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The Battle of Internet Connections: Dial-Up vs. DSL vs. Cable vs. Satellite

As demand for faster, better, more efficient internet connection increases, so does the number of connection options developed to meet these needs. Below is a summary of uses and advantages of four very popular connectivity choices so far:

Dial-up
This is the grandpappy of internet connections and just as slow… like, S-L-O-W, capable only of 56kbps or lower. However, for the most basic uses such as sending mails with small- to medium-sized files attached, dial-up should do.

Dial-up will also allow you to view most websites, generally content-heavy ones. But sites loaded with graphics, animations and other tricks will take a while to load. For real-time viewing and videos, dial-ups can't perform as well. The connection will also hog the phone line so making or receiving phone calls when internet access is on can only be done using a separate line.

DSL
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is a type of broadband connection and considerably much faster than dial-up. The two most common types are ADSL (asymmetrical) and SDSL (symmetrical).

A DSL connection will not tie up a phone line. It's always available so there is no need to dial an ISP. DSL speeds can go from several hundred kbps to around 8 Mbps. This much speed allows high volume data use, loads websites quickly and is quite efficient to use with live chats, viewing videos in real time and playing online games.

Cable
Cable internet connection is faster than a dial-up but sometimes slower than DSL. Internet connection is obtained using a cable modem. This connection will be shared on lines used for cable TV. To transmit data, space reserved for TV channels are used, some to handle upstream transmissions and others for downstream transmissions.

Satellite
Internet over Satellite or IoS uses (what else?) a satellite to handle data transmissions. Unlike cable or DSL where speed fluctuations occur, satellite internet allows for smoother, uninterrupted connections, regardless of the user's location. It also allows even large files to download or upload much faster. Speeds vary, however, depending on the user's chosen plan.

Satellite internet is the internet connection of choice for remote locations where conventional forms of connectivity aren't available.

Understanding Broadband Satellite Internet Speeds

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