For Today’s Technologically-Challenged Woman – Telecom Technology 101

Okay, I give a respectful nod to any woman out there who would be offended by the title of this article and would consider the content as basic knowledge. But for some of us, yours truly included, becoming technologically savvy in today’s wired world has left me feeling a bit “tangled.” I know others out there feel the same way – you know who you are!Anyway, I was thinking about high speed internet service. My husband decided that for Christmas last year, he would get us out of the dark ages of dial-up and purchase high speed internet for the entire family. He did some checking on the technologies available, along with speeds and services included with each provider. And voila! All of a sudden I am wired for surf. I found out that we have DSL service, which is an acronym for digital subscriber lines. The internet connection is accomplished through existing phone technology and infrastructure of 2-wire copper landlines. It does not interfere with my analog phone service the way dial-up connection did, and it does not need to be dialed in to, because I found out I’m always connected.Then I hear all sorts of terminology besides DSL such as fiber-optic high speed internet, bandwidth technology, satellite internet, and I started doing a little bit of digging. I found out that some internet connections are accomplished through existing cable television lines. Data is exchanged on certain television channels designated for data exchange. High speed internet on existing cable lines makes a lot of sense as the infrastructure is already widely available. But then I found out about something called bandwidth. With cable internet, you actually share the bandwidth network with people in your neighborhood on a cable that is capable of a certain number of users and data exchange at once. In other words, bandwidth is the term that describes how many users can send and receive information at the same time. Because of shared bandwidth, internet speed can sometimes be compromised.What’s different about the new fiber-optic technology, though, is that the fiber-optic cable is laid all the way to your home. Speed and service are supposed to be superior with this new technology. In fact, even the entry level speed of fiber-optic based internet service is impressive.I also ran across high speed internet connection through satellite for folks who do not reside in an area where either DSL or cable is available. Satellite internet service offers similar speeds and capabilities that the other technologies do, but it tends to be more expensive and it requires that you sign a contract for a certain time frame.One way to save money is to purchase a bundled package where your internet service, telephone and television are all purchased by one provider and billed on one convenient bill.So there you have it – high speed internet at a glance. I think I’m going to tackle wireless internet vs. wired next. What do you think?