Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Overview Of Different Types Of Broadband Internet Access

Overview Of Different Types Of Broadband Internet Access

By Lawrence Reaves

High-speed online connections have introduced residential subscribers to a browsing experience that was once limited to Corporate America. Prices for the service have plummeted. This has allowed millions of people to make the transition from dial-up to broadband service. The timeworn 56k modems are being retired in order to make room for cable, DSL, and other high-speed platforms. Surfing the web is now possible at speeds up to 8 Mbps per second (and more in some areas).

Below, we'll take a closer look at several flavors of broadband internet access, including cable, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), fiber-optic, wireless, and satellite.


The company that provides cable television service to your neighborhood utilizes the same coaxial cables to provide a high-speed connection to the internet. The data transfer rate is usually clocked at 1.5 Mbps or higher. That said, the throughput is heavily influenced by the number of subscribers on the network, a limitation that DSL does not cope with.


Digital Subscriber Line uses the same copper cables through which you receive your home telephone service. The data transfer rate is comparable to cable, but can be limited based on your house's proximity to the telephone company's main office. The further away you are, the slower your throughput. Residential customers typically use Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (or, ADSL), which offers a higher downstream speed than upstream since most people receive a larger amount of data than they send.


You can also enjoy broadband access through fiber-optic cable, though it is only available in certain areas. The data packets are converted into light and sent through the fiber lines. The result is that throughput is usually far higher than what is available from cable or DSL. Limitations on the datastream include your computer's proximity to the fibers and the telephone company's configuration of their equipment.


Commonly known as Wi-Fi access, a home wireless connection is normally used in conjunction with Digital Subscriber Line or cable. As long as you have a laptop and compatible Wi-Fi card, you can enjoy internet access throughout your house (assuming the signal is strong enough). There are also many public venues (for example, coffee shops, parks, and airports) that provide wireless access to their customers.


A satellite internet connection is sometimes offered by companies that provide direct broadcast satellite programming (i.e. DirecTV) to their subscribers. Though it is considered "high-speed," it is slower than the options described above. Subscribers can expect their downstream throughput to clock at approximately 1 Mbps and their upstream rate at 200 Kbps. The service is also more expensive.

Besides Wi-Fi, which is often provided in public places, the most common flavors of broadband internet access are DSL and cable. With regard to which type of service is best, you'll need to first determine whether both are available in your area. Millions of people have chosen DSL over cable due to faster speeds and more convenience.

Lawrence Reaves checks into the best websites on the internet on Very Best Sites, and for some riotously fun entertainment, he reads Bizarre Bytes.

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