If you haven't taken the plunge and already signed up for a broadband Internet connection, this section provides some basic information regarding broadband and broadband ISPs (Internet service providers). Depending on your location, you might have more than one option for a broadband Internet connection.
The two most common types of broadband connections used in homes and small offices are DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and cable broadband. DSL offers simultaneous voice and data communication over regular phone lines. With DSL, you can talk on the phone and access the Internet at the same timefrom a single phone line.
To sign up for DSL, talk to your local telephone provider (typically one of the Baby Bells). In many cases, the phone company provides the DSL router, which connects to the phone line coming into your home. You then connect your WiFi router to the DSL router using a traditional network cable to make the connection to the Internet.
A DSL router such as the Cisco 675 ADSL router is used as the Internet connectivity device for a home-based DSL connection.
DSL connection speeds and the cost of the service vary from provider to provider. Downstream speeds (the speed of data being pulled from the Internet by computers on your network) average around 1.54Mbps and upstream speeds (the speed of data being pushed from your network to the Internet) range from 256Kbps512Kbps. For you to take advantage of DSL, your local phone company must offer the service.
Another common high-speed Internet service is cable broadband. Cable broadband is provided by your cable television company. Data is moved on the same cabling as your television signal. Because cable broadband has different channels, one channel can be used for upstream data communication and a separate channel can be used for downstream data communication. As with DSL, the connection speeds and cost vary from cable company to cable company. Speeds for home cable broadband implementations can be range from 500700Kbps downstream and 128256Kbps upstream (faster data rates can be attained, but in most cases you might have to pay more for the faster data rate).
When you sign up for cable broadband, your service provider will typically provide you with a cable modem (at no cost). The device isn't really a modem but is designed to connect to the Internet (through your television cable). You attach your wireless router to the cable modem to share the Internet connection with the WiFi network.
A cable modem is used to connect a home network to the Internet (photo courtesy of D-Link).
DSL and cable broadband are certainly not the only possibilities for a broadband connection in your home. Satellite television services also offer options for broadband Internet connections, and there are also dedicated Internet broadband services such as satellite Internet access, which connects your home or small business computers to the Internet using a small dish to relay data signals via a satellite in the earth's orbit. Speeds of up to 500Kbps can be attained with this type of Internet connection.
It makes sense to take advantage of the broadband service that provides you with the most bang for your buck in terms of bandwidth speed for a monthly fee. Some broadband services also charge you for the broadband device that is installed in your home, and there might also be startup fees. As with all the WiFi equipment discussed in this chapter, you should research the various broadband service providers and select the one that works the best for you.