Broadband technology.

Author:Townsend, Todd

Small businesses generally have limited resources to spend on broadband communication systems. Here are the four basic broadband technologies available today for small businesses:

DSL--Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) offers users a very low-cost, high-speed (128 kbps up to 8 Mbps) Internet connection over an existing phone line. The connection is "always on" and can be shared among several employees. With DSL, a separate line is needed for voice services and a business must be within a certain distance of a provider's central office to obtain the service. DSL is ideal for budget-conscious small businesses looking to:

* Upgrade from dial-up Internet access.

* Increase speed in sending and accessing information.

* Manage business processes online.

* Run multimedia applications.

* Build a Web presence.

Cable--Like DSL, cable modem technology offers a cost-effective, high-speed (512 kbps to 10 Mbps) and "always on" connection to the Internet. It is often delivered over the same line as cable TV service, therefore eliminating the need for separate voice and Internet phone lines. Cable is a "shared" access technology, which means that you share that cable line with other local customers. Cable access is ideal for very small businesses that are outside the reach of DSL and are looking to:

* Upgrade from dial-up Internet access.

* Increase speed of information access and downloads.

* Run multimedia applications.

Dedicated IP network--A dedicated IP network enables high-speed (56 kbps to 45 Mbps), "always on" Internet access, where users do not have to share the connection with other businesses. This type of network is ideal for businesses that already use the Internet for business transactions or that run business-critical Internet applications and that are looking to:

* Increase bandwidth availability for business-critical software applications.

* Lower overhead costs.

* Increase Internet-generated sales.

* Improve communications with customers, suppliers and partners.

* Build brand integrity and customer loyalty through Web-based customer service.

Frame relay networks--Frame relay networks provide high-speed (56 kbps to 45 Mbps), "always on" connectivity. A frame relay network is a dedicated...

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