Internet Connection Speed Comparison Chart
(Click on Browser Back Button to return to Blog)

Technology Description Speed Physical Medium Comments
Dial-up Access On demand access using a modem and regular telephone line (POT). 2400 bps to 56 Kbps Twisted pair (regular phone lines)
  • Cheap but slow compared with other technologies.
  • Speed may degrade due to the amount of line noise
Cable Special cable modem and cable line required. 512 Kbps to 20 Mbps Coaxial cable; in some cases telephone lines used for upstream requests.
  • Must have existing cable access in area.
  • Cost of bring service into an area and trenching cable can be prohibitive.
  • Networkable

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line

(ADSL is the same as DSL)

This new technology uses the unused digital portion of a regular copper telephone line to transmit and receive information. ADSL is asymmetric since it recieves at 6 to 8 Mbps per second but can only send data at 64 Kbps.

A special modem and adapter card are required.

128 Kbps to 8 Mbps Twisted pair (used as a digital, broadband medium)
  • Doesn’t interfere with normal telephone use.
  • Bandwidth is dedicated, not shared as with cable.
  • Bandwidth is affected by the distance from the network hubs. Must be within 5 km (3.1 miles) of telephone company switch.
  • Limited availability.
  • Not networkable
Wireless (LMCS) Access is gained by connection to a high speed cellular like local multi-point communications system (LMCS) network via wireless transmitter/receiver. 30 Mbps or more Airwaves (radio waves)

Requires outside antenna.

  • Can be used for high speed data, broadcast TV and wireless telephone service.
T1 Special lines and equipment (DSU/CSU and router) required. 1.544 Mbps Twisted-pair, coaxial cable, or optical fiber
  • Typically used for high bandwidth demands such as videoconferencing and heavy graphic file transfers.
  • Minimum for large businesses and ISPs.
  • Expensive
ISDN Dedicated telephone line and router required. 64 Kbps to 128 Kbps Twisted pair
  • Not available everywhere but becoming more widespread.
  • An ISDN line costs slightly more than a regular telephone line, but you get 2 phone lines from it.
  • 56K ISDN is much faster than a 56K dialup line
Broadband over Power
Uses existing electrical infrastructure to deliver broadband speeds using BPL "modems" 500Kbps to 3Mbps Ordinary power lines
  • Still an emerging technology, not widely available
  • Significantly lower deployment costs than comparable technologies like DSL/Cable.
Satellite Newer versions have two-way satellite access, removing need for phone line.

In older versions, the computer sends request for information to an ISP via normal phone dial-up communications and data is returned via high speed satellite to rooftop dish, which relays it to the computer via a decoder box.

6 Mbps or more Airwaves

Requires outside antenna.

  • Bandwidth is not shared.
  • Satellite companies are set to join the fray soon which could lead to integrated TV and Internet service using the same equipment and WebTV like integrated services
  • Latency is typically high
  • Some connections require an existing Internet service account.
  • Setup fees can range from $500-$1000.