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High-Speed Internet Connection Types

Part of the Home Networking Do-It-Yourself For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Choosing the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) and selecting an appropriate level of Internet service (speed) for your home networking needs is an important decision. Most people generally don’t complain that their Internet is just too darned fast, but you have to balance your need for speed with your need for balancing your checkbook. In addition to speed and cost, you should also consider availability, convenience, and reliability.

Type Download Speeds Upload Speeds Monthly Cost Advantages/Disadvantages
Cable 4–15 Mbps 384Kbps–1.5 Mbps $40–$80 Very common; bundled packages; good speed and reliability; congested network may adversely affect speeds
DSL 768 Kbps–6 Mbps 128 Kbps–768 Kbps $15–$45 Very common; bundled packages; good speed and reliability; distance from telephone company central office and old telephone wiring may adversely affect speeds
Satellite 512 Kbps–1.5 Mbps 128–256 Kbps $50–$120 Poor reliability, high latency, expensive to setup
Mobile (Cellular) Broadband 3 Mbps–6 Mbps (4G) Up to 1Mbps $50–$100 plus additional data overage charges Good speeds and mobility; may require long-term contract (typically 2 years) and initial equipment purchase; many plans have monthly data limits (such as 5 GB, then overage charges are incurred)
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