Why Do You Need Broadband?
By this point, most of America already has a
Broadband Connection to the Internet. But for those that have
not yet taken the plunge, a world of benefits awaits you!
Surf, download, and have fun faster!
Broadband (a high speed Internet connection) can
get you surfing up to 50 times faster* than a typical 56K modem, a
high-speed Internet connection will let you download your favorite
songs in seconds, watch streaming video in real time, and play games
online with hair-trigger response times.
No tied-up phone lines
No need to worry about missing phone calls. Most
Broadband connections don't tie up your phone line, so you're free
to use your phone anytime.
Always-on Internet connection
With your Internet connection always available,
it's easy to use the Internet for whatever you want: look up
telephone numbers, recipes, movie theater listings...no need to wait
for your modem to connect every time.
Find out more, and see which kind of Broadband is
right for you:
Cable Internet Access
When you get a television signal from your cable company, all of the
video and audio information for a particular channel takes up a
"slice" of bandwidth. It is possible to take one of these channels
and use it for Internet access, and none of the other channels will
be affected. Not all cable systems are capable of this, however.
Cable companies take a slice of bandwidth and use
it to exchange data with your computer. They divide this channel
into two subchannels for upstream and downstream data. They expect a
lot more downstream data, because most people download a lot more
than they upload. In some cases, cable companies can only send data
through the cable, but not receive messages from you. If this is the
case, you need to use a conventional modem to request information,
and cable companies send it to you at high speed through the cable
What is DOCSIS™?
Cable modems can be DOCSIS certified or
proprietary. DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface
Specifications. A DOCSIS certified modem is preferable, as it will
work with any DOCSIS compliant cable system. DOCSIS modems are
generally easier to support because a lot of documentation is
available and many cable companies adhere to the standard. A
proprietary modem is less desirable, because it will only work with
the system for which it was designed.
Are there limitations of cable Internet access?
There are a few things to be aware of when using a
cable modem. There may be over 500 homes in your area using the same
"channel" for Internet access. If everyone tries to access the
Internet at the same time, your download speeds could slow to a
crawl. Your cable company can remedy this by dedicating another
channel to Internet access.
Another thing to be aware of is the fact that all
cable modem users in your area are on the same network cluster, and
may be able to browse others people's computers. You should use
always use a firewall, but you especially need to run one when you
have a cable modem. A firewall is software that monitors network
traffic and prevents unauthorized users from accessing your
computer. Firewall software can be downloaded and run on a computer
itself, or it can be built into a router.
How do I get Cable Internet Access?
If you already have cable TV, call your cable
provider and ask if cable Internet access is available. If your
cable provider uses a DOCSIS compliant system, you may be able to
purchase your own cable modem and get a reduced monthly rate.
DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, uses the available bandwidth in
your phone line to deliver additional signals. A typical pair of
copper wires in your phone is capable of carrying information on
many different frequencies.
Your phone line has a wide range of frequencies
available, and in order to use DSL, you must ensure that the DSL
signals and your telephone conversations do not interfere with one
another. Several low channels are used for voice signals, and the
remaining channels are used for DSL signals. In some cases, a
"buffer" of frequencies is intentionally left unused between the
voice and DSL frequencies.
To prevent your voice conversations from
interfering with each other, "low-pass filters" or "splitters" must
be used on all voice jacks. These devices block out all signals
above a certain frequency, so your voice and data transmissions do
not use the same frequencies. You do NOT use a filter on the jack
that plugs into the DSL modem.
DSL signals can be "asymmetric " (ADSL), meaning
the upstream and downstream capabilities are not equal. The
companies providing the signal assume that you will have more
download traffic than upload traffic, and they partition your
bandwidth accordingly. Symmetric (SDSL) offers the same speed
capabilities for both upload and download traffic. Unlike cable
Internet access, a DSL line is a dedicated resource, not a shared
one. That means that if everyone on your street has DSL and everyone
uses it at the same time, no one will lose bandwidth.
In the United States, DSL speeds are currently
limited to 1.5 Mbps, though technically the technology is capable of
7 Mbps throughput. The next generation, VDSL (very high bit rate
DSL), will be capable of delivering up to 52 Mbps, enough to support
a new generation of video and audio content delivered on demand. At
these speeds, you could easily download a DVD-quality movie and
watch it in real time.
Are there limitations to DSL service?
A significant drawback of DSL is that you must
live within approximately three miles of the Central Office (CO)
that serves your address. The strength of the signal degrades over
distance, and unlike regular telephone signals, you can't boost the
signal strength along the way. Your distance from the CO also
affects your connection speed: the closer you live to the CO, the
faster your connection. DSL providers usually post the best possible
speeds (for example, 1.5 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload). Unless you
live very close to the CO, you will not get these speeds. You must
have a "clean copper pair" available between your house and the CO.
A clean copper pair is a set of wires that is used exclusively for
the purpose of transmitting your signal and your signal only. When
used to aggregate telephone signals together, a copper pair is no
longer considered "clean."
How do I get DSL?
The simple answer is: contact your local
phone company! While there may be other DSL providers in your
local market, you POTS carrier will be your first choice in most
Verizon's FiOS Internet
Verizon FiOS Internet Service uses state-of-the-art fiber optic
technology to deliver broadband Internet access to your home at much
greater speeds than DSL.
The increased capacity and faster speeds of the fiber optic lines
not only deliver broadband Internet access at superior speeds, but
have also enabled crystal-clear phone calls with FiOS phone and FiOS
TV with High Definition programming and digital sound.
How does Fiber Optic
When you access the Internet, a fiber optic cable
carries the laser-generated pulses of light to transmit the data
signal to your home. Once the signal has arrived, an Optical Network
Terminal (ONT) converts it to an electrical signal that is
understood by your computer.
Your ONT takes all converted incoming
information and delivers it to your router via an Ethernet cable.
After the signal has passed through your firewall, the Ethernet
cable carries the signal to the Network Interface Card plugged into
When you send an email or other data over the Internet, the
electrical signal from your computer is converted back to light
signals by the ONT and transmitted to the recipient over the fiber
optic cable. This allows for the remarkably fast transfer of
What is Fiber Optics?
Fiber optics are strands of optically pure glass
that carry digital information as pulses of light. Each glass strand
has a protective coating and is surrounded by an optical material
that reflects the light back into the glass core. Hundreds of
thousands of these coated glass strands are bundled together to make
the Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) (also known as Fiber to the Home,
or FTTH) optical cable that is connected to your home.
FiOS service incorporates fiber optics, while DSL and Dial-Up use
copper telephone wiring.
Fiber Optic Strand
Advantages of fiber
- Faster connection speeds
- More bandwidth for phone lines, data transfer,
videos, and television
- Stronger signal over longer distances
What are the benefits of fiber compared to the
benefits of typical DSL? The new services being offered on the
next generation state-of-the-art fiber network will provide
connection speeds greater than those available today with DSL, and
in many cases greater than those speeds currently offered by other
types of Internet access.
- 5 Mbps:
Multiple family members can be online at the same time doing their
own thing—playing games, sharing photos, listening to music, or
watching videos—using their home network to share their broadband
connection. (Cable Broadband is typically in the 3MB to 12MB
- 15 Mbps:
Everything you can do with the 5 Mbps service, plus you can
download and view high quality full-length movie or play games in
- 30 Mbps:
Everything you can do with the 5 Mbps and 15 Mbps services, plus
streaming video capabilities.
The speeds listed are connection speeds between
the customer's home or office and the central office serving that
location. Actual throughput speed will vary based on factors such as
the condition of wiring inside the customer's location; computer
configuration; network or Internet congestion; and the server speed
of Web sites accessed, among other factors. Speed and uninterrupted
use of the service are not guaranteed - of course this is true of
all connection types.
Satellite Internet Access
If neither cable nor DSL is available in your
area, there's still hope that you can get high-speed Internet
access. Satellite connectivity allows you to receive and transmit
data through a satellite dish, much like a satellite TV receiver.
Satellite systems can be two-way or one-way. Two-way systems use the
satellite equipment to request and receive data at high speeds, and
one-way access only allows you to download information at
high-speed. If this is the case, you would need to have a dial-up
connection as well. When you open a Web page, your request is
transmitted through the dial-up connection, and response is
delivered via your satellite receiver. This is similar to the way
that one-way cable Internet connections work.
Satellite access operates much like the other
forms of broadband. A very wide spectrum of bandwidth is allocated
to a satellite broadcaster, and this spectrum is divided into bands
of data. Normally, television channels are broadcast in these bands,
but they can also be used for data signals.
Are there any drawbacks to satellite
Though satellite access can provide speeds
comparable to cable or DSL, there are some limitations. Gamers may
experience latency when playing via a satellite modem. The data
being transmitted needs to travel to the satellite and back, and
this causes slight delays. These delays would not be noticeable when
accessing web pages, but network games need to send and receive many
messages back and forth every second. When these messages are
delayed slightly, the player may notice "hiccups" in his/her play.
Also, heavy rain can interfere with the signal. Satellite access is
more expensive than residential cable or DSL access, but the price
has been steadily declining.
How do I get Satellite Internet access?
The best way is to do a little homework on the
Internet. Using your favorite search engine, look up "Satellite
Internet Access." You will have to compare the various equipment and
service fees before selecting a service provider.
In short, the kind of broadband connection you get
depends on: where you are, how much you want to spend on hardware,
and the bandwidth you want.
Cable Broadband offers the most bang for the buck,
with higher than DSL speeds, for the same or less money in most
markets. However, if you are running a business on your
Internet connection, you may want to pay an extra $25-35 a month for
a redundant different mode connection as a backup - such as using
Cable for your main connection, and DSL as a backup. This way,
if one goes down, the other will probably remain connected (unless
your gardener digs up the wires coming into your house!).