There are many types of internet – and they are definitely not created equal! When you’re choosing an internet service, it’s essential to understand the types of internet available to you. Knowing what each kind is and its strengths and weaknesses allow you to make the best choice for your needs. Today we’re exploring the five most common types of internet and everything you need to know about them. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to choose the best type of internet for you. Let’s go!
Top Speeds: 10Gbps- the equivalent of 10,000 Mbps
Ideal For: Modern homes and businesses that require high speeds and ample bandwidth
Currently, Fiber internet is the fastest internet connection you can get. It’s considered the most cutting-edge type of internet and uses fiber optic cables filled with tiny strands of glass to send information. The information is sent via bursts of light which transmits data at about 70% of the speed of light. Fiber is an excellent option for people who need high bandwidth as it provides up to 1,000 times as much bandwidth as other types of internet.
If the speeds aren’t enough to convince you that fiber internet is an excellent opinion, fiber is also one of the most stable internet connections. This is because it doesn’t use electricity or depend on clear skies to send signals and data.
Ideal For: Homes and businesses that do not have access to Fiber internet or need a lower-cost option that still has high speeds.
Cable internet is arguably the most popular type of internet in the United States. It’s widely available and uses copper wires to send data over electrical currents. These are the same types of cables used for phone lines and cable TV. Most providers use existing cable lines to transmit internet signals making it widely available to homes and businesses. While it cannot keep up with the speeds Fiber internet brings, it is often a lower-cost option and can provide enough speed for most homes.
Cable struggles with bandwidth as it is based on older technology designed to transmit voice calls. Its speeds are also asymmetrical, meaning the download speeds (think streaming a TV show) are faster than its upload speeds (think uploading a video to the cloud). It wasn’t created for the demands the internet has now. Additionally, cable internet is transmitted via electrical currents making it more susceptible to outages due to power or extreme weather conditions.
Top Speeds: 5- 35Mbps
Ideal For: Rural areas that don’t have access to fiber or cable internet. Also suitable for homes with limited users that only browse the internet and check email.
Similar to Cable internet, DSL, or digital subscriber line, sends data through electrical currents. However, DSL uses the same wires as your telephone to bring high-speed internet to your home. The signal is then distributed to your modem, which converts the signal to the internet. DSL can be installed anywhere a phone jack is present, making it an easily accessible internet solution and a good option for rural areas.
It can be a good solution for homes or businesses with limited users and devices connected to the internet. For example, if you just use your internet to browse and check your email, this option could work for you. However, it’s not the best option for working from home video conferencing, gaming on the internet, or heavily streaming.
Top Speeds: 100-150 Mbps
Ideal For: Very rural or remote locations that cannot get internet connections other ways.
Satellite Broadband is a type of internet you can get from anywhere in the world. The internet is sent over radio waves which communicate with your provider’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via satellites in space. Because of how far the data has to travel to bring data to your devices, it is a slower form of internet and not ideal for an average home or business. Additionally, like satellite TV, this type of internet is affected by heavy rains or snow that block or interfere with the signals.
This type of connection is often used for very rural areas that don’t have access to any other type of internet. Satellite internet can reach almost anywhere and is available to 99% of the US population. You can get it just about anywhere. Outdoor events and festivals also use it when there is no access to cable lines. While Satellite internet can’t match the speeds of Cable, Fiber, or DSL, it provides internet access where otherwise would not be possible.
Top Speeds: 56 kbit/s
Ideal For: Budget-conscious homes that only use the internet for basic tasks.
Dial-Up is one of the first types of home internet service. It uses a phone line and analog modem to access the internet and dials the internet service provider using the phone line connection. If you used the internet in the 90s, you might remember only being able to use the phone or internet at a time because they shared the connection. Dial-Up is an antiquated type of internet and is not viable for most modern homes. It is the slowest of all connections and can only do fundamental activities such as checking email.
For this reason, it’s not a popular type of internet. Only 3% of Americans still use it. This small percentage of users choose dial-up due to the low cost or because it’s the only option in their area.
Types of Internet Recap
As you can see from above, there are many types of internet. Choose the type that works best for your situation. Here’s a quick recap:
- In most cases, if fiber or cable is available, that will be the best choice for a modern home or business
- If you live in a highly rural area, live traveling in an RV Satellite Internet may be a good choice
- Talk to your internet service provider if you aren’t sure which is best for you. They will help you navigate the types of internet and make suggestions based on your specific needs.