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What is Broadband?

Broadband Internet service truly is the most used form of Internet access because of its high access speeds; it is offered in four different forms, DSL (or Digital Subscriber Line), also fiber-optic, cable, and satellite. The old dial-up connection is the only non-broadband internet service available, and even though it is cheaper, most Internet users are moving towards the faster broadband Internet connection.

DSL

The DSL (or Digital Subscriber Line) internet service makes its connection by utilizing unused telephone wires that cause no interruption to your telephone service. The speed you experience with a DSL connection varies with your distance from the switching station. Your speed will be slower the further away you are and faster the closer you are to the switching station and this may be a deciding factor when you attempt to select between a DSL line and a cable connection.

Cable

The broadband cable connection is provided by the local cable TV provider. Here the cable Internet connection speed varies with the number of users on the service at a specific point in time. Given a specific geographical area, users of the broadband cable service share the connection bandwidth which slows the speed the more users are on the system. This will occur at the peak times for example late in the evenings after the work day is over when many people will be accessing the Internet. Somewhat misleadingly, often the cable company would estimate connection speeds that are based on the thinking that you are using the service. But that is clearly not the case.

Fiber-Optic

The newest broadband service is fiber-optic, which is the fastest Internet connection thus far. However, this type of Internet service is still in its infancy as its service areas are quite limited and because the laying down of the fiber-optic cable takes a while to complete. Wherever it is available, the cost not only competes with that of DSL and cable, but it provides a much faster connection than both of those services.

Satellite

The last and slowest broadband service is provided by satellite. Although this is a good replacement for dial-up for those people living in remote rural areas, the installation costs are quite high, but the ongoing monthly charges are competitive to both cable and DSL.

There are many advantages to the DSL and cable broadband service. It provides greater bandwidth than other Internet access forms, and that makes it easier for the computer user to multitask with several applications performing in the background while you surf the web. It is possible for you to surf the web while listening to audio.

The networking of computers in the home is made easier with a broadband connection, by either using wireless or wired modems.

The cost of broadband service is higher annually than the cheaper dial-up version by $100 to $500, but given the advantages and ease of a broadband connection, it is well worth the cost.

A broadband connection allows you to play many popular computer games that rely on a fast Internet connection.

Broadband connection, unlike the old dial-up internet connection, will not engage your phone line when in use. In fact, having a broadband connection makes it possible for you to obtain an Internet phone service so you will no longer need the traditional phone line at all.

Another great benefit of a broadband connection is that you are constantly connected to the Internet. You are quickly able to connect with your work's intranet and email in a matter of seconds.

Many people considering between these broadband Internet service options generally narrow the search to the most popular services which are DSL and cable. A good approach when researching your options would be to ask those in the area you are considering, which service they are using and how it is working for them.

Even though cable broadband Internet service offers a speedy internet connection, this fast speed will not be realized if the connection itself cannot be relied on. For example, the cable connection you receive depends on the shared bandwidth, the number of users on the system at any time, and the latency on the network.

The bandwidth is just one factor that determines the Internet connection's speed. It is a measure of the quantity of data that enters the network over a period of time, and is measured in bps, or bits per second. The greater the data flow, the better the network Internet connection. In broadband connections the supported data rates are generally 300 Kbps and higher, as opposed to the old dial-up maximum of 53Kbps.

Latency is another factor that affects the cable Internet connection's speed. Latency refers to delays incurred in the network data processing. A network is described as low latency if it experiences only small delay times, and high latency if it suffers with long delays. When the latency becomes excessive, data transmission causes a bottleneck that prevents addition data from coming through and this effectively reduces cable's Internet connection bandwidth. So even though the cable bandwidth of your Internet connection is set, its effectiveness can be reduced by bottlenecks of data and a high number of users on the system .

Again, with a broadband DSL connection, the connection speed of the Internet can be severely reduced by the distance a subscriber is located from the switching station. The further away the subscriber is from the switching station, the slower the Internet connection.

Once installed, a broadband connection is always on. The connection is maintained with the use of a cable or DSL modem. These connect the computer to the cable outlet on the wall, in the case of the cable internet connection; or the DSL modem to the phone line. Only when these connections become unplugged, will the Internet connection be lost.

Unlike the old dial-up service, you will not be dialing a specific phone number to gain access to the Internet. With a broadband service, access to the Internet is given by simply double clicking your Internet browser icon of choice (this is usually on your desktop - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape etc.); your default web page will open and you can immediately start surfing the web. The whole process should take no more than about 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the computer's speed itself and baring any issues of slowness.

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