There are many ways a personal electronic device can connect to the internet. They all use different hardware and each has a range of connection speeds. As technology changes, faster internet connections are needed to handle those changes. I thought it would be interesting to list some of the different types of internet connections that are available for home and personal use, paired with their average speeds.
Dial-Up (Analog 56K).
Dial-up access is cheap but slow. A modem (internal or external) connects to the Internet after the computer dials a phone number. This analog signal is converted to digital via the modem and sent over a land-line serviced by a public telephone network. Telephone lines are variable in quality and the connection can be poor at times. The lines regularly experience interference and this affects the speed, anywhere from 28K to 56K. Since a computer or other device shares the same line as the telephone, they can’t be active at the same time.
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is an internet connection that is always “on”. This uses 2 lines so your phone is not tied up when your computer is connected. There is also no need to dial a phone number to connect. DSL uses a router to transport data and the range of connection speed, depending on the service offered, is between 128K to 8 Mbps.
Cable provides an internet connection through a cable modem and operates over cable TV lines. There are different speeds depending on if you are uploading data transmissions or downloading. Since the coax cable provides a much greater bandwidth over dial-up or DSL telephone lines, you can get faster access. Cable speeds range from 512K to 20 Mbps.
Wireless, or Wi-Fi, as the name suggests, does not use telephone lines or cables to connect to the internet. Instead, it uses radio frequency. Wireless is also an always on connection and it can be accessed from just about anywhere. Wireless networks are growing in coverage areas by the minute so when I mean access from just about anywhere, I really mean it. Speeds will vary, and the range is between 5 Mbps to 20 Mbps.
Satellite accesses the internet via a satellite in Earth’s orbit. The enormous distance that a signal travels from earth to satellite and back again, provides a delayed connection compared to cable and DSL. Satellite connection speeds are around 512K to 2.0 Mbps.
Cellular technology provides wireless Internet access through cell phones. The speeds vary depending on the provider, but the most common are 3G and 4G speeds. A 3G is a term that describes a 3rd generation cellular network obtaining mobile speeds of around 2.0 Mbps. 4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards. The goal of 4G is to achieve peak mobile speeds of 100 Mbps but the reality is about 21 Mbps currently.
GPRS (General Packet Radio Services)
General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) is a packet-based wireless communication service that promises data rates from 56 up to 114 Kbps and continuous connection to the Internet for mobile phone and computer users. The higher data rates allow users to take part in video conferences and interact with multimedia Web sites and similar applications using mobile handheld devices as well as notebook computers. GPRS is based on Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication and complements existing services such circuit-switched cellular phone connections and the Short Message Service (SMS).
In theory, GPRS packet-based services cost users less than circuit-switched services since communication channels are being used on a shared-use, as-packets-are-needed basis rather than dedicated to only one user at a time. It is also easier to make applications available to mobile users because the faster data rate means that middleware currently needed to adapt applications to the slower speed of wireless systems are no longer be needed. As GPRS has become more widely available, along with other 2.5G and 3G services, mobile users of virtual private networks (VPNs) have been able to access the private network continuously over wireless rather than through a rooted dial-up connection.
GPRS also complements Bluetooth, a standard for replacing wired connections between devices with wireless radio connections. In addition to the Internet Protocol (IP), GPRS supports X.25, a packet-based protocol that is used mainly in Europe. GPRS is an evolutionary step toward Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) and Universal Mobile Telephone Service (UMTS). Source of Informations:
What Is the Edge Network?
The EDGE network stands for Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution. It is a third generation mobile data technology, according to AT&T. It is used to provide fast Internet service to cell phones, and can be used to fill in the gaps of coverage networks from the cell phone providers.
EDGE is a type of GSM technology. It is also considered a 3G network. It was developed in 2003 and originally implemented by Cingular. It was three times faster than the GPRS networks that were prevalent.
An EDGE network has an average speed of 75 to135Kbps. The maximum speed that the network can attain is 473.6kbit/s, which would require eight time slots to be in use at the same time, according to International Mobile Telecommunications.
EDGE is backwards compatible with 2G networks, and does not require hardware or software to be changed in order for it to be used. EDGE transceiver units are installed at the base station, bringing EDGE access to the coverage area of that station.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantages of the EDGE network were more marked before the widespread implementation of 3G networks. It is four times as efficient as a GPRS network, and AT&T reports lower power usage with EDGE networks as opposed to 3G. The disadvantage arises from the fact that 3G is much faster than EDGE—up to 2.4 mbps. Source of Informations.