Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Broadband - What is it and Why Use It?

Broadband, derived from the words broad bandwidth, is a term that is used to describe any high-speed Internet connection that does not utilize a dial up service. This includes Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Cable, Fiber, Wireless, Satellite and Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) connections. It is by far the most popular way to connect to the Internet because it is said to have many advantages over dial-up.
The main difference between broadband and dial-up is the way by which your connection is established. Dial-up connects using a modem and an existing phone line. Every time you want to initiate a new web session, you have to establish a new connection and IP address. Because of its limited transmission capability, at best, you will get a maximum connection speed of 56,000 bytes per second (56kbps), which makes downloading or opening large files a time consuming, if not impossible, task.
As noted above, there are several different types of Broadband services, all of which are capable of transmitting data faster and more efficiently than dial-up. You never have to reestablish a connection or IP address because it is always on, regardless of whether you are using DSL, Cable, or Satellite etc. The only way it goes offline is if someone physically disconnects it. The best part is that you will normally have a connection speed of approximately 5 million bytes per second (5Mbps) with this type of service.
There are definite advantages to using broadband Internet. There are a wide variety of new services available that dial-up just plain can't handle, such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoiP or digital phone). You never have to worry about additional phone lines, usage charges, or tying up your main phone line while you are online. Loading graphic intense web pages and downloading/ uploading large files are no longer a problem. As far as performance goes, it is definitely the better choice.
There are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of. The overall cost of broadband, including installation, equipment, and monthly service charges, can be significantly higher than dial-up. Also, because you are always connected to the Internet, there is an increased security risk. However, Installing a good firewall should help eliminate that problem.
Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not broadband is right for you. Some people feel that it is not worth paying such a higher price for while others feel that it is worth paying more. If you are the type of person that uses the Internet just to check their mail and read the news, then you are probably better off with a dial-up connection. If you are one that likes to watch videos, play online games, or download a lot of data then it might be worth it for you to switch to broadband.
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