If you’re like most people, you probably think all Internet connections are fairly similar. In fact, as a business owner or manager, you’re likely more concerned with price and expediency than in a technical discussion about the differences in connections offered by different Internet services providers (ISPs). However, in order to shop for the best value, it’s beneficial to be able to decide on the most suitable connection for your small to medium business.
With that in mind, here is a brief overview of the various bewildering terms you will hear mentioned as you inquire about Internet service for your company:
When looking for an ISP, you will probably hear the term “broadband” discussed quite frequently. This is a general term that describes any type of internet connection faster than dialup. It is not a description of a specific technology.
Sometimes an ISP salesperson will refer to “high speed.” In actuality, “high speed” is a synonym for “broadband.”
You may occasionally here the term wideband. This is a superior type of broadband. Although still a general term rather than a specific technology, it describes any internet connection with a throughput at or beyond 50 mbps.
Interestingly, dial-up, which is now considered a legacy technology, is still used by 3% of Americans. “Many dial-up users cite cost and access as the main reasons they don’t have broadband, but for adults who don’t use the Internet at all, a lack of interest is often the main issue,” says Kathryn Zickuhr, research associate for the Pew Research Center. Traditional dial up sometimes appears to take almost five minutes before the computer can connect with the Internet. During this time, you will hear a loud, whirring sound like crickets. In an age, where most people click off a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds, a long dialup time is considered intolerable.
This is the cheapest connection when it comes to choices in broadband. Although it uses telephone lines, it is dissimilar to dial up. With DSL, you can talk on a landline telephone and still use your computer because the telephone line is capable of handling voice calls and transferring data at the same time. How well DSL performs depends on the distance between your office and the ISP exchange. When it is within reasonable distance, downloads speeds can be 15 mbps and uploads speeds 1 mbps. DSL allows a dozen people to access the Internet simultaneously.
Fixed wireless is a broadband service that combines advances in information technology with data networking. This connection is secure, efficient, reliable, and flexible enough to meet a wide variety of customer needs. In 2000, a team of San Diego-based telecommunication engineers at Skyriver designed and built a network on Fixed Wireless technology platform layered with performance-boosting protocols and advanced monitoring security.
While DSL works over telephone lines, cables works over television cable lines. It’s possible to watch television, talk on the telephone, and use a computer simultaneously with this connection.
Downloads speeds can be 50-100 mbps and uploads speeds 2-10 mbps. Cable allows more than a dozen people to access the Internet. Since users in a neighborhood may also share a cable connection, speeds slow down during peak working hours.
While fiber optics has been used by telecom companies for some time as a backbone network infrastructure, consumers are only now becoming aware of it because only in recent years has it been offered to end-users, too. While some companies may roll out fiber optic cables to a distribution point in a neighborhood and then connect to different building through existing copper lines other companies may roll out the fiber optic cable directly to the customer’s buildings. Downloads speeds can be 15-150 mbps and uploads speeds 5-35mbps. Cable allows two dozen people to access the Internet, and it also permits simultaneous use of television, computers, and telephones.
When the Internet first came out in the 1990s, dial-up Internet access was common. Now after the first decade of the 21st century, traditional dial-up is considered a legacy technology, and broadband has become ubiquitous, with more wideband available. Broadband technology is a generic term that describes different types of connections.