Moving day is stressful, but it’s so much more fun when you can order food or stream a movie after a long day of hauling heavy boxes and furniture. Setting up your internet service before you move is a big step in making your new place feel like home.
Most internet providers simplify the transfer of service when you move, but if your current provider doesn’t serve your new address, you’ll need to take a few more steps to change internet providers. Even if your current provider is available at your new address, it might be worth checking if there are any new ones ISPs are available in the area.
Here’s how to seamlessly transition Internet service from your current address to your new home, whether it’s transferring service or signing up with a new provider. For more moving advice, check out our picks for the best moving companies, how much you should tip movers, and how to figure out what size moving truck you need.
Internet Service Relocation Checklist
- Check which providers and plans are available at your new address
- Decide whether to sign up for a new ISP or transfer your current service (if applicable)
- Contact your current provider regarding transferring or canceling service
- Set up service with your new provider (if applicable)
- Pack the equipment carefully and take it to your new home in case of a transfer of service, or follow the supplier’s instructions for return
- Install your existing or new equipment in a suitable location in your new home
Which ISPs are available at my new address?
Before you can decide to transfer your Internet service or sign up for a new one, you need to know your options. Many websites let you check for local Internet providers, including CNET—click “Change Location” in the tool above and enter your address to view available providers and plans.
When using these sites or tools, or checking availability on a provider’s official site, you’ll get the best results using an address that’s opposite to something generic like “Internet Service Providers in Charlotte, North Carolina.” Most providers operate in specific service areas, so availability may vary by zip code or even neighborhood. During a move, it’s not always safe to assume that your current provider will be available at your new address, or that your new home won’t have more Internet options than your current address.
What if I move into an apartment?
When you move into a new apartment, check with the letting office to see if the complex has a primary Internet provider. As the Federal Communications Commission looks to increase broadband competition in apartments, your apartment may be wired for a specific one type of internet servicefor example cable, fiber or also fixed wireless. In these cases, your best option will probably be to go with whatever provider services the complex, but you may be able to look into other options. Again, talk to your leasing office about what’s available before you move.
How to change or transfer your internet service
Once you have decided on the internet provider you want, whether it is your current provider or a new one, and the plan that best suits your needsit’s time to connect with suppliers.
Of course, you’ll just need to contact a vendor and give them your moving and moving dates if you’re relocating service. Some providers, e.g VerizonFios AND Xfinitylets you schedule your service transfer online, while others, like Spectrumthey require you to call customer service.
Your provider may charge a transfer fee. My advice would be to negotiate with your supplier and see if they will waive the fee. This may require a call to customer service, although you can port your service online, which may not be worth your time when you’re trying to pack. The service’s transfer fees are often low, ranging from $10 to $20, but every dollar counts when moving.
Switching to a new Internet Service Provider
If you change providers, I recommend contacting your current provider first. That way, you can schedule your sign-out date and get details about any remaining payments and what you need to do with your equipment—all of which are useful things to know before the move.
Also, assume that your current provider is also available at your new address and you express an interest in switching to a new provider. If so, they may offer you a lower rate or other incentives to keep your business, benefits you may not get by simply moving your service.
When you switch to a new provider, either because your current provider isn’t available or because your new address has options for a Fastest ISP with cheaper plans, try setting up your new service well in advance of your move. That way, you’ll have the best chance of scheduling your installation as close to the date and time of your move as possible. Most vendors let you sign up for service online and schedule your install date right from your computer or phone. In some cases, you can also choose a preferred time window for the installation.
If auto-install is available and you’re comfortable with it, it may be the best way to ensure that the service is set up when you want it to. Note that self-installation may require picking up your equipment or waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
Here’s what to do with the equipment
Your provider will handle things on the service side of your Internet connection, but you’ll be responsible for the equipment.
When you transfer the service, or if you use your own network devices, you will probably have to pack it up and take it with you. If you still have the box the hardware came in, this will be the best option for storing and moving it. Otherwise, feel free to toss it in a box with other stuff, though you might want to wrap it in a towel or thin blanket to prevent damage during the move. Also, and this is important, make sure your gear doesn’t get wet.
Switching suppliers will result in the return of the old equipment and the purchase of the new devices. Many suppliers have physical locations where you can return your gear, but if yours doesn’t, or if traveling and waiting in line is out of the way, shipping may also be an option.
Getting your new gear comes down to a DIY rather than a professional installation. For self-installation, you may need to pick up the devices from a physical store or have them mailed to you. If it’s not out of the way, I recommend picking it up in person so you’ll have it on move-in day. Again, try to transfer the hardware in the box it came in, and most importantly, keep it from getting wet.
If you opt for professional installation, you can count on the technology to carry the necessary accessories and cables: one less thing to worry about during the move.
Configuring your network
With a professional installation, your technician will know the best place to install your devices and should test your connection before setting off. However, there are times when you might want to move your equipment after installation to get the best Wi-Fi connection in the whole house.
During self-installation or when moving your equipment after a professional installation, try to place the router in a central location in your home, as high up as possible and away from large obstructions such as walls or other electronic devices. An extra-long Ethernet cable can be handy to have on hand, making it easier to move your router to a good location that isn’t necessarily right next to your modem.
After installation, make sure you test your internet connection. If you’re not getting the speeds you expect, try resetting or relocating your router. Once you have your equipment set up and are happy with your speeds, the move to your internet service is complete. Now, about those boxes labeled “kitchen.”
Frequently asked questions about Internet services during the move
Where should I place my router in my new home?
Try placing your router in a central location in your home so that your router’s Wi-Fi range can reach all corners of your home. It is also recommended that you place the router in a high spot, such as the top of a bookcase, and free from obstructions. Avoid “hiding” it as this can limit the range and possibly cause the router to overheat.
If your router is in the sweet spot but you’re still experiencing dead spots, consider adding a Wi-Fi extender to your network or upgrading to a mesh Wi-Fi system for better coverage.
Will my ISP install Internet in my new home if I move service?
Unless you have an internet connection that requires professional installation, such as satellite internet, don’t count on it. If your new home is already wired for service, setup is little more than plugging in your router and creating your new Wi-Fi network. You won’t need a technician for this, and your ISP probably won’t send one, although they should provide technical support online or by phone if you need assistance.
Will my old Wi-Fi equipment work with my new provider?
If you’re canceling service with your current provider and choosing a new one, it’s possible that any equipment you have, such as routers and Wi-Fi extenders, will be compatible with your new service.
However, that won’t always be the case. When you switch to a new connection type, such as from cable Internet to fiber, you’ll need a different type of modem.
If you were planning on porting rental equipment from your old provider to your new one, keep in mind that this will likely incur a hefty fee from your previous ISP. Not only that, but the devices will almost certainly not be compatible with your new service.
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