Home Internet Connectivity – Which to choose?

Jun 21, 2011

IT Support

When choosing Internet connectivity, there are many, many choices initially. Availability and cost are two of the main factors to consider when narrowing down your options. Some types of Internet connections are not available in your area. Some connections may be too expensive to merit the monthly charges.

Understanding the pros and cons of connections is helpful, so let’s explain some of them:



  • Available at most any location that has an analog dial-up line.
  • Usually has a low monthly, typically about $20.00 per month or less.


  • One of the slowest connections available. Dial-up connectivity usually maxes out at 56kbps, which is about 99.5% slower than most network connections in an office environment which run at 100mbps.
  • Requires a modem for your laptop or desktop. If you don’t have a modem, this requires a hardware purchase. Most new computers, by default, do not come with modems.
  • Requires an analog telephone line. In a time when most consumers drop their home phone lines, this requires purchase of this phone service thus incurring an additional monthly fee.



  • Very high availability, especially in remote locations that only have dial-up availability.
  • Excellent connection for general surfing and basic Internet usage.


  • May require a higher up-front installation, covering setup of the satellite dish and any additional hardware.
  • This connection typically suffers from high latency. This means that this type of connectivity is not ideal for any kind of online gaming. If you consider that the connection has to travel to a satellite in space before going back to ground, these delays are understood. This also means that VPN connections and real-time communication applications, such as Skype, may experience connectivity problems.
  • Connectivity may be affected by weather.



  • High speed connectivity which runs over existing phone lines.
  • Connection speeds can be as high as 1-3mbps uploads to 8-24mbps downloads.
  • Static IP addresses can usually be acquired fairly easily with DSL connections, even to the home.
  • Installation may be able to be done on your own without a technician visiting your home.


  • DSL is limited by distance, so not all areas qualify for this connectivity.
  • Some carriers require purchase of analog phone line service which may incur additional costs.

Cable Internet


  • Very high speed connection – 100mbps to even 400mbps depending on the area and the usage.


  • Bandwidth on this connection is shared. This means that there may be slower connectivity on your connection during peak usage times in your area.
  • Requires installation by a technician along with the purchase or rental of a cable modem.
  • Like DSL, this connection has limited availability. Check with the carrier to determine if they offer this connectivity to your area.

There are a number of other types of connections which may be used in the home, but these are the biggest ones. Wireless connectivity, microwave, and fiber are all growing in usage in many areas. When considering a connection, remember to look at availability, monthly costs, and if there are setup fees. Also look to see if there is any contract requiring you to keep service for a specific period of time.

For a good list of various types of connections, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_access.

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