Your Guide to Choosing the Best Internet Service Provider
The internet today is a must have for many people. You need it at work, at home, and everywhere else in between. It’s important to choose the best internet service provider. Your happiness as an internet user rests on that very choice.
There are a couple of things you need to know that will give you insight into the type of ISP you should subscribe to. Choosing an ISP is not an easy decision. Especially if you have many options at your disposal.
This guide is going to make that decision easier for you. Let’s start with the basics of it all.
What is an ISP?
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides you with access to the internet. It creates a gateway through which you can access the Internet and everything online.
An ISP can be a commercial, privately-owned, community-owned or non-profit organization. Most internet access providers are phone companies, government-owned entities, and cable companies.
What does an ISP do?
- Provides Internet services to its subscribers. It can be through DSL service, dial-up service, and cellular data service.
- Provides large companies with a direct connection between the company’s network and the Internet.
- Gives its users access to internet services like email, security services, Web hosting, and access to software tools.
There are some terminologies that you might come across when selecting an ISP. You need to understand them as they can help you when deciding on the internet provider to use.
Some Basic Terms You Need to Know
Also known as a bandwidth cap or band cap. It is an artificial restriction that is set on the amount of data a subscribed user can transfer over a network.
The internet service provider is the one that imposes these limitations. Once the user exceeds the limitation, the Internet provider throttles the internet speed.
Data caps vary from one ISP to another and the implementation is also different. For instance, some might restrict the amount of data you can use per month. Others restrict the types of activities you can do such as downloading or running a file or web server.
Latency, also referred to as delay, is the number of milliseconds (ms.) it takes for data to be transmitted from one location to another over a network. It is also called ping rate during speed tests.
Latency has a cause and effect relationship with bandwidth. Together these two measures determine the speed of your internet. A low latency means faster Internet. For example, any latency below 100ms is reasonable.
An internet service provider that serves internet with low latency is good. You can expect faster internet speeds.
This is the amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another over a network in a given period of time. It is also referred to as throughput.
Latency and bandwidth are closely related and influence internet speed. The latency determines how fast your data moves while bandwidth determines how much of it can move over a period of time.
A good ISP can provide fast internet by combining super low latency with very high bandwidth.
Dedicated Vs Shared Bandwidth
With all that said, as a consumer, you’ll have two options for bandwidth, Dedicated and Shared. Many companies in Tanzania advertise Shared Internet. In this option, the internet users in the area share the amount of data transfer i.e. Bandwidth.
For instance, you’ll notice the phrase “get up to 10Mbps per second”. The words “up to” imply that the amount advertised is the most that you’ll get.
Once you start using the internet, the speeds received might be even lower. Especially if there are many heavy internet users in the area online at the same time.
Many internet companies prefer shared bandwidth as it lowers the costs for them. Support is not prioritized for any single person in this option. Also, the consumers share the cost of the internet backbone that the ISP purchases.
Dedicated Bandwidth is different. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. With this option, you get the entire bandwidth all to yourself. The connection will always run at the advertised speed. If its 10Mbps, you’ll get 10Mbps.
Most of the time ISPs tend to sell dedicated bandwidth as part of a business service. This is because it tends to be more expensive than the shared bandwidth.
As a business, you should always look for the best internet solutions provider. They are the ones that offer dedicated bandwidth that ensures faster connections and higher priority support.
Uptime is the availability or responsiveness of a web hosting service. This is a critical focal point for an internet service provider. It is the amount of time that a network connection is available, functional, and usable.
Most ISPs offer their users a guaranteed uptime of 99.5%, which is quite good. When looking for the best internet provider in Tanzania, check their internet uptime. It should be close to 100% in your local area.
Besides, you’re looking for the best, aren’t you? Achieving a high level of reliance by a hosting company requires dedication. In order to provide the fastest internet solutions in Tanzania, the company would need to go the extra mile. Heavy investment in technology, expertise, and good infrastructure are a must.
This is a unique numerical label assigned to each computer connected to a network. The Internet service provider assigns the IP address to all its subscribed users.
An IP address serves two purposes: location addressing and network interface identification. Your IP address lets you communicate with other devices over a network. It is characterized by a string of numbers separated by full stops.
Devices that share a specific local network also share a common IP address. You also need to know that there are two types of IP addresses; A static IP address and a dynamic IP address.
Static Vs Dynamic IP Address
A static IP address is an address that is permanently assigned to your device by your ISP. It doesn’t change even after rebooting your device. Most ISPs provide these addresses by request. In fact, you need to pay an additional fee to have a static IP.
A static IP address is best suited for businesses or companies offering dedicated services such as mail, FTP and web servers.
With that said, residential users could also get one, but it can be expensive. On top of that, you need to have some technical knowledge to set it up.
On the other hand, we have Dynamic IP addresses. These types of IP addresses change from time to time. Devices will not have the same IP all the time when connecting to a network. Many ISP companies use this as it’s more cost-effective.
A Dynamic IP address is also better for home users. No setup is required and no extra fee is charged to access the IP address.
This is an “umbrella” or “catch-all” term for a fast Internet connection. It refers to any internet connection that is faster than dial-up. Satellite, DSL, fiber optic service (FiOS), and cable fall in this category.
Microwave Technology is commonly used in broadband. It’s a line of sight wireless communication technology.
It provides fast speed wireless connection by utilizing high-frequency radio waves beams. These beams transfer data and other information such as voice and video to users.
Most broadband connections offered by ISPs to home users have an upload speed much slower than the download speed. Business-level broadband connections usually have a higher upload speed than home connections.
The Internet Options Available to You in Tanzania
The internet connection types offered by ISPs in Tanzania vary in their speed (Mbps) and cost. They are:
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) operates over the traditional telephone lines. DSL delivers internet download speeds over 25 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads.
It is generally the cheapest type of broadband internet for your home.
DSL has two types, Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) and Symmetric DSL (SDSL). ADSL offers faster download speeds than upload speeds and is cheaper. SDLS which provides equally balanced upload and download speeds.
DSL is based on distance. Your internet strength increases as you get closer to the service provider. It also decreases when you’re further away. Aside from this drawback, it’s a recommended choice for home internet users.
Broadband, as mentioned earlier, is an all-inclusive term for all fast internet connections. Most broadband connections offered by ISPs to home users are asymmetric. They have an upload speed much slower than the download speed.
Subscribers get access to satellite internet using a satellite service. The internet feed is beamed to users’ installed satellite dishes. Satellite internet is generally slower than DSL and fiber optic internet.
Its speed lies below 20 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. Satellite internet has the widest availability compared to other internet options. It is available regardless of where you are.
It’s for this reason that it’s more common in rural areas where DSL and fiber optic internet are yet to reach. Satellite broadband is expensive compared to DSL and fiber optic internet. More so when considering its speed levels.
Fiber optic internet service is one of the most recent and enhanced connection types. The internet operates over an optic network using light. Fiber optic lines are made of pure glass that is thin as a strand of hair.
The technology used in fiber optic lines allows it to provide the fastest internet in Tanzania. The download speeds reach over 500 Mbps in some places and over 35 Mbps in uploads.
The internet speeds are still improving rapidly. This super-fast internet option may be unavailable to some people in remote areas. This is because it requires the user to be in an area that has fiber optic cables installed.
What you should do before selecting an ISP
Your needs as an internet user are unique to you. The ability to provide these standards varies from one ISP to the other.
Before you choose an Internet Service Provider, you need to make sure that it meets most of your needs. It’s not easy selecting an ISP, but you can use these factors to choose the best internet service provider in Tanzania.
What broadband is available in my area?
You need to be sure that the broadband you want is available in your home area.
If you are from a busy city or town, you will most likely have access to all the available internet forms. Even so, internet options like fiber optics may still be limited to certain areas.
This is because many ISPs are yet to roll it out away from the city center and its environs. To be sure of the internet forms at your disposal, you can contact and enquire from different ISPs.
What kind of user am I?
Are you looking for internet services for business or residential internet services? ISPs have distinguished packages for business users and residential users.
As a business, you’re going to need an internet option that offers high upload and download speeds. Fiber optic or broadband can meet these criteria.
Cheaper internet packages are best for home use (as long as there are no heavy users). They work great as they offer reasonable download speeds and good uptime.
How many people will be using my connection?
Your connection will get slower if it has a low bandwidth and many people connect to it. You should consider the number of people in your household using the internet.
For a household with one user, a monthly unlimited internet package should suffice. As long as there are no heavy users.
On the other hand, a larger household would enjoy a fiber optic internet package. A broadband with up to 17 Mbps may also be able to cater for a huge household. If it’s only you, a low-cost broadband package would cover your internet needs.
What speeds do I need?
When choosing an ISP, find out whether their fast internet speed applies to downloading or uploading. Keep in mind that the different providers have different rates.
Feedback from different users can help determine the best internet service provider in Tanzania. Different users can help you know the reliability, speed as well as the quality of the network. You need to know that the advertised speeds that ISPs put up might not be exactly what you get.
You need to read the fine print. For instance, if an ISP adds “up to” before the speed, there is a meaning to it. The meaning is you might get internet speeds that fast, but it’ll most likely be lower than indicated. Always ask whether the internet you receive is a dedicated or shared option. A shared internet package will most likely not provide you with fast internet speeds.
What does the package cost?
You’re going to have to part with your money if you want fast internet. It’s hard to find cheap internet options that offer fast speeds and reliable uptime.
You also need to note that some “unlimited packages” are not actually unlimited. Many ISPs tend to place data caps on the packages. This means that you get fast internet until the cap is exceeded, after which the speed is throttled.
Check the fine print at all times as this is where the details on data caps are normally placed.
Offers, add-ons, and special features
ISPs throw in some enticing deals and special features that will catch your attention. These add-ons generally make the purchase worthwhile. The extras offered could be free installation or a free internet security software. Before jumping in, find out whether the free offer is, in fact, beneficial to you.
As a business, you need to consider the customer support offered by the ISP. You don’t want any downtime especially if crucial processes rely on the internet. Time down becomes money lost!
The best ISP will have 24/7 support backed up by 1 on 1 assistance if ever the need arises. They should also have on-site technicians available/on standby. The availability of phone or live assistance is also a plus.
The process of finding the best internet service provider in Tanzania may seem tedious, but it’s worth the time and energy. Remember, you can always seek the help of an expert, even the ISP itself, to help you make the most out of this search.
Once you find the ideal ISP, you can enjoy all that comes with an affordable, super-fast internet connection. quick downloads, steady streaming, and smooth video calls!