Internet Service Providers are companies that provide access to the World Wide Web… the internet! They make their services available to organizations, other companies and individuals all over the world. It’s through the Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), that we (you and I) connect to the internet.

Now, as simple as that sounds, most confusion comes into play when trying to explain the type of connection offered by these Internet Providers.

Remember when music went from vinyl to eight-track to cassette and now disk? Well, with Internet Providers… the progression has been somewhat similar when talking about the connection vehicle used by ISP’s.

Let’s first talk a little bit about the oldest type of internet connection offered by Internet Providers. It’s called Dial Up. For a lot people, Dial Up was the first and only way to connect to the internet. The connection was and still is made through your telephone line. ISP’s set up networks geographically to handle large groups of people that access these networks by dialing a specific telephone number. The downside is… it’s slow. In comparison to other internet connection methods, Dial Up has a hard time handling newer media that take on audio and video streaming. Anyone who’s into gaming would get very frustrated using this type of connection. On the other side of the coin… it remains the only connection option for many rural areas.

The next viable internet connection type to come along was… you guessed it… cable. Cable Internet provides a connection to the internet using the existing cable television wire network. It’s faster than Dial Up and works well for many individuals. However, you are still on a network and there’s this little thing called bandwidth. Subscribers that are on this type of connection all share the same bandwidth. Cable Internet Providers regulate the usage of bandwidth with what we call cable modems. Cable modems allow providers to optimize bandwidth usage at peak times.

So now you understand, technologies have taken us to the point of no return. We all have “the need for speed.” Enter… DSL Providers. DSL Providers are Internet Providers that use a new type of connection that is… lightening fast. It seems, we’ve gone digital! DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. The core of this connection type is built on existing telephone wires. This connection type allows for faster speeds and is used for carrying video, telephone and internet into the homes of millions.

Before you make your selection as to which Internet Provider to choose, check to see what services are available in your area. As stated earlier… many rural communities only have a dial up option. If you happen to live in the city… your choices will probably include all three connection types. There is one more thing worth mentioning. Internet providers can offer a whole host of incentives that even the playing field. Things like free modems, security features and even cash back! And, Internet Providers will often times, offer a combination of these connection types. So, don’t be confused… just pay attention to the connection type and what they can be used for.