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Inside Your Computer Part 10 – Internet connections Part 1

Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004

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So you have your computer, and you are wishing to go on the Internet, or you are on the Internet and want to upgrade. So what is available in today’s market?

(Please note 1024k = 1 MB)

A modem is one such item. It uses standard analogue phone lines to connect to the Internet. This is now the slowest and oldest method to connect, but comes with a very low price tag. V92 is the latest and probably the last type of modem released in the market and allows connections speeds of up to 56kb. It can be bought from as low as £10. All Internet providers allow modem dialups.

ISDN is the next step, but is still an older technology, which requires the use of two phone lines to connect to the web. This service is becoming harder and harder to find as most Internet providers do not wish to be burdened with it. ISDN allows connection speeds of up to 128kb, and usually requires you to rent two phone lines, and pay a monthly bill. Unless you are really desperate for faster speeds then it is best avoided.

ADSL & Cable is the fastest growing way to connect to the Internet. ADSL uses standard analogue lines with advanced circuit boards to allow high-speed connections on the Internet. In theory the ADSL can allow connection speeds of up to 9 MB a second, but no provider gives these types of speeds. The ranges typically available are from 256kb to 2mb per second. If available in your area, I would recommend using this type of connection, which is typically 10 times the speed to a standard modem connection. Cable modems are much the same, but use fibre optic cables to transmit the data, the same cables that carry your TV signals.

Next week we will cover other dialup options, including wireless broadband and satellite.