About 234 million people or 76% of the total US population are hooked- up to the internet! With those kind of numbers there is constant competition by providers of internet services to attract customers.
Internet Service is a vehicle that enables purchasers to access the internet, worldwide web, go online or whatever term you prefer. It allows the you to communicate, research, access applications and obtain music and movies. It also allows for communications via instant messaging, email and social networking.
Once you actually sign up for internet service, you may discover that it is too slow for what you want to do on the web. Depending on what type of connection you have, music, messages and videos might take a long time to show up in your email inbox or other portal like iTunes.
It is worth considering what kind of internet service you want. You want to make sure it matches your needs. Following are the types of internet services currently available:
Dial-Up: This means that your internet service will have to be procured by dialing a phone number. A common source of this type of internet access is America Online (AOL). For about $12 a month, you can get on the internet. However, you will be unable to use the phone line that you are using for the hook-up. Also, the speeds to download music, for instance, can be slow.
DSL Broadband: DSL also uses a phone line but it splits it between phone and data (so you can use the phone simultaneously with the internet). To do this, the local phone lines have to be equipped with specially made copper wires in order to receive the DSL internet signals. In general, DSL is limited to areas that where the phone wires are already equipped with the copper sires. As a result, in some older cities and rural areas, DSL is not available.
Cable Broadband: Your internet service can also be received through your cable company. The way this works is via your cable modem. When you input your ethernet cable in the modem, your computer will receive an internet signal. To provide access for multiple computers in your home, you can also purchase a router that will accept several computers while the main connection is between the router and the cable modem.
You can also obtain a wireless connection. This means you can go anywhere in your home and be connected to the internet.
Satellite: Satellite internet service works by hooking up a satellite dish that is pointed to an unobstructed Southern sky. Then you connect the dish to the modem. The modem is installed in your home. The internet service signal is actually provided between the dish and what are called low orbit satellites flying above the earth. The signal may not be as reliable as the others and may also be susceptible to storms.
Satellite is mainly used in rural areas where cabling or wiring has not or will not occur.
Wireless: While you can obtain wireless internet in your homes via internet service providers, you can also access it in public places (it is called WIFI). They are found in cafes, airports, hotels and an increasing number or food establishments. It is not everywhere, but you can generally find it when you travel.
That depends on your usage. For example, if you are just going to occasionally surf the web and do email, a dial up service might be good enough. If you are going to be receiving music files, photos and large attachments, the faster DSL or cable may be better.
In general, faster is better (and in some cases, cheaper). You might find yourself twiddling your thumbs or tying up your phone line while waiting for large file downloads.
As a comparison, consider the following download speeds. Download is where you have received a file and want to play or see it on your computer. This could be music, photos or large documents.
There are even faster internet service connections on the way. Fiber optics, for example, offers download speeds of up to 10 Mbps. Some cable companies are laying fiber optic lines to provide faster service for their customers.
Also, with the availability of more wireless channels, wireless download speeds could become very, very fast in the future.