Broadband Internet- 6 Main Types of Broadband Internet

Broadband internet remains the most reliable service for commercial premises and other fields that require fast internet speeds. 

So what is broadband internet access service, and what are some of its types? If that’s your concern, this article is for you. 

We’ll have an in-depth exploration of broadband internet services. Also, we’ll elaborate on why you need to invest in them, especially if you’re in the US. Let’s get right into it. 

Table of Contents

What is Broadband Internet?

A man uses the internet near a router. 

A man uses the internet near a router. 

The definition of broadband internet is high-speed internet capable of sending a large volume of data.

These internet forms primarily feature high download speeds of about 25 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps.  

Thus, it’s the ideal internet service option for high-speed internet access applications like online gaming and video conferencing.

Notably, broadband internet refers to many internet types with the above speeds.  Hence, it is available for wireless and wired connections. 

Let’s explore the key types of broadband intent below. 

Types of Broadband Connections

An internet cable. 

Broadband access is available in various forms, as we highlighted above. They include the following: 

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

A DSL Modem. 

A DSL Modem. 

It is an affordable broadband option that transmits data via modern-day telephone lines. It is faster than the former copper telephone lines we used in data transmission. 

DSL broadband availability depends on the user’s proximity to telephone service. It also comes in two main forms, namely;

  • Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL)- It’s the ideal DSL internet for businesses with internet-intensive activities such as video calls. 
  • Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)- Consider general household internet uses such as basic video stream services like Amazon Prime Video. For such applications, you don’t need a strong connection to send back data, so ADSL is the best option. 

In addition, there are other DSL services for internet-intensive business operations: 

  • High data rate Digital Subscriber Line (HDSL)
  • Very High data rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL)

Cable Modem

Connecting a Coaxial Cable to a Cable Modem. 

Connecting a Coaxial Cable to a Cable Modem. 

If you’re subscribed to cable TV, you can access this internet form as it’s available via conventional coaxial cables.

Hence, the cable modem service allows access from the cable TV to your connected device, like a computer. 

Cable modem speeds average approximately 1.5 Mbps. The internet allows you to watch TV while streaming content from your computer.  

Fiber Optic

Fiber Optics Cable. 

Fiber Optics Cable. 

It’s one of the fastest broadband internet access services that transmit data in the form of light. Fiber Infrastructure is quite capital-intensive since it relies on a wired connection.

However, the transmission speed of this mode is way above that of cable modems and DSL. 

The speed can still be slow sometimes, especially if the service provider limits the bandwidth limit.

Moreover, you can still use the fiber infrastructure to receive other video services and voice (VoIP). 

Wireless Broadband

A woman uses the Internet. 

A woman uses the Internet. 

It relays the internet service via a radio link and thus requires an external antenna to receive the signal. The service comes in two main forms: 

Mobile wireless Broadband

It is an internet service by mobile providers to users on the move.

It’s not strong but provides enough speed for basic video services via unlicensed devices on the phone, such as streaming songs and movies. 

Fixed wireless Broadband

This mode relays the internet to a stationary user. It works best in scenarios where the wireless receiver and transmitter have a great direct line of sight.

Also, it is available on unlicensed devices and is a low-speed internet option, albeit faster than the mobile access mode. 

The primary advantage of wireless broadband is that it allows connection to places where it’d be expensive to deliver other internet forms.

Also noteworthy is that this internet is ideal for hotspots in a school or city parks. 

Satellite Broadband

A Satellite Dish. 

A Satellite Dish. 

This internet transmission relies on the same principle as TV services that rely on satellites orbiting space.

The wireless broadband internet access service is also ideal for providing data without infrastructure for fast internet modes like DSL and fiber. 

So what determines the internet speed for satellite broadband? Well, this relies on several factors, as we’ll highlight below. 

  • First, the speed depends on the prevailing weather. As with TV, the internet signal will be weak in inclement weather. 
  • Also, if there’s an obstruction in the receiver’s line of sight with the satellite, its speed will be slow. 
  • Lastly, its speed is dependent on the package you choose. Hence, choose a premium package for a fast speed. 

Broadband over Powerline (BPL)

Electricians on Power Lines. 

Electricians on Power Lines. 

As its name suggests, this internet option uses the existing powerlines infrastructure to provide consumer service.

Its speed is similar to that of DSL and cable modem, making it an ideal option for underserved places such as marginal areas with access to grid power. 

Hence, although it’s less popular than the other options, it will likely increase in the future thanks to its cheap capital outlay. 

US Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

A Laptop illustrating the Broadband concept. 

A Laptop illustrating the Broadband concept. 

It is a program by the US Federal Communications Commission that primarily aimed to alleviate the strain imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic on US citizens.

It aims to facilitate access to a broadband connection for all, including the marginalized. 

The program targets households that meet the eligibility criteria and even institutions like schools and healthcare facilities.

It also grants special discounts to marginalized households, such as people living in Tribal Lands.

Further, the program features a provision to shift from one service provider to the other.

It just requires you to contact the new provider, and they’ll manage the transfer process. 

Eligibility Requirements

A household can receive the benefits of this program under the following conditions: 

  • If it receives an income below 135% of the Fed Poverty Guidelines. 
  • Also, a former Federal Pell Grant recipient qualifies for the program. 
  • Any household that had a significant income loss resulting from the Covid-19 furlough. 
  • Lastly, any household under the free and reduced-price school lunch program qualifies for this subsidy. 

What is the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi?

Using Wi-Fi

Using Wi-Fi

A broadband connection (wired or wireless) supplies internet from the provider to the user.

On the other hand, Wi-Fi relays the internet wirelessly from a router to a range of devices such as smartphones, laptops, or Smart TVs. 

Notably, you can still connect to your Wi-Fi router via an ethernet cable, especially if you’re looking for a stable and fast connection.

This connection form is faster than WiFi, although you can connect a few devices as a router has limited connection ports. 

What broadband speed do I need?

You need a strong internet for online gaming

Primarily, your internet use will determine the speed you require in your household/ office.

For instance, you need high speed for data-intensive operations such as streaming HD videos and online gaming.

On average, a speed of approximately 100 Mbps will be fast enough for these applications. 

Otherwise, a lower speed will be good enough for simple household internet uses such as connecting to YouTube. 


Broadband internet allows us to connect to the web via the various options highlighted above.

Also, some broadband connections, such as fiber optics, are quite fast yet expensive to install.

Others, like Cable Modem, are slower but easy to install. Hence, with the options above, you’re spoilt for choosing the suitable broadband internet for your household and office use. 

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