High Speed Internet Access
With high speed internet access you can take your effectiveness and enjoyment of the internet to a whole new level. While there used to be some companies such as Winfire that offered free high speed internet access, they have all gone out of business and shut down operations. Although this means you will need to pay to get high speed internet access, the benefits of a fast, always-on internet connection is worth the price if you use the internet often.
Benefits of High Speed Internet Access
There are many major benefits to high speed (broadband) internet access. One huge benefit is that you get an always-on connection to the internet. This means that there is never a need to dial in and you will never have to worry about busy signals. Instead you have a constant connection to the Internet whenever your computer is on. You also don't tie up your phone line or suffer through dropped connections as you do with normal dialup internet access.
However, the main benefit to high speed internet access is how quick and easy everything on the internet becomes. It is typically 50 times as fast as a dialup connection, so a page that would take a minute to come up, now is available in just a second or two. Larger downloads such as demo games, shareware, mp3s, or pictures are also a breeze. Huge downloads such as browser or Windows updates that used to take hours, just take a few minutes with high speed internet access. Plus it allows you to enjoy streaming audio and video at high quality, so you can watch TV and movie clips online. You will be amazed at how much there is to do, and how quickly and efficiently you do everything after you have a fast connection online.
Types of High Speed Internet Access
There are many different types of high speed internet access services including dsl, adsl, sdsl, cable and satellite.
- Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is a broadband internet service that is delivered right through your regular phone line and is often supplied by your local telephone company. Although it uses your phone lines, it does not interfere in anyway with you telephone, caller id, answering machine, or other telephone equipment. It is typically available in speeds from 144Kb to 3Mb, but even faster speeds are available from some providers.
- A type of DSL common for residential use is Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL). It is asymmetrical in the sense that it can download (receive) data much faster than it can upload (send) data. Typical internet surfing mainly involves downloading data from web servers, so this asymmetry works out fine for home use. Plus this asymmetry often allows for large cost savings.
- A type of DSL that is common for business use is Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL). With SDSL you get the same bandwidth (speed) in each direction. Although it is typically much more expensive than ADSL, it is better if you are running a web server or conducting other activities which would require a lot of data to be sent.
- Cable internet access is generally offered by the same companies that provide cable TV. It works on the same coaxial cable that the TV signal comes in on, but doesn't effect your TV signal. Therefore you can use the internet and watch TV at the same time. Typically, cable internet access provide a maximum of 1.5 - 6MB of bandwidth on the system. However, everyone on your network segment is sharing that bandwidth, so performance can be much lower, especially if a lot of people in your neighborhood use the service. They may also limit your individual bandwidth, so that you will never see the peak bandwidth even when your network segment is clear. Since you are sharing the network segment with other users, there can be security risks with cable modems.
- With satellite internet access, data is sent between a small satellite dish at your home and the satellite in space. This data is then relayed to a base station that has a direct connection to the internet and acts as a hub. Especially for those in rural areas that cannot get DSL or Cable internet access, a satellite ISP can be a good way to get broadband service.
Cost of High Speed Internet Access
Although high speed internet access costs more than dial up internet access, the price is well worth the benefit for most people. Plus since it doesn't tie the telephone, there is no need for a second line for the computer. The cost of high speed internet service is usually not that much more than the cost of dialup service + a second phone line.
Although there are usually options in the $50 range, prices of high speed internet access can vary greatly depending on the speeds and type. If you go with very high bandwidth DSL or SDSL, prices can easily reach into the hundreds of dollars per month. However, those are usually business services, so if you stick with the consumer plans you should be able to find service for a reasonable price.
High Speed Internet Access Providers
- AT&T High Speed Internet
- AT&T High Speed Internet is really fast and really affordable. Rates start at just $19.95 per month for the Basic DSL package, with rates increasing slowing as speeds are increased and features are expanded for the Express, Pro and Elite DSL plans. Blazing fast broadband access speeds of up to 100x faster than dialup are available with Elite DSL. The higher end plans come with cool extras like free Wi-Fi access at thousands of locations (including most Starbucks coffee houses). All plans come with SpamGuard, a dial-up account, Firewall software, anti-virus software, a pop-up ad blocker and webmail access.
- Comcast Cable Internet
- Comcast cable offers high speed cable internet access. They offer great deals such as low introductory pricing, free gifts, cash back and more. Speeds are up to 4.0 Mbps, which is 3-5 times faster than typical DSL service and 50-70 times faster than dialup access. You get extra email accounts and free web space for personal web pages.
- Qwest DSL
- Qwest DSL is high speed internet access from Qwest Communications. It is fast, affordable, easy and convenient. It comes with MSN Premium including: Parental Controls, Virus Guard, Pop-up guard, MSN Money Plus and Encarta Premium. Plus if you join now you can take advantage of an online special deal for a discount rate and other free bonuses.