Different Types of Internet Access

The following is a list of the most common types of Internet access that are available for the average household these days. Of course there are other, better and faster, types such as a T1, T3 etc., but this guide is designed for the average household that does not want to spend several hundred or thousands of dollars every month.

 

Cable modem

 

This is the fastest type of access. This service is provided in conjunction with your local TV cable company. The data is transferred through your existing TV cable but does not interfere with your cable TV. To find out if this service is available to you, call your local cable TV company and ask for cable modem Internet service. The installation can cost anywhere between $50 and $200, check for promotional offers. It requires a network card being installed in your PC which is usually provided at no extra charge. This is the way the Internet should be and how everybody should be able to experience it. I’ve been lucky enough to have it for over 2 years now and are enjoying it immensely. Just to give you a quick example: I downloaded the demo for the game half-life a while back. The file was 49 Mega Bytes, huge! It took me less than 3 minutes to download it at a transfer rate of over 3 Mega Bits per second.

Advantage:

  • You are always connected, no need to dial in
  • Does not block your phone line, no need for a second phone line
  • Amazing speed. And I mean Amazing!
  • Very inexpensive. Monthly fee is around $40
  • Static IP, usually multiple IPs available for home networking and sharing Internet access

Disadvantage:

  • Not available everywhere yet but it is spreading quickly.

 

Satellite

 

This type of access is good for remote locations, where ISDN, cable or DSL are not an option. It gives you decent download speeds. However, to upload data, you still need a regular analog modem to dial in via a phone line. The setup is rather difficult, I’ve been told. The equipment is more expensive than other options, usually $400-$500. Not the best solution.

 

DSL

 

DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, is the latest rage. This service is provided through your existing phone line, but works differently than regular analog modem dial-up access. The next best thing after cable.

Advantage:

  • You are always connected, no need to dial in
  • Does not block your phone line, no need for a second phone line
  • Fast download speed (not as fast as cable, though)
  • Inexpensive, usually $40 and up depending on the options you choose
  • Static IP, usually multiple IPs available for home networking and sharing Internet access

Disadvantage:

  • You need to be no father than 3.5 miles away from your local TelCo switch for it to work.

 

ISDN

 

ISDN has been around for a while, it was the first high-speed alternative to regular analog phone modems. It stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. It is losing its appeal these days due to better and less expensive alternatives such as cable and DSL.

Advantage:

  • Faster than regular analog modem phone dial-up access

Disadvantage:

  • Too expensive compared to other options such as cable and DSL. $20 to $80 monthly charge plus per-call charges.
  • Expensive setup/equipment, between $250 and $400.
  • Requires dialing into a server each time you want to go online

 

Analog Modem Dial-Up

 

This is currently the most popular way of getting Internet access. This requires a modem installed in your PC and a phone line connected to it. The equipment is inexpensive, you can buy 56K modems for $20 and up. The service is widely available and cheap due to lots of competition. But it is slow since the maximum download speed is 53Kbps, and makes the web not a very pleasant experience. Users of a analog modem often refer to the web as the World Wide Wait.

Advantage:

  • Inexpensive Equipment
  • Wide range of providers available
  • Inexpensive service

Disadvantage:

  • Slow
  • Either blocks existing phone line or requires second phone line
  • Slow
  • Requires dialing into a server each time you want to go online
  • Slow
  • Oh, and did I mention that it is really slow?

 

 

Leave a Comment: