Whether you plan to get a new internet package or just switch providers, deciding which internet plan to choose might not be a simple job, especially for the less technically minded. There are many factors to consider when comparing internet plans – the most important being speed, cost and contract length. With different providers, contracts, offers and internet plans to choose from, the first step is to know exactly what you need.

What kind of internet plan do I need?

  • Light-use internet: If you are just starting out, it’s likely that you’re looking for a package that’s easy to set up and not too expensive.
  • Heavy-use internet: You know you’re a heavy user if you enjoy downloading songs and movies, or you’re a big fan of online gaming. If that sounds like you, then heavy-use packages are the ones to look out for. This can also be a good choice for a family all using the same connection, especially internet plans with unlimited download allowances.
  • Mobile internet: If you access the internet primarily from your laptop, then mobile internet is an option worth considering – whether to be used at home or on the go. Mobile internet is usually delivered through a ‘dongle’ (modem) that you plug into the USB slot on your laptop to access the internet, at internet speeds, wherever there’s mobile phone coverage. ‘MiFi’ dongles are also available and allow you to share a single mobile internet connection between multiple web enabled devices simultaneously.

[Compare mobile broadband in the UAE | Compare mobile broadband in Saudi Arabia

Things to consider when choosing a broadband plan

What internet providers are available in my area?

Your residential address might define which provider you can take internet, TV and landline plans from. Always ask your landlord or broker which internet service provider is available to you in your new apartment or villa.

Do I need fast internet?

With everyone talking about megabits and download times, it’s easy to think that speed is all there is to an internet plan. That’s true to an extent, but it’s also worth remembering that connection speeds over 2 MB are sufficient to carry out most online activities without any problem.

An internet connection of 8 MB will allow you to email, share pictures, watch YouTube videos and play games. Fast internet appeals mainly to those who download more or less constantly and have very demanding applications, and also those who like to upload.

You can increase your broadband speed without having to upgrade your plan. Tricks include re-positioning your router, closing background applications and upgrading your browser.

[Related: Five ways to increase your broadband speedFinding the right broadband package – too complicated? Not any more]

Does my broadband plan come with a router?

Providers don’t always offer wireless routers with the internet plans; however, they will recommend brands that work well, should you wish to purchase one from electronic stores.

Do I need a landline service with my internet plan?

Bundling your telephone and internet plans can save you money and time – take a look at internet and home phone packages offered by providers. Home bundles also come with the option of TV channels (triple play).

What software do I need to get with my internet plan?

Internet security should be a priority for everyone. With viruses able to infect computers from visiting dodgy sites, opening email attachments and downloading files, it is imperative to have some level of protection for your computer. As with wireless routers, security suites are included in most internet plans.