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Columns : Computer Korner Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Internet Connections
By Kristofferson Culmer
Mar 25, 2008 - 12:51:24 PM

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I recently read an article about Japan launching a satellite into space to test technology that would bring “super high-speed Internet" - speeds of up to 1.2 gigabytes per second to homes and businesses around the world. I then thought, “What does that mean to the average person?” Most people know the names of different types of internet access: DSL, Dial-up, Cable, but don’t really understand the true difference between them. Do you? If you want to find out, keep reading.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph there are three main types commercial of internet access, DSL, Dial-up, and Cable. So…what makes them different? Without getting too technical, I’ll tell you.

Dial up connects to the internet via telephone lines, so all you need is a working telephone connection. In the early days of the internet this was the primary type of access available. The problem people have with dial-up is that transfer speeds are very slow, 40-50 kbit/s, and unreliable. Connecting to the internet using dial-up meant that you couldn’t use your phone because the internet connection operated on the same frequencies, and if you received a phone call while connected you would lose your connection.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Lines) provide internet access over the wires of a local telephone network but allows you to use your phone while being connected, and offers faster transmission speeds than dial-up – up to 3 Mbps. DSL operates on frequencies not used by voice transmission on the telephone line which allows for faster transfer speeds and a more reliable connection. The main issue with DSL is the farther away from the source the user is, the slower the connection becomes. Also, the connection is faster for receiving data than it is for sending data over the internet.

Cable Internet provides access to the internet via the cable lines that you use for television viewing by taking advantage of unused bandwidth on that cable television network, providing fast connection speeds: 1 0-20 Mbps . However, because users of cable internet are on a shared connection, this speed reduces as more users log on. The internet service provider can resolve this problem by opening up another channel if connection traffic becomes too congested. Cable internet also offers the ability for VoIP (voice over IP) which gives the user the ability to make phone calls over their internet connection, which is usually less expensive than phone company rates.

Well…there you have it. Now you can consider yourself a little more knowledgeable and informed, so the next time you are surfing the internet and your connection seems to be a bit slow you’ll understand what might be going on. Thank you, and see you next time.

~ Kristofferson

Do you have a Computer Question? Email me!

About the Author: Kristofferson Culmer was born in Nassau but grew up in Freeport for practically all of his life. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Central Methodist University, holding Bachelor’s of Science Degrees in Computer Science and Business, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Science Degree in Computer Science. He has recently ventured out into the business world, starting his own business: Creative Web Solutions, specializing in web development, corporate branding, and marketing. Kristofferson enjoys working out and being active, meeting people, learning, and enjoying the simple things in life. Kristofferson can be contacted at kculmer@centralmethodist.edu .         


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