Broadband is another name for high speed internet. It is exactly what it sounds like: internet access that has a fast connection speed. While there is no official consensus for what speed makes your internet broadband or “high speed,” there are a few benchmarks. In general, anything that has a connection of over 256 kbps (kilobytes per second) is considered high speed internet. This is also the definition of broadband provided by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines high speed internet as having a bit rate of 768 kbps. In comparison, your standard dial-up internet connection is only 56 kbps.
If those numbers mean nothing to you, consider that broadband high speed internet will lower your blood pressure and give you overall better health. No, I am not kidding. The frustration caused by slow page loading and waiting for an internet connection, common problems with dial-up service, can cause hypertension and ulcers, among other health problems. While I cannot promise that you will be healthier if you use broadband high speed internet, it certainly cannot hurt! Broadband internet should cut down on your stress and frustration. In addition, it gives you more time to spend doing what you want to do because you are not stuck waiting for the internet.
If a dial-up (narrow band) internet connection is a single lane street, broadband is a highway with multiple lanes that allows more traffic. Broadband is faster and has easier access in terms of connection speed and data transmission rates. It can come in the form of DSL or a cable connection. DSL is less expensive but the quality and speed depends on your location. The service can come through power lines, cable lines, cellular networks and satellite connections. Look up what internet service providers (ISP) are in your area for options. Your location, whether more urban or rural, will affect the price of your service because of availability.
Your selection is up to you. Qwest, Comcast, Verizon and Cox Communications are examples of some of the big ISPs. It is wise to go for the provide that guarantees the best coverage at the cheapest price in your area. Check around on websites, newspapers and mail fliers for options. Some websites offer price comparisons with different packages that could include a bundle of services on phone, internet and television. This can save you a lot of time and money. If you're only a casual internet user, you can still get great service from packages that aren't necessarily the most expensive.
Differences between Cable and DSL:
- Speed: Cable is faster than DSL. Check for speed caps placed by your ISP.
- Security: Since it has been around longer, DSL has a better reputation for security. DSL uses a dedicated line while cable shares a line with the rest of the neighborhood.
- Popularity: Cable is more popular in the U.S. But DSL is more popular worldwide.
- Customer Satisfaction: More Americans are satisfied with their DSL service, even though it's slower than cable. Just because you see a cable advertisement on your television doesn't mean cable is readily available in your area. Call the ISP to make sure.
- Distance Sensitivity: Cable has the edge since DSL speeds decrease the farther you are way from your ISP's hub. Cable is not affected.
- Price: It depends on your ISP but DSL is generally cheaper than cable. But, you can be charged extra for creating a network of multiple computers on DSL but not cable. Save on installation fees by doing a self-install.