ISP : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary


ISP (Internet Service Provider). A local company that owns a computer (or computers) with a permanent 24-hour Internet connection. You pay them a monthly fee, usually about $20. You are then allowed to phone their computer up with your computer modem. From there you can connect to any computer in the world on the Internet without a long distance call. Your connection goes through the all-digital Internet satellite or fibre optic links to the computers of your choice. A poor ISP will not install enough dial-up ports on its computer to handle all the customers. You often will get a busy when you dial up. You can test an ISP before you sign up by phoning its number and seeing how often you get a busy. A poor ISP will not have a sufficiently thick (technically, high enough bandwidth) pipe to the rest of the Internet to handle all the traffic. Before you sign up, ask other subscribers if their access seems to bog down severely at peak hours. This is a symptom of an inadequate bandwidth. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that offer unlimited access are often a worse buy than ones that limit you to one or two hours a day because with no incentive to limit use, other subscribers will hog all the lines and never get off to give you a turn.

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