Get To Know Your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

What is the Function of an Internet Service Provider?

An internet service provider allows you to establish an internet connection. That link can be in the form of Dial-up, DSL, or cable connections. All devices connected to the internet request the ISP to gain access to servers. These servers contain all the information, web pages, and files ready for download.

Some examples of ISPs are AT&T, Cox, Comcast, NetZero, and Verizon. ISPs provide a direct connection to homes or companies through cables or wireless technology.

What is the role of an ISP?

Most, if not all, homes and businesses use a device to gain internet access. That device connects to the outside world through the ISP.

Here’s how an Internet Service Provider functions when you establish an internet connection to open web sites and download files:

  1. When you use your home computer or laptop to access a web site like,     the browser accesses the DNS server for the IP address assigned to by its ISP. The DNS (Domain Name Service) server contains the IP address and domain names of their hosts and network users.
  2. Your home router sends this IP address to your internet service provider, which then sends the request to Livewire’s ISP.
  3. Livewire’s ISP sends the web page to your internet service provider, which sends the information to your router then to your device.

The whole activity is accomplished in seconds. That is all possible because Internet Service Providers assign valid IP addresses for all networks (in the case of our example, your home-based network, and the network).

How Do I Know if the ISP Has Network Issues?

At times that you can’t access a website, try to open other sites. If other sites open correctly, then your device and internet service provider are not having network issues. That could mean the ISP of the website you’re trying to access, or the server that keeps the website, are having problems. You just have to wait until they resolve the issue, and try again.

Now, if all the other websites will not open either, try accessing them on a different device within the same network. Let’s say your laptop can’t open the website, try doing it on your desktop or smartphone connected to the particular Wi-fi network the laptop is also linked. If the other devices do not experience the same issue, then your laptop has a problem. If the laptop has an issue, then try rebooting it, If the problem persists, try changing the DNS server settings on the device.

Now, if all the devices do not open the website, try restarting/rebooting the modem or router. That is the usual remedy for network problems. Alternatively, you can also change the DNS server setting on the modem or router. If the issue remains, then better contact your internet service provider. Your ISP may be experiencing problems, or your service was disconnected for other reasons.

In case you have access to another ISP, try to connect there. Or a simple way is switching your smartphone from your network to your phone service carrier’s data network. That way, you can continue enjoying or accessing your desired online content.

Is it Possible to Hide Internet Activities from My ISP?

Your internet service provider can monitor or log your internet activities because all internet traffic passes through their infrastructure. If you wish to keep your activities from their attention, you can use a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN service builds an encrypted passage from your device through your internet service provider, to another ISP. That makes all your internet traffic hidden from your ISP. The VPN service provider can also see your activities, but they do not log or monitor traffic.

  1. A VPN service does that by masking your actual IP address with an assigned substitute coming from a different place. For example, you are in California and select a remote VPN server located in New York, the particular website you are accessing will think you are in New York.
  2. VPNs also allow you to bypass government restrictions. That means VPN not only preserves internet freedom but also protects your information from potential pirates.     
  3. There are a large number of VPNs offering varying levels of services at different prices. You must choose the most appropriate VPN for your streaming or browsing platform. The best way is to look for the Best VPN for a particular app. So, that means each streaming app or platform will result in a corresponding list of VPN providers most apt for it.

Other Important Things to Know About Your ISP

Testing Your Internet Speed

You can check the internet speed to compare it with what your ISP claims. There are many ISP hosted internet speed tests you can use for free. Here are a few samples:

  • AT&T Internet Speed Test
  • Consolidated Communications
  • FrontierNet Network Speed Test
  • Google Fiber
  • Mediacom Speed Test
  • Optimum (Cablevision)
  • Shaw Speed Test
  • Telus Internet Speed Test
  • Verizon Speed Test (FIOS)
  • Xfinity Speed Test (Comcast)
Emil S.

Emil is a Data & Design Specialist with a degree in BS Information System, specializes in Admin Support & Creative Design.

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