HOW TO CHOOSE A
from page one
PROVIDERS AND DSL SERVICES
Before you contact broadband suppliers, you may
wish to familiarize
yourself with the difference between cable and dsl services. Both are
provide similar Internet speeds (cable is usually capable of a higher
than basic dsl, but other factors may limit the speed you actually
If you choose a cable modem provider, your bandwidth will be
shared with everyone in the neighborhood who is using the Internet at
time, which means that your internet connection may be slower than dsl
provide, albeit much faster than a 56k dialup connection.
High speed cable internet connections differ in upload and
download capabilities. Your upload (sending, also known as upstream)
much slower than your downloads (receiving, also known as downstream),
only likely to be problematic if you do large online backups daily or
frequently send enormous files. For most people, cable modem services
digital subscriber lines, utilizes the telephone wires for transmission
does not interfere with your phone use) rather than cable lines. DSL
however is only likely to be available in urban areas, as you must live
3-5 miles of a DSL
center for DSL
broadband to be accessible.
Most home users able to use dsl services usually opt for
ADSL (asymmetrical) rather than the most expensive SDSL which serves
AND DSL MODEMS AND EQUIPMENT
You will need either a
cable modem or dsl modem, and also a network (ethernet)
card. If your computer is less than three years old, you probably
a network card, and may not need to purchase one yourself or from your
Note however that if you have a home network connecting
several computers, your ethernet card may already be in use, and you may need to either
purchase and install a
second one, or better
yet, get a router
As you collect
information about each broadband supplier,
you will want to find out:
kind of high speed access does the company provide? Are they primarily
cable modem providers or do they also offer dsl services which are available to you
at your location?
speed do they guarantee? With cable service, expect 1 – 6
mbps (megabytes per second) for downstream, and 128
– 768 kbps (kilobytes per second) for
are basic requirements for your computer?
kind of equipment do you need?
they provide email software or web-based email or must you rely
entirely on your own email program, such as Outlook or Eudora?
they provide spam filtering (as well as virus protection) for your
email, or are you dependent upon your own spam filtering?
much storage space do you get for your email?
kind of security and privacy do they guarantee?
technical work needs to be done at your location, and how soon can it
be scheduled? Cable providers can get you up and running in less than
an hour at one sitting, but DSL
may require work on your phone lines and later installation of your DSL
modem if you cannot do self-installation.
you travel frequently and need Internet access from your laptop when on
the road, do they offer limited dial-up access for a low additional fee?
11. Do they offer a wireless plan (of particular interest to laptop and
notebook computer users, who seek Internet access when away from home)
12. How available is their technical support?