Broadband in the literal sense, means a wide range of frequencies used to transmit and receive data. Earlier, accessing the Internet was a very slow process due to the use of dial-up connections. A dial-up connection is a cheap alternative, as the cost is same as that of local phone calls.
The monthly plans of a dial-up connection are also similar to those of the telephones. However, the speed is too sluggish and the telephone remains busy while browsing. These factors have made broadband the preferred method for Internet access.
In a broadband link, the transfer rates are very high as compared to a dial-up link. There are various types, depending upon the cost, speed, and availability.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
ADSL is the most commonly used broadband connection. It is widely used for residential and commercial purposes. ADSL is a digital line which can be used to access Internet without keeping your telephone line busy.
ADSL works at a speed of 512 kbps or higher. The downloading speeds are greater than the uploading speeds, in case of an ADSL link. It is called 'asymmetric' because of this difference in the downloading and uploading speeds.
SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
SDSL is similar to the ADSL, differing only in one aspect, i.e. the uploading speed. The SDSL is characterized by identical uploading and downloading speeds.
It is beneficial for commercial and business purposes, as the uploading speeds required are high, and an SDSL link satisfies this requirement. It is costlier than ADSL, but it is worth the expense when business and commercial profits are taken into consideration.
Wireless Internet connection is the need of the day. Today, laptops and mobiles, all have a wireless connectivity.
Cable TV is used by almost everybody and now the Internet is also made available. Cable broadband provides a speed ranging from 2 Mbps to 8 Mbps. This type of link is widely used in residential areas. It is more popular as compared to the ADSL connection, although the downloading and uploading speeds of both the types are the same.
All the types described have limitations of area, i.e. only a limited area can be covered by them. Satellite connection is the solution to this problem. In this, the geostationary satellites provide the Internet access.
Fiber optics technology is a relatively new technology, that converts the electrical signals to light signals. This signal is transferred through the fiber optic cable. It is reliable, but can be cost prohibitive for residential consumers.
Today, the various forms of broadband Internet available, are providing limitless coverage and mobility options. This technology is developing rapidly to meet the requirements of speed and quality of service.