Alternative Home Internet Providers
As a homeowner (or renter), you likely have several options for how to connect to the Internet. The connection method you choose affects how a home network must be set up to support Internet connection sharing. Each Internet network connection alternative is described here.
DSL - Digital Subscriber Line
DSL is one of the most prevalent forms of Internet connection. DSL provides high-speed networking over ordinary phone lines using digital modems. DSL connection sharing can be easily achieved with either wired or wireless broadband routers.
In some countries, DSL service is also known as ADSL, ADSL2 or ADSL2+.
Cable - Cable Modem Internet
Like DSL, cable modem is a form of broadband Internet connection. Cable Internet uses neighborhood cable television conduits rather than telephone lines, but the same broadband routers that share DSL Internet connections also work with cable.
Cable Internet is perennially more popular than DSL in the United States, but in many other countries the reverse is true.
Dial Up Internet
Once the world standard for Internet network connections, dial up is slowly being replaced with higher-speed options. Dial up uses ordinary telephone lines but, unlike DSL, dial up connections take over the wire, preventing simultaneous voice calls.
Most home networks employ Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) solutions with dial up Internet. Dial up routers are difficult to find, expensive, and generally do not perform well given such a slow Internet pipe.
Dial up is most commonly utilized in lightly populated areas where cable and DSL Internet services are unavailable. Travelers and those with unreliable primary Internet services also use dialup as a solid secondary access method.
ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network
In the 1990s, ISDN Internet served many customers wanting DSL-like service before DSL became widely available. ISDN works over telephone lines and like DSL, supports simultaneous voice and data traffic. Additionally, ISDN provides 2 to 3 times the performance of most dial up connections. Home networking with ISDN works similarly to networking with dial up.
Due to its relatively high cost and low performance compared to DSL, today ISDN is only a practical solution for those looking to squeeze extra performance from their phone lines where DSL is unavailable.