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 How To Choose The Right Residential Broadband Service 
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Post How To Choose The Right Residential Broadband Service
How To Choose The Right Residential Broadband Service
by: Jon Arnold

The first thing you need to know is what is Broadband access? Broadband is defined as any data transmission that exceeds 600 bits per second. There are also residential and commercial versions of broadband and they are very different from each other. This is in terms of price, size and ability and, for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on residential. For business, even a small business, they are much further ahead with a T1 line, but that is a different story.

There are three primary versions of Broadband Internet access available to the typical residential subscriber. The three kinds of broadband are DSL, cable and satellite. Each has its pluses and minuses and you should be familiar with them because these differences will help you decide which service is best for you and your individual needs.

DSL Digital Subscriber Service

Local and national phone companies offering broadband access offer this service. It accomplished the required data transfer rates by using two separate channels. One channel is used for data and one is used for voice communications. This allows them to push more information through the same size pipe.

The first advantage that most people like is that their phone calls do not interrupt their Internet usage or the other way around also works. You can achieve the higher speeds (128Kbs to 24,000Kbs) that you need to take advantage of most of the offerings on the Internet. The costs are also low, which for some is an advantage. For the best speeds with DSL you need to be within 2Km(1.25 miles) of a central office, beyond that and your speed drops dramatically. DSL is offering by most phone companies (although it is normally the most expensive option) as well as both local and national carriers.


This is exactly what it is, a coaxial cable of the same variety you use for receiving your cable TV signal. Your local cable company provides this service. Speeds are generally 1.5MB, 3MB and even 5MB in some markets. Your area has to have access to cable service in order for you to be able to have cable Internet service.

This is known as an always on service in that you are always connected and that is a two edged sword. You have instant access to everything that you want and it is a bad thing because the bad guys also have instant access to your system. It is highly recommended that you use a firewall and anti-virus software to protect your system from those that are up to no good.


This service is available through companies like DirecTV, Dish Network and Hughes. They provide access to the Internet through both a phone line and a satellite dish. The upload is achieved using a phone line and the download side is through the satellite dish. This will mean longer time to upload files and faster times downloading files.

The advantage to this is that you only need access to a phone line and a satellite subscriber service. This frees you in having service anywhere there is a phone line installed. The disadvantage to this is that, during high wind events or severe storms, you may lose your satellite service and, thus, your Internet access. Also note that many satellite providers will LIMIT how much you can use the system over the month, and when you reach that limit, they will "throttle" your connection down to a much slower speed.

Note that even the top-end satellite systems are not going to be as fast as the majority of DSL or cable options. Also note that some things are not available to you with satellite Internet service, such as the ability to use VOIP phones. VOIP will not work reliably on a satellite connection, simply because of what is called "latency", or the time it takes for the signal to get processed after it goes to the satellite and comes back to earth.

About The Author

Jon Arnold is a computer engineer and long-term world traveler who maintains many websites to pass along his knowledge and findings. You can read more about DSL and Cable Internet vendors and offerings at his web site at

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This article was posted by permission.

Fri Aug 03, 2007 2:48 pm
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