It’s a no-brainer: your Internet service matters. From watching TV online to streaming music to working from home, your Internet speed affects how much work – and play – you get to do online.
Of course, you want to choose the fastest and highest performing Internet service provider (ISP) that you can. But some of the highest-tier Internet speeds are delivered by providers available only in certain areas. Depending on where you live, you might have many Internet service provider choices, or just a few. These service providers can offer a range of speed, capabilities and price.
In order to find out which ISP you should choose in your area, you need to know what broadband Internet is exactly, and how much speed you need to do what you want online. If you’ve been asking yourself recently, “What is fast Internet speed?” check out these different types of Internet options.
DSL, or “digital subscriber line,” transmits high-speed Internet over a traditional telephone line that can be already installed in a home or business. DSL availability and speed depends on an office or residence’s distance from the telephone company.
Therefore, some people may not have access to DSL service, if they live too far away from a telephone company facility. And serviceable customers living far away from the telephone company might experience slower Internet speeds. According to Broadband.gov, “DSL-based broadband provides transmission speeds ranging from several hundred Kbps to millions of bits per second (Mbps).”
Satellite Internet is transmitted via satellites that orbit the Earth in space. Satellite Internet service is wireless, and it offers high-speed Internet access to those living in rural areas outside of traditional high-speed Internet availability. Satellite Internet users must equip their home or office with receiving dishes in order for data to be transmitted to connected computers.
Satellite Internet speeds range from 0.5 to 1 Mbps. Several factors could hinder satellite Internet speeds, including the “provider and service package purchased, the consumer’s line of sight to the orbiting satellite, and the weather.”
Cable Internet service providers utilize existing coaxial copper cable lines to deliver Internet access to customers in serviceable areas. These same coaxial cables deliver cable TV picture and sound. Cable service is available to most people living in urban areas.
Cable Internet download speeds can reach from 25 Mbps to up to 100 Mbps, so it’s a good choice for homes and offices with multiple web-enabled devices that need to use the same Internet connection. Cable providers often provide bundling options for customers who would like to combine Internet, TV and home phone services. Cable Internet users sometimes have to share a connection with neighbors, so speeds could be affected by how many users are online at once.
Fiber-optic Internet providers use fiber-optic cables to send data as light over thin glass fibers at incredibly fast speeds. Broadband.gov reports that “[f]iber transmits data at speeds far exceeding current DSL or cable modem speeds, typically by tens or even hundreds of Mbps.”
Fiber Internet availability is limited to certain areas in the United States, so customers should check with their local Internet service providers to see if they live within a serviceable area. Like cable Internet providers, fiber-optic ISPs offer bundled services that typically include Internet, TV and home phone service.
The best way to choose the right Internet service for your home or office is to check with your local Internet service providers and find out what speeds they offer, and what you can do with the available speeds. Chances are they’ll have a package that will meet your Internet needs!