How to Install an Internet Service Provider

by Lynn Lecours

Installing an Internet service provider (ISP) can be much easier than choosing one. There are a wide range of choices depending upon the type of service you want and the options available in your geographic area. A little bit of research is required before you can install your ISP.

Choose the type of service you will use. Your options depend largely on where you live. Urban areas have the most choices, while rural areas may be limited. Most cities offer cable, satellite and DSL. For the most part, the fastest service will be through cable, with satellite and DSL close behind. DSL can slow down during peak hours, while satellite may become unusable during bad weather. If you have a good cable provider, this may be your best bet. All three are similar in price in most markets. Dial-up connections are the easiest to install, the least expensive and the slowest connection. Internet beginners may not mind the slow speed until they get a little use under their belts.

Understand your computer hardware needs. If you have a desktop computer, you might need a modem to connect to the Internet, depending upon your computer and the type of service you purchase. Most laptops come with a built-in modem, which makes them Internet ready. Many service providers for cable, DSL and satellite will come to your home and install the service for you. If you need a modem for your desktop, they will probably provide that at no additional charge, but it belongs to them, and you will need to return it if you stop the service. Dial-up connections usually require an installation disc and possibly a modem.

Research service providers for the kind of service you want. Once you choose the type of service, it's time to research the providers in your area. Usually there is only one cable provider to choose from for broadband cable service. DSL can be purchased from the phone company and providers such as AT&T and Yahoo! There are usually many options for satellite. The dial-up choices are the same in most places. The major providers are AOL, Netzero and Earthlink, but there are many others.

Contact the service provider. It's a good idea to call the top three providers once you know who they are. Depending on the type of service, you may find that some companies sell bundled packages such as phone, cable or satellite and ISP services. This could save you money. If you decide to go with dial-up, the ISP will probably send you a disc to use for installation.

Install your ISP. If the service provider is not installing for you, you probably have settled on dial-up and you are going to install it yourself. Don't worry, it's a pretty easy process. Just pop in the disc and respond to the questions it asks you on the screen. Installation is fairly automatic with just a few interactions required by you.

Items you will need

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