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TYPES OF INTERNET CONNECTIONS

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There are various type of connectivity to get hook on to Internet. They all can be broadly classified into following category.

(i) Gateway Access

(ii) Dial-up Connection

(iii) Leased Connection

(iv) DSL

(v) Cable Modem Connection

(vi) VSAT

Gateway Access

Gateway Access is also known as Level-One connection. It is the access to the Internet from a network, which is not on the Internet. The gateway allows the two different types of networks to “talk” to each other. But the users of the Gateway Internet have limited access to the Internet. They might not be able to use all the tools available on Internet. The local Internet Service Provider (ISP) normally defines this limitation. Good example of network with Level One connectivity within India is that of VSNL (Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited). All access to Internet from India are through VSNL gateway.

Dial-up Connection

‘Dial-up’ connection is also known as Level Two connection. This provides connection to Internet through a dial-up terminal connection. The computer, which provides Internet access is known as ‘Host’ and the computer that receives the access, is ‘Client’ or ‘Terminal’. The client computer uses modem to access a “host” and acts as if it is a terminal directly connected to that host. 56K modem access is now widely available and supported by most ISPs. It allows user to surf the Web at 56 Kbps with graphics. So this type of connection is also known as ‘Remote Modem Access’ connection. And the host to which the client gets connected is actually connected to the Internet by a full time connection (See Leased Connection).

In dial-up connection to Internet, Host carries all the command that are typed on a client machine and forward them to Internet. It also receives the data or information from the Internet on behalf of the ‘Client’ and passes it to them. The client computer acts as a ‘dumb’ terminal connected to remote host.

This type of connection can further be divided into three categories.

Shell Connection:

In this type of Internet Connection, the user will get only textual matter of a Web Page. This connection does not support Graphics display.Shell Accounts were the only type of Internet access available for many years before the Internet entered in to the world of graphics and became more users friendly.

TCP/IP Connection:

Today’s graphical World Wide Web browsers provide easier access with multimedia sound and pictures. The major difference between Shell and TCP/IP account is that, Shell account can only display text and does not support graphics display, whereas TCP/IP can display both.

ISDN:

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) offers Internet connectivity at speeds of up to 128 Kbps through the use of digital phone lines. ISDN is a dial-up service that has been provided by telephone companies for many years.

To access any of these dial-up accounts you need the followings;

• Computer
• Modem
• Telephone Connection
• Shell or TCP/IP/ISDN account from the ISP
• Internet client software such as Internet browser

Leased Connection

Leased connection is also known as direct Internet access or Level Three connection. It is the secure, dedicated and most expensive, level of Internet connection. With leased connection, your computer is dedicatedly and directly connected to the Internet using highspeed transmission lines. It is on-line twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

DSL connection

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is a family of technologies that provides digital data transmission over the wires of a local telephone network. DSL originally stood for digital subscriber loop. In telecommunications marketing, the term DSL is widely understood to mean Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), the most commonly installed DSL technology. DSL service is delivered simultaneously with wired telephone service on the same telephone line. This is possible because DSL uses higher frequency bands for data separated by filtering. On the customer premises, a DSL filter on each outlet removes the high frequency interference, to enable simultaneous use of the telephone and data.

The data bit rate of consumer DSL services typically ranges from 256 kbit/s to 40 Mbit/s in the direction to the customer (downstream), depending on DSL technology, line conditions, and service-level implementation. In ADSL, the data throughput in the upstream direction, (the direction to the service provider) is lower, hence the designation of asymmetric service. In Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) services, the downstream and upstream data rates are equal.


Advantages:

• Security: Unlike cable modems, each subscriber can be configured so that it will not be on the same network. In some cable modem networks, other computers on the cable modem network are left visibly vulnerable and are easily susceptible to break in as well as data destruction.
• Integration: DSL will easily interface with ATM and WAN technology.
• High bandwidth
• Cheap line charges from the phone company.
• Good for “bursty” traffic patterns


Disadvantages

• No current standardization: A person moving from one area to another might find that their DSL modem is just another paperweight. Customers may have to buy new equipment to simply change ISPs.
• Expensive: Most customers are not willing to spend more than $20 to $25 per month for Internet access. Current installation costs, including the modem, can be as high as $750. Prices should come down within 1-3 years. As with all computer technology, being first usually means an emptier wallet.
• Distance Dependence: The farther you live from the DSLAM (DSL Access Multiplexer), the lower the data rate. The longest run lengths are 18,000 feet, or a little over 3 miles.

Cable Modem Connection

A cable modem is a type of Network Bridge and modem that provides bi-directional data communication via radio frequency channels on a HFC and RFoG infrastructure. Cable modems are primarily used to deliver broadband Internet access in the form of cable Internet, taking advantage of the high bandwidth of a HFC and RFoG network. They are commonly deployed in Australia, Europe, Asia and Americas.

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Cable Modem Connection

Above figure shows the most common network connection topologies when using cable modems. The cable TV company runs a coaxial cable into the building to deliver their Internet service. Although fed from the same coax that provides cable TV service, most companies place a splitter outside of the building and runs two cables in, rather than using a splitter at the set-top box. The coax terminates at the cable modem.

The cable modem itself attaches to the SOHO computing equipment via its 10BASE-T port. In most circumstances, the cable modem attaches directly to a user’s computer. If a LAN is present on the premises (something many cable companies frown upon), some sort of router can be connected to the cable modem.

Advantages

• Always Connected: A cable modem connection is always connected to the Internet. This is advantageous because you do not have to wait for your computer to “log on” to the Internet; however, this also has the disadvantage of making your computer more vulnerable to hackers. Broadband: Cable modems transmit and receive data as digital packets, meaning they provide high-speed Internet access. This makes cable modem connections much faster than traditional dial-up connections.


• Bandwidth: Cable modems have the potential to receive data from their cable provider at speeds greater than 30 megabits per second; unfortunately, this speed is rarely ever realized. Cable lines are shared by all of the cable modem users in a given area; thus, the connection speed varies depending upon the number of other people using the Internet and the amount of data they are receiving or transmitting.
• File Transfer Capabilities: Downloads may be faster, but uploads are typically slower. Since the same lines are used to transmit data to and from the modem, priority is often given to data traveling in one direction.
• Signal Integrity: Cable Internet can be transmitted long distances with little signal degradation. This means the quality of the Internet signal is not significantly decreased by the distance of the modem from the cable provider.
• Routing: Cable routers allow multiple computers to be hooked up to one cable modem, allowing several devices to be directly connected through a single modem. Wireless routers can also be attached to your cable modem.
• Rely on Existing Connections: Cable modems connect directly to preinstalled cable lines. This is advantageous because you do not need to have other services, such as telephone or Internet, in order to receive Internet through your cable modem. The disadvantage is that you cannot have cable internet in areas where there are no cable lines.


Disadvantages

• Cable internet technology excels at maintaining signal strength over distance. Once it is delivered to a region, however, such as a neighborhood, it is split among that regions subscribers. While increased capacity has diminished the effect somewhat, it is still possible that users will see significantly lower speeds at peak times when more people are using the shared connection.
• Bandwidth equals money, so cable’s advantage in throughput comes with a price. Even in plans of similar speeds compared with DSL, customers spend more per Mb with cable than they do with DSL.
• It’s hard to imagine, but there are still pockets of the United States without adequate cable television service. There are far fewer such pockets without residential land-line service meaning cable internet is on balance less accessible in remote areas.

VSAT

Short for very small aperture terminal, an earthbound station used in satellite communications of data, voice and video signals, excluding broadcast television. A VSAT consists of two parts, a transceiver that is placed outdoors in direct line of sight to the satellite and a device that is placed indoors to interface the transceiver with the end user’s communications device, such as a PC. The transceiver receives or sends a signal to a satellite transponder in the sky. The satellite sends and receives signals from a ground station computer that acts as a hub for the system. Each end user is interconnected with the hub station via the satellite, forming a star topology. The hub controls the entire operation of the network. For one end user to communicate with another, each transmission has to first go to the hub station that then retransmits it via the satellite to the other end user’s VSAT.

Advantages

Satellite communication systems have some advantages that can be exploited for the provision of connectivity. These are:

• Costs Insensitive to Distance
• Single Platform service delivery (one-stop-shop)
• Flexibility
• Upgradeable
• Low incremental costs per unit


Disadvantages

However like all systems there are disadvantages also. Some of these are

• High start-up costs (hubs and basic elements must be in place before the services can be provided)
• Higher than normal risk profiles
• Severe regulatory restrictions imposed by countries that prevent VSAT networks and solutions from reaching critical mass and therefore profitability
• Some service quality limitations such the high signal delays (latency)
• Natural availability limits that cannot be mitigated against
• Lack of skills required in the developing world to design, install and maintain satellite communication systems adequately
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