Internet Service Terminology You Need to Know

Internet service might not be one of the most exciting topics to discuss, but it is important to have an idea of the basics to know what you are getting yourself into when signing up with an internet service provider. There are common terms used that most people are familiar with but don’t really know what they mean, and then there are terms that people have no idea what they refer to and others that are obvious. For example, WiFi is a widely known term that many people know the meaning of, but they probably couldn’t tell you the technicalities behind it. It might not be pertinent information, but it’s useful to know.

In this article, we will go over a few different internet terms that you may or may not know the meaning of, including:
Cable Internet
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Fiber Optic
Network Infrastructure
Satellite Internet
The first term we will cover is broadband which basically just refers to the high-speed internet connection provided through direct subscriber line (DSL), cable, satellite, and fiber optics. In technical terms, it is the transmission of data over a wide bandwidth that is always on and faster than dial-up. Bandwidth is the capacity at which a certain connection is capable of transmitting data. DSL requires the use of telephone lines in order to transmit data to another location. This is a convenient method of connecting to the internet because it uses telephone lines already in place so there is no need for construction like fiber optic networks do currently.

Fiber optics are similar to cable in the sense that they require physical cables in order to access the internet. Whereas fiber internet uses fiber optic cables in order to connect to the internet and DSL uses telephone lines, cable internet uses a coaxial cable network located either below the ground or above the head. The network infrastructure, which is all of the physical pieces of equipment allowing individuals to connect to the internet, of these two kinds of connection types are much more common.

When it comes to satellite internet, the infrastructure is sent up into space to orbit the earth. It is just like satellite TV, except instead of TV signals that are being transmitted, it’s the internet. The internet service provider depends on the satellite dishes that are orbiting the earth in either the low or higher part of the atmosphere to bounce the signal from the satellite to the receiving dish that uses the signal.

One term you are probably very familiar with is WiFi. While you might know what WiFi is on the surface, the technicalities are lost on many. WiFi requires the use of individual routers in order to connect devices to the internet using radio signals. If you live in a residential area, it is likely that you and your neighbors use WiFI in order to access the internet.

VoIP, or voice over the internet protocol, is the use of internet technologies to transmit telephone service rather than over telephone lines. For some providers of VoIP service, users can only call other people with the same service. This is one downfall of VoIP telephone, but it isn’t inclusive of all service providers.

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