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An Expert Guide to Broadband Internet Service

Explore the world of broadband Internet: its evolution, types, and benefits. From DSL to cable to fiber, discover the best high-speed connection for your needs.

The term “broadband” has become synonymous with high-speed Internet, but what is it exactly? And what type of broadband do you need? As our lives continually rely on the Internet, understanding broadband Internet as well as the pros and cons of each type is essential.

This guide will pull back the curtain on the latest generation of high-speed Internet, discuss how it’s evolved, and what broadband options are available to you today.

Broadband Definition

On the surface, broadband Internet is just another way of saying high-speed Internet. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gives us a much more technical definition. According to the FCC, for an Internet service to be considered “broadband,” it must be able to maintain at least 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds.

This level of high-speed connection allows for streaming, large file downloads, gaming, and much more without any hitches.

Is Broadband the Same as WiFi?

Many people use the terms WiFi and broadband interchangeably. However, they serve two very different functions. For starters, “broadband” simply refers to the Internet connection itself (i.e., how the Internet is delivered to your home).

On the other hand, WiFi allows devices to connect wirelessly to the broadband network via a router. Understanding the difference between the two can give you clarity when selecting the best home Internet service for your needs.

Fixed Broadband vs. Mobile Broadband

There are two types of broadband: fixed and mobile. Learn more about the uses and differences of each below.

  • Fixed Broadband: As the name suggests, fixed broadband is an Internet service that’s provided to a stationary location (i.e., homes and businesses). The most common types include DSL, cable, and fiber-optic. Generally, fixed broadband is best for households with multiple people, devices, and Internet needs.
  • Mobile Broadband: This enables on-the-go Internet access via wireless cell networks. This type of broadband is mostly used by smartphones, tablets, and mobile hotspots.

When Did Broadband Internet Start?

High-speed Internet as we know it today was first used in the late 1990s. As the Internet moved beyond dial-up connections, broadband became the new gold standard for Internet service around the world. Since its introduction, it has morphed how we do business, connect with others, and engage with the world.

Comparing the Different Types of Broadband Service

There are many types of broadband connections, each with their own pros and cons:

  • Fiber-Optic Internet: What makes this type of Internet so amazing is it uses light to transmit data through fiber-optic cables. With speeds up 8 Gbps, it’s the absolute fastest Internet available in residential areas.
  • Cable Internet: This type of Internet is delivered using the same coaxial cable as your cable TV box. With speeds up to 1 Gbps+, it’s the fastest Internet available, other than fiber.
  • DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): DSL uses phone lines to send and receive data. Offered by most phone service providers, DSL is inexpensive and much faster than traditional dial-up, with speeds ranging from 5-10 Mbps.
  • Satellite Internet: Due to the buildings and lack of visibility, you won’t find many satellite dishes in big cities. But due to lack of other Internet services, they’re everywhere in rural areas. While it’s not as fast as cable or fiber, it does offer a wider coverage area.

How Does Broadband Internet Work?

Generally speaking, it works by sending a lot of data over high-capacity networks. The data can be transferred via satellite, DSL lines, cable, or fiber optics.

Since these lines are used exclusively for data packets, they are much faster and more reliable than traditional dial-up Internet options. This is especially helpful if you have multiple users, stream videos, game online, or engage in any other high-bandwidth activity.

Is Broadband Internet Good?

It’s not just good — it's excellent. Today’s high-speed Internet offers lightning fast, dependable connections that are ideal for modern lifestyle and business needs. A few things that broadband connections have made possible include video conferencing, real-time gaming, HD streaming, faster download speeds, and so much more.

Is Broadband Internet Good for Gaming?

For online gamers, it’s everything. It provides the high-speed Internet that is crucial for smooth and reliable gameplay, ensuring minimal lag and a seamless gaming experience. Whether you’re into RPG, strategy, or sports games, fast and stable Internet is a must.

Where to Get Broadband Internet

Most cities and towns have multiple options when it comes to broadband Internet providers. That’s why it’s essential to research the best ISPs in your area, customer reviews, and have an understanding of the terms of service, including potential data caps and bandwidth restrictions. These are some of the top options to look for across the country:

Setting Up Broadband Internet

Once you've zeroed in on an ISP, you’ll usually have the option to either rent a modem and router or buy your own hardware. The modem connects to your Internet service while the router broadcasts the WiFi signal. It’s recommended that you place your router in a central area so it can provide even Internet coverage to your entire home.

What Do I Need for Broadband Internet?

With broadband, you don’t need much to set up — just an Internet connection, modem, cables, connectors, and WiFi router (if you need a wireless connection). The good news is that some devices actually combine the WiFi router and modem functionalities, which makes for an easier setup and placement.

FAQs About Broadband

Which is the Fastest Broadband Internet Connection?

Fiber-optic Internet typically takes the crown, offering speeds up to 8 Gbps. However, the fiber Internet speeds in most residential areas tops out between 1-2 Gbps.

What percentage of the population has broadband Internet access?

Recent data suggests that over 98% of the U.S. population has access to a fixed broadband connection, with most having access to premium providers. Plus, there’s nearly 100% coverage for mobile broadband.

How do you get Internet without broadband?

Before the broadband era, dial-up was the go-to method, utilizing phone lines for Internet connectivity. Though significantly slower, it remains an alternative in broadband-deprived regions.

Is Broadband Internet Available at My Address?

Are you tired of slow and unreliable Internet? There are likely many high-speed Internet service providers in your area. We’re here to help you find the best option for your household.

Find the best broadband Internet in your area today.

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