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Understanding broadband

High-speed connections are desirable for a number of reasons: faster Web page loads, faster file transfers and faster uploads. But in terms of high-speed access, what does Broadband mean? In the most basic sense, it means a band that is broad. In the case of Internet access, the band may refer to the frequency range of the signals in use by the medium and when it comes to telecommunications the band can be narrow or broad. The term has grown to be synonymous with high throughput. The FCC Web site defines broadband as any service with data transmission speeds exceeding 200Kbps in at least one direction. The cable system is one that carries many signals on a single wire simultaneously. The band for basic cable TV is broad because all the channels are present on the wire and we select the desired one by selecting a certain channel to view. If we change the channel, the television or cable box allows a different channel through and blocks all of the others. If you understand those concepts then you have a basic understanding of a broadband medium. Two main consumer choices for broadband access are Digital Subscriber Line and cable Internet. Cable lends itself as a great Internet broadband carrier by virtue of being a broadband medium for years. DSL is a family of technologies that provide digital data transmission over the local telephone network. DSL carries voice conversations on lower frequencies while simultaneously carrying digital computer signals on higher frequencies. The reach of DSL was rather short when first introduced but now the technology has matured and gotten better at reaching areas it could not reach before. That news is good for consumers as it should help to keep the costs down as companies compete for our business. Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Mr. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant.

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