Dial-Up (Analog 56K).
Dial-up access is cheap but slow. A modem (internal or external) connects to the Internet after the computer dials a phone number. This analog signal is converted to digital via the modem and sent over a land-line serviced by a public telephone network. Telephone lines are variable in quality and the connection can be poor at times. The lines regularly experience interference and this affects the speed, anywhere from 28K to 56K. Since a computer or other device shares the same line as the telephone, they can’t be active at the same time.
DSL. DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is an internet connection that is always “on”. This uses 2 lines so your phone is not tied up when your computer is connected. There is also no need to dial a phone number to connect. DSL uses a router to transport data and the range of connection speed, depending on the service offered, is between 128K to 8 Mbps.
Cable. Cable provides an internet connection through a cable modem and operates over cable TV lines. There are different speeds depending on if you are uploading data transmissions or downloading. Since the coax cable provides a much greater bandwidth over dial-up or DSL telephone lines, you can get faster access. Cable speeds range from 512K to 20 Mbps.
Wireless. Wireless, or Wi-Fi, as the name suggests, does not use telephone lines or cables to connect to the internet. Instead, it uses radio frequency. Wireless is also an always on connection and it can be accessed from just about anywhere. Wireless networks are growing in coverage areas by the minute so when I mean access from just about anywhere, I really mean it. Speeds will vary, and the range is between 5 Mbps to 20 Mbps.