If you are setting up a home network, whether big or small, wireless or wired and anything in between, you need to determine which type of internet connection is best for you. What connection type you decide on will depend on a few factors, such as what types of services are available in your neighborhood, as well as the types of equipment that you will be hooking up to the internet, how fast of a connection you need and what type of data you will be transferring. If you want to connect only a handful of devices and don't use it every single day you can get away with a slower internet connection which will save you some money. However if you want to connect multiple computers around your house, as well as other devices in your home network like video game consoles, media streaming devices, etc. and you want to be able to stream HD video to and from your home network then you will want to get a faster connection that has minimal latency. Below are a review of the different types of connections available and a general description. The internet services available in your area may differ slightly but should share some similarities.
Dial-Up - Dial-up internet service is the oldest type of internet service available. It is usually the cheapest service but it is also the slowest. Dial-up internet is not suitable for video streaming or any type of online gaming. Dial-up internet is pretty much only good for basic web browsing and not much else. In order to use dial-up you need to have a standard phone line and a computer with a modem built in. You can share a dial-up connection with multiple computers and devices but it is not recommended to use multiple devices at once. Usually you have one computer dial-up the internet service provider and log in, and you can then use this computer to share the internet connection with other computers or devices in your house. Some routers have modems built in that can dial up to your ISP and then share the connection with your network this way instead of requiring one computer be dedicated to always being on and always dialing up when you want to be online. However, like previously mentioned it is not recommended to use more than one devices at once online or the connection will be much too slow. Speeds top out at 56kbit/s for upload and download, and costs can range from free to $20 a month. Beware of 'free' internet service as they usually support it by forcing you to view ads.
Cable - Internet service provided by the cable company is available in many different variations depending on your local cable company. For instance, most cable companies offer at least 3 or 4 different levels of service, ranging from standard which is relatively slow and inexpensive, to the highest level which is pretty fast and can be a lot more costly. It all depends on what you need and how much you are willing to spend. Cable internet speeds range from 1.5Mbit/s to 15 Mbit/s for download and 512kbit/s to 5Mbit/s upload speed. Average monthly cost for just internet can range from $20 to $60 and bundled services with TV, internet, and phone can be had starting around $100 for basic cable and internet service and increase if you want faster internet service and more TV channels.
DSL - This is the internet service provided by the local phone company. DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line, and it is a way that the phone company can offer super fast data connections over the digital spectrum of the phone line. This allows the same wire that carries your phone service to carry super fast data connections to carry internet service and now many phone companies offer TV service which is very similar to digital cable TV service. Of course it all depends on your local companies and what they offer, but many times DSL service is very comparable to cable internet service in most areas, as the speeds and prices as well as the overall services that are available from the phone company and the cable company are very similar. Choosing between DSL and Cable Modem internet services will come down the the prices and services available in your area, so be sure to check out the prices and the deals that your local companies offer. Sometimes if you call and tell them you are trying to decide which company to go with they will offer you a special deal or discount that will make their service more appealing. Do this with both the phone company and the cable company and you should be able to find a good deal. DSL speeds are usually a little bit slower than cable, but sometimes they are just as fast. Average download speeds are 512kbit/s to 10Mbit/s while upload speeds average 256kbit/s to 1.5Mbit/s, and the typical cost is $15 to $50 for only internet. TV, phone, and internet packages are available for less than $100 and go up from there depending on what channels and internet speed you want.
Cellular - Wireless internet service offered by cellular companies are now becoming a more viable option, especially for those who do not want or can't get standard wired internet service like DSL or cable modem. Internet service from the cell phone companies can reach areas where DSL and cable can't, although cellular internet requires you to be in range of the cell phone network. Cellular internet can offer up to 4G speeds, which can be as fast as DSL or cable, but if you are not in a major metropolitan area then you are likely to get 3G speeds or even less. Cellular internet is usually available on one device, such as a cell phone or tablet, USB adapter, or portable WiFi router. Many cell phones and tablets can share their internet service with other devices via WiFi, but if you choose this option it usually costs more due to the fact that they know if you have service on more than one device you will be transferring a lot more data. The upside to this is that you only need one internet service no matter where you are or what device you want internet on, but if you get internet through your cell phone, your house will not have internet connectivity unless you are home. If you have a family that wants to use the internet this may not work very well. Be sure to think all options through before you choose this type of connection for your homes internet service. Average speeds are 512kbit/s to 10Mbit/s for upload and download while costs average from $50-100 a month.
Fiber Optic - Some markets have companies that offer super fast internet service that is 10-100 times faster than what most US homes have access to currently. This allows music and movies to be streamed at the click of a mouse or push of a button, and you can have every computer and device in the house on and using the internet at the same time and still not notice any slow down. The reason is that if you have fiber optic internet service, then your home internet service is much faster than most sites on the internet can communicate at. That means that the bottleneck is no longer your internet service provider, but the sites and servers on the internet that you are connecting to are causing the slowdown. If you can get this type of internet service in your area and you can afford it, it is recommended that you take advantage of the opportunity. Most companies that offer Fiber to the home also offer phone and TV service as well over the same connection so you can bundle your services and save a little money. However if you don't need this much speed and want to save money, don't be frivilous and waste your money. Fiber optic internet is usually more expensive than most other internet services, usually $100 or more just for internet, but speeds range from 50-100Mbit/s or more. If you bundle TV and phone service you can end up spending $150-200 a month.
Check out all options, and research what is available in your area. Call the differnt companies that offer internet in your area. Tell them what you want and need and see if they can work with you and offer you some kind of incentive or discount to go with their company. If not then go on the the next place and see what they can do. You can usually pit the companies against themselves and if you can manage to talk to a person who has the authority, they can usually offer you an introductory rate or a discount or rebate on installation or equipment rental. Also look online and search for customer reviews of each company to see how good their service is, both their customer service when something goes wrong and their internet connectivity as far as outages and overall speed goes. If a company has bad reviews and their service goes out a lot then try and find another company to go with. You don't want to be stuck with a company that has frequent outages and has bad customer service to boot.