Satellite vs. Dial-up Internet

July 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm (Dial up, satellite) (, , , , , , )

The increasing popularity of and demand for broadband Internet propels the goal of providing it to the entire U.S. Many rural homes across the country, however, have little or no access to DSL and cable. Both of these popular broadband services require costly upgrades or wiring and is not considered worthwhile for many rural homes—some for now, others, maybe always. Until then, two types of Internet are often available for these areas: dial-up and satellite.

Dial-up Internet varies greatly from satellite Internet. One obvious difference, and often the deciding factor for many, is the price. The total monthly cost of dial-up is between 10-20 dollars a month and usually the set up is free—assuming you have a dial-up modem and a local access number. Satellite internet, on the other hand, has a monthly fee of 40-350 dollars a month (depending on the speed/download allowance you want). The total cost includes the price of leasing or buying the equipment (dish, router, etc.), installation, and other fees, such as repair plans, technical support, or contract fees. Even if you get the cheapest, slowest plan, you will have to pay at least $100 up front to get started.

Even a far stretch of the possible expenses you’ll have with dial-up will not come near the price of satellite. A dial-up modem, for example, is typically between 20 and 50 dollars, but is usually already installed on the computer. If you don’t have a land line phone service, you can consider that into your monthly costs.

Another difference in these Internet services is the connection speed. Satellite is many times faster than dial-up, which is the only reason people are willing to pay so much more. Dial-up can usually not be connected constantly, and downloads are painfully slow. However, many satellite plans have download limits and your connection can be restricted to dial-up speeds as a penalty for exceeding those limits.

Connectivity can be an issue for both satellite and dial-up. Dial-up can have trouble connecting if the phone lines to your house are old or a considerable distance from the phone company’s central office. Static or other line noise can cause slow connections and frequent disconnects. Since satellite signals from the sky, inclement weather can cause disrupted or slow connectivity, which can be a problem for areas with frequent stormy weather. You can only get satellite if you own your home (renters must have permission to install a dish) and have a clear view of the southern sky. Just like with cell phones, you may not be able to get a good connection with satellite if you live in a wooded or mountainous area.

Getting started with dial-up is often as simple as a phone call and a configuration of settings on the computer, unless you order a disk to set up software. Dial-up can be set up on multiple computers and just needs a phone cord plugged into the back to get started. This means you can use dial-up while you’re traveling or on vacation. Setting up satellite could take several weeks with ordering, shipping and installing equipment. The time and cost of installing equipment and setting up the connection on satellite is clearly greater than dial-up.

Satellite Internet is a viable option if you require a broadband connection for your needs and can’t get DSL or cable, providing the pre-qualifications are met and no major weather obstructions occur too frequently. Dial-up Internet is a easy and affordable option for you if you don’t spend much time online and don’t want to bothered with fees and contracts, providing you have quality land lines and a working dial-up modem.


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Dial-up vs. DSL

July 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm (Dial up, DSL) (, , , , , , , )

If you are interested in switching to DSL Internet services, you may be curious to know what DSL is all about and how it compares to dial-up. For the purpose of this comparison, we will assume that by DSL, we are talking about ADSL, the typical DSL connection available that uses a phone line to connect. Here are a few of the basics.

For starters, dial-up and DSL both connect using your land line phone line. Simply put, a dial-up modem converts the analog communication your phone line uses into digital information needed for your computer. The same thing happens on your phone company’s end. Their modem converts the from digital to analog so it can travel on the phone lines. DSL, on the other hand, uses the same wires that your analog phone line used and bypasses the digital-analog-digital conversion dial-up must use.

Therefore, DSL transmits information much faster than dial-up, and works at a higher frequency (higher than can be detected by the human ear), and by doing so, it does not effect the analog communication (phone conversations, etc.) on those same lines.

The most obvious difference, other than the speed, is the price. The total monthly cost of dial-up is between 10 and 20 dollars a month with little or no additional fees including set up or equipment fees. DSL has a monthly fee somewhere between 20-100 dollars a month (based on speed desired and location), not including the price of equipment, installation, and other fees such as repair plans, technical support, or contract fees.

Most computers have a dial-up modem already installed on the computer, so there aren’t typically many equipment costs associated with dial-up. Other than a land line and a phone cord, that is the extent of the “equipment” and “installation” costs for dial-up.

Availability and transportability are two categories where dial-up exceeds DSL. Connecting to the internet with most dial-up services is available to any computer that has a land line phone. It is not confined to the home where the DSL modem is installed.

DSL is only available in very limited areas. DSL is rarely available in rural areas because they are too far from the phone company’s central office. The choices of connection speeds on DSL could cut in half based solely on your locations. Often, a few hundred feet means the difference of DSL or no DSL for suburban homes.

DSL and dial-up can be provided both by your phone company or through your phone company. While you can set up nearly any dial-up service with any analog phone service, DSL is usually only available with your phone company or a DSL company that partners with your phone company.

Many phone companies will not let any other DSL company use their phone lines, so this could even further limit or prevent you from getting DSL. If they do, further problems can occur in the process of communication during the activation period and the resolving of technical issues. Even with no complications, DSL usually takes at least several days to set up.

Dial-up has a very simple set up procedure that takes about half an hour or less (unless you are mailed a setup CD, which is often not necessary). Since it is so simple to set up, you can easily move the connection, set up multiple connections, and take your service with you when you travel or move. Rarely does your phone company need to be involved or even notified, other than to make sure your access number is a local call.

DSL is a fast, dedicated connection for those who require it for gaming, downloading, and streaming of videos, etc. Dial-up excels in price, availability, and simplicity for people who need to save money or don’t have many other options.

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5 Tips for Speeding Up Your Dial-up Connection

June 16, 2009 at 11:25 am (Dial up) (, , , , )

So you’re stuck on dial-up for one reason or another, and there are days you’re about to go out of your mind. Many websites are being made with interactive banners and ads, streaming audio and video clips, and colorful flash programs that dial-up can barely load, or not at all. Here are a few things you may not have thought to try before. These tips will help you maximize your online experience.

Focus your surfing. Keep your browsing to one window at a time. Or, toggle between two pages. While your email homepage is loading, you can log into your bank account. Close any tabs and pages that you are no longer using as soon as you get the chance. Create favorites or bookmarks so you load the page you want right away. Some welcome screens and ad pages give you a small link to click of you want to skip it. You don’t always need the whole web page to load. Click the stop button at the top of the browser if you already see the part of the page you want. If you see the link you’re looking for, you don’t need to wait to click on that link.

Eliminate programs running in the background. Your anti-virus program or Window’s updates could be downloading updates when you’re trying to check your email. Your messenger program could be automatically connecting every time you go online to pay a bill. Try to install updates and download programs at a time that you aren’t trying to view web pages. Close the weather programs, messengers, etc., that require an Internet connection if you are not using them. You can often change the options in these programs to not start up automatically or change the schedule of the updates.

Save big downloads for when you’re not surfing. You can connect first thing in the morning and update your anti-virus, etc., while you’re eating breakfast or getting ready for work. When you’re checking your email or reading the news later, you don’t have to worry about sharing your bandwidth with your necessary updates. Let your large downloads run overnight and install them the next day. You can also save large files to a flash drive while you’re at the library or a coffee shop with free wireless service and install them when you get home.

Clear your caches frequently. Your Internet browser saves files, cookies, history, etc., every time you open a web page. This is handy for going back and forth between the pages you visited that day or week, but eventually your browser becomes bogged down with all the extra files. It’s good practice to completely clear out all your stored files every six weeks or months, depending on how much you surf on a daily basis. You should find these options on your tools menu of your browser.

Try a different browser. If you have a Microsoft Windows, your computer came with Internet Explorer and you probably surf with this browser. There are other browsers, most of them free to download, that are compatible with most websites. Your surfing speed could be transformed simply by using a faster browser. Some browsers come with accelerators and features that load web pages faster. Three of the most popular browsers include; Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. Try all three or ask around to figure out which one is the fastest or best for your surfing needs.

There are more ways to boost your connection speed that you may find helpful. Your ISP may offer accelerators or different access numbers you could try. You may also need to upgrade to a better modem (V.92 is the latest) or replace your phone lines. You may also need to clean up your computer by uninstalling unnecessary programs or defragmenting the hard drive. Check with your local computer technician for more information.

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