What is a Broadband Connection?

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We all use broadband, but many of us are unaware of what it really is. Some of us use it in the form of Optimum cable, and some use fiber optics. Still, there are others who use satellite. Broadband is the most commonly used way to connect to the internet. This is mainly due to its high speeds compared to the old dial-up internet. Broadband is always on, has high-speed internet access, and lot more bandwidth.

4 Types of Broadband Connection

  • Digital Subscriber Line or DSL
  • Fiber Optic
  • Satellite
  • Cable Modem

While the only non-broadband internet service is the old dial-up connection, but most people are opting for broadband. Let’s discuss the different types of broadband briefly.

1. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

DSL or Digital Subscriber Lines is one of the most popular forms of broadband internet. DSL delivers internet access by making use of unused telephone wires, without interrupting your phone service. DSL has varying speeds, dependent mainly on your physical distance from the nearest switching station. The further away you are, the slower your speeds. Conversely, the closer your proximity to the switching station, the faster the speed of your DSL connection. This can be a deciding factor when choosing from different DSL providers in your specific area.

The followings are two types of DSL:

  • Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is for residential users chiefly, who do not need fast upload speeds. ADSL provides faster download speeds than upload speeds over your phone line without interrupting your telephone service.
  • Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) is generally used by businesses that require significant bandwidth. Activities such as file sharing and video conferencing need faster upload speeds.

There are also faster forms of DSL. These include HDSL (Hard data rate Digital Subscriber Line) and VDSL (Very High data rate Digital Subscriber Line). However, both are mainly used by corporations and businesses, not by residential consumers.

2. Fiber Optic

Fiber Optic is among the latest forms of broadband and is also one of the fastest. This type of broadband works by converting electrical signals to light and transmitting them through glass fibers at blindingly fast speeds. Fiber-optic broadband is typically very fast with speeds reaching up to hundreds of Mbps. But its coverage is very limited compared to other forms of broadband. This is in some way due to the infancy of fiber optic technology as well as the actual cable-laying groundwork. The actual speed you get depends on how close the fiber optic cable is to your computer. It also depends on the provider’s bandwidth configuration. Fiber optic also allows you to use the telephone with voice over IP (VoIP) technology.

3. Cable Internet Connection

Cable internet connections are very popular due to the zillion TV providers that offer them. Cable internet service depends mostly on the number of users of the service at a particular point. Users of cable internet in a specific area share the total bandwidth. This means, the more users on the internet at one time, the slower the speeds for all users. This is called peak time.

Peak times in the US are usually in the late evenings when users come home from work and start browsing/downloading. Cable modems typically make use of the same coaxial cable that you use for your cable TV. Cable modems are usually external devices with two connections. One is connected to the cable wall outlet, while the other can be connected to your computer or wireless router. Cable internet can provide speeds above 1.5 Mbps. Cable internet service works without disturbing your TV service.

The speeds you will experience with cable internet depend on your cable modem’s type, your provider’s network, and traffic. Cable modem speeds are comparable to DSL speeds.

4. Satellite Internet Connection

Satellite internet is the slowest form of broadband but it is also the most accessible. We all know that orbiting satellites serve as links for TV and telephone signals. They can also do the same for broadband.

Satellite internet is a good replacement for dial-up for people living in remote areas. Particularly for people with no access to cable, DSL or fiber-optic providers in their area. The download and upload speeds you get with satellite internet depend on a number of factors. These include the provider, the package purchased, the weather and the customer’s “line of sight” to the satellite itself. Generally, providers like HughesNet internet have satellites in “geosynchronous” orbit above the earth. Satellite internet usually offers speeds in the 500 Kbps range (download) and 80 Kbps (upload). While slower than DSL and fiber optic options, satellite internet is 10 times as fast as the only other option: the dial-up internet.

One thing you need to know is that the weather plays a huge part in your satellite internet experience. Storms etc. can disrupt your service.

One thought on “What is a Broadband Connection?”

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