Improving the performance of your PCAs software gets bigger and bigger, and its dependency on the Internet grows, your PCs Internet connection speed is becoming one of the most important factors in your computer’s overall performance.
Although high speed Internet access has become widely available, in the U.S. it is still a long way from overtaking the traditional dialup market. According to research conducted by The Yankee Group, the number of users connecting to the Internet via high speed connections will not surpass the number of dial up connections until about 2007.
Having high speed access to the Internet will change the way you use the Internet. For starters, having an “always-on” connection eliminates the delays of going online, and will make you more inclined to use the Internet for a quick session. You’ll also be less daunted by large downloads, opening up a new realm of Internet experiences for you.
What Can You Do?
Just because the masses haven’t taken up high speed Internet access doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. In many areas, there are more options than you might think, and just maybe, if we all get the word out, we can beat The Yankee Group’s prediction. Currently, there are three major options available to most Internet users. These are DSL, Cable modem and satellite based Internet access services such as DirecTV’s DirecWAY.
Each of these systems has its pros and cons. Before any other consideration, find out which are available in your area. Unfortunately, that may limit your choices.
Cable modems are available in most metropolitan areas, and although providers often boast about unbelievable connection speeds, the truth is that the connection is shared by many users, and in some regions, your connection might not be substantially faster than a conventional dialup account during peak hours. Cable Internet providers are making strides to eliminate this problem, but make sure to ask your neighbors about their experiences before you sign up for service. It may not be easy to get out of your contract if you make a mistake. However, if you do live in an area that has relatively few subscribers, cable modems remain the fastest viable connection for home users.
DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line service is rapidly increasing in popularity. Unlike cable modems, the speed is largely independent of the number of users on the network. However, the speed of your DSL connection is dependent on how far your PC is from the Central Office (CO) of your DSL provider. The maximum quoted speeds can only be achieved if you are lucky enough to be within a few hundred yards of the CO.
Satellite based Services
In some areas, the only alternative to dialup is a satellite based service such as DirecTV’s DirecWAY. Although it is slower and costlier than cable modems and DSL, the speed is predictable, and it is widely available. Of course severe weather can interfere with your connection. If satellite is the only choice available, it is still far better than dialup service.
It is important to note that when your PC is connected to the Internet full time, a host of security concerns arise. If you use Windows File Sharing services, you could find other people storing their files on your PC, including viruses. In most installations, the PC is connected directly to the Internet without the use of a router or firewall, leaving numerous ways for hackers to invade your privacy, or cause disruption to your PC.
To properly protect yourself, when you go to broadband, purchase a hardware based router or firewall. There are numerous solutions available for less than $75.
If you currently connect to the Internet through a dialup connection, you should definitely consider upgrading to a broadband solution. There are many solutions available that are only marginally more expensive than dialup and the increase in speed will change the way you use the Internet.