A guide to high-speed Internet

For people thinking about a high-speed Internet connection at home, the choices can be confusing.
The following is a brief description of the three main technologies available for high-speed Internet connections, also known as broadband, and some of their advantages and disadvantages.
The three broadband technologies are: cable modem, DSL, and fixed wireless.
Cable modem
A cable modem, such as the service that will be offered here by Shaw Cable early in the new year, is a connection that uses existing television wires without interfering with television channels.
Cable television is a one-way medium, designed to send signals to your television, but the Internet requires a two-way network, with both sending and receiving capabilities.
The cable company must adapt the source end of the network to allow data to travel in both directions.
While cable modem access generally is the fastest of the three technologies, up to 10 Megabits per second (Mbits/s), this is only true in optimum conditions, because the connection speed is affected by the number of people who are online.
The more people using a cable modem in your neighbourhood at one time, the slower your connection. The average speed on a cable modem will be closer to two Mbits/s, compared to 56 Kbits/s for dial-up.
< *c>DSL
The digital subscriber line (DSL), such as the one proposed by Pwi-di-goo-zing Ne-yaa-zhing Advisory Services, and currently offered by Jam 21, is a high-capacity connection to the Internet using existing telephone wires.
With this connection, you can surf the ’Net and make or receive calls at the same time.
DSL connection speeds are not affected by the number of users online at one time, but DSL technology is distance sensitive—and the speeds can vary widely.
The longer the phone line between the house and the phone company, the slower the connection.
Residential DSL can be more than 100 times faster than dial-up, to a maximum of eight Mbits/s.
Also, most DSL connections are asymmetrical, meaning they download faster than they upload.
< *c>Fixed wireless
The word “wireless” means the connection works just like a cell phone, but the word “fixed” means the transmitter and receivers are stationery.
In Fort Frances, Jam 21 offers this service through a transmitter mounted on the town’s water tower. Anyone living within an eight-mile radius of the tower can buy an antenna they attach to the outside of their home, providing an internet connection at least four-five times faster than dial-up, or about 1.2 Mbits/s.
The connection does not interfere with television or telephone use.
All three of these broadband connections are always on. They do not require the user to dial in to the system to connect.