When shopping for broadband internet service, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices. The most common connection types are DSL, cable, fiber, wireless, and satellite, but how do you know which is best?
Naturally, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal on the service that you need, so it’s important to look at the packages offered through certain companies in order to find savings on broadband. These services do differ drastically, so the answer to that question depends on your individual internet needs. Let’s take a closer look to discover some of the pros and cons of each type of connection.
DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, uses telephone lines with special adaptations to connect to the internet. It separates telephone signals into three bands of frequency, allowing the lowest band free for telephone calls and using the higher bands for uploading and downloading.
- This service is provided by familiar telephone companies such as AT&T and Verizon.
- There are a wide variety of pricing options based on the connections speed you are willing to settle for.
- The technology is quickly becoming outdated.
- This type of service is not available if you live far away from the supplier’s central location.
- The upload and download speeds are slow in comparison to cable and fiber optic connections.
Cable internet access uses the same network as cable television. It requires a modem in the customer’s home to communicate with the cable modem termination system at the service provider’s headquarters using a coaxial cable.
- Cable service can provide internet access to customers up to nearly 100 miles from the supplier’s central location.
- There are various options for upload and download limits to fit your needs.
- This option has adequate service at a reasonable price.
- There are restrictions on upload and download rates.
- Service providers can throttle service during peak hours.
Fiber internet connections use fiber-optic cables to access the web, sending data to and from your computer using the power of light, instead of the copper wire that DSL and cable connections rely on. This type of connection provides a much faster data transfer than the others, which will allow the user a more seamless online experience.
- There are far fewer outages due to storms in comparison to any other broadband connection on the market today.
- It has lower susceptibility to hackers.
- This service provides symmetrical upload and download speeds.
- The high connection speed may be wasted as many people just don’t make use of the full use of the upload and download speeds available through fiber.
- Fiber-optic connections are not widely available.
- It is more expensive than cable and DSL.
Fixed wireless internet service is different from DSL, cable, and fiber-optic services in that it provides internet access to your home via radio waves that are transmitted from a base station at the supplier’s main location. This service requires a receiver to be installed on your home that will communicate with the base station to connect your devices to the internet.
- It is available in rural areas that don’t have access to other internet service providers.
- There are higher usage caps; sometimes none at all.
- It offers fast download speeds.
- The signal strength is affected by weather and can be obstructed by trees and hills.
- It is more expensive than other connection types.
Satellite internet is a wireless connection that uses 3 satellite dishes- One on your home, one at the supplier’s central location, and one in space. This service requires a modem that uses cables to connect to the satellite dish on your home. It is primarily used in areas where cable, DSL, and fiber-optic service isn’t available.
- It is available in rural areas where there are no other internet connections to choose from.
- Satellite service is cheaper than using a mobile hotspot to connect to the internet when no other options are available.
- Inclimate weather affects this signal greatly. The service frequently goes down altogether during wind and rainstorms.
- There are terrible lag rates due to the need to communicate with a satellite dish in space.
- This signal can be affected by obstructions like trees and buildings.
- Satellite service comes with extreme bandwidth limitations, followed by severe connection throttling if that limitation is exceeded.
- It is very expensive compared to other types of internet connections.
Shopping for internet service can be confusing if you don’t know the differences between the different types of connections that are available. Now that you have an overview of the most common connections on the market today, it will be easier to decide which service is right for you.