Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Read the article that everyone's commenting on.
I hate the term Broadband probably because as you've said, it's a "fuzzy" description. However, I've been given to understand that there's a difference between ADSl & DSL in that with DSL, one's Uploading speed is about the same as one's download speed whereas ADSL is as you've stated fast down & slow up. Would you care to comment?
I am Psychiatrist but a lay man on these topics. You have explained very nicely about different modes of getting the internet. Big thanks for enlighting such basic things.wish you all the best.
@David: Let me try to explain DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and its derivatives (with a little help from Wikipedia):
Firstly, the magic of DSL is based on the fact that copper wires, such as telephone wires, are capable of carrying electromagnetic frequencies far beyond those required for the phone itself to work. In effect, the phone system uses only a very small amount of the potential bandwidth the wires could carry. A special note, however, is that these higher frequencies tend to attenuate faster, which is why DSL generally cannot be offered in just any place a telephone system exists -- DSL just doesn't have as much range, as a physical limitation.
So, anyway, what DSL does is use a frequency range above 25 kHz (the telephone system, by comparison, only uses the first 4 kHz available and no more), and further subdivides those frequencies into a number of channels. Those channels are then each assigned as either an upload or upstream channel, and a download or downstream channel (this is not entirely correct, actually the subdivision is first upstream/downstream, and then channels, but it ends up being the same thing in the end).
So that's DSL itself, as a technology. Now, DSL further divides into several implementations, based on a number of factors. The most common (I think) division is between ADSL (Asymmetrical DSL) and a variant of SDSL (Symmetrical DSL) known as SHDSL (Single-pair High-speed DSL).
Firstly, the primary difference between ADSL and SDSL refers almost solely to the way the channels are divided between upstream and downstream. Specifically, in ADSL you get a lot more downstream bandwidth than upstream (Wikipedia reports standards-compliant speeds between 8 and 24 Mbits/s for downstream and 1 to 3.5 Mbits/s for upstream), whereas with SDSL the division is symmetrical, i.e. there is exactly as much upstream bandwidth as there is downstream.
However, SHDSL also uses the frequencies normally reserved for telephony, and is generally marketed to businesses, which is why I doubt you'll see it as an option for a residential contract. To compare speeds, SHDSL (according to Wikipedia) provides up to 4.6 Mbits/s in both directions, barely topping ADSL's upstream maximum of 3.5 Mb/s. However, being a business-class connection, it should also provide far more, uh, "supportive" support.
Hope this helps, and (of course), I may not be entirely correct, but at least this should give you some idea of what's involved.
The pair of wires used to serve customers from a telephone central office can be thought of as a large capacitor. The longer the loop to the customer the more capacitance. After the loop reaches about 18000 feet the attenuation makes the loop unusable for voice communication so the phone company adds inductance in the form of load coils and the voice frequencies in the 400 to 3400 cps can be extended much farther and voice frequency amplification can even be used. The load coils have the affect of filtering out the higher frequencies making the pairs unavailable for "broadband" or carrier frequencies. There are several load schemes that are used but basically you start with a half load section from the central office and then full load sections thereafter. Therefore if you live within about 18000 feet of the telephone central office you can probably receive "DSL" internet service.
AT&T offers a service similar to FIOS with fiber to an enclosure in every neighborhood and copper wire from there to the customer. It's cheaper to provide this than fiber home runs to every customer but the potential bandwidth suffers a little. Nobody wants the enclosure in their "back yard" either.
How do I setup my smart phone to get wireless internet when in "hot spots"?
Firstly , I've read all comments , thanks to all comments posters , and particularley more thanks to OCTAV for his satisfying explanation.
You missed one that is available in a lot of rural areas (mine included) and apparently as a backup option (mainly aimed at businesses) in some cities as well. I don't think it's quite the same as WiMax, but maybe. Seems to be called "Fixed Wireless Internet."
It consists of one or (in our case) a system of wireless transmitters on towers spread throughout the entire valley, and is typically line-of-sight to the tower or (for more $$) a different frequency that can "see through the trees." The transmitters are fed ultimately by the provider's connection to hard-wired (T1 I think here) broadband at some location close enough to broadcast to the first tower in the network.
Subscribers get a special receiver that is mounted on or near their house, then the connection is hard-wired from the receiver into the house, into a special modem, and then to the computer/router using a standard ethernet connection. You CANNOT just pick the service up using a WiFi-enabled computer.
Speeds are based on your subscription level, around here from 750kpbs (upload) to significantly higher (again, here at least, for more $$).
Pros: broadband in locations where the only other option is satellite or dial-up, and fairly consistent service.
Cons: must be line-of-sight (or line-of-sight with only trees in the way), transmitters are subject to breakdowns with subsequent downtime, and appear to be affected at times by the number of active users on a given transmitter.
I won't rant on about satellite cons, but there are more than Leo has listed. I'd recommend satellite only in the absence of other broadband options, and do a lot of research ahead of time, especially on whatever provider is available in your area. Also note that some piggyback on others, for example the Canadian provider Xplornet uses the Hughes satellite network, so many problems Hughes users experience will be similar for Xplornet users. On the "Pros" side of things, there are tons of great help resources on the internet for satellite users, because they can be such a PITA and because tech support is often unhelpful or very slow to respond.
Good article but I need to know the best type connection when I live in two different places depending on time of year and neither place has the same cable company or telephone company. I just want to plug it in and have service when I move between the two places without complications with the computer. Thanks
I've had DSL for a few years and am moving into an area where they only offer dial up OR extended service dsl (thru CenturyTel, or actually it's now CenturyLink, a combo of CenturyTel & Embarq). Does anyone know anything about this extended service dsl?
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