In 2023, there are so many internet connection types to choose from. Now, whichever you choose, you’ll likely use several different connection types. You’re using Wi-Fi and mobile internet throughout the day, regardless of what bandwidth you have set up at home, while some people choose to embrace the lives of digital nomads. This is why it’s important that you understand all these types of internet connections so that you can:

  • Find the best one for your home
  • Understand how things work a bit better

With that in mind and without further ado, here’s a brief rundown of what you should know.

1. Dial-Up

Types of Internet Connection

First, while you could technically find dial-up internet in some parts of the world, dial-up is almost completely obsolete due to the DSL technology and other connection types. Most users have migrated to other broadband connections; however, the 2023 dial-up is virtually nonexistent in mass use.

Still, dial-up is an important part of Internet history, and it might be worth explaining the process behind it. The way it worked was simple; the user would connect their modem to a telephone line and dial a specific number provided by their ISP. This would allow them to access the internet.

The downsides were quite significant. First, the speed would go up to 56 Kbps, but, in reality, it would be even lower. Getting a DNS server not responding was common back in the day. Second, you would have to be online or use your phone since both couldn’t be used simultaneously.

2. Satellite

Types of Internet Connection

The best thing bout satellite internet is also its biggest downside. Namely, you need to buy your hardware (a dish antenna) which directly receives the signal. This means you own your infrastructure and don’t have to rely on the provider. However, it also means undergoing extra effort to buy the dish.

You have no idea just how big this is since, for instance, some areas don’t even have DSL coverage, let alone fiber internet. With satellite Internet, you can set up a connection even in the most remote of areas. This method is especially popular with people who want to live far from civilization as digital nomads.

3. DSL

Types of Internet Connection

A digital subscriber line (DSL) is an internet connection that uses an existing telephone cable to transmit data. In a way, it’s the next evolutive step of dial-up internet, with a massive difference in speed and the fact that you can use the telephone online.

The process is simple: a DSL modem connects on one end to your telephone line and on the other to your desktop computer. If not, the modem also emits Wi-Fi internet, which you can access via your laptop and mobile devices.

While the connection speed is far from fiber internet, when it comes to browsing the internet and even downloading files, it’s more than decent. Most importantly, it’s almost universally available. It’s really hard to find an urban or rural environment that doesn’t have DSL internet providers.

4. Cable

Types of Internet Connection

Speaking of using pre-existing infrastructure to get the internet to your home, why not consider using cable internet? This internet type uses the same coaxial cable used for cable television.

This means it’s available everywhere and usually provided as a bundle by cable television companies. In other words, you’ll never have to worry about its availability in urban areas. Conversely, finding the right option in rural and less populated areas might be harder.

The speed is usually faster than DSL and has a much higher potential bandwidth. This means that your download and upload speeds will be a lot higher. One of the biggest problems is that it can go down during peak.

5. Fiber

Types of Internet Connection

Unlike DSL internet, which uses a broadband copper cable to transmit sound waves, fiber uses optical cable to transmit data as light impulses. As you can already tell, light travels much faster than sound, losing less power as it travels great distances. A home fiber optic can range from several hundred Mbps to multiple Gbps, depending on the plan you’re paying for and your infrastructure.

The biggest problem with fiber is that it’s not universally available. Unlike cable and DSL internet, which rely on infrastructure already there, fiber cables still have to be spread across urban areas. This means expensive infrastructure projects, which makes some providers charge more. Still, those who can go with fiber should do so.

6. Fixed Wireless

Types of Internet Connection

Many people don’t even have desktop setups in their homes. Instead, they browse the internet via their phones, tablets, and laptops. In one such household, it wouldn’t even make sense to pretend Wi-Fi isn’t the main type of connection.

How fixed wireless works is simple – you get a modem that utilizes wireless technology that broadcasts over a small area (around your house). Since you set the password and choose who you share it with, only you and those you decide to share that password with can access it.

The biggest problem is the range and potential LOS (line of site). Sometimes, a physical obstacle may lower the connection strength.

7. Mobile Internet (5G and LTE)

Types of Internet Connection

Finally, the mobile internet is delivered via a cellular network to your device. Now, given that 6.8 billion people have access to smartphones in 2023 and that most use mobile internet at least some time, this connection type is not a force to be trifled with.

Now, mobile internet has drastically evolved over the years. Today, with modern LTE technologies (4G) and 5G (fifth-generation mobile internet), internet speeds are comparable to some of the fastest cable/DLS internet.

Network infrastructure is pretty widespread (for LTE), and 5G is expected to get there in the next several years.

Wrap Up

So, which one is the best? It depends on the context. Going for fiber internet is always best if you live in a major metropolitan area. If not, you should get either DSL or cable internet. Then again, if you’re living someplace remote with no other options, satellite internet is the only sensible choice. Still, as we’ve already said in the introduction, you’re using more than one connection type, regardless of what you pick.

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