With so many types of Internet, it’s hard to know which one is best for your home or business. There are major differences among them – speed, availability, delivery and more. Keep reading to learn about the four main types of Internet and the pros and cons of each.
Dial-up Internet connects users to the Internet through a telephone line.
Dial-up Internet is available almost everywhere. Users in remote and rural areas can typically get dial-up. Many types of Internet cannot reach these locations
Because of the telephone line connection, users cannot talk on the phone and be online at the same time. This is a problem for today’s high-tech world. Additionally, dial-up does not deliver high-speed Internet. It can take several minutes just to load a single webpage with a dial-up connection.
DSL (short for Digital Subscriber Line) technology connects to the Internet through telephone network wires.
DSL delivers high-speed Internet – the upload and download speeds vary, but they are usually faster than dial-up. Although DSL uses telephone lines, households can connect to the web and talk on the phone simultaneously.
Internet speed is not always consistent when using DSL. The distance to the provider determines the strength of the connection – so your neighbor down the street might have much higher speeds than you, even though you pay the same price. Additionally, DSL is only available in limited distances from the provider, so many homes do not have access to it.
Satellite Internet providers use a satellite thousands of miles above the Earth to connect their users to the Internet. Your requests are sent to a Network Operations Center (NOC) where the information is sent back through the satellite, through your dish and finally to your computer.
Like dial-up, satellite Internet can reach rural homes and businesses. Satellite Internet is a way for remote and rural areas to get broadband speeds.
Although satellite Internet can provide high-speed Internet, the speeds are not extremely fast. It might be impossible to do tasks that require truly high speeds, like video chatting or online gaming.
Fiber-optic cables transmit data through laser-generated pulses of light. The signal is ultimately understood by your computer because it is converted by an Optical Network Terminal (ONT). The ONT is a media converter that can deliver phone, Internet and video service.
The ONT is at your home, so Internet use by your neighbors won’t affect your Internet connection speeds. In 2012, the average Internet speed of the United States was 6.7 Mbps. Fiber-optic Internet can offer some homes download speeds up to 500 Mbps. Speeds that fast allow you to use multiple devices at home without your download or upload time being compromised.
Only an estimated 8% of homes in the United States have fiber service. Fiber-optic locations are limited and determined by your provider, so you might not be able to get fiber-optic Internet in your city. Because the pros of fiber-optic Internet are so significant compared to other Internet types, it’s worth checking to see if it’s available in your area. If you’re one of the lucky homes or businesses with this option, take advantage of the speeds!