Net Xpress: How do you choose the right Internet access?

January 11, 2004|SHEILA J. CLARK

Choosing which type of Internet access to get can be a tough decision for some computer users. The decision comes down to three choices: regular dialup, accelerated dialup or broadband access.

To help you better understand the three choices, I will break down what each of them entails.

1. Regular dialup is just a modem-to-phone-line connection to your Internet Service Provider. The speed of your connection depends on factors such as the speed of your modem. Modems these days can be purchased fairly cheaply and are usually 56K speed. Older systems might have modems with speeds of 14.4K, 28.8.K or 33.6K. This is the cheapest form of access to acquire, with prices ranging from free - see Juno at or NetZero at - up to $24.95.

2. Accelerated dialup is an added service that a lot of ISPs are offering for a little more that their regular dialup fee. It is still a modem-to-phone-line connection to your ISP - but on caffeine. What I mean by that is that Web pages will load faster because the ISP has them cached on their server. But keep in mind that the modem connection speeds are the same as above. Downloading or uploading files still will be delivered at the same rate as a regular dialup.


3. Broadband access is usually provided by cable or phone companies in the form of cable or DSL access respectively. It is the most expensive option for Internet access - unless you sign up during a good special promotion - but it is also the fastest connection. You connect to a broadband provider via a special modem designed for the type of broadband access selected.

Cable access comes through your cable connection and doesn't tie up your phone line. DSL access is delivered through your phone line and shares the line with your phone so you can still receive calls while online.

While many will argue that one broadband service is better than the other, I won't go there. I'll just say that if you have a need for speed, either of these latter services would be your ticket to the Infobahn.

Your best option when selecting a broadband plan is to bundle it with another service provided by the same carrier. For instance, sign up for Powerlink ( - that is the name of cable broadband service - plus a cable TV package or get FastAccess DSL ( and combine it with your phone service.

Another key to deciding which type of access you should get is by your online habits. If you only check e-mail occasionally and do occasional light Web surfing, dialup is better suited for you. If you hate waiting for pages to load but don't want to spend a lot of money, accelerated dialup sounds like the plan for you. If you burn the midnight oil chatting online to your friends, play online games, download lots of files or need access to benefit you for work purposes, then broadband access is the way to go.

MSN Live online events

Jan. 13: Actor Jason Bateman chats about his new TV series "Arrested Development" at 9:30 p.m. Go to

Sites to see

A perfect online resource for those affected by infidelity can be found at Here, one can find support from others who have gone through the same form of the ultimate betrayal via forums.

The site also has a section called "The Healing Library," which offers related links, articles, books and explanations to the most commonly used abbreviations one might find used in the forums.

E-mail me at; fax me at (859) 236-9566; or write me snail-mail at The Advocate-Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Danville, KY 40423-0149.

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