There are many different ways to connect to the Internet. One of the most common ways is through a dial-up connection. With a dial-up connection, the Internet user can connect to the Internet through their telephone line and an Internet Service Provider. This method of connecting to the Internet is generally considered to be the cheapest, but it also gives the user the slowest overall connection speeds. However, it can serve the purposes of the occasional Internet user without the need for a fast or consistent connection.
An ADSL modem, one of the ways to connect to the Internet.
Broadband connections offer another way to connect to the Internet. In this category are cable and DSL connections. With a cable connection, the user must subscribe to a cable television/Internet service. These connections are typically very fast, offering speeds up to 70 times faster than dial-up connections. They also allow the user to remain connected to the Internet at all times; the user only needs to open a browser window to access the internet as there is no login process to complete.
A wireless router can be used with a modem to access the Internet.
Like cable Internet service, DSL offers much faster speeds than those available with dial-up modems. However, there is a wide range of speeds available from different providers, typically going up to 3 Mbps (3000 Kbps). With DSL, normal phone wires are used to combine often separate voice and data lines, allowing users to connect to the Internet and talk on the phone over the same phone line. In addition, users do not need to turn off their phone to access the Internet, as phone calls and web browsing can occur at the same time.
Internet connections using DSL technology are much faster than dial-up modems.
Satellite Internet service is another form of high-speed Internet connection. It employs telecommunications satellites to allow users to connect to the Internet. These connections are typically most popular in areas where cable and DSL connections are unavailable or unreliable. However, satellite connections are generally slower than cable and DSL connections. Additionally, they often experience high network latency due to data transmission delays, and this can lead to quite lethargic performance, especially when it comes to games and downloads.
Dialing was one of the earlier ways for computers to connect to the Internet using a phone line.
In addition to broadband and dial-up services, web users can now connect to the Internet wirelessly, accessing the web without wires or cables of any kind. Wireless technology allows users to have mobile connections, accessing the web (with some limitations) wherever and whenever they need to. This can be done through public Wi-Fi networks, cellular services and Wimax – a slightly newer type of wireless service. These technologies vary in terms of connectivity, reliability and cost, but all allow users to connect at home, school, work or on the go.
Acoustic couplers – which send and receive computer data over telephone lines – predated modern modem technology in the early days of Internet use.