At some point in time you may be considering getting your own Internet access. Whether you're leaving the dorms to move off campus, leaving behind the speedy ResNet, or simply haven't had Internet access in the past and are ready to be online, you will need some way of getting connected. When it comes to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), there are several options in the Iowa City area that you can choose from. See ISP Options in the Iowa City Area for a list of providers and their contact information or read on for an explanation of the different types of ISPs available.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
One option for Internet access is DSL, which stands for digital subscriber line. This is Internet access that you connect to through your phone line using a special modem, which can either be bought or rented from the ISP. DSL is high speed and always connected to the Internet. By using DSL you will be able to use the Internet and your telephone at the same time. Where you live and what company you chose will determine how much this service will cost.
Cable Internet uses your coaxial cable line to gain Internet access. A cable modem connects to the Internet via a cable line, and to your computer using either an Ethernet or USB 2.0 cord. Using cable Internet also provides a dedicated and high-speed connection to the Internet. In Iowa City, the only provider of cable Internet is Mediacom.
The most cost effective method for accessing the Internet is still dial-up. However, what you save in money you more than likely will spend in time, waiting for pages to load or email to send. Dial-up access uses your existing telephone line and plugs directly into your computer. It requires a modem to be built in to your computer. Many older computers had modems built in standard, but as dial-up access has waned in popularity, modems are less and less common in newer computers. And unlike DSL, you cannot use your telephone at the same time as you are connected to the Internet with dial-up access.
If you can't get cable or DSL where you live, and dial-up service just doesn't work out for you, there might be another option. High-speed (though somewhat pricey) satellite Internet is available to anyone in the northern hemisphere with an "unobstructed view of the southern sky". The speed available with satellite Internet is not as great as with a direct line (like DSL or Cable), but if you are in an area that does not have access to cable or DSL and you would like an option besides dial-up, this may be a potential solution.
See ISP Options in the Iowa City Area for a list of providers.