Four types of internet connectivity
The operation of the dial-in access is simple. You connect to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) via dial modem. When you dial in you connect to the ISP as another user on their network. You use their lines to connect to the internet. The maximum data rate is 56kbit/sec but is restricted by the FCC to only 53kbit/sec. There are virtually no distance limitations, wherever a clear voice can be heard on a phone line you can dial in. One advantage of this service is that it is versatile, widely available but the disadvantage is that it is very slow by today’s standards. This connection would suit someone doing occasional browsing and checking e-mail. The service cost is ~$9-20 dollars a month.
DSL is a technology used by many major phone companies to bring high speed internet to your home with the existing phone lines inside your home. The maximum data rate that can be achieved with DSL is 8mbits/sec with ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.) However, with VDSL (Very high bit rate Digital Subscriber Line) you can achieve up to 55mbits/sec. The main advantage of DSL is you can use your existing phone line at the same time you are on the internet. The disadvantage is that the speed is directly limited by distance from a central office. The type of user that would benefit from DSL is a person who wants high speed browsing, relatively fast downloads but who also is close to a central office. Approximate monthly costs range from $27.00 to $40.00.
Cable internet is very fast and stable. Basically the network is around most residential and business areas. The cable internet (e.g. Roadrunner®) infrastructure is already there – mostly fiber optics in this area. This allows for a massive amount of bandwidth to flow through the cable system. The maximum speed able to be obtained over cable is 10mbits/sec as determined by the cable modem and service providers. The main advantage is always on high speed internet. A major disadvantage, in areas where the network throughput overall is low, is slow speed because it is a shared network. The type of user that would benefit from this connection would be someone wanting to play online games with low ping times, and enjoy high speed downloads. The approximate monthly cost is $30-$50 depending on the provider.
Satellite-based Internet Access
Satellite internet is very interesting, I personally have used it and it is conceptually a very good idea but the latency of the satellite can bring the good idea to a screeching halt. When you connect you either use a dial up modem (receive only internet) where you dial to a separate ISP, then you send out a request via dialup then a tunnel is created to your satellite provider so your upstream can communicate with the provider so the received information can be beamed to your house from the satellite. This whole process takes up to 800 milli-seconds! This is very unacceptable for everyday browsing, but the advantages to some people make the service worth it. The main advantage is for users who have no access to higher speed internet. The downstream is about 512kbit/sec which isn’t too bad. (I’ve achieved 150-200kbyte/sec with it) but it is unacceptable for the ping times. The main disadvantage is the sheer space between the satellite and your home and the provider takes time to beam info back. The type of user who would benefit from this technology would be someone in the middle of nowhere. The cost of the service varies; usually you can lease the equipment for $99 dollars a month including service. Or you can buy the equipment for about $500-$600 dollars.