ISP Questions and Answers with BSCís Alex Kovtun

Questions about Internet Service Providers (ISP) abound; national vs. local, ISP vs. web host, DSL vs. ISDN, SDSL vs. ADSL, mail server vs. mailboxes, etc.  The Next Wave sat down with Beachwood Systems Consultingís certified Microsoft engineer Alex Kovtun to get to the bottom of the ISP conundrum.

TNW: All over town, I see little shops in strip malls offering Internet service for just a few bucks a month.  Should I use them or a larger local company or should I just go national?

AK: It depends on your needs.  I would bet that for the typical home user, the small local ISPís or even the free ISPís would do the job, but you have to be careful with whom you trust your business processes.  I suggest you use a larger company like APKnet to provide your business with Internet services.  If you think you might need Internet access from anywhere in the country or the world, you have to use a big company like AT&T Worldnet or Earthlink.

TNW: What if I need high-speed access, like DSL?

AK: There are many ISPís that offer DSL, but you have to decide which kind of DSL you need.  There is Asynchronous DSL (ADSL) and Synchronous DSL (SDSL) and there is a big difference between them.  ADSL devotes most of your bandwidth to fast download speeds at the expense of your upload speed, whereas SDSL has the same download as upload rate.  If you intend to use your DSL connection for two-way communication, such as to host your own web site, you must get SDSL.  However, SDSL is more expensive than ADSL.

TNW:  So, maybe I should host my web site with my ISP?

AK: Maybe you should, if you donít have or canít afford a dedicated connection that is fast enough or an extra computer to be your web server.  Before selecting a web host, you have to determine what sorts of services your web site will need.  If you intend to use Microsoft FrontPage to build your web site, then your web host has to have the FrontPage extensions.  Furthermore, you had better confirm with your web host that it can handle things like Active Server Pages (ASP), Java, streaming media, or whatever web technology you plan to use.

TNW: Well, what if I just want e-mail for my business?

AK: Again, you have to decide what your needs are and you should understand the complications of e-mail service.  The two major choices available to you are to use your ISPís mailboxes or to set up your own mail server.  My opinion is that if you can afford it, get your own mail server.  The reason for that is if you should ever change ISPís (for whatever reason) then your mail server can go with you, or at least you wonít have to change all of your e-mail addresses.  If you use the ISPís mail servers, and you change ISPís, then you have to inform all of your contacts, clients, and customers of the change.  So, if at all possible, use your own mail server.

TNW: That sounds like good advice.

AK: There are lots of options available and many are confusing and some are not very good.  If you arenít sure what to do or what your needs are, I suggest you give me a call at (216) 765-0220 and I can analyze your business, make recommendations, and perform an implementation.                     



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