Internet Connectivity

For most of us, working remotely will require that we stay in touch with our co-workers and team leaders via the internet.  There are lots of options for accessing the internet, though not all are available in all areas.   The main features you want to look at are:

Connection Type:

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) comes in to your house via a dedicated type of phone line.  Different vendors offer different levels of speed, 128K to 8 Mbps (Megabits per second)

Cable internet comes through the same cables as your television channels (and you can often get a better deal by bundling services). Generally faster than DSL, you can get speeds of up to 20 Mbps.  Unfortunately, most areas in the US will only have access to one cable provider, so you can take it or leave it.

Satellite internet signals travel from Earth to orbiting satellites and back down again, so it may have a bit of a delay compared to earth-based systems. However, a new set of satellites is launching this year and should be able to decrease this lage and provide increased bandwidth to more locations.  Satellite connection speeds are around 512K to 2.0 Mbps, but are projected to get up to 100 Mbps once fully activated.

Cellular provides Internet access through cell phones, so the speed is often described by the generation of technology (so 3G is 3rd generation, around 2.0 Mbps; 4G is 4th generation that averages around 12 Mbps).  5G, when and where available, will start at 50 Mbps and may get speeds up to 1000 Mbps.  

Fiber uses fiber-optic cables manufactured and dedicated for this purpose. It is the fastest option, but not available everywhere yet since installing the fiber-optic cables is very expensive. Speeds are generally up to 1000 Mbps, mostly available in large metro areas.

The following table lists a few of the most common internet providers in the United States.  Not all services are offered in all locations, and offerings change rapidly, so check first to see which provider covers your area by going to any one of the sites that provide up-to-date internet search by zip code.  A few examples are:

  Type Approx.
AT&T cell/fiber $50 21 states
CenturyLink DSL $49 widely available
CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit fiber $60 16 states
Cox DSL $45 widely available
Cox Gigablast fiber $99 19 states
Earthlink DSL $50 widely available

Earthlink Hyperlink

fiber $50 21 states
HughesNet satellite $60 widely available
Verizon DSL $90 widely available
Verizon Fios fiber $49 9 states
Xfinity cable $35

widely available

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