refers to the means by which users connect to the Internet
History and Types of Connections
Common methods of internet access include dial-up
, landline (over coaxial cable
, fiber optic
or copper wires
), T- lines
and cell phones
Dial-up connections are the most common type of internet connection available from ISPs, they are also the slowest and (usually) the least expensive. A dial-up connection allows users to connect to the internet via a local server using a standard 56k modem, your PC literally dials (hence the name) a phone number (provided by your ISP) and connects to the server and therefore the internet. Once connected users are free to search the web as they please, however, compared to modern speeds of broadband internet, dial-up is very slow and can only transfer at 56 Kilobits of data a second, this means that it is possible to transfer up to 7 Kilobytes a second (although to get a full 7k is nearly impossible due to compression overhead). ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscribers Line) connections are a form of broadband internet and are becoming more and more widely available and can provide an excellent internet connection. The connections work by splitting the function of a phone line into two separate channels, one for data (internet) and one for voice (phone calls) which means you can talk on the phone and be connected to the internet at the same time. ADSL connection services are often advertised as having different speed specifications, below are some common configurations:
provides wireless access to computer networks, and therefore can do so to the Internet itself. Hotspots
providing such access include Wi-Fi-cafes
, where a would-be user needs to bring their own wireless-enabled devices such as a laptop
. These services may be free to all, free to customers only, or fee-based. A hotspot need not be limited to a confined location. The whole campus or park, or even the entire city can be enabled. Grassroots
efforts have led to wireless community networks
Apart from Wi-Fi, there have been experiments with proprietary mobile wireless networks like Ricochet, various high-speed data services over cellular or mobile phone networks, and fixed wireless services. These services have not enjoyed widespread success due to their high cost of deployment, which is passed on to users in high usage fees. New wireless technologies such as WiMAX have the potential to alleviate these concerns and enable simple and cost effective deployment of metropolitan area networks covering large, urban areas. There is a growing trend towards wireless mesh networks, which offer a decentralized and redundant infrastructure and are often considered the future of the Internet.
Broadband access over power lines
was approved in 2004 in the United States in the face of stiff resistance from the amateur radio
community. The problem with modulating a carrier signal below 100 MHz onto power lines is that an above-ground power line can act as a giant antenna and jam long-distance radio frequencies used by amateurs, seafarers and others. A recent discovery, called "E-Line" allows propagating much higher frequency carriers, from 100 MHz through at least 10 GHz, onto a single conductor of a power line and offers the possibility of very high speed fixed and mobile information services at very low cost without the problems associated with the lower frequency signals.
Methods & venues of connection
Besides accessing from residences, there are public places
to use the Internet which would include libraries
and Internet cafes
, where computers with Internet connections are available. Some libraries provide stations that provide facilities for hooking up public-owned laptops to local area networks
(LANs). There are also wireless Internet access points in many public places like airport halls, in some cases just for brief use while standing. These Access points may provide coin operated computers or Wi-Fi
hot spots* that enable specially equipped laptops to pick up internet service signals. Various terms are used, such as "public Internet kiosk
", "public access terminal", and "Web payphone
". Many hotels now also have public terminals, though these are usually fee based.
Proliferation of users
The use of the Internet around the world has been growing rapidly over the last decade, although the growth rate seems to have slowed somewhat after 2000. The phase of rapid growth is ending in industrialized countries, as usage becomes ubiquitous there, but the spread continues in Africa
, Latin America
, the Caribbean
and the Middle East
. One example of a great number of people gaining access to the internet is in Brazil
where, thanks to lowered taxes on computers and in dial-up providers, the number of Brazilians on the internet has grown substantially over the past 2 years.
Internet access as a human right
Today, there is a big push by the United Nations
to make internet access a human right. This push was made when it called for universal access to basic communication and information services at the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination
. In 2003, during the World Summit on the Information Society
, another claim for this was made.
In some countries such as Estonia and Greece, internet access has already been made a human right.
Countries where Internet access is available to the majority of the population
Asia & Europe
Asia (includes Middle East)Europe
Africa & Oceania
North & South America
North America South America