The slowest form of internet connection which is probably also one of the most expensive options (unless you live somewhere where there are free local calls). This form of internet connection ties up your phone line so that no incoming or outgoing calls can be made while you are connected to the internet. It is one of the few options available in some country areas though.

This option used to be the most popular because the alternatives were so expensive and only available in limited areas. Now unless you are only using the internet to send and receive an occasional email there is no reason to choose this option unless none of the other options are available where you live.


This type of internet connection was the first alternative that was offered to dial up. It is a rather expensive and not very popular option because it requires that a different type of phone line be installed that supports this alternate technology.


One of the more popular forms of broadband internet access. The A on the front stands for Asynchronous which means that with this type of connection you get a much higher connection speed in one direction than you do in the other. Generally download speeds are several times that of upload speeds which is fine for the way that most people use the internet. The slower and cheaper plans on offer can often work out cheaper than dial up when the cost of all the phone calls that you do not need to make in order to connect to the internet are taken into account.

This connection actually uses your existing phone line but uses a different frequency band that is outside of the frequency band used for regular phone calls and therefore the internet access does not conflict with your being able to make and receive phone calls at the same time. The condition of existing phone lines and the frequencies that this technology uses generally requires that you live within a relatively short distance from the exchange.


A faster and more expensive version of ADSL that requires slightly different hardware to make the connection (ADSL2 modems also support ADSL but not all ADSL modems support ADSL2).

Different hardware is also used at the exchange end so while you can switch from one ADSL speed to another or from one ADSL2 speed to another without any significant break in your service there may be a much longer down time in switching from ADSL to ADSL2.


Broadband internet can also be delivered via the same cable as your cable TV service uses. This provides a broadband internet connection that doesn't use your phone line at all.

The main way in which this type of broadband connection differs from ADSL is that while ADSL provides you with your own dedicated connection to the exchange via your phone line, cable means that you are sharing the same line as everyone else who is using your local cable for their internet connection. The cable itself has a limited capacity on the speed it can transfer data and so the more people in your area using the same cable to access the internet at the same time, the slower everyone in that group's internet access gets.


For those living too far away from their exchange to use ADSL and who don't have access to cable, the only way they might be able to get broadband internet speeds is via a satellite internet service. The connection speeds in the two directions differ even more with this option than they do with ADSL since the satellite is only used to download the data you requested to your computer. To actually upload your requests to the internet (and to send emails etc) you need to have a dial up connection and use that to do all your uploads. Since you are only using the phone line for uploads your internet connection will be much faster than a pure dial up connection would be but this option shares many of the disadvantages of a dial up service. You should only choose this option of none of the other broadband options is available.


This option does away with the physical connection to the internet all together and instead all your uploads and downloads are transmitted in an encrypted format between your computer and a local base station belonging to the ISP. You need to have the computer within a specified distance from one of their base stations in order for your connection to work but provided that you stay within the area that the base stations cover you can continue to use your internet connection while on the move.

The main thing to watch for with this option is to make sure that you configure your connection appropriately in the first place so that it actually does encrypt all of the data being transmitted so that no one else can listen in on your internet access.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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