The Significant Differences Between Internet Providers

The first step in discovering the right internet provider for you is to understand the difference between your options. Let’s take a look at the main differences between different types of internet providers.



DSL is an internet connection that is accessed through your phone line. One common misconception people have is that it ties up your phone line, like dialup. Not true. While it does use the line, it utilizes a different frequency than voice, which doesn’t interfere with the ability to use your phone. DSL is always on and calls can be made with no problem while you’re surfing the net.

The main advantage of DSL is that most homes are ready to go. Assuming the DSL providers offer service to your home or apartment, the cost of having this technology installed will typically be minimal. Other types of internet can often require the purchasing of expensive equipment. Though, keep in mind that a DSL modem will be required. Often times you’ll find that DSL providers will offer the modem free of charge with a promotion package, or they’ll let you rent it for a low monthly rate that’s bundled in with your internet package.

internet providers


Fiber Optics

Fiber optic internet is a type of cable internet. The cables used to transmit the data are as thin as human hair and are made of optically pure glass. The big selling point to this technology is two-fold. One, the fastest speeds are typically faster than any other type of regularly available internet. This is due to the fiber optic cables themselves and how the data is transmitted.

The other selling point is the crystal clear technology. Those who use this type of internet report that the movies they screen are in very high quality, and the speeds bring them the best definition possible. Of course, there is a premium cost for the premium service, so this is typically best for those who are willing to pay for the best.   However, most consumers will find that bundled packages end up saving enough to justify this premium service.


Mobile Broadband

In the past, wireless internet meant a wired internet like cable or DSL that was hooked up to a router. That router then broadcast the internet wirelessly so that several computers in the same area could access the connection. Additionally, printers, smartphones, security systems, and other wireless devices could access the network. These days, mobile / wireless broadband means something much broader.

The technology is similar to radio technology. Basically, the provider has towers set up throughout your coverage area. Those towers transmit the internet connection and your wireless device picks it up. The major benefit is that it can be very convenient to have internet on the go. If you have an on-the-go plan, then you’ll have coverage no matter where you are within your coverage area.

Be aware that not all wireless plans are on-the-go plans. You could also choose to have home-only wireless access, which works with a modem you have in your home. That modem picks up the wireless connection and you’re able to connect without any wires. However, if you have a home-only plan, then you wouldn’t get internet access outside of your own home network.



Satellite internet is delivered via satellites and is best for those in rural areas. It’s a really great option for those who thought they’d be stuck with dial-up forever, because virtually anyone in the country can access it. It does require some equipment to get started and it can be more expensive than other choices, but in many cases it’s well worth the investment.

Those are the major choices in internet providers. There isn’t one that’s always best for everyone, so it’s important to comparison shop and really consider your options before making a final decision. Just be sure that you understand what each type involves before you make that choice.

Ruth Suelemente enjoys keeping her finger on the pulse of technology.  You can read more about the broadband technologies listed above at the ISP Watchdog.

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