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Not All Internet Connections are Created Equal

There are several types of internet connections out there. We've got lightning fast as well as the slow and not-so-steady. One thing is for sure: no connection is like another. So what are the differences? And which one is right for your clinic? 


Dial-up, which runs over telephone lines and relies on modems, is the slowest type of Internet connection. As GlobalCom puts it, “this is the grandpappy of internet connections.” While dial-up is generally more accessible (especially in rural areas) and inexpensive, the connection does occupy a phone line and requires a lot of patience. Be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting for pages to load. Sites with interactive forms, images, streaming music, or videos will most likely not load at all.

3G/4G (wireless cellular internet) is available through cell phone providers and typically on smartphones and tablet devices. Many mobile devices, though, have a “hotspot” feature that, when enabled, emit an internet signal. This allows other internet-ready devices, like your laptop, to connect to 3 or 4G. While this internet connection is convenient, speed and connectivity are common issues. Because every cell provider customer is tapping into the same connection as everyone else, 3G and 4G speeds aren’t that much faster than dial-up.

Satellite is faster than dial-up and offers good connectivity. However, this connection is quite expensive—too expensive for home users or small businesses. Additionally, because satellite internet connects with satellites, activity issues similar to those experienced with satellite TV can occur.

DSL (digital subscriber line) is similar to dial-up in that the connection occurs through phone lines. However, DSL sends signals on a higher frequency than dial-up, which results in better connectivity and improved loading times. With DSL, you’re always connected—no need to “dial in.” Your phone line is also not occupied by the connection. Over the years, speed has improved with DSL, but typically better connectivity is more costly.

Cable is traditionally more expensive than dial-up and basic DSL; however, most cable companies offer package deals for cable, internet, and phone services. In terms of speed, cable is far faster than dial-up and most DSL connections. No matter what bandwidth option you select, page load times, downloads, and uploads are all faster with cable. Also, cable connects via coaxial cables (or a wireless router), so no phone lines involved.

To test your internet connection speed, please visit www.speedtest.net.


What internet connection is right for your clinic? Most members find that WebPT runs best through a cable connection. Cable is fast, convenient, and relatively affordable—especially when combined with other cable company services. In rural areas where cable might not be available, DSL is preferable to dial-up. Most WebPT Members' internet connection is 10mbps download and 1mbps upload speed, and therefore, this is a recommended minimum speed. 

Dial-up took off in the 90s with the .com boom. The internet has evolved. More importantly, websites have evolved. To effectively use the latest and greatest web-based services, interactive websites, and applications, your clinic needs strong, reliable connectivity.

What internet connection do you have? How does it work for your clinic? Which connection does WebPT work best on for you?

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