If you are new to computers or being connected to the Internet, it can be complicate trying to wade through all the techno-speak. Make sure you choose the right ISP by first educating yourself about the key features offered.
Connectivity Basics: You can choose dial-up using a modem and telephone line (narrowband) or a broadband connection that gives you access to high speed connections such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Cable, Satellite, Wireless, and Fiber-optics. If you are new to computers or being connected to the Internet, it can be complicate trying to wade through all the techno-speak. Make sure you choose the right ISP by first educating yourself about the key features offered.
Dial-up: Dial-up is often slower but it's also cheaper. Some dial-up ISPs require their own software to be downloaded on your computer - find out if the ISP you're considering has requisite software and, if so, how you can find it. One major advantage of dial-up is that it gives the flexibility of connecting to the Internet anywhere there is a phone line. Although you still need to be careful that the number your modem dials is still local. Otherwise you will be paying long distance phone rates.
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DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): Also known as ADSL or XDSL, this option will provide you with a fast, secure Internet connection. This service frees your phone line for calls. You'll need a DSL modem, which the DSL provider may supply, either for free or for a fee (ask so you know). One thing to keep in mind with DSL is that it is linked to specific telephone provider and line, so if you move, the service will also need to be moved by your DSL provider.
Cable: Most cable providers offer their own high-speed Internet service. As with DSL, you'll need a special cable modem, which most cable providers will supply. You can generally install the equipment yourself, or if necessary, cable providers can send a technician to your house to install it for you. Ask if there is charge for the professional installation. Your computer will automatically be connected to Internet when you start it and as the cable is separate to your telephone line your Internet access won't disrupt your telephone line.
Satellite: Many remote locations do not have the infrastructure to support high-speed Internet access via a land connection. In this case your only option to access broadband is via Satellite. The upload speed via Satellite is much slower than the download speed and although the download speed is slower than DSL or Cable, it is still considerably better than dial-up. The other main issue with Satellite is that it requires a clear line of sight to the satellite and if this is blocked by trees or heavy rain your access can be interrupted.
Wireless: Wireless Internet is a type of broadband connection that enables user to connect to the Internet over radio waves without the need for phone or cable lines. At home user can connect device to wireless router setup to access the Internet. Fixed wireless has become a viable solution for Internet access in remote areas.
Fiber-Optics: Fiber Optic is a new technology that transmits data by sending pluses of light through fiber optic wire. Fiber optic lines are capable to carry digital information over long distances. Unlike DSL or Cable, Fiber-optic not available widely. It requires to run fiber cable from provider to your home or business. Fiber-optic Internet offers fastest broadband speeds than any other types of connection. AT&T U-verse, Verizon Fios, and Google Fiber are the major Fiber-optic Internet providers offering speed up to 1 Gbps.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi, which is short for wireless fidelity has plenty of popular so-called hot spots where computer users can gain access to the Internet free. If your computer already has a Wi-Fi card built into it, you'll simply need to find a hotspot (If you live in a large city, you may find this particularly easy) to which you can connect. You can also create a hotspot in your own home, with your modem and a wireless access point router. The downside to Wi-Fi, especially free Wi-Fi, is that it does not offer a high level of security or protection.
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