Internet Access Resources
Being connected to the Internet and having your own dial-up
Internet account is a major part of establishing an Internet presence. If you have
been on the Internet longer than six (6) months, you already know that being online can
sometimes be frustrating. Over the past few months you may have seen many articles
about the cost of having an online account is going down. Even if you are currently
relatively satisfied with your Internet Service Provider (ISP), it is likely that you have
already looked into things like cable access and you have heard about DSL* (Digital
Subscriber Line) access. If your first dial-up account was through AOL, you are
probably still with AOL whether you are really happy with them or not. Learning how
to get around on the Internet is a lot like learning how to use a word processor for the
first time. People tend to stay with the first word processor they learn simply
because they feel that they do not want to go through the learning process again with a
new program. AOL is the largest ISP in the US, and for many people AOL is the ISP
they love to hate. If you do not use AOL and have ever tried to talk an AOL user
into switching, you know that you might as well try to a man to switch his brand of socks
Over the next year (perhaps less given that Internet time is not always in sync with real
world time) there will be many new DSL offerings, and anyone even remotely thinking about
getting cable access now should put it off until the dust is settled with DSL.
"Unlike competing technologies, DSL eliminates the need for extensive and expensive
infrastructure upgrades — improvements that are hard to measure in terms of time or
money. Where original telephone company strategies centered on the time-consuming and
costly task of fiber
installation, demand for multimegabit services has forced them to evaluate
approaches that leverage the existing infrastructure and provide a quicker
time to market. That is one of DSL technology's chief advantages
ability to transform the nearly 700 million phone lines installed worldwide
into multimegabit data pipes capable of speeding digital video and data to
homes and businesses."* In terms of download time cable technology may appear
to have a slight advantage over DSL, but there are three (3) "features" about
cable technology that make it basically unfit as a long-term Internet connection solution.
First, the speed claims for cable access are based solely on optimum cable capacity, but
cable companies never tell you that the cable bandwidth must be shared (yes, SHARED) with
every other subscriber on the line. That means that performance will be degraded as
more people come online using cable access. There is only one cable servicing an
area, which means that there is only one pipe for information to travel along on its way
to your system. With DSL service each subscriber has their own direct line for
delivery of service, and that line is the phone line coming into your home (office).
Thus, you do not have to SHARE your DSL bandwidth with anyone except someone that
might be sharing the service in your home (office).
Second, the security of cable access is weak at best. Once again you have to
consider that your service is coming in over the same line as the service for every other
person sharing the cable. For many this is not a big issue, but you should never let
someone convince you that cable service is as secure as DSL service. It just is not
Third, even though cable access is shared with other subscribers on the cable it is very
difficult at best to really network cable access within a home (office) because the cable
access provided to consumers generally allows for only a single IP per subscriber.
This is not the case with DSL service.
"At the same time that many traditional telephone companies are facing
competition from cable companies, wireless operators, and other new
service providers, regulatory agencies worldwide have begun to allow
outside access to the central office and local copper wires. We will cover
some of the regulatory issues later in this chapter. The market dynamics,
coupled with the insistent demand from commercial and residential service
users for higher speeds, innovative services and reasonable prices, have
created the cause and the effect of the spiraling need for bandwidth."
|From the DSL Sourcebook*
"The result of this spiraling demand for
bandwidth is a marketplace in flux.
Service providers and service users alike seek economical bandwidth
solutions for emerging high-speed applications. Although DSL technology
enables broadband applications over virtually any existing copper loop, it
currently provides solutions that are better suited for some service
offerings than others. For example, although it is generally agreed that
residential demand for entertainment and other services will eventually
provide a mass market for DSL-based service deployment, the early market
opportunity is in Campus/Private Network environments and in support of
commercial business applications."*
"Over the last few years, the Internet, or more correctly, the World Wide
Web has had a profound impact on our ideas about information flow. Once
the exclusive domain of academia, the Internet's global collection of
interconnected computer networks has become the medium of choice for
the dissemination of information for both individuals and corporations."*
"The idea of an easy and cost effective way to provide updated information
to employees, partners, and customers is extremely attractive to
businesses. This new and simple way to communicate gives people the
freedom to develop much richer content than ever before. But this new
found freedom comes with a price — the graphical nature of the content
creates large files which have to be downloaded into the user's PC. Given
the speeds of analog modems, a lot of time is spent waiting for file
downloads even though the bandwidth of the backbone network keeps
increasing. Most frequently, the cause is a bottleneck in the local loop."
"Recently, we have seen two new trends emerge in the Web environment
that increase bandwidth requirements by at least an order of magnitude."
The addition of audio and video media to Web computing based on
the TCP/IP protocol.
The integration of a push paradigm of content presentation into
existing pull paradigm that is represented by today's Web browser.
The pull paradigm requires active participation from a user to access
content (i.e., typing URLs, initiating searches, etc.), while the push
paradigm feeds content to a passive viewer/listener (for example,
stock ticker for text, radio for audio, and TV for video).
"The Web browser is evolving into an interface supporting
not only audio,
video, and other multimedia applications, but also the blend of pull/push
paradigms for content presentation, opening up the Web to a wide range of
applications as shown."
|Emerging Web-based application
matrix generated by the addition
and video media, and integration of the pull/push
paradigms of content presentation*
* For more complete information on DSL technology consult the DSL Sourcebook online.