||"Broadband" refers to high bandwidth that allows you to access the Internet at fast speeds. With increased bandwidth, you'll also get higher quality video, audio, downloads and multimedia on the Web.
There are several ways you can get hooked up to broadband technology:
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
Offered by your local telephone company.
- Connection speed: Up to 128 Kbps (about 4 times a 28.8 Kbps modem)
- Pros: Available almost everywhere; frees your standard phone line
- Cons: Monthly fees must be paid to both phone company and ISP
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
Offered by your local telephone company, a DSL provides Internet access via existing telephone wires.
- Connection speed: Up to 1.5 Mbps (about 52 times a 28.8 Kbps modem)
- Pros: Very fast; frees your standard phone line; no need for separate ISP; fast download
- Cons: Expensive to install; not widely available yet; easy to hack; slow upload; complex and sometimes difficult installation
Offered by your local cable provider, a cable modem provides Internet access via your existing coaxial cable TV line.
- Connection speed: Up to 2 Mbps (about 70 times a 28.8 Kbps modem)
- Pros: Very fast; low startup and monthly fees; frees your standard phone line; no need for separate ISP; widely available; easy to install
- Cons: Speed varies depending on how many people are online in your area; less secure since you're sharing a line with others; upload is slower than download
Currently, offered only by two companies: Direcway and StarBand, which provide Internet access via a satellite dish. Dish can only receive data so you must have a dial-up to send/upload data (like sending e-mail). So you need to continue to subscribe to your ISP in addition to your satellite provider.
- Connection speed: 400 Kbps (about 14 times a 28.8 Kbps modem)
- Pros: Fast; can be used anywhere a satellite dish is used, including boats, RVs and rural areas where other broadband technologies might not be available
- Cons: Only download speed is improved; must still use your standard telephone line to send/upload data; expensive; monthly fees must be paid to both satellite provider and dial-up ISP