Q

What are the advantages and the disadvantages of using an ISP?

What are the advantages and the disadvantages of using an ISP?
There are a huge number of factors to consider, and their relative importance will depend on your needs. Head over to http://www.dslreports.com/ to get a feel for what is causing other customers pain. Here's a quick list of what factors to consider when evaluating ISPs:

  1. Upfront and ongoing costs.
  2. Upstream and downstream last-mile bandwidth (the speed from the ISP to your network).
  3. Average wait time for support calls.
  4. Average uptime (usually expressed as a percentage, such as 99.9%).
  5. Static IP vs. Dynamic IP (with Static IP being better only if you host a server).
  6. Security services, such as a firewall, filtering router, or intrusion detection.
  7. The bandwidth the ISP has to other ISPs, and the redundancy of those connections.
  8. Additional services that you may need, such as e-mail, Web hosting, and newsgroups.

This was first published in February 2004

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