Broadband is a term used for any kind of fast Internet connection. Users have instant access continuously at speeds that are 10 to 20 times faster than with a dial-up modem.
Broadband is available using ADSL, cable, wireless, ISDN and satellite but here were are concerned only with ADSL.
Advantages of ADSL
- You need only one phone line for your Internet connection and regular phone calls.
- You are not tying up your phone line while on the Internet.
- You are always connected. You don’t have to dial-up the Internet each time you go online, so there’s no waiting time for a connection. And you don’t get an engaged signal nor do you get disconnected after a certain time. Internet related phone charges are completely eliminated.
- Download speeds are very fast. Large files and web pages heavy with graphics are very quickly downloaded. If you are in to downloading music, programs, pictures and movies you will notice an enormous difference, a typical four minute mp3 track taking about 20 seconds. On-line gaming is also noticably improved with ADSL internet connections.
Disadvantages of ADSL
- It is not available everywhere. Your local telephone exchange must be ADSL enabled and you must be within about 3.5km of the exchange (but check with your intended service provider).
- Also ADSL may not be available where “pair-gain” technology has been used on a phone line (common in older apartment units).
- Your email address will most likely change if you switch to ADSL. This will only affect the email address given to you by your ISP; Hotmail addresses and the like will not be affected.
Lower cost plans come with a slower download speed, 256 kilobits per second (kbps). This is considerably faster than with a dialup connection. If you do a lot of downloading then you will need a faster service such as 512kbps. Higher speeds, with a higher cost, are available but hardly a requirement for most home PCs.
Upload speeds are slower: 256kbps download speed coupled with 64kbps upload speed; 512 download with 128 upload.
You will need an ADSL modem. Your service provider will sell you one (ours cost $100). You will also need a line filter for your phone (less than $20, and one may come with your modem). There will also be the ISP’s connection fee from around $100 up to nearly $200. And don’t forget the monthly charge.
While installation is fairly straight forward and your ISP can help by phone, you can have the installation done for you at an extra cost.
Offsetting those costs are the absence of any Internet related phone charges, possibly the saving of one phone line hire and your current ISP’s charge for the dial-up service you will be leaving.