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Internet Access Methods

Here is a description of the most common Internet connection methods.

Dial-Up - This method uses a modem and standard telephone line. The connection is made as necessary and the maximum speed does not exceed 56Kbps. Monthly costs around $20.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - utilizing existing telephone lines, ISDN allows 64Kbps on a single channel. Two channels can be combined for a maximum of 128Kbps.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) - utilizing existing telephone lines, DSL integrates regular phone service and Internet access utilizing a DSL hub. This system allows for an "always connected" situation. Speeds can vary between 256Kbps and 640Kbps. A factor that my limit your maximum speed is your physical distance from a telephone company central office (CO). Monthly costs around $40. Not available in all areas.

Cable Modem - Utilizing existing cable TV coaxial cables, this service is provided by your cable TV provider. A cable modem device connects just like a TV or cable box. The computer is connected to the cable modem via a network card (NIC) and an Ethernet cable. Speeds here can exceed 1.5Mbps, but as more people in your area join the cable access network, speeds may diminish as everyone is sharing the same maximum bandwidth. Monthly costs around $50 on top of cable TV subscription. Not available in all areas.

T-1 - A T-1 is a very specialized telecommunications circuit that does not work over normal telephone lines. It has been popular in many businesses for many years. It is divided into 24 channels that can be used for many different purposes, but can be combined to achieve a maximum speed of 1.54Mbps. Monthly costs around $1,100.