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Compare Wired vs Wireless Internet Access Costs

Wired Internet Access Service Overview

Wired Internet access has long been the traditional choice for homes and small businesses. As the name suggests, wired Internet access relies on physical cords and cables to connect computers to the Internet.

Wired Internet access works well if you have a single desktop that will remain in a fixed location. Or, you can create a wired network that allows multiple computers in the home or office to share an Internet connection and communicate with one another. In that case, the computers must be connected to one another with Ethernet cables or through a central router.

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How Much Does Wired Internet Access Cost?

For home use, wired Internet access usually costs anywhere from $25 to $60 per month. DSL falls on the lower end of that price range, while cable Internet access falls on the high end. Most providers also offer more expensive plans ranging from $75 to $200 per month that vastly increase upload and download speeds.

Small businesses can expect to pay $60 to $125 for a wired DSL connection and $100 to $400 a month for wired cable Internet.

Installation costs vary depending on the scope of the work. Some Internet service providers offer basic installation free of charge. But if you’re looking to create a wired network that links multiple computers, printers, game consoles and the like, you could spend anywhere from about $100 to $300 or more.

Wired Internet Access Pros

  • More reliable - Wired networks are generally more reliable than wireless networks. There’s no risk of interference from other wireless signals or appliances.
  • More secure - Wired networks are less vulnerable to attacks by hackers.
  • Faster - Wired networks tend to have faster transmission speeds. They’re a better choice for people who use a large amount of bandwidth, including avid gamers and anyone who downloads very large media files.

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Wired Internet Access Cons

  • Fixed location - With a wired connection, you’re tied to a fixed location. And the length of the wire runs is limited. The longer the wire, the slower your connection will be.
  • Messy look - Cords and cables are unsightly. The look is not as neat and tidy as with wireless Internet.

Wireless (Wi-Fi) Internet Access Overview

Wireless Internet access is a newer technology, although it has become very common in the last few years. A wireless network uses radio waves, rather than cables, to transmit information to and from your computer.

To set up a Wi-fi network, you’ll need a wireless router that hooks up to your broadband connection. The connection can be shared among several computers without the need for wires or cables.

How Much Does Wireless Internet Access Cost?

Wireless Internet access is no more expensive than wired access - the service is essentially the same. However, you’ll have to pay extra for the wireless router. Typically, you can rent a wireless router from your Internet service provider for a nominal monthly fee. Or you can buy one for less than $100.

As with wired networks, installation costs vary based upon the scope of work. If you’re looking to set up a complex network that unites multiple computers, printers, TVs and game consoles, budget anywhere from $100 to $300 or more.

Wireless Internet Access Pros

  • Mobility - Wireless Internet access is ideal for those who use a lap top. You’re not fixed to one location, as with a wired connection. You can access the Internet from the couch, the kitchen or your bedroom.
  • Cleaner look - There are no messy cords and wires to deal with when you have wireless Internet access. The look is cleaner and neater.

Wireless Internet Access Cons

  • Not as reliable - Wireless networks are subject to interference from other wireless signals and appliances such as garage door openers and microwaves. The network performance is also distance sensitive; the farther you are located from the router, the slower the connection will be.
  • Not as secure - Wireless networks are more vulnerable to attacks from hackers. And to prevent neighbors from using your Wi-Fi and slowing the connection, you’ll need to protect the network with a password.
  • Slower - Wireless networks tend to be a little slower, but you aren’t likely to notice the difference unless you use a large amount of bandwidth. Wireless connections are more than sufficient for web surfing, checking email and downloading files.

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