Getting Internet Access - Wired
Technology with Integrity
By Tim Torian, Torian Group, Inc.
This is part 2 of a 2 part series on getting on the internet. Take a look at last month’s issue to review options for wireless internet access. This month we will cover your options for getting wired service. Any type of wired service tends to be more reliable in general, and is somewhat cheaper. However, you can’t take it with you.
If you live within range of the phone company central office, you can get DSL internet service. This service uses an existing phone line, and sends a high frequency signal over the line which is used to transmit data. You are provided with a DSL modem, which connects to the phone line on one side, and your computer on the other side, via an Ethernet cable. If you purchase the service from SBC, (or Verizon in Exeter) you will need to have a phone line with local service provided by them. If you have phone service which is using SBC lines but is being resold by another vendor (Such as AT&T) you will not be able to order DSL service from SBC on that line. The phone line must be with the company providing the DSL service.
The DSL signal gets weaker the further down the wire it travels. This puts a limit on the length of the wire used to get the signal from the central phone office to you. It can travel about a mile. The speed of your internet connection drops as the line gets longer. The main office in Visalia is near Court Street on Acequia. SBC has been installing DSL “repeaters” in various locations around town as well, allowing access to more areas.
Various companies sell DSL service. They do this by putting their own equipment in to phone company office, and using the existing phone lines. This works similar to alternative local and long distance phone companies. They offer packaged services, or better service, or better pricing. To find out more about companies in this area, go to http://www.thedslpros.com/links.htm. Arrival is a strong competitor of this type in our area (www.arrival.com). It can take two weeks or more to get service set up, so plan ahead. Check back on your order, as they often get delayed or confused. Pricing on DSL service starts at $14.95 / Month. Typical cost for a business connection with 5 usable static IP addresses is about $65 / Month.
For more information on DSL:
To order DSL service from SBC, call 1-877-722-3755, or go to http://www02.sbc.com/DSL and enter your phone number.
Comcast offers Cable internet access in the Visalia area. Cable internet is provided over the same coaxial cable used for cable TV, by adding the internet signal over the same wire. Their home service is a good value at 4MB Down/ 384K upload speeds at $19.95/Month. They have 2 products aimed at businesses: Both offer a single dynamic IP address. The lower speed (512k Up / 5MB down) is about $95/Month, and “Enhanced” is 768K up / 6MB down. The speeds are “up to” the rated speed, not a guaranteed minimum. Cable technology shares the bandwidth with everyone on the same cable segment, and can be significantly slower during certain parts of the day. Because you are on the same network with everyone on your cable segment, it is especially important to have a firewall in place. Cable internet service is available anywhere you can get Cable TV. For more information go to http://www.comcast.com/benefits/chsibenefits.asp . For information on business cable internet go to http://work.comcast.net/smallbusiness.asp or call 800-316-1619.
If you cannot get any of these, you can get an ISDN or T1 line put in. These options are relatively expensive, and require special care when ordering, as there are many options available. This is typically used for business when nothing else is available, or when reliability is essential.
And, there is always dial up. This is too slow to be of practical use for most people, but may be all you have to work with. If you use it primarily for browsing, you can make it appear to work faster with “acceleration” software, which tries to predict what data you will need and download it in advance when possible. Remember that when you are on the internet on a modem, you are subject to all the same security risks that broadband users have – be sure you have some kind of personal firewall in place. Dial up providers are dominated by a few big players. The best know is AOL. Local companies?
Tim Torian has taught computer networking at the College of Sequoias and Cal Poly Extension. He has a BS in Computer Science, and has been consulting on computer networking for the past 30 Years. His industry certifications include: Cisco CCNA and CCNI, Microsoft MCSE. He was recognized as Entrepreneur of the year for 2008 by the Tulare County EDC. He is president of Torian Group, Inc. which provides a full range of Technology Consulting services to local business, including computer services, networking, web and custom software development. www.toriangroup.com