Every modern home needs a good Internet connection. Depending on where you live, you might have a few options for cheap, high-speed Internet.
In order to choose an Internet option for your home, you will need to understand what broadband Internet is and the advantages of cable and DSL, the two most popular options.
What is broadband?
Broadband provides a constant connection to the Internet at relatively high speeds as compared to dial-up. According to the United States National Broadband Plan website, about 67 percent of households have broadband connections .
However, the term "broadband" is relatively broad and refers to a number of different technologies, including but not limited to cable and DSL. Broadband connections are not necessarily super-fast; they vary greatly in speed from one provider to the next.
The advantages of cable
Cable connections generally have faster speeds than other home Internet connectivity options with max speeds of around 100 megabits per second (Mbps). However, you might not notice these speed advantages if you primarily use your Internet for email and light Web browsing.
Because many cable companies also offer phone and TV, you can sometimes get a great deal on a connection by purchasing a bundle package. You can also limit your costs by signing a long-term deal, but be sure to read contracts carefully to understand the potential penalties of early cancellation.
The advantages of DSL
DSL is a high-speed technology that works through phone-like connections. The main advantage of DSL is that it's available almost everywhere, including rural areas. Modern DSL companies also offer premium TV channels and phone, so you can still get great bundling deals through this technology. DSL speeds have improved substantially over the last few years. Some DSL services offer speeds of 30 Mbps , which should be more than enough for most Internet users.
DSL is often cheaper than cable if you're only buying Internet, but you might end up paying more per unit of speed. Both DSL and cable download speeds are measured in megabits per second. Many consumers confuse megabits ( Mb) with megabytes (MB), which leads to some confusion when they finish setting up their connections. There are 8 Mb in 1 MB, so keep that in mind when you choose a service plan.
After you choose an Internet provider, you can test your speed safely through the FCC's official broadband speed test website. This is a good way to make sure that you're getting appropriate speed given what you're paying for your broadband connection. However, remember that a number of factors can affect your Internet speed, including the number of computers in your home and your Internet usage habits.
Think about the ways that you use the Internet before selecting an option and compare a few different plans. Both DSL and cable offer great Internet connections under the right conditions, but you can get the best deal for your household by thinking about your usage habits and doing some quick research before you start a new plan.