Different Types of Internet Connections

By: Ryan Attelle

Most people know and understand that the internet is a way for computers world over to connect with each other, to transmit data between two points and quickly share and distribute information. There are a number of types of connections such as Ethernet, t1 connections, DSL and cable modems to name a few. It is important for people to understand exactly what a broadband connection is so that they have the resources they need to choose the right type of connection for there business. It is important to make an informed decision before purchasing a type of broadband connection because in most cases, the only way to get a connection is by signing a contract that last a minimum of a year, so there is not much room for trial and error. In most cases businesses are obligated to three or five year agreements. In this article we will share our knowledge of the language used in the internet connection industry and how it pertains to the specific services a business might be looking for.
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The first subject at hand is the difference between a Bit and a Byte. First and for most I Bit = 8 Bytes. Now it is important to understand that the size of data (the amount that can be stored and used) is measured in Bytes. The speed in which the data is transferred is measured in Bits. For example; a business owner has a 1 megabit per second connection and they are sending a 1 mega byte file, it will take 8 seconds to transfer the 1 megabyte file from one location to another. This makes sense when we remember that I Bit = 8 Bytes. Understanding this alone can greatly help a business owner understand connection speeds and what can be accomplished with them.

Different types of internet can have different types of upload and download speeds for example cable and DSL both use what is called asynchronous transfer speeds, this is when the download speed differs from the upload speed. T1 and commercial Ethernet connections use what is called synchronous transfer speeds meaning the upload and download speeds are the same .

Latency, measured in milliseconds, is not to be confused with speed. Speed is basically how fast data gets pushed to a computer. Latency is actually the time from when you have sent a command from one location to when that command has been acknowledged and returned. This is important especially if a business is interested in video conferencing. The key for these types of tasks is to have a low latency. A good target for real time communication, like video conferencing, is about 20 milliseconds or less. If the latency is not low enough in such a scenario, the effect will be similar to the delay often experienced in long distance phone calls.

It might be wise for a business to utilize one of the many free speed test available on the internet in order to see where they already stand and how it compares to where they would like to be.

There is also the issue of a static vs. dynamic IP addresses. An IP address is a number that identifies a computer. It is suggested that a business use a static IP address because it never changes. A dynamic IP address is constantly changing. The problem with a changing IP address is that often times they are flagged as spam, so if a business is sending out emails they will be blocked. In addition if a business wants to allow remote access to a website, it is difficult to maintain that access consistently with a changing IP address. It is for these basic reasons it is suggested businesses make sure they get a static IP address.

Lastly it important to know what the SLA is, the Service Level Agreement. This is what the internet service providers absolutely agrees the service should be. This differs from what is often found in small print. Providers will often say what customers should be getting for an internet connection, that is should, but not always get. The percent of time you actually get this is not always shared upfront. So there is the advertised speed, and the speed actually provided. An SLA agreement usually guarantees that the service purchased will be available 99.9% of the time. This agreement is usually provided through a T1 or commercial Ethernet services.

A business owner who is privy to this knowledge has a leg up in any negotiations that take place when signing up with a new internet provider. The more a business owner knows the more they can be assured they are making the right decision, avoiding getting locked into a long lasting contract that do not work for them.
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