Broadband Access—The Fat Internet Pipe
What started as a healthy communication vehicle among students, researchers, and university professors is today the most pervasive communications technology available. The Internet has positively affected millions of people around the world in areas such as communication, finance, engineering, operations, business, and daily living.

Perhaps the Internet’s best-known feature is the World Wide Web (the Web), which provides unlimited resources for text, graphics, video, audio, and animation applications.

Unfortunately, many people who access the Web experience the frustration of endless waiting for information to download to their computers. The need for fast access to the Internet is pushing the demand for broadband access.

We are moving from phone line dial-up to new and improved connectivity platforms. Demand for high-speed Internet access solutions has fueled the proliferation of a number of rival technologies that are competing with each other to deliver high-speed connections to the home.

The bulk of these connections are delivered by technologies based on delivery platforms such as:

■ Cable
■ Wireless local loop
■ Ethernet
■ Fiber
■ Satellite or Powerline

Telecommunication, satellite, and cable companies are looking for ways to enhance their revenue sources by providing high-speed Internet access. While the average phone call lasts three minutes, an Internet transaction using an analog modem averages over three hours and keeps the circuits busy.

This increased traffic requires more circuits, but comes with no incremental revenue gain for the service provider.

Phone companies had to look for new techniques for Internet access. One such technology is DSL, which offers several advantages.

While phone lines are limited to speeds up to 56 Kb/s (kilobits per seconds) that many find inadequate, broadband communications offer much higher transfer rates. And broadband connections are always on, which means users don’t have to go through a slow log-on process each time they access the Internet.

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