Internet Connections 101: Different types of internet connections
Dial-up (Analog 56k)
The good old days of dial-up internet are impossible to forget. Remember the blind rage every time someone picked up the phone in the middle of an AltaVista search? Surprisingly dial-up still exists despite the problems it continues to present. You always have to rely on the quality of the landline itself – and, of course, the problems caused every time someone needs to make a call. Speeds can be anywhere between 28K and 56K, which is a range unheard of in this day and age.
Cable provides an internet connection through a cable modem and operates over cable TV lines. Speed can go up to 20 Mbps, although it can vary greatly (and descend to about 512K at times).
Can you remember a time before the dawn of Wi-Fi? Nope, neither can we. Wi-Fi doesn’t require a telephone line or a cable to connect, and it can be accessed from just about anywhere. Wireless networks are increasing in coverage by the minute, and luckily for the rest of us it’s becoming easier to find a signal wherever you go. Speeds vary from about 5 Mbps to 20 Mbps.
The way satellite connections are probably the coolest, with these connections being based off a satellite in Earth’s orbit. Very sci-fi, but just before you go and buy that Starfleet uniform, consider this: the enormous distance that a signal needs to cover means there is a very delayed connection to reckon with. Speeds range from about 512K to 2.0 Mbps – meaning it pays you to stay on Earth for a speedier connection.
This is where cellphones, tablets, phablets and everything in between come in. Cellular technology works through mobile devices. The speeds vary depending on the provider, with the highest speeds going up to an average of 2.0 Mbps (3G). With 4G looking to hit about 100 Mbps, it seems the future is here.