On This Highway Faster Is Better… 
And You Will Never Get A Speeding Ticket!

On This Highway Faster Is Better… And You Will Never Get A Speeding Ticket!


Is there really a Highway where faster is better, and there are no speeding laws? Yes, It’s the Information Highway! 


Now this is more than just a “catchy” headline to get you to read this story.  The best way I know of to get you to understand why you need a high speed Internet connection is by comparing it to a real Highway.


Lets take a break and not even talk about the Internet for a moment…. Lets talk about the real world Highways and Streets you drive on every day, and your driving habits or “style”.  In your day-to-day driving, do you look forward to stopping and waiting at Red Lights?  Do you try to drive on streets and roads with construction delays?  On planning your day, whenever possible do you time your driving for the most congested slowest times?  When you have enough passengers in your car to use the Diamond or High Capacity lane, do you stay in the slow lane anyway?  On getting where you’re going, do you park as far from the entrance as you can?


If you answered yes to all or most of the above, you either have too much time on your hands or you’re nuts!!!!!!


If you answered NO!, To most of the above, then you need High Speed Internet Access.  Look, if you don’t like sitting at a traffic light for 30 seconds, then why do you sit at your computer waiting for that page to load.


Trust me.  Once you get High Speed Access, you will not know how you lived without it.  Most of you did not see a really big need for your fax or your E-Mail before you got it.  Now what would you do without it.


Still not ready to say, OK this is something I need?  Do you have a Microwave Oven?  Why?  You don’t need it to cook.  You have a stove, big deal so it takes longer, so what…  Get the idea….


Every time a new way to save time and to speed things up comes along, no one sees the need for it… But once they start using it, they can’t live without it.


Now back to High Speed Access.  It’s the same thing.  Trust me, you will love it.


Now the question is, “What’s Right For You”? DSL (same as ADSL), Cable, Satellite????  The Question should start with “what can you get in your area?”  If only one High Speed Access is available… Congratulations, you just made your choice.  If all of the above is available in your area let’s talk about why you may wish to go with one over the other.


I personally believe that the order of choice is as follows:

  1. DSL            It is cheaper then Satellite and FASTER.  It still needs a Firewall just like Cable, but it is not as prone to a Network slowdown like Cable is.


  1. Cable            Still Cheaper and FASTER than Satellite.  But it is more prone to being slowed by traffic than a DSL connection, and not only needs a Firewall to protect from the Internet, but from every neighbor connected to “your cable”.


  1. Satellite            The way to go if you can’t get DSL or Cable.

Lets recap….If you can get all of the above, go with DSL.  If you can only get Cable or Satellite, go with cable.  If you can only get Satellite, then that’s all you can get; if you want that high speed connection, it’s Satellite.


Now if you have read all those stories, or heard from your friends that DSL installation is a pain etc… It can be…. But you can do things to make it easer.  Find out who in your area really puts the DSL line in, and who runs and owns the DSL switch. Since a lot of companies can sell service in your area they may or may not be the provider.  You see, companies sometimes use a subcontractor to actually not only install the DSL line, but to even provide the services.  So, if you are having equipment or line problems, or even need to just set up an installation time… It’s like a game of “Hot Potato”.  Party “A” tells party “B”, who calls party “C”, and if you’re lucky, party “C” who is the real provider, gets the information to follow though with you.  Keep it simple.  Don’t sign up with party “A”, get your service straight from party “C”. Lets give you an example.  In getting my own DSL, I first called a company called Covad.  Yes, they have service in my area.  But they sub-contract out to Flashcom, to cover my area.  In turn, to cover my area, Flashcom, subs the job to GTE (my local phone company).  So I bypass Covad, and Flashcom, not because they’re bad companies, but to keep it simple, and I got my service straight from GTE.  My installation went off without a hitch… everything on time and working.  To keep things easy, if your computer does not already have a network card installed in it, I recommend that you get it installed, tested, and working, before the installation of the DSL or Cable connection.  It will help to keep things easy and simple.


Yes, I know I kind of skimmed over that word “Firewall”.  Let me explain it.  The term “Firewall” comes from real buildings.  A firewall is a solid wall that stops fire from getting past it…. What does this have to do with computers????  In the computer world, a Firewall is a software program, or a hardware device, or both, that protects unauthorized access to your computer from the outside world.


Is your computer connected to the outside world?  It is with DSL or Cable, or even with that modem that is always plugged into the phone line.  A Firewall stops the world from getting to your information (as in being Hacked).


Not to overdo the Highway analogy, but think of your computer, as your car.  Now do you want to drive your car on the Highway with no safety belts?  Are you willing to leave it parked on the side of the road with the windows open, doors, unlocked, and the keys in the ignition?  No?. What a surprise… Then get a Firewall on your system.


There are some very low cost options.  I have been playing with my DSL line for about one week.  In this time I downloaded a Firewall software program called Zone Alarm from a company called Zone Labs ( http://www.zonelabs.com/ ).  At this time, the price is right.  It’s a free download.  Better then being free.  It works.  You can use it to stop connections to and from your computer.  Not only over the Internet, but over your own Network as well.  So, if you have private information on your computer you can keep it private.  The program is very easy to load, configure, and use.  After you connect to the Internet, your first download should be Zone Alarm.  It simply works.  

What more can you ask for.  With this in mind.  BizNet OnLine Magazine gives it our Winner Award.  

Time to wrap up this article.  UPS just delivered a Linksys Cable/DSL Router to me.  Need to go play with the new toy.  This unit functions as a true Hardware Firewall, and a high-speed router.  Best of all is it’s extremely reasonable price.  It can be found for WAY under $200.00. Can’t wait for the review in next months issue?  Then check out Linksys at : http://www.linksys.com/


For more information:


On covad : http://www.covad.com/


On Flashcom : http://www.flashcom.com/


On GTE : http://www.gte.com/


On Zone Labs : http://www.zonelabs.com/


On Linksys : http://www.linksys.com/


www.dslforum.org in-depth technical DSL overview

www.dsllife.com consumer-friendly DSL information

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Last modified: November 08, 2002