stream shows, movies, or music in the evenings, or even just use your devices for other purposes such as paying bills or browsing social media.
A package with a low data allotment will either end up slowing your productivity by throttling your service when you’ve surpassed your limit, or it may cost you money by charging you overage fees.
Equipment details can vary greatly from provider to provider. Some allow you to buy your modem, router, or combo straightaway, lease it by paying a monthly fee, or they include it in the cost of your plan. There are also some providers that allow customers to use their own router which can save costs if you don’t want to pay for one of theirs.
With your equipment, you also want to consider how many devices can connect at once. If you live on your own, this may not matter much, but for people with spouses or children who are also housebound, you’ll want them to also be able to connect their iPad, Kindles, or other devices that they need for work or school assignments.
After hearing about equipment, the next logical equipment is usually “how do I set it up?” If you have a simple plug-and-play modem or another type of modem/router combo that’s easy to install, you can do it on your own. With satellite internet, however, a professional technician must be the one to go out to your home and install the satellite dish.
Also, consider how long it will take to physically have your equipment set up for use at your home. For those who have deadlines and assignments that need to be completed, you should make sure that you can have service set up immediately so you can begin working at home – otherwise, a waiting period of even a week could possibly set you back on items that need completion.
Of course, reliable internet is the main service you’re looking to purchase. However, it’s the little things that can count the most! A lot of providers today have special features to entice customers, but making sure they’re right for you can be tricky.
For example, some providers may offer a personal email account with your service to use for whatever you like, free equipment or free next-day installation, or even free access to a repair service that can connect you instantly with a skilled technician should you ever run into a problem.
Some features that providers offer, if they already have great-looking services, can be the cherry on top for customers who are looking to get the most bang for their buck. Always keep an eye out for special offers as well, as these can save you a good chunk of change if they’re available to use!
Customer service review sites can be difficult mazes to navigate. After all, the people who generally take to review pages are upset about something and want to voice their opinions to save other people the trouble of dealing with a certain provider. However, it’s good to keep in mind that all the negative reviews do not account for the number of satisfied customers who my not have thought to leave a review at all.
Reading reviews on a few different websites is a great way to find your footing with each provider on your list of options and decide if they’re a good choice. Additionally, keep an eye on those dates in which reviews were written – for example, if someone wrote a negative comment about a provider’s customer service or internet capabilities in 2017, that may not be accurate still in 2020. Stay informed and stay grounded, and you’ll soon find the right provider that will work with your needs.