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A Guide to Broadband Internet Connections

A Guide to Broadband Internet Connections

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Published by: mlmcbride33 on Nov 06, 2009
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A Guide To Broadband Internet Connections
Why Do You Need Broadband?
By this point, most of America already has a Broadband Connection to the Internet. But for those that have notyet taken the plunge, a world of benefits awaits you!Surf, download, and have fun faster!Broadband (a high speed Internet connection) can get you surfing up to 50 times faster* than a typical 56K modem, a high-speed Internet connection will let you download your favorite songs in seconds, watchstreaming video in real time, and play games online with hair-trigger response times. No tied-up phone lines No need to worry about missing phone calls. Most Broadband connections don't tie up your phone line, soyou're free to use your phone anytime.Always-on Internet connectionWith your Internet connection always available, it's easy to use the Internet for whatever you want: look uptelephone numbers, recipes, movie theater listings...no need to wait for your modem to connect every time.Find out more, and see which kind of Broadband is right for you:
Cable Internet Access
Cable When you get a television signal from your cable company, all of the video and audio information for a particular channel takes up a"slice" of bandwidth. It is possible to take one of these channels and useit for Internet access, and none of the other channels will be affected. Not all cable systems are capable of this, however.Cable companies take a slice of bandwidth and use it to exchange datawith your computer. They divide this channel into two subchannels for upstream and downstream data. They expect a lot more downstreamdata, because most people download a lot more than they upload. Insome cases, cable companies can only send data through the cable, butnot receive messages from you. If this is the case, you need to use aconventional modem to request information, and cable companies sendit to you at high speed through the cable system.
What is DOCSIS™?
Cable modems can be DOCSIS certified or proprietary. DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service InterfaceSpecifications. A DOCSIS certified modem is preferable, as it will work with any DOCSIS compliant cablesystem. DOCSIS modems are generally easier to support because a lot of documentation is available and manycable companies adhere to the standard. A proprietary modem is less desirable, because it will only work withthe system for which it was designed.
Are there limitations of cable Internet access?
There are a few things to be aware of when using a cable modem. There may be over 500 homes in your areausing the same "channel" for Internet access. If everyone tries to access the Internet at the same time, your download speeds could slow to a crawl. Your cable company can remedy this by dedicating another channel toInternet access.Another thing to be aware of is the fact that all cable modem users in your area are on the same network cluster,and may be able to browse others people's computers. You should use always use a firewall, but you especiallyneed to run one when you have a cable modem. A firewall is software that monitors network traffic and prevents unauthorized users from accessing your computer. Firewall software can be downloaded and run on acomputer itself, or it can be built into a router.How do I get Cable Internet Access?If you already have cable TV, call your cable provider and ask if cable Internet access is available. If your cable provider uses a DOCSIS compliant system, you may be able to purchase your own cable modem and get areduced monthly rate.
DSL DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, uses the available bandwidth inyour phone line to deliver additional signals. A typical pair of copper wires in your phone is capable of carrying information on manydifferent frequencies.
Your phone line has a wide range of frequencies available, and inorder to use DSL, you must ensure that the DSL signals and your telephone conversations do not interfere with one another. Several lowchannels are used for voice signals, and the remaining channels areused for DSL signals. In some cases, a "buffer" of frequencies is intentionally left unused between the voice andDSL frequencies.To prevent your voice conversations from interfering with each other, "low-pass filters" or "splitters" must beused on all voice jacks. These devices block out all signals above a certain frequency, so your voice and datatransmissions do not use the same frequencies. You do NOT use a filter on the jack that plugs into the DSLmodem.DSL signals can be "asymmetric " (ADSL), meaning the upstream and downstream capabilities are not equal.The companies providing the signal assume that you will have more download traffic than upload traffic, andthey partition your bandwidth accordingly. Symmetric (SDSL) offers the same speed capabilities for bothupload and download traffic. Unlike cable Internet access, a DSL line is a dedicated resource, not a shared one.That means that if everyone on your street has DSL and everyone uses it at the same time, no one will lose bandwidth.In the United States, DSL speeds are currently limited to 1.5 Mbps, though technically the technology is capableof 7 Mbps throughput. The next generation, VDSL (very high bit rate DSL), will be capable of delivering up to52 Mbps, enough to support a new generation of video and audio content delivered on demand. At these speeds,you could easily download a DVD-quality movie and watch it in real time.
Are there limitations to DSL service?
A significant drawback of DSL is that you must live within approximately three miles of the Central Office(CO) that serves your address. The strength of the signal degrades over distance, and unlike regular telephonesignals, you can't boost the signal strength along the way. Your distance from the CO also affects your connection speed: the closer you live to the CO, the faster your connection. DSL providers usually post the best
 possible speeds (for example, 1.5 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload). Unless you live very close to the CO, youwill not get these speeds. You must have a "clean copper pair" available between your house and the CO. Aclean copper pair is a set of wires that is used exclusively for the purpose of transmitting your signal and your signal only. When used to aggregate telephone signals together, a copper pair is no longer considered "clean."
How do I get DSL?
The simple answer is: contact your local phone company! While there may be other DSL providers in your local market, you POTS carrier will be your first choice in most cases.
Verizon's FiOS Internet
Verizon FiOS Internet Service uses state-of-the-art fiber optic technology to deliver broadband Internet accessto your home at much greater speeds than DSL.The increased capacity and faster speeds of the fiber optic lines not only deliver broadband Internet access atsuperior speeds, but have also enabled crystal-clear phone calls with FiOS phone and FiOS TV with HighDefinition programming and digital sound.
How does Fiber Optic Technology work?
When you access the Internet, a fiber optic cable carries the laser-generated pulses of light to transmit the datasignal to your home. Once the signal has arrived, an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) converts it to anelectrical signal that is understood by your computer.Your ONT takes all converted incominginformation and delivers it to your router via anEthernet cable. After the signal has passedthrough your firewall, the Ethernet cable carriesthe signal to the Network Interface Card plugged into your computer.
When you send an email or other data over theInternet, the electrical signal from your computer is converted back to light signals bythe ONT and transmitted to the recipient over the fiber optic cable. This allows for theremarkably fast transfer of information.
What is Fiber Optics?
Fiber optics are strands of optically pure glass that carry digital informationas pulses of light. Each glass strand has a protective coating and issurrounded by an optical material that reflects the light back into the glasscore. Hundreds of thousands of these coated glass strands are bundledtogether to make the Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) (also known as Fiber tothe Home, or FTTH) optical cable that is connected to your home.FiOS service incorporates fiber optics, while DSL
Fiber Optic Strand
and Dial-Up use copper telephone wiring.

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