I am often asked by friends and family about which broadband service to buy and time and again my honest advice is ignored in favour of price and/or offers. Recently, certain amongst my friends have come-a-cropper as a result of this and have learnt their lesson, so I have decided to impart my advice to everyone, officially.
First, there are four simple DO NOTs:
- Do not order BT Broadband.
- Do not order Sky Internet.
- Do not order Virgin Media Internet.
- Do not order broadband from your mobile phone operator.
I don’t care how cheap these services are or whether or not they’re bundled with anything else. They’re bundled and/or cheap for a reason and with broadband it very much is a case of you get what you pay for. That’s the harsh honest truth. If you want a fast, reliable and un-crippled Internet connection then you’re going to have to stump up a bit on your monthlies.
Once this is established, this is my definitive, boilerplate, standard advice:
- Buy this router. That one. Not a cheaper one, that one. No, you cannot use your existing BT Internet, Sky Internet or Virgin Media router.
- Order this service, or this one (the “Pro” version) if you download lots of movies or use iPlayer (and similar) frequently.
This isn’t the cheapest router in the world, nor are they the cheapest ADSL services in the world, but there’s a very good reason for that. They work. All the time. You get what you pay for. It really is not worth trying to save what amounts to a matter of a few pounds per month for what is nowadays an essential service.
You are of course free to ignore either or both of these, but do so at your peril and if you get into difficulties with your broadband service having ignored one or both then I at no point want to hear about it.
I would also take this opportunity to point out that whilst Wifi is a useful technology, you should not leave yourself dependent on it. Most wireless networks work fine, but at the end of the day there is no substitute for eight strands of copper. There is a plethora of variables that can affect the performance of a wireless network, so if your Internet connection is critical, use a cable.