• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint

Q&A

Q1:I saw an ad for an Internet account you can get through one of those pizza-size satellite dishes. What the heck is that all about?
A1: The same kind of digital satellite dish used by DSS and DBS TV receivers—like those from RCA and Sony—to receive such services as DirecTV and USSB can also be used to receive high-speed Internet transmissions. But it can't send anything.

A company called DirecPC offers an unusual system that allows you to use the Internet, receiving data from the satellite dish at very high speeds and sending data through your phone line (at a normal modem speed). Since most of the delays on the Net are caused by receiving information rather than sending it, the system can provide dramatically faster Internet access. DirecPC costs more than a typical Internet setup (you must buy a few hundred dollars of extra equipment, and usually pay a higher monthly rate for your Internet account), but it may be a good option where poor phone lines make it impossible to get acceptable download speed. You can learn more about DirecPC from the ads you'll find in most major computer magazines.

Q2:Will getting Internet service from my cable TV company be a smart option soon?
A2: Cable companies such as Time-Warner Cable (TWC) are already offering (in limited regions) two-way, high-speed cable service that enables you not only to use the Internet at very high speed—as fast as 10 Mbps, over 300 times as fast as 28.8 kbps—but soon will also enable you to receive other enhanced cable services, such as video-on-demand and even local telephone service through your cable. One cool thing about cable Internet is that you don't have to connect and disconnect, as you do through phone lines; your cable Internet is live, ready for work, whenever your computer is on—24 hours a day.

Before you can take advantage of that technology, your local cable company must upgrade its hardware for two-way communication (a long and costly process) and set up its Internet service. Also, you'll need a special cable modem, which today costs at least three times as much as a regular 56K modem (although the cable company may rent one to you). Within a few years, as more cable companies get their hardware ready and cable modems get cheaper, cable Internet may be an option for you. You'll probably get it not by itself, but in a package deal that also includes your cable television service and/or local telephone service.

Before you assume that the choice will be easy, note that local telephone companies are racing to upgrade their lines to provide not only faster Internet access, but also digital TV via your phone lines. So in a few years, you may not be puzzling over where to get your Internet service. Instead, you'll be choosing which company—cable or phone—you want to use to get all of your two-way, in-home communications (TV, Internet, local phone service, and so on).


PREVIEW

                                                                          

Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial


  
  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint