Broadband Access Technologies

There are currently four methods for broadband access: wireline (DSL), cable, terrestrial wireless (both fixed and mobile) and satellite.


ADSL and similar products are essentially high-speed modems that enable transmissions over metallic phone lines, which are widely available in most residential areas.

The weakness of this technology is signal degradation through copper lines - the further the customer resides from a switching station, the slower their connection will be, so it is available only in fairly well urbanized areas.


Cable access, which is effected over metal or fiber optic cables, has long been in use for audiovisual (television) transmission to the residential market. They have also been exploited to provide internet access via unused "channels"

The total bandwidth can approach speeds of 1 GHz, though often there is considerably more downstream bandwidth (capacity for data to be sent to the home) than upstream (capacity for data from the home to be broadcast to the network), where the speed seldom exceeds 8 MHz.

An early issue with cable communications was the shared bandwidth from users on a network branch, and while this was addressed by increasing the number of channels available for data transmission as well as signal strengthening, shared-bandwidth remains a characteristic of such networks.


Wireless data communication systems are fundamentally a modified form of radio transmissions between a base station and a receiving unit, which may be either stationery or mobile, the advantage of which is that connected devices no longer need a physical circuit to be connected.

Bandwidth between wireless device and the base station is often limited, and is shared among units within range, such that a typical base station has a total capacity of 500 MB/s that may be around 7 MB/s to devices - however, this bandwidth is entirely symmetrical.

The radio spectrum allocated to access systems, between 10 and 38 GHz, is finite, and base systems set at the same frequency will conflict, much in the way two radio stations transmitting on the same "channel" will, with the strongest channel winning out.


Satellite transmission is currently being used to deliver broadcast entertainment TV to consumers in rural locations.

In most instances, satellite is used for one-way transmission (base station to residence), though there are instances in which satellite is being used for two-way transmissions.

The primary advantage of satellite transmission is location: specifically, satellite transmissions can reach any location, regardless of proximity to the base station or the geographic terrain surrounding the receiver.

Evolution of the Broadband Platform

There's a great deal of granular information, that generally comes down to this: broadband connections to the home have evolved from single-purpose to networked.

Presently, a single "line" enters the home and is networked to various rooms: the television set in the living room, computers in the office (and elsewhere), telephones in various locations.

The author does not mention that home networking has itself become more common: most individuals own multiple computers, and may have a wired Ethernet connection in their home, or a wireless router, or both.


There are various technologies that enable broadband access to the home, and to every room in the home. The author does not care to argue which one is superior, or which will "win" over the others, merely that various options exist, and will continue to exist, that enable broadband connectivity to every home, in any location, even remote and rural areas.

EN: It's likely the technology will continue to evolve, such that others methods will arise and possibly surpass them.