Types of Internet Service

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Last updated: 06/30/2020
Types of Internet Service

What are the different types of internet service?

To connect to the internet, you need internet access.  This is purchased from internet service providers, such as AT&T, Xfinity and Cox, which use different technologies to supply an internet connection to your home.  There are five main types of internet service technologies, listed here in descending order of speed:
  1. Fiber-optic – superfast connection, great for large families and those who like to stream high definition videos and play online video games.
  2. Cable – great for moderate users of the internet, such as families who like to stream movies and surf the web.
  3. DSL – available at a variety of speeds, good for moderate users of the internet who like to stream, browse and download music.
  4. Satellite – available everywhere, good for those who mainly use the internet to check emails, social media and 
  5. Dial-up – best cheap internet option, for those who rarely use the internet.  Suited to light users who occasionally use the web to check the news and emails.

What is the best type of internet service?

When deciding what type of internet service would be the best for you it is important to know what is available in your area.  Depending on where you live you may not have a choice out of all of the different technologies or providers.

On top of this, where you live can also affect how each internet service performs.  For example, although fiber-optic is usually the quickest form of internet connection, this is not always the case.  Download speeds tend to be slower the further away you are from a hub, as signals usually degrade as they travel long distances through wires.  This means that in some areas you may find that cable is actually quicker than fiber-optic.

Also, to make things more confusing, competing service providers offer different speeds using the same technologies.  DSL download speeds can vary from 15Mbps to 140Mbps depending on which provider and package you choose.

Because of all of these complications, the best thing you can do is compare internet providers online.  Find out what is available in your area and the prices for different packages, so you can make the most informed decision possible.

What is the cheapest type of internet service?

The cheapest option for internet is dial-up.  This uses phone lines to deliver connection to your home.  However, it is quite an outdated system, and considering how crucial the internet is to most people’s lives in the modern world it isn’t fast enough for many applications.

Another cheap option is DSL.  The wide range of speeds offered by different internet service providers means that there are cheap internet deals at the slower end of what is available.  With the slowest speed available for DSL connection being 5Mbps, this is good enough for light users of the internet who like to stream standard definition music or browse the web, while being more reliable than dial-up.

The Best Internet Service Options If You Live in a Rural Area

If you live in a rural area, you may find that your options for a good internet connection is pretty limited.  It is expensive to build the infrastructure for internet connections (wires, hubs etc.), so in some areas, it is not worthwhile for companies to invest where there are very few people.

However, DSL is available in some form in many rural areas, providing reliable internet for many who live further out from the big cities.  Also, satellite internet - because it does not require cables - is available almost everywhere.  The only issue is that monthly data limits tend to be quite low (even the unlimited deals), and if you exceed them your internet will be slowed down, often to speeds of just 1Mbps.  This means that those who want to use the internet to download a lot of music or watch films may find it a bit frustrating.

Satellite internet should be getting a big upgrade in the near future though, with companies such as SpaceX and Boeing investing heavily into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) technology.  This promises to deliver faster, more reliable speeds at lower costs for consumers.
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