Broadband is becoming ever increasingly available to more and more people on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there are a huge variety of options available to the general public. The average consumer does not want to be smacked silly with options, they want to know what will get the job done for them. Lets run through a few options:
- ADSL – Theoretically, ADSL is the most robust connection medium with the lowest latency. It is stable and has no signal issues (as with wireless etc.), its only limitation is whether or not your local exchange supports ADSL. At this stage, Telkom is the company that can install your ADSL line. If choosing ADSL, make sure you select a good ISP. And think wisely about your speed requirements, a 1MB line being used for basic surfing and E-Mails, would be considered an overkill. Consult with your preferred ISP as to which packages they recommend. (www.telkom.co.za)
- 3G and HSDPA- I can almost guarantee that most people know what 3G is and it’s basics. All it is, is a 3G/HSDPA device (Cell phone or Data card), signal and a data bundle. Cellular internet access is considered by many as a completely over priced luxury, due to it’s high cost in many countries. Irony is, due to domestic data prices being so high on standard services, it may be cheaper to use 3G. (www.vodacom.co.za or www.mtn.co.za)
- GPRS/EDGE – Very often there may be a very weak 3G signal, in this instance a GPRS or EDGE fallback will take place. GPRS as well as EDGE are available just about anywhere you can get Cellular Reception. This option is not broadband, per say, but due to availability, most people will use this in conjuction with 3G or HSDPA. (www.virginmobile.co.za or www.vodacom.co.za or www.mtn.co.za)
- iBurst – Originally iBurst was known for being twice as fast as ADSL (1MB), the technology is rather similar to that of 3G but in terms of latency, it is far more effective. iBurst also offers a wide range of packages from 40MB to 9GB per month options. However, pricing makes it a viable option only where ADSL is not an option. (www.iburst.co.za)
- Sentech MyWireless – Even though Sentech was the first major competitor for Telkom, there has been a downward spiral in Sentech’s subscriber numbers for months now. The connection also rarely performs at the advertised speeds and crawls along with high latency and contention. Sentech has also scrapped the rather juicy Classic packages which offered massive download limits that compensated for poor customer service and sluggish speeds. (www.sentech.co.za)
- WiFi – No matter if you are a jet-setting business exec or a techy-teen with a WiFi enabled device, it is available to you. All it is, is a ‘cloud’ of coverage that is distributed by an Access device. It is more a distribution technology that wirelessly transmits a parent connection, such as ADSL.
- WISP – Also known as Wireless Internet Service Provider. These mostly refer to unlicensed companies that don’t give a hoot about monopolistic legislation and offer rather interesting packages. Gaming is not a commonplace, however, neither is cap or performance guarantees or even the existance of the company in the coming months. (www.sawireless.co.za)