Different types of Internet connections

Hardware_Sep30_BMost people use the Internet at least once a day, while many of us are constantly connected. As the availability of Internet increases, we will see a continued increase in the time we spend online. As a business owner, you may eventually have to upgrade your Internet connection, or pick a new type. This can be a daunting task if you don’t know what is out there.

Below is a brief overview of the three major types of Internet connection available to many businesses.

Dial-up
Dial-up uses a modem that is usually in your computer and connected to a phone line which in turn is connected to other modems. When you connect, your modem dials the other modems, which are usually owned by the phone provider, and establishes a connection, allowing you to access the Internet.

Dial-up is by far the slowest Internet connection, and is pretty rare in most population centers. It can still be found in some rural or remote areas, as it only requires existing telephone lines, but many Internet Service Providers (ISP) and telephone companies have stopped offering this service as technology has simply moved on.

Broadband
Broadband refers to any high-speed Internet connection. There are a number of different types of broadband connections, the most popular being:

  • Cable – A broadband connection that is provided mainly to homes through a coaxial cable, which is the same cable that delivers cable television. With a cable connection, users are continuously connected and can see connection speeds as high as 400Mbit/s. While this is a generally stable and fast connection, fewer businesses use it because they lack the coaxial connections in their office.
  • DSL – Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) are high speed Internet connections that are provided over telephone lines. As with cable connections, DSL users are continuously connected and can see connection speeds higher than 100Mbit/s in some areas, though the average speed is usually around 20-20Mbit/s. DSL is typically the connection of choice for smaller businesses, largely because their telephone lines are usually already in place in the building making it easier to wire and connect.
  • Leased lines – A leased line is a high speed Internet connection used by businesses and even ISPs. Leased lines are typically direct connections between two points, e.g., a business and Internet provider, where the end-user pays a monthly rental fee. Because these lines are not shared with any other users, connection speeds can be extremely high, but will vary depending on the type of line leased. Many of these lines are stable, offering over 99% uptime.
  • Fiber – Fiber connections are becoming increasingly popular in densely populated centers. These connections use optical fiber lines which transmit data using light. While many ISPs have been using fiber backbones, switching over to other connection types (DSL or Cable) for delivery to the customer, this type of broadband is now entering homes and businesses. Many Fiber Connection Providers offer connection speeds of 1Gbit/s, which is nearly 100 times faster than the average DSL line.

Wireless
Wireless connections are broadband, high speed Internet connections that are delivered to the customer largely without wires. The best example of this are the mobile broadband or data connections like 3G that are offered by mobile phone companies.

Other examples of wireless broadband include satellite broadband which is delivered to users by bouncing the connection off of geostationary satellites in orbit above Earth. Connection speeds can be as high as 1Gbit, but because of the distance the transmission has to travel, there is usually a delay of at least .5 seconds, or longer. If you are in a remote location, this is likely the best Internet connection available.

Looking to learn more about the different types of Internet connection available to your business? Why not contact us today to see if we can help.

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