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Broadband Internet Connection

Broadband, unlike the dial-up Internet, offers high-speed Internet connectivity. Broadband Internet connection offers high rates of data transmission. Generally, broadband Internet users obtain Internet speeds of around 256 kilobits per second or more. Digital subscriber loop/line (DSL), cable modems, and fiber optics are some of commonly used broadband technologies. Let us look at each of them.

DSL: It refers to a series of technologies that are used to enable the transmission of digital data over local telephone wires. DSL Internet service offer speeds of 256 kilobits per second. Usually, it works by dividing the frequencies over a single telephone line into two bands; the high-frequency band for data and the low-frequency band for voice.

Cable Modem: A cable modem uses the cable network infrastructure to facilitate the transmission of data. It is used to provide the Internet users with broadband Internet access.

Fiber-optic Communication: It enables transmission of information in the form of electromagnetic waves over an optical fiber. Fiber-optic communication has enabled the transmission of data over large distances, thus facilitating broadband Internet access.

How is broadband Internet accessed? How can a broadband Internet connection be shared between two or more users? What are the advantages of sharing a broadband Internet connection? Here are the answers.

Broadband Internet Connection Access and Sharing

T1 is a T-carrier signaling system that facilitates the transmission of voice and data. It refers to a digitally multiplexed telecommunication carrier system developed by the Bell Labs. A T1 line can be plugged into a telephone system to carry voice and to a network router to carry data. Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) has traditionally been used for Internet access. A basic rate ISDN, also known as ISDN-BRI is an ISDN line with two bearer channels that can be used for broadband data transmission with the help of ISDN terminal adapters. Wired Ethernet is another method of broadband Internet access. As it offers very high speeds of Internet access, its bandwidth can be shared between users. For example, 100 Megabits/s Ethernet line can be shared between 10 users, each getting a speed of around 10 Megabits/s. Ethernet Internet access can be offered by means of fiber-optic or copper wires.

Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service is one of the methods used for sharing a broadband Internet connection. ICS is a feature offered by the Microsoft Windows operating system that facilitates the sharing of a single Internet connection. With the help of DHCP and network address translation (NAT), it routes TCP/IP packets from a LAN to the Internet and maps IP addresses of local computers to unused port numbers. Moreover, the IP addresses of the local computers are not visible on the Internet as the packets are exchanged through an external adapter on the ICS host. If two computers need to share a broadband connection, they can be connected by a crossover cable. In case, more than two computers need to share a broadband connection, they have to be connected by means of a switch or hub. One of the main advantages of ICS is that it is free and comes packaged with Windows XP and Windows 2000. Secondly, it is simple to set up and requires minimal hardware. However, ICS does not support certain applications like messenger and NetMeeting, and extends hardly any support for content logging and filtering.

A broadband Internet connection can be shared by means of a network router. With this method, the computers in a network are connected by means of a switch, which connects to a network router. The router functions as a network gateway and can be used by all the computers in the network to access the Internet. Similar to ICS, network routers also use the network address translation technology, whereby the IP addresses of network computers are not exposed to computers on the Internet. Network router is an excellent means of sharing a broadband connection as it offers a certain degree of network security. Moreover, routers are available at reasonable prices and are easy to set up in the network.

On lines similar to a broadband router, a network switch or hub can be used to interconnect computers over a network. It acts as a central point of connection or a gateway, through which the computers on a network can gain Internet access. To enable wireless devices to connect to the Internet, a router equipped with a wireless access point can be used. A computer with a network card in it can connect to a WAP, thereby allowing wireless devices to connect to the Internet.

What’s noteworthy about broadband connection sharing is that the computers collaborate to enjoy Internet connectivity. True, machines understand the joy of sharing. Ironically, some of us don’t.