Traditionally, users had to access the internet via a dial-up connection and a modem (hardware used to convert data into signals, allowing it to travel up and down a phone line).
These connections were slow and would tie up your phone line for hours at a time. Fortunately, technology delivered us from that torment and gave us Broadband. This refers to any fast, permanent connection that can be provided by satellite, cable, fiber-optics, mobile, or ADSL.
This change was huge. It replaced a single band with a broader band, which increased the speeds of uploading and downloading many times over. The process that took hours now takes minutes or seconds. One of the many advantages of this technology is HD movie streaming, which is slowly shifting our focus away from the television.
It has, in short, pushed us into the information age of the 21st-century. Yet, a Broadband comparison is necessary to explain the different delivery methods of this technological advancement.
The Different Types of Broadband
Here is a breakdown of the 6 main ways broadband is delivered and how they differ from each other.
To connect to an ADSL line, you need a modem or router, and a microfilter (removes the hiss from your phone line). These devices connect you to the network used by your ISP.
Your ADSL connection is delivered via copper wires used by phone companies, and your ISP tests and activates it for you. The router or modem, and microfilter, gets plugged into the phone socket and your PC (unless you're using a wireless connection).
Your link must then be set up using software supplied by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), typically in the form of a CD-ROM.
In some countries, individual Cable TV companies offer an internet connection via their existing network of wiring. The speeds of these connections compare to that of ADSL.
This form of technology is still relatively new on the market and requires a satellite dish to be set up. Although severe weather conditions can interrupt the signal, this is the only available connectivity method in some rural areas.
The latest addition to Broadband connectivity is Mobile connections. A dongle (small USB device), or gadgets like smartphones, is used to connect to the internet via radio waves. This makes it possible to connect to the worldwide web from anywhere that there is a mobile signal.
Although Wi-Fi is not an internet connection in itself, it has become a popular product amongst internet users. A wireless mini-network is created through your dongle, modem, smartphone, or router. Using this system, you will gain access to the web via your ISP, regardless of where you are in the house.
Fiber-Optics is the next generation of broadband connectivity. This type of cabling was designed to overcome the limitations of old and disintegrating copper wiring used for years by phone and cable companies.
This innovation works by transmitting light pulses through tiny wires. Since it travels a lot faster than electricity, internet connections of over five times the speed of ADSL are possible.
Unfortunately, this technology is not widely available yet, as the existing copper wiring first needs to be replaced. In due time, this technology will replace ADSL connectivity completely.
The Future Of Internet Connectivity
As the world and technology progress, people are becoming more reliant on the internet than ever before. The demand for faster and more reliable connectivity is consistently rising.
Both landline and mobile Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are continuing to push the boundaries in an effort to satisfy their customers' needs. Worldwide, phone and cable companies are replacing old wiring systems with fiber-optics. At the same time, 5g is being rolled out by cellular providers promising speeds up to 20 times that of 4g.
It will be interesting to see what the next advancement brings.