Internet Connection Options
Working from your home or a small office, you have four basic choices in how to connect to the Internet: dial-up, leased line, DSL or cable.
Dial-up or Plain Old Telephone Connections
The most common way to connect to the Internet is by using the telephone service that is already installed in your home or office. With this option you will be able to connect at speeds up to 56k/bytes second however this depends on the quality of the dialup line and your distance to the central telephone office.
Leased or Dedicated Line Connections
Dedicated or leased lines are designed for businesses or for those who need to spend extended periods of time connected to the Internet. You must contact your local telephone company to have this type of line installed. A leased line provides a permanent full time connection from your home or business to your ISP (internet service provider). The cost for this type of line varies depending on its speed and distance and can run into the thousands of dollars for very fast links. A major benefit is that this type of line supports bit rates well into the millions of bits per second. As a final note, this type of line and its associated expense is better suited to businesses that need full time Internet connections.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Connections
DSL is the telephone network of the future. It stands for Digital Subscriber Line and combines both a single telephone line and a high speed digital circuit onto the same set of wires. Most areas of the country provide DSL lines at a slightly higher cost than regular telephone service. The benefits are:
You will need to install a DSL modem and contract wih an ISP that supports DSL service.
Using Your Cable Television Provider for Internet Access
With the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, cable television service providers were been given the legal rights to offer telephone, Internet and information services. Using the coaxial cable that currently delivers your television service, cable providers offer Internet access at speeds approaching 35 million bits per second to your computer. At the present time most cable providers limit speeds to one to two megabits. To use this type of service, your cable company will need to install a high speed interface in your computer to provide a connection to their service (This is usually in the form of an ethernet card connected to a cable modem). Costs for this service are around $40.00 a month however most cable providers offer bundled services to include television, telephone, and Internet access at a special price. Check with you cable provider to determine if and when they will offer Internet access.