The term “broadband” refers to an Internet connection that has a high bandwidth. Unlike the older, slower “dial-up” type of Internet connection that it replaced, an open broadband connection does not block the phone and so there is no need to connect and disconnect at the beginning and end of each session; indeed most broadband users leave their connections open 24 hours a day.
Broadband Internet has become essential for most modern businesses and is also highly desired by personal users, but how many people understand the different types of broadband connection? Read on for a straightforward guide to the different types of broadband connection, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.
DSL (digital subscriber line) broadband uses the existing copper wires that supply telephone services to homes and businesses. The advantage of this type of broadband connection is that all the infrastructure needed to supply the connection is already installed in most places; the consumer simply has to subscribe to a DSL broadband package with an Internet service provider (ISP) who will set up the connection remotely. A potential disadvantage is that the speeds of DSL broadband connections are highly variable, depending on the length of copper phone wire that the signals have to travel through between the property and the nearest telephone exchange facility. DSL broadband speeds can be anything from Kbps (thousands of bits per second) to Mbps (millions of bits per second).
- Asymmetrical DSL broadband (ADSL) is the most suitable type of connection for most home users. ADSL connections allow you to download much more data than you upload.
- Symmetrical DSL broadband (SDSL) may be more suitable for businesses that need to both send and receive large amounts of data.
Cable broadband connections use the same cables that are use to deliver cable TV to homes. In places where these cables are already installed, cable broadband is a good option as it can deliver speeds of as much as 1.5 Mbps.
Optical fibers are one of the fastest ways to transmit signals over large distances; electrical signals are converted to light and transmitted through these glass fibers at much greater speeds than could be achieved using traditional metal wires. Telecommunications companies are constantly expanding their fiber networks, which are used to provide super-fast broadband connections with speeds of dozens or even hundreds of Mbps. Unfortunately, fiber broadband is still not available in many areas.
A broadband connection can be established using a satellite link, although the speed is typically only a few hundred Kbps, which is much lower the speeds offered by than cable, fiber or even DSL broadband connections. Satellite broadband is mostly useful for providing broadband access to very isolated communities where the on-the-ground infrastructure needed to set up other types of broadband connections is not present.
Another way to set up a broadband connection is via a mobile phone network. Many mobile telecommunications providers supply SIM cards that can be inserted into a laptop or mobile device to connect to the Internet using the mobile network. Although speeds are low (only a few hundred Kbps), this type of broadband connection is very convenient for people who need Internet access while they are on the move.
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Laura is a writer and broadband is essential for her to make a living. She has been impressed with the speed of the broadband service in her area.