Broadband is a term frequently used with accessing the Internet using high speeds, usually in excess of 248kbps. In general terms broadband referred to communication technology that can employ different channels of data or data streams by using any medium (air or Physical). Obviously, to transfer data at a higher rate, it requires more bandwidth (or frequencies). With wide band of frequencies, information can be multiplexed and sent on many different frequencies or channels within the band concurrently, allowing more information to be transmitted in a given amount of time.
Broadband can be provided over your phone line, via cable, or via satellite. It involves large volumes of information being carried at high speeds to your PC and vice versa. This allows graphics, music and videos to be experienced in real time by the user. Broadband, therefore, has many features that can be taken advantage of in the home or office:
The connection to the Internet is always on, allowing for instant Internet access and no need to wait for a connection to be made, as in dial up access.
The phone line is unaffected; this means that you can make telephone calls whilst the Internet is on. This is due to the fact that voice and Internet data use different frequencies for transmission.
Normally, you pay a standard monthly fee for unlimited Internet access, and you are not charged for the time you are connected to the Internet. There are certain broadband products now that also offer pay as you go access.
Broadband allows music and videos downloaded at a faster rate.
You can take advantage of instant messaging and online high-speed interactive games.
You can receive uninterrupted real time services, such as Internet radio, streaming video and voice-over-ip, phone calls.
In the next section, we discuss about different types of broadband access technologies like wired broadband (includes xDSL, and Cable Modem), and wireless broadband access.
3. Wired broadband
The local cable TV provider provides the broadband cable modem connection. The cable modem should not be confused with dialup access modem. Both are different, and one can't be used in place of other. In fact, they are different animals! The cable Internet connection speed varies with the number of users on the service at a given point in time. Given a given geographical area, users of the broadband cable service share the connection bandwidth among themselves. As a result, the access speed may reduce to a noticeable extent at times. This is likely to occur at peak times, like late in the evenings after the work day is over when many people will be accessing the Internet. The cable company, however, claim the total bandwidth as available to the customer, as if you were the only person accessing the Internet using the cable. But that is clearly not the case.
A cable, as shown in the diagram, generally runs down your street and, if you choose to connect, a second cable is then run from the main line to your home. If you happen to already have cable TV installed, you won't need to get a professional installer to run this cable to your house-and that may mean savings on your set up fees.
Broadband cable Internet access requires a cable modem at the customer's premises and a cable modem termination system at a cable operator facility, typically a cable television head end. The two are connected via coaxial cable or a Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) plant. While access networks are sometimes referred to as last-mile technologies, cable Internet systems can typically operate where the distance between the modem and the termination system is up to 100 miles (160 km).
Using Cable Internet, downstream bit rates that can be typically reached at customer end are 30Mbit/s. Upstream traffic typically of range of 384Kbit/s or more at the customer premises. One downstream channel can handle hundreds of cable modems. As the system grows, the cable modem termination system (CMTS) can be upgraded with more downstream and upstream ports.
Both ADSL and wireless users can experience degraded quality and reduced speeds if the customer premises is a long way from the Internet service provider (ISP). The quality issue is something cable surfers dont need to worry about.
Cable Internet generally has a more constant top speed than thos available with traditional dial-up, DSL technology, or wireless.
Your phone line is free from any interruption. You can make or receive call using your phone line because a cable modem is no way related with your phone line.
You will need to buy a special cable modem hardware to send or receive information via a fiber-optic cable.
The more people there are sharing the bandwidth, the slower your experience will be the quoted speeds are more like "theoretical maximums" speeds.
If you haven't already connected to cable TV, you may need a professional to do the installation. Laying cable and related hardware increases the initial costs of having Cable modem service.
Many packages place limits on downloads and uploads.