Internet options for college students

Sep 14, 2015

Internet access is an integral part of the college experience. In fact, a Pew Research Center survey found that over 99 percent of undergraduate and graduate students regularly utilize broadband Internet service.

From downloading important text files to streaming online videos for class, there are endless ways for students to take advantage of the Internet in order to advance their learning.

However, it’s important that students are able to surf the Web at speeds that are appropriate for their needs and the specifics of the assignments. An unreliable or inconsistent connection can have extensive negative consequences on the life of a student.

Give your bandwidth a head start this semester.

That’s why students living off-campus should take a closer look at the types of connection speeds offered by their local internet and cable providers. Comparing costs will help you save on your monthly costs, but that’s not the only factor you should consider when evaluating internet service.

Get educated when it comes to the types of Internet connection speeds available, identify what you’ll need to facilitate your favorite online activities and give your bandwidth a head start this semester.

Simple downloads at low prices

If the extent of your daily Internet needs are limited to email, web browsing, and watching standard video, then you may be able to save a bit of money by opting for a connection speed somewhere between 4-6 Mbps.

This internet option will likely only appeal to students taking a major that requires minimal online research or information gathering, as opening multiple tabs and switching quickly between multiple forms of media can become more difficult when your Internet connection is struggling to keep up.

Meet your need for speed on a reasonable budget

Aiming to stream crystal clear video or play a multiplayer online game over your internet connection? You’ll need internet speeds quicker than the baseline, ranging from 10-15 Mbps. With this connection, a single user could run multiple applications on their computer at once. As a result, this is also the perfect speed for students who must regularly perform multimedia projects and intensive assignments on a weekly basis for class.

This connection is vulnerable to being split up and slowed down when multiple machines are accessing your network at the same time. This point is particularly relevant for students living with two or more roommates. Insufficient bandwidth could make it impossible for each member of the home to take full advantage of the household connection simultaneously.

Faster connections for a house full of roommates

You’ve got to change your thinking with regard to your internet connection if you live in a household of media users. Otherwise, you’ll find that the music downloads, online gaming connections and streaming speeds of the entire house will suffer. That’s why it makes sense to pitch in for a higher tier of Internet service if each member of the house wants a high-speed connection all to themselves.

The Federal Communications Commission selected 25 Mbps as the new baseline for broadband service, upping the number from 4 Mbps to scale along with the increasing amounts of data being transferred by Internet users on a daily basis, according to PC Magazine. This serves as a decent baseline for college students sharing the same Internet connection as well. You may even consider bumping up your speed even higher if data-heavy activities and size of your household demand even more bandwidth.

Use ethernets for a more consistent connection

In some cases, the best way to get the most out of your internet speed in college is to go old school and connect your computer directly to a cabled connection. While wireless technology is more advanced and convenient than ever, the speeds available over a hardwired connection are often much more consistent and faster than those achievable over a wireless modem. That’s why it pays to invest in a bit of extra cable in order to extend the connection directly from an internet jack to your PC or laptop. When you simply need fast internet, an ethernet cable is the way to go.

Fix sources of slowdown

Once you’ve found the right internet speed and optimized your hookups, the best way to maximize your internet speeds in college is to address the most common causes of slowdown.

For example, the solution to your speed problems may be as simple as moving the router to a new location. Find a centralized spot that’s equidistant from every bedroom for best results. You should also check to see if your connection is being negatively impacted by a nearby cordless phone or microwave oven. Consumer Reports noted that if you have a dual-band router, switching your connection to 5 GHz is an easy solution to this problem.