Do I need WiFi from my ISP

Internet connection / Internet access

The Internet connection is a combination of a technical device for connecting end devices to a provider network and a tariff that enables the use of this network.

The Internet connection always consists of a hardware component, i.e. a transmission device, and a software component that has to be configured and takes care of access. A cable is plugged into the technical equipment of the Internet connection, which is connected on the other side to a computer or other device. Internet access is established on the hardware side. A computer or other device then dials into a network that provides software access to the Internet. So that communication on the Internet is possible, i.e. data can be sent and received, you are assigned an IP address every time you dial in. Usually it is always a different one.

Anyone who wants Internet access or an Internet connection usually turns to an Internet provider (ISP, Internet Service Provider) or to their local network operator. The Internet connection is requested from this. In the simplest case, you will be given the access data that will be used for billing. If a hardware connection is not yet available, it will be switched by the network operator. This is commissioned by the Internet provider.


  • Internet access with an analog modem (outdated)
  • Internet access with ISDN (outdated)
  • Internet access with DSL
  • Internet access with TV cable
  • Internet access by satellite
  • Internet access with powerline (not available)
  • Internet access with cellular network
  • Fiber optic internet access

Internet access with an analog modem (outdated)

Data transmission over the telephone network was possible for the first time with the analog modem technology. The main advantage of this technology was that the network operators and users did not need to make any changes to the existing infrastructure and technology. Operating a modem is, in principle, almost as easy as operating a telephone.
In the early days of the Internet, modems were the most common way of getting "online". A modem is used to dial into the online service or provider via the telecommunications network. You practically call their PBX and are then connected to a modem, which establishes the connection to the Internet provider's local network. Its network is in turn connected to the Internet.

Internet access with an analog modem has the following properties:

  • long dial-in times
  • busy phone line
  • slow speed
  • high connection costs

Internet access with ISDN (outdated)

Dialing in via ISDN is somewhat faster and more convenient than with an analog modem. 64 kBit / s are available per connection, 128 kBit / s with channel bundling. The dial-in takes place within a few seconds, is somewhat faster and more stable than with the analog modem. But ISDN is also slow and generates high connection costs.
Internet access via ISDN is therefore only useful to a limited extent. Checking email is just about acceptable. However, accessing websites or applications such as audio streaming, video streaming, P2P applications and extensive downloads only works to a very limited extent. The data takes a long time to arrive. In addition, the risk of termination increases with the download time.
ISDN is also primarily unsuitable for the data transmission of large amounts of data and is certainly not intended as a dedicated line. Originally the telephone network was developed for the switching of short-term connections. The resources in the switching centers are not designed to hold many permanent data connections.

Internet access with DSL

DSL is a transmission technology that enables broadband Internet access. DSL uses the copper wire pair of the telephone network, which is known as the "last mile". The last mile stretches from the network operator's switching center to the customer's home. In Germany, this route is called a subscriber line (TAL).
The telephone connection (analog or ISDN) and the DSL connection are run in parallel via this subscriber line. This is possible because the transmission path is divided into frequency ranges and can be used independently of one another. The signals for the telephone connection are transmitted in a lower frequency range and the DSL connection in the frequency ranges above. The frequency ranges are separated from each other by a splitter. This ensures that the signals and end devices do not interfere with one another.
However, DSL is not possible everywhere. Usually this is because the subscriber line is too long. Every DSL technology has its range limitation. Constant improvements to the transmission technology increase the range bit by bit. But this is associated with considerable investments, which the network operator first has to make with the existing DSL connections. Residents in rural areas in particular suffer from it. You usually have no choice but to access the Internet via an analog modem or ISDN.

Internet access with TV cable or TV cable

In addition to radio reception, cable network operators also offer Internet access and a telephone connection. Since the cable networks were actually only developed and set up for the transmission direction, the cable networks had to be made suitable for return channels. The TV cable is therefore considered to be "the alternative" to DSL.
The availability of cable TV networks varies greatly from region to region. There are no nationwide valid offers.

DSL vs. cable

If you have several competing access networks available, it is mostly DSL and cable. The question is, eas is the better solution.

Cable networks allow significantly higher data rates than DSL, but they also have considerable disadvantages. The speed advantage only applies to the receiving direction (downlink). In the transmission direction (uplink), however, the DSL providers have the edge. In the cable network, 100 Mbit / s connections often only come to 6 Mbit / s in the uplink. Only at 400 Mbit / s in the downlink can one expect 50 Mbit / s in the uplink direction.

However, users of cable connections often complain of bottlenecks in the evening hours. Loss of packets makes connections extremely slow and unreliable. This is because the cable providers overbook their networks significantly more than the DSL providers.

On the other hand, the telephone cables of DSL connections are, in turn, significantly more susceptible to line interference than the coaxial connections of TV cable connections.

Internet access by satellite

Satellite reception is one way of getting a broadband Internet connection outside of the coverage areas of DSL and TV cable.
Broadband Internet via satellite works in the same way as television programming via satellite. The data is received via the satellite dish. Only that they are not passed on to the television, but to the computer.
Due to the bandwidth limitation and long packet transit times, the satellites are only suitable for broadband use to a limited extent and should be seen as a supplement to wired broadband access.

Internet access with powerline (not available)

The electricity network operators want to advertise this technology with the slogan "Internet from the socket". Theoretically, internet access should be possible at every power outlet. But all powerline initiatives were stopped very quickly. Powerline technology posed the risk that radio services and devices connected to the power grid would be disrupted. Power cables are not shielded and act like antennas. For this and other reasons, the "Internet from the socket" never got beyond the test stage.

Internet access with cellular network

Mobile internet or the use of mobile networks as access to the internet is obvious, because mobile telephony is available almost everywhere. But because the bandwidth and speed of the connections are limited by the number of users within a radio cell and the distance to the nearest base station, the transmission speed fluctuates between that of analog modems and DSL. Only in urban areas can you achieve high speeds that can almost keep up with a DSL connection.

Fiber optic internet access

Because the copper cable will run out of air (bandwidth) at some point, glass fiber is the only medium that can keep up with bandwidth requirements in the future.

Overview: Internet connection

connectionDSL (ADSL)DSL (VDSL2)TV cableCellular
Speed ​​(downlink)up to 16 Mbit / sup to 250 Mbit / sup to 400 Mbit / sup to 50 Mbit / s
TerminalsModem or routerModem or routerCell phone, USB stick
BillingFlat rateFlat rateVolume with limitation
advantageslarge bandwidth possible and therefore fastlarge bandwidth possible and therefore fastavailable practically everywhere
disadvantageCan only be used on a certain connection, limited availability of the highest speedAvailability varies by regionSpeed ​​depending on location

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