The growth of technology can be a difficult thing to follow, particularly the internet as it is changing and advancing almost constantly, however many of the older technologies that lead to the technologies we know now still exist and are still used. This means rather than replacing the things we need to know, technology is just adding to them, and not only do we need to know what they are but what their order is in terms of how recent they are and how advanced they are. Thankfully when it comes to internet technologies this is fairly easy to follow based on price alone.
First is the PCI modem, better known as dial-up. This is often free, requiring only that you purchase a modem (this in itself is usually very cheap and can be purchased for around £10, depending what you buy and where you buy it from. This is usually the slowest type of internet connection and is the oldest, predating Google. This uses your phone line to connect you to the internet, which means that so long as you’re paying your phone bill you’re paying for your internet. This is the cheapest option and is considered to be highly economic as a choice. However because the internet is using your phone line you phone will be unavailable while you are online. Dial up is a great option for someone who wants but does not need internet – if you want to have access to the net but don’t want to be paying for what you aren’t using.
The second is DSL, this uses the same basic technology as Dial-up, given that it still uses your phone line however it will not keep your phone line engaged. This is sometimes known as the ‘always on’ connection and is for anyone who needs a more reliable internet connection. This is an asymmetric option, meaning that it supports different upload and download rates, at home you may know it better as ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line). This supports speeds in the region of 10MB download speed and is one of the most reliable connections available. If you care more about having a constant connection than speed and want something cost effective this is an ideal option.
The third is cable, though there are two types of cable. First there is coaxial; this is what you commonly see used by cable TV and is a very popular choice for data communications. This is a flexible option that can be designed to suit the individual needs of the user, as the features of the cable will be impacted by the materials used to construct the cable. This is a mid-priced option as well as a reliable one, generally using a copper wire surrounded by copper mesh conductor to transmit data. This is a very efficient method for data transfer across distances at higher speeds (making it a good choice for businesses). There is also fibre-optic, a much more recent addition to the cable options. An optic fibre connection uses specially designed material in strands as thin as human hair to communicate data, this is using optical signals rather than electrical signals which allows for much higher speeds. This is ideal for high speed connections particularly over long distances and is becoming a much more cost effective option.
The fourth option is wireless, because of portability, speed and reliability this is one of the most popular options. Wireless uses radio frequency to transmit data and can be accessed from anywhere so long as there is a WiFi adaptor located within a network coverage area and attached to your device. This is the technology that most already know about and are familiar with due to its current popularity.