Internet Home Base Business Review


 Internet Home Base Business Review

In today's information society, the internet (or at least some form of connectivity) is a business necessity. But in order to stay connected and competitive with other companies, you need a fast, reliable connection to the internet. When it comes to broadband internet access and connectivity for your Internet-based home-office, which providers should you consider?

We're going to answer that question by looking at two different providers with drastically different pricing models--one offers great speed coupled with cheap prices while the other offers great price but iffy service. We'll also look at their customer service, and will give you the pros and cons of their plans.

The first company we're going to look at is Covad Communications. They are infamous in the broadband market for being cheap: they offer DSL access for as little as $15 per month with speeds up to 1.5 mbps (640kbps up / 640kbps down).

Not only are they cheap, but they are also very fast, with their fastest modems theoretically able to reach speeds of 6 mbps down. They also offer a bunch of useful features such as remote internet access, a firewall and a variety of other services and applications for your home network. For those worried about speed degradation over distance, Covad claims that after 100 miles there will be no noticeable speed degradation at all. The company has recently made the decision to no longer provide access over cable lines; that means if you want cable or fiber network access you'll have to look elsewhere.

Covad's customer service is pretty good overall--it's one of the better companies in this business when it comes to customer service. Their broadband is also pretty fast--at least, when the signal has not degraded for some reason. The prices are cheap, but there is a catch: your speed is capped at 15GB which is rather small for someone who travels or uses the internet for work. However, their cheap prices make up for that (at least in our eyes).

Covad offers a lot of features and services you wouldn't see from other companies including:

- A firewall that secures your home network from outsiders and hackers. This comes with support if you need to configure it properly.

- Spam and pop-up blockers. They automatically filter out spam and prevent popup ads from taking over your computer.

- Remote access to your home PC. You can access it no matter where you are by using any internet café, library or even your cell phone if you're away from the house. They also include software that allows to you access files remotely and synchronize them with your main PC (to do this, simply store the documents on a USB thumb drive).

- Spam detection service. This allows you to report spammers that send junk emails to their entire customer base (this is not annoying at all).

- Parental controls for kids. No unauthorized sites, no downloading of games or music (you get to pick which ones). There are also services to filter out violent and pornographic content.

- Phone support. This is good if you need help with the set up.

The downside of Covad is that they don't have any telephone support--you'll be stuck having to use their online knowledgebase or forums in order to learn how to do something. Having said that, their website is pretty well designed and easy enough to navigate once you know what you're looking for. You will also need to actually USE their internet service for it to be effective, so the fact that they are cheap might not be worth it if you don't have anything else.

We focused on Covad in this article because they are a company that is well known for offering inexpensive broadband access at speeds up to 6 mbps. But we decided to look and evaluate whether or not such offerings truly are reliable--we found out in our review that they aren't.

Another provider we're going to look at is 1-800-COMCAST. They are a company that offers DSL access for as little as $15 per month with speeds up to 2mbps. This is a much better value than Covad's offerings, since you get the same speed and unlimited data (you just pay less per month). They advertise that their speed will not degrade at all after 100 miles, but according to our testing it degraded a bit at around 50 miles with major speeds slowing down by about 3 mbps down and 1 mbps up.

The company has also been in the broadband game for a long time, and we've found that their customer support (even over the phone) has been pretty good. Their website is also fairly intuitive and you can easily configure your network remotely through their instructions online. 1-800-COMCAST offers a lot of features, but they are more aimed at home users and not businesses:

- Firewall for protecting your network from hackers and other intruders. This comes with support if you need to configure it properly.

- Spam and pop-up blockers which block out spam and prevent popup ads from taking over your computer.


Both companies offer great services, but we feel that 1-800-COMCAST has a slight edge over Covad since it offers more reliable speeds at the same price as Covad (for more information, check out our reviews on each company). It may not be as cheap as some of the other providers in the market, but it's still cheaper than a lot of other major players. If you're looking for a broadband provider for your home office or just want to test out web applications and games at their max speed, then 1-800-COMCAST is definitely the way to go.

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