To connect to the Internet from off campus you must have hardware that allows physical connectivity and an Internet Service Provider (ISP). For most users, monthly Internet access charges range from $20 to $80, depending on the type of connection.
Hardware for Connectivity
The most common hardware connections are:
- 56K/28.8K Phone Line Modem Connection
- Cable Modem Connection
- Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Connection
- Satellite Connection
56K/28.8K Phone Line Modem Connection
This is the slowest connection and ties up your phone line, but it is available to anyone with telephone service. Most newer computers have a modem installed. Modems with connection speeds slower than 28.8K are unsuitable for internet access.
Cable Modem Connection
A cable modem connection is usually faster than a telephone connection. However, as more and more people on the same circuit connect, individual speeds decline. You don't need to subscribe to cable TV to use this connection, but you do need the physical wire.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Connection
A digital subscriber line allows you to use your phone and be online at the same time. The connection uses your existing phone line, separating voice signals from high-speed data. It isn't available in all areas, however. While generally more expensive than other connection types, its speed and convenience make it a viable option.
If you live outside the access area of local DSL and Cable providers and you prefer a faster connection than you can get with a 56K modem, consider a high speed satellite connection. All satellite ISPs use the same satellite system, so select your provider based on the quality of their service and support.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Begin your search for an ISP by checking to see what local services are available or search online.