How to get the best internet connection for my Mac

working with mac laptop

Although it is already difficult to remember times in which we spent entire days without doing even one query on the internet, the situation has multiplied by a lot in recent years. When we thought that the best thing we could do on the internet was chat with friends via WhatsApp or iMessage, watch videos of kittens on YouTube or other funny ones on TikTok, streaming services such as Netflix, Apple TV+, Spotify or Apple Music appeared. Teleworking is something that has spread in recent years, and a good internet rate with stable connection is always important.

The problem is how to find that rate. The easiest thing is to contract the services of a large operator, but they usually offer complete and more expensive packages, and we may not need everything included in one of their rates. Watching advertisements on television, we will also discover others, which are under the umbrella of the big ones, with better prices, but they may fall short and we need something more. Which one to choose then?

An internet fee is not always what they promise

internet speed meter

If we pay attention to what they advertise on television, or what they show us in the foreground on web pages, it is quite likely that the services or the bill, even both, will arrive with some unpleasant surprise. When ADSL came out, there were companies that advertised an Internet connection at a good price, but in this type of connection only 10% of what was contracted is guaranteed. If you lived in a capital, the speed of the connection could exceed 80% of what was promised, but in a remote town, well, we could say that the promise was not fulfilled. Although, it must be said, these companies dropped that, in these cases, the speed “could be” lower.

It is only necessary to visit the web pages of the most well-known operators to verify that what is shown looks a bit like a trade show advertisement: all the best at the best price, presented with an outstanding design. these ads they focus on “fishing” customers, and for this they show us a bait that we are going to want to bite. We must not. It is advisable to stop, take a pencil and paper, write down what we have, what we think we have understood about the rate that has caught our attention and start doing numbers. Next, what we should not do is hire, but something else.

Call, very important to know the details of an internet rate

It is important not to believe that we understand everything at first or think that we are the smartest in the class. It is worth asking and confirming things not to ask and that something is very different. Although lately it is something that is no longer done, the price that appears in the offer could be without VAT, and an unexpected increase of 21% in the final invoice is not easy to digest. What is more common is to contract a service at a time when there is a promotion, a few months in which the final price is less than it will be in the future, and we have to make accounts based on the post-promotion price. All these are fringes that must be clarified before hiring a service.

On the call, it is worth clarifying many points:

  • The connection, is it fiber optic? Fiber offers the fastest and most stable connection. If everything is fine, and we connect by cable to our router, in some cases the speed is usually 100% of what they offer, although in the ads they usually put “up to” in case in some case it is something less.
  • If it is fiber, what type is it? This point is very important, because although it is true that it may not be very noticeable, there are times when the connection could even drop. The FTTH fiber, also known as “to your house”, is the one that the optical fiber reaches our router. This cable delivers the highest speed and stability. On the other hand, the HFC is a hybrid connection, where the fiber reaches the connection point of our street and, from there, they run coaxial cable to our home. Through the coaxial cable some speed is lost, and if we go through a storm, this is when the connection could be cut.
  • The router that you offer me, does it broadcast in the 2.4GHz/5GHz frequencies? If it only supports the first one, what we will have will be a signal that will go far and go through walls better, but the speed will be lower. With the second, being in the same room as the router, the speed increases a lot.
  • I also think it is essential to inform us of the conditions related to the router included in the offer. We can find ourselves with three scenarios: in the first, there is only one router and it is the one that they install for us. In the second, there are two routers, a better one and a normal one, and what they set up for us is the normal one with fewer features. In the third, of the two routers that exist, they want us to install the good one, a more expensive one that has an extra cost. If it is not what we want, we can ask and say that they mount the normal router for us, in order to save us a few euros.
  • Other points to take into account include other services such as television and mobile, and even others that will depend on the operator. Among these points, I think it is necessary to highlight what we can do with our mobile. Many offers offer a main line and another one as an extra, as a gift. The main line usually has it all, unlimited calls and minutes, and maybe SMS too, but the line they add as a gift is not so good. It is necessary to know the conditions of the second line, and also if there is any promotion that can connect it to the main one and if, by doing so, something is lost.

Will the hardware that will be mounted on me be compatible with my Mac?

router for mac

Totally. A long time ago, when Apple wanted to install itself on the desktops of any home, it launched a campaign called Mac vs PC (“Get a Mac” in English). They were a series of commercials comparing how well a Mac performed to the same point on a Windows computer. In one of them in particular, the character who played Mac was holding hands with PC, referring to the fact that they are compatible. Shortly after, an actress arrives and holds hands with Mac, and between them they speak Japanese.

The moral is that Mac/macOS has always been more compatible with all types of hardwareand. It is true that from Windows 10 everything can work with the drivers that are downloaded from the operating system, but on Mac it is not usually necessary. If in some case it is, the hardware we buy will come with a CD, and on these there is usually software to install whatever is needed in Windows and macOS.

Although all this would make more sense if we were talking about less used hardware or that it was connected to the USB/Thunderbolt ports of a computer. We connect to a router via WiFi or Ethernet, and the only thing that is received is the connection, so any device can connect to a router if it has the necessary port or is compatible with the WiFi signal it emits. All Macs meet both requirements.

Measure our connection from macOS

speed test with speedtest

I wouldn’t be a Mac if I didn’t think it was the best option. Only those who use them know how good Apple equipment is, especially if what we want is to create audiovisual content. As if that were not enough, from Catalina we can take advantage of Catalyst, the name they gave to the project that makes possible run iPadOS apps on macOS.

To test the connection and internet speed, most users open the browser, go to the Ookla Speedtest page, click start and wait for the results. Another option, also very popular because it appears in the same Google search, is to search for “speed test” and click on “PERFORM SPEED TEST”, but Mac users do not have to limit ourselves to a couple of options that force us to use the browser. Also we can use lesser known applications that appear in the iPad App Store; to have a second opinion, to an opinion, let’s say, independent.

Everything is said, although Macs have the latest generation components, wireless connections are not perfect, so to check if everything is going well, it is best to do the tests connected to the router directly with the cable. If the results we see are not what we would like to see, we can wait a reasonable time to see if it has been an isolated case. If after that time we see that the speed is still not close to what we have contracted, we must call the operator. The company will do some remote tests, tell us if the problem exists and give us the solution. Otherwise, we are left with the options of starting an incident, crossing our fingers and hoping that it ends up being solved, or making another call, but this time to another company. One whose services comply with what was promised and allows us to be calm with our internet connection.

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