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   Welcome       Broadband Defined       Broadband vs. Dial-up   



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The hare racing the tortoise

The fast data connection that broadband offers can exceed 1 megabits per second (Mbps). Analog telephone wires, on the other hand, are only capable of transmitting a potential top speed of 64 Kbps. This top speed is not achieved because of numerous environmental factors, like: the quality of the copper wires used, inherent line noise (telephones convert audio to electrical signals before being sent to the receiver, which converts it back to audio, the biggest source), data compression issues, and outdated equipment at telephone exchanges.

Broadband connections, with the exception of DSL that uses the same wires as the telephone, use a dedicated method of delivery optimized for data transmission. This all adds up to speed.

By the numbers

Comparing the two connection types, Broadband and Dial-up:

features
dial-up
broadband
availability
ubiquitous
limited
access initialization
dialing into isp
none; always on
theoretical top speed
56.6Kbps
1,000 - 11,000Kbps
real-world top speed
48Kbps
900 - 10,500Kbps
% loss to transmission
15 - 25%
5 - 15%
streaming media access
poor
good - excellent
average cost
£10+/month
£18+/month
protocol
analog
digital

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