Current Situation with Hotspot 2.0 in Mobile and Fixed Applications

To effectively read the article, some familiarity with mobile networks is assumed.

We haven’t talked about offloading or unloading mobile data traffic from mobile networks over a Wi-Fi network for a long time.. But the situation nevertheless continues to evolve. Such offload can be, let’s say, a clean offload using existing modern Wi-Fi networks or offload using Hotspot 2.0 technologies. To a greater extent, we will talk about the version with the use of HS2.0. Such an approach is widely and hotly debated today in narrow circles. Moreover, some operators have already tested something or even launched commercial solutions in one form or another. It can be said that the flame of new interest flares up around HS2.0 after the surge and fall in 2012-2013 due to the lack of compatible devices and provisioning mechanisms. Moreover, the possibility of using HS2.0 is not only a privilege of mobile operators or MVNO, but it can also be used by all other fixed operators and providers.

Probably, it makes no sense to discuss the fundamental advantages of using unlicensed or conditionally unlicensed spectrum in comparison with the licensed (actually Wi-Fi against 3G / 4G) to serve the huge and ever-increasing amount of data traffic generated by various mobile or other non-stationary devices. This was mentioned many times in various articles and on our resource in particular. On the other hand, without a clear understanding of the architecture of the target system solution, the features and the business case associated with this solution, many of the advantages can be significantly reduced due to costs, sometimes unnecessary. But first things first.

It should be understood that a Wi-Fi network can be both trusted and untrusted in relation to the network of a mobile communication operator. In this article, we will talk about the version of the trusted Wi-Fi network (Trusted non-3GPP WiFi-Access, in accordance with the recommendations of 3GPP). The untrusted option implies the need to address the issue of security, which is usually transformed into the formation of IPSec tunnels between the client device and the mobile packet bark. This imposes the need for specialized clients on a mobile device, as well as devices for terminating such tunnels in the cortex, plus very expensive licenses and the like. Operators usually prefer to work with a trusted option that is much simpler and potentially cheaper. In the case of a trusted Wi-Fi network, this network belongs to either the mobile operator itself or its partner, a fixed telecom operator operating in the MVNO model with respect to this mobile operator. I.e, we have a Wi-Fi access network completely or conditionally controlled by a mobile operator. Naturally, such an approach makes it necessary to integrate a Wi-Fi network with a mobile packet bark of a mobile telecommunications operator. Or, in some rare cases, elements of a mobile packet cortex are purchased and deployed by a fixed provider who wishes to receive an MVNO solution of a deeper level.

Hotspot 2.0 in Mobile and Fixed Applications

For fixed operators or providers, there is usually no need to somehow integrate with the mobile network. Here, devices without a mobile radio, such as all sorts of desktop computers and laptops, tablets with Wi-Fi, are of higher priority. Although, of course, in many cases, users with the most common mobile smartphones and tablets with Wi-Fi radio will also knock on such a wireless access network, and we should be ready for this.

This results in the variants of clients that such a trusted Wi-Fi network must be able to authenticate and maintain:

Mobile devices with a SIM or USIM card that do not support HS2.0
2. Mobile devices with a SIM or USIM card, supporting HS2.0 R1
3. Mobile devices with a SIM card or a USIM card that support HS2.0 R2
(this is a promising direction at the beginning of 2016)
4. Any devices without a SIM card that do not support HS2.0,
5. Any devices without a SIM card that support HS2.0 R1,
6. Any devices without a SIM card that support HS2.0 R2
(at the beginning of 2016 this is a promising direction)

The diagram below reflects the real high-quality picture of the client devices on the market at the time of publication of the article.

Non-SIM devices can “belong” both to the mobile operator itself, for example, under contracts with B2B clients, and also be clients of a fixed operator acting as MVNO in such a system.

Having touched upon such a topic as the decisions of the Hotspot 2.0 standards group, let’s remember what it is, who does what and what is the meaning of various releases.

Hotspot 2.0 was created to solve the main problem: providing Wi-Fi users the same level of ease of access to the service on a global scale as users of mobile networks. Turned on a device compatible with HS2.0 and magically already online. In this case, the user should not care about what is happening on the network. All other interesting technological capabilities of HS2.0 were added to the solution of this main task.

Three organizations mainly participate in technology standardization under the common name Hotspot 2.0:

1. IEEE

IEEE is developing an 802.11u standard. Support for this standard is mandatory both on the user device side and on the Wi-Fi network side.

2. Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA)

Using the 802.11u standard as the basis of the WFA, it is working on mechanisms for automating network search and user authentication. WFA also solves the problem of compatibility of user devices and the network through the provision of joint testing procedures. WFA has organized and maintains a Passpoint certification program. This program has already passed hundreds of devices that are compatible with HS2.0 Release 1 and is currently working on certification of devices and technologies for HS2.0 Release 2. Actually, the Wi-Fi Alliance, by and large, creates what is eventually accepted call hotspot 2.0.

3. Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA)

The WBA is developing technology compatibility requirements in commercial solutions using IEEE and WFA. The WBA has launched and is promoting a very important initiative called Next Generation Hotspot (NGH). NGH aims to form global inter-network roaming mechanisms for Wi-Fi access service providers. There are still more open questions than answers, and the process is slow. In fact, the option of inter-network roaming in a meaningful form (functionally limited) is so far achieved by connecting the operator’s network with a Wi-Fi aggregator supporting HS2.0. Today, this functionality has been demonstrated by Boingo. At the time of the publication of the article, Boingo supported HS2.0 service for Apple iOS devices compatible with HS2.0 / R1. Another large iPass aggregator is also working on a similar service.

At the beginning of 2016 there are two developed releases Hotspot 2.0. Developers had to go to such a division since the task initially set was extremely difficult to implement.

1. Hotspot 2.0, Release-1

R1 aims to provide automatic user access to the service in hotspots ( WiFi networks ), where this user can be authenticated and authorized. By using 802.1x in conjunction with the 802.11i security architecture, authentication at the second level and radio channel encryption in public hotspots are provided. Additionally, it became possible to integrate multiple partner providers behind an HS2.0 compliant network and provide their users with automatic access through a single HS2.0 compliant SSID. The R1 began to use the IEEE 802.11u standard, and the Access Network Query Protocol (ANQP) search and exchange protocol was introduced.

Despite the fact that at the moment there are many network components and user devices that are compatible with HS2.0 / R1, these devices do not yet dominate the device market. And, most importantly, the provisioning of user devices integrated into the system solution was not implemented in R1. Thus, to build a network of HS2.0 / R1 and the use of compatible user devices will have to solve the issue of configuration management.

2. Hotspot 2.0, Release-2

R2 addresses the challenges of managing user devices and provisioning subscriptions. To solve this complex task, the OMA-DM (Open Mobile Alliance’s Device Management) architecture was introduced, ensuring the use of an XML-based tree structure. Also in R2, new network elements were introduced, the main one being the OSU (Online SignUp server), designed to provide secure provisioning and adding devices supporting R2 to the network (onboarding).

To understand the difference between accessing an HS2.0 device to a WiFi / HS2.0 network from any conventional Wi-Fi device (not HS2.0) to a regular Wi-Fi network, let’s look at how the interaction occurs in network HS2.0.

So Access to the Network with Support for HS2.0:

The Wi-Fi access point sends beacons that contain additional fields in accordance with the 802.11u standard. User devices that understand 802.11u listen to these beacons.
• User devices send samples with 802.11u fields.
• The device selects an access point and sends an ANQP request requesting HS2.0 information. This may be, for example:
– location name (name of the store, stadium, etc.), –
IP addressing,
– network identifier (NAI Realm),
– DNS sheet, external data channel (WAN) metrics.
• The access point responds with ANQP providing information.
This could be, for example:
-SuperShoppingMall
-IPv4 NAT
-MNO-aaabbb.com / TTLS
-MCC yyy MNC zzz
-MNO.com
-12/3 Mbps, Up / Up
• The device compares the pre-configured profile on itself with the data received from the access point and performs the association to the desired SSID if it is possible.

Everything described above, if the user device supports HS2.0 and has already been retested for this by its home carrier, occurs automatically. The network where the user wants to access must maintain roaming relationships with his home operator. This can be achieved through direct inter-operator integration or through access to specialized HS2.0 compliant traffic exchange points. Or it can be a joint with a compatible Wi-Fi aggregator, for example, such as the previously mentioned Boingo. If everything is built as it should, then the user simply wants to use this access – and forward to the Internet. With the right developments, if the device supports HS2.0 and 802.1x, there is no need to search for the desired network, enter a Credentials etc.

Now let’s dwell on what options of off-road exist and how they differ. The names are quite conditional, but reflecting the essence of the question.

  1. Simple or ordinary offload
  2. Offload using Hotspot 2.0

Simple offload implies the possibility for b About proceed of the modern devices to access the Wi-Fi network. At the same time, mobile devices should be able to offload mobile data traffic with support for one of the following authentication methods specific to mobile devices: EAP-SIM, EAP-USIM, EAP-AKA. Usually, EAP-SIM is used today. Given the fact that the client information, in this case, is stored in the HLR (Home Local Register) or HSS (Home Subscription Server) of the mobile carrier, the Wi-Fi network must be integrated via the RADIUS protocol with the mobile bark. By the way, st OhIt is to say that in some situations HLR may be part of the HSS structure, but this is rare. Note that the HLR does not support the RADIUS protocol, and EAP methods are transmitted in RADIUS messages, so the typical practice is to convert EAP-SIM to SIGTRAN to interact with the HLR. In case of sufficiently old HLRs that do not support SIGTRAN, but the only SS7 on digital streams of type E1 / T1 or more, STP (Signaling Transfer Point) can be used. Depending on the vendor, often such an element is not only capable of terminating RADIUS with EAP-SIM, but also converting EAP-SIM to SS7 and transmitting via TDM channels. In an IP network, the function of converting EAP-SIM to SIGTRAN is most often performed by an AAA Server with the functionality of a MAP converter or MAP gateway. For non-SIM clients, EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, PEAP methods within 802 are very popular.

If the presence of clients that do not support 802.1x is allowed, then web authentication can be enabled through a web portal. It should be noted that web portals are rapidly losing popularity due to the low level of security of this approach. In some situations, web portals are beginning to be used to provision (change configuration) devices. In this case, a profile can be located on the portal for making changes in the device configuration to, for example, start using its Hotspot 2.0 functions. The user can download such a profile, apply, and then everything will happen automatically. So today Apple iOS devices that support HS2.0 / R1 are configured, and more recently, similar support has been added to Android 6.

If the operator’s Wi-Fi network is built on a centralized architecture controlled by a wireless controller, then such a controller usually performs the function of a proxy server, for example, for a RADIUS protocol, forwarding RADIUS messages to an external AAA Server, or for HTTP / HTTPS protocol, performing Redirect (redirect) such messages to an external web portal. Even if the WLAN controller has a built-in web portal and any authentication capabilities, the use of external devices is done to scale the solution and to get much more extensive AAA functionality and many other advantages.

The WLAN controller, in addition to the integrated Wi-Fi network management function itself, can also perform the WAG function (Wireless Access Gateway, 3GPP). Or, WAG can be a separate device working together with the controller in a single solution. If you don’t go into details that are not very important at this stage, then the main task of WAG is to unite the WiFi world with the mobile world by forming various tunnels and, above all, GTP tunnels (GTP: GPRS Tunneling Protocol). A GTP connection is generally performed in one of the following ways:

  1. Integration of WAG and 3G GGSN by using GTPv1
  2. Integration of WAG and 4G PGW by using GTPv2

In order not to complicate, let us leave the description of the interfaces behind the crowd of this article. You can always find these details in the relevant 3GPP documents.

Now let’s get back to using the GTP protocol to integrate a Wi-Fi network with a mobile packet bark. This approach, on the one hand, is recommended by 3GPP, but to what extent is this justified for telecom operators participating in the project, especially for the mobile operator? Let’s figure it out.

A mobile device in a mobile network transmits data through the so-called PS-domain (packet switched) or domain with packet-switched. In this case, voice traffic is transmitted through a CS-domain (circuit switched) or a circuit-switched domain. Theoretically, fourth-generation networks (LTE / Advanced-LTE) can support both voice and data over IP, thereby transforming into an All-IP network, but such homogeneous networks with large-scale voice and data support over IP can assume almost none. Mobile networks, even the most modern, are heterogeneous, combining in themselves the legacy of past years and modern technologies. And with this one has to live in the real world. This results in extreme difficulties in the implementation of handovers with saving the session from the access of one technology (for example, 3G) to the access of another technology (for example, Wi-Fi) and vice versa. And it is much more difficult with voice sessions, especially if such a session was initiated in the cs-domain of the mobile network and it is necessary to continue it in the Wi-Fi network, which by definition is packet-based or vice versa. It must be said that some solutions to the problem exist, but none has yet become widely accepted. In general, this is a big and complex issue that is not the topic of this article.

It is important to know that many of today’s mobile devices, if not all, after joining the Wi-Fi network and starting offload data traffic to this network, continue to maintain their GTP tunnel into the mobile packet cortex through the mobile network. In addition to this, one more GTP tunnel from WAG to the packet bark for the session of the same subscriber necessarily occurs. Thus, to implement mobile data offload in Wi-Fi with integration via GTP tunnels, it is often necessary to significantly increase the number of licenses and the performance of mobile packet cortex (GGSN and / or PGW). That is, in the first approximation, we can very roughly talk about the need to double the number of licenses in the bark. Of course, this can and must be carefully optimized, but for simplicity of perception, we will assume the doubling assumption. Hence, for a large subscriber base of a mobile operator, only modification of the package bark can add millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, to a project. And that’s not counting the actual deployment of the Wi-Fi network and WAG gateways.

A number of mobile operators clearly prefer to receive data traffic, regardless of the type of access to their packet bark, in order to apply a single polishing mechanism, traffic calculation and billing to all subscribers. This is a clear desire, but its implementation eventually becomes very expensive in practice.

In addition to GTP tunnels, other tunneling technologies can be used for integration, for example, PMIPv6, SoftGRE and a number of other, less popular ones. But GTP remains the most common and clear option for today for mobile telecom operators.

What can be done to reduce the cost of building a solution for offload? In any case, for offload mobile data will have to perform integration at least to ensure the authentication of subscribers. Perhaps one of the most interesting (and financially significant) questions at the same time – is it necessary to integrate with the mobile packet cortex through these or other tunnel technologies? Under certain conditions, this cannot be avoided, for example, with the unequivocal demand for maintaining continuity of sessions. But this condition imposes a lot of additional requirements, such as the introduction of the Home Agent function, etc. Another situation arises when the mobile operator wants all data traffic, regardless of the type of access, to be sent to its packet core. We discussed motivation earlier. Such a desire is understandable and obvious, but the price of realization is very high,

Is it necessary to tunnel traffic into the mobile packet cortex, if there are no special conditions? The control part of the traffic (Control plane), first of all, RADIUS messages, will have to be transferred in any way from the Wi-Fi network to the mobile core to perform subscriber authentication, as described earlier. But data traffic (Data plane) is not necessary to redirect to the kernel. It can be completely terminated locally, directly at access points, and redirected to the nearest route to the Internet. This is called a local breakout. If the operator has a full-featured 3GPP AAA server, then it can be used not only to authenticate subscribers but also to perform accounting for traffic calculation and billing. At the same time, such an AAA server is usually able to convert RADIUS to SIGTRAN. If such an AAA server already exists with the operator,

As an example, some large mobile operators even conducted quite successful offload testing and Hotspot 2.0 with integration via GTP, and then carefully considered the full costs and realized that offload was needed, but costs needed to be optimized. As a result, offload and Hotspot 2.0 remained, but during the transition to the commercial operation, they refused from tunnels to the core, performing local data traffic termination. This allowed to reduce costs to an acceptable level and at the same time successfully complete the task.

If we follow the simplified path, then to deploy a solution with Hotspot 2.0, which will be able to work with both HS2.0- and non-HS2.0 clients, it will be required in the general case:

  1. Wi-Fi access points that support HS2.0 (802.11u).
  2. Wi-Fi network controller supporting HS2.0
  3. AAA server for authentication and accounting of its users and integration with other networks through a RADIUS proxy mechanism. To integrate with mobile bark on the AAA server, you need a MAP gateway functionality.
  4. Means of safely introducing new customers to the network (onboarding).

You will also have to resolve issues of integration with other carrier networks or aggregators.

The short format of the article can not cover all the nuances and pitfalls on the difficult path of implementing solutions HS2.0, but we tried to touch on the main aspects and features.

Do I Need a Firewall if I Have a Router

Hardware or software firewall; There are two types of firewalls or firewalls: hardware and software. Your router, for example, is running your hardware firewall while Windows has a firewall software, or, to say it in Greek, a software firewall. There are other third-party firewalls that you can install but today we will talk about the two mentioned above.

In August 2003, if you connected Windows XP without a firewall, it would be a victim within minutes of the Blaster worm. The worm exploited vulnerabilities in the network services used by Windows XP to connect to the Internet.

So, in addition to the necessary installation of all security updates, the use of a firewall is considered necessary, especially on Windows computers. Do you need a software firewall if you use a router that is considered a hardware firewall?

How Routers Work as Hardware Firewalls

Home routers use a network address translation (or NAT from network address translation) to share an IP address from the Internet service you use on your home-office computers.
When incoming traffic from the Internet to your router arrives, and the router does not know the computer to which it is forwarding, it will reject the traffic. In fact, NAT acts like a firewall that prevents incoming requests from entering your computer. Depending on the router you are using, you may also be able to block specific types of outbound traffic by changing the device settings.

How Software Firewalls Work

A firewall software runs on your computer and allows or denies incoming traffic. Windows itself has a built-in software firewall by default since Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Because software firewalls work on your computer, they can track which applications they want to use the Internet and block or allow traffic on demand.

If you connect your computer directly to the Internet, it is important to use a software firewall. Windows Firewall application is enough.

Hardware Firewall and Software Firewall

Hardware and software firewalls can:

Exclude undesired incoming traffic by default, protecting vulnerable network services.
They block some types of outbound traffic. (Although this feature may not be present on some routers.)

Advantages of a software firewall:

A hardware firewall is located between your computer and the Internet, while a software firewall software is located between your computer and the network. If other computers on your network are infected, the software firewall can protect your computer.
Software firewalls allow you to easily control network access by the application. In addition to controlling incoming traffic, a software firewall can alert you when an application on your computer wants to connect to the Internet and allow you to block it.

Advantages of a hardware firewall:

A hardware firewall is not inside your computer but outside of it. So if you are infected by a worm, malicious software may perhaps turn off the software firewall but not the hardware firewall.

Hardware firewalls can provide centralized network management. So if your network is large, you can configure your firewall settings more easily from a single device. This also prevents users from changing settings on their computers.

Do they both need?

It is important to use at least one type of firewall, hardware or software. Routers and software firewalls often provide similar functions but each of them provides unique benefits.

If you already have a router firewall and you have the Windows Firewall turned on, you’re more secure at no real cost in performance.

You do not need to use third-party software to replace the Windows Firewall, but you can, if you want more and easier features.

NETGEAR at CES 2019: Meet all the New Networking Teams Presented

The manufacturer NETGEAR has presented at CES 2019 held in Las Vegas their new equipment that will go on sale this year 2019, and we anticipate that this year is really interesting. NETGEAR, as you all know, is a leader in Wi-Fi Mesh equipment, and of course, they have introduced a new Orbi with the Wi-Fi 6 standard, to make it work even faster. Do you want to know all the news of NETGEAR in the CES 2019? Do not miss this article.

NETGEAR Orbi RBK152: The Wi-Fi Mesh with Wi-Fi 6 system

NETGEAR has introduced the new Orbi top of the range, its name is Orbi RBK152 and is the top of the range with the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50. NETGEAR has not revealed too many details, but we do know that it will be based on the Qualcomm platform, just like all Orbi, its CPU has four cores, it supports a total of 12 streams. We believe that, therefore, it will be of class AX11000, although we do not know if the wireless clients will use Wi-FI 5 (Wi-Fi N in 2.4GHz and Wi-Fi AC in 5GHz), or if we will face the Clients also Wi-Fi 6 that would be logical.

In case we have Wi-Fi 6 for interconnection and wireless clients, this means that we will have AX6000 class facing the clients, so we will have up to 1148Mbps of speed in the 2.4GHz band, and a speed of up to 4804Mbps in the 5GHz band. The second band of frequencies in 5GHz is oriented specifically to the interconnection of the Orbi, it is a dedicated band, and here we will have a wireless link of 4804Mbps of speed, something really impressive.

This equipment is not the first with Wi-Fi 6 from the manufacturer since in November they presented their top-of-the-line routers to face the competition.

Related to the NETGEAR Orbi that we currently have in the market, NETGEAR has announced ” Armor “, a Bitdefender security suite that will allow us to protect all the equipment in our home, since it incorporates a complete security suite. This “Armor” is exactly the same as some routers of the manufacturer already have, like the NETGEAR R7000P, it is a payment service that has 90 free trial days, but that later we will have to pay about 70 euros per year. An important detail is that Armor includes Bitdefender Total Security software to install it on the computers and laptops that we have in our home, in an unlimited way, it is compatible with Windows and MacOS. We will also be able to install this software on our Android.

NETGEAR has also announced a Wi-Fi hotspot called ” Orbi Pro Mesh Wi-Fi Ceiling Satellite ” that we can integrate into the Orbi Pro family to increase coverage in small and medium businesses. This equipment is powered by PoE and will use the wired return network for communication with the rest of Orbi, although it would also support communication via Wi-Fi if we have FastLane3.

NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot

The manufacturer NETGEAR has also bet on CES 2019 for the new 5G that is just around the corner, but this time, instead of presenting a 5G desktop router, has introduced a MiFi, ie a portable 5G router with a built-in battery.

An important detail is that, in principle, this equipment is only available for the AT & T network in the US, but very possibly it will arrive in Spain in the very near future, either with a similar model and even the same one but with different firmware. This 5G router has a state-of-the-art Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem.

Manageable NETGEAR switches, professional AP and router for SMEs

The manufacturer has launched a new series of switches called NETGEAR Smart Managed Pro S350, these switches support the IPv6 protocol, and are available in models with 2 or 4 SFP ports. All are Gigabit Ethernet ports, either with RJ-45 or SFP, in addition, there are also two models (the 8-port and the 24-port) with PoE + to power access points. Regarding the management features, we have the typical functions of an L2 + switch.

The NETGEAR WAC540 is a professional access point that belongs to the Insight Smart Cloud family. This equipment is a simultaneous triple band with Wi-Fi AC3000, we can get up to 400Mbps in the 2.4GHz band, up to 867Mbps speed in the first 5GHz band, and up to 1733Mbps in the second 5GHz band. This professional AP includes the possibility of doing band-steering, has Beamforming to focus the wireless signal on customers, has load balancing, Airtime Fairness, and also incorporates Wi-Fi roaming. Being a professional team, we also have QoS, centralized management with Insight, a possibility of configuring VLANs and much more.

Finally, we have the NETGEAR WAC124, a router that will allow us to manage a professional network, since we will be able to separate the Wi-Fi networks, and, in addition, it is integrated into the Insight family for its management in the cloud. The most remarkable thing about this router is that it is of professional range, therefore, we will have the possibility of managing VLANs, creating several SSIDs, etc.

This router is a simultaneous dual-band with Wi-Fi AC2000, in the 2.4GHz band we can get a speed of up to 300Mbps, and in the 5GHz band, we can get a speed of up to 1733Mbps. Other features of this equipment is that we will have a Gigabit Ethernet port for the Internet WAN, and four Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN. We do not have USB ports to share files in the local network.

Checkout: Configure NetGear Router Now!

New security systems NETGEAR Arlo

NETGEAR Arlo is the family of IP video surveillance systems for our home. The manufacturer has presented at CES 2019 new equipment to this family, such as a multi-sensor device that is sold “all in one”. These “all in one” devices will allow us to detect movement if the doors and windows are open or closed, and it is also capable of detecting smoke, carbon monoxide in the environment, changes in temperature and also water losses.

It has also presented the Siren Arlo, a siren that can be used outdoors and that runs on battery, ideal for setting alert notifications in case of an event. This siren can be activated or deactivated with the Arlo Remote, remote control from the manufacturer.

All these devices need the Arlo SmartHub, the base of IP cameras that we had in Arlo cameras. NETGEAR has announced that Arlo SmartHub will be compatible with other manufacturers, to allow the interaction of different devices in the smart home. Finally, NETGEAR has announced an IP camera with 4K resolution, and also that the current Arlo Pro 2 will support Apple HomeKit.

Possibilities and Types of Internet Connection

Internet is part of the day to day of many people. It is a source of research for some, or leisure and work for others. The great computer network expands at great speed, and it is impossible to try to stop it. Such is the utility that is able to lend us, that since the decade of the 60, date of its creation, until today, have developed various ways to connect to it through multiple means, trying to improve their performance and facilitate their access to bring it closer to the general public.

However,  this diversity of Internet access methods also entails that many forms of access to the network of networks still coexist, even though some have been forgotten and disused because they have been exceeded in terms of speed and quality of service.  This obviously lends itself to confusion, and that is why in this article we will find everything necessary to understand what are the possibilities of Internet connection, its advantages, disadvantages and how they work.

Internet Connection by Telephone Line

Also called dial-up, it ‘s the oldest Internet connection method and it was the only one used when the network of networks took its first steps. The access is made by the user through a modem and a conventional telephone line. This type of connection is less and less used since the data transmission capacity does not exceed 56 kbps, which makes navigation very slow. With the popularization of broadband access services and their very accessible prices, dial-up access is practically extinct.

In addition to the low speed, the connection by telephone line is not stable and keeps the telephone line busy when connected to the internet. In other words, you surf the Internet or talk on the phone. Regardless of the time when the internet is accessed, the expenses of the telephone bill can increase considerably.

Types of Internet connection

On the other hand, it is the simplest Internet connection. All you need is an available telephone line, a PC with a modem and an Internet access provider, either free or paid. In the case of paid access, they offer various plans with unlimited browsing hours and access to limited or unlimited data. It is necessary to remember that the quality and stability of the free access providers may be lower than the paid providers.

Internet connection by xDSL

The xDSL connection is provided through the conventional telephone network, but it differs from dial-up access. A modem converts the information into an electrical signal that transforms it into a frequency different to that used for the voice, in this way a signal does not interfere with the use of the telephone. This means that you can surf the internet and use the phone at the same time. However, it is good to remember that it is necessary that the PC has an Ethernet network board.

The xDSL service works by hiring an access provider, as does dial-up, and it is possible to access services at different speeds. For example, in the ADSL, the speed varies from 256 kbps to 8 Mbps; in the ADSL2 or ADSL2 + it goes from 256 kbps up to 24 Mbps; in the VDSL it can reach a speed of 52 Mbps and in the VDSL2 up to 100 Mbps.

The xDLS has the disadvantage that being a shared service,  navigation can be slower during peak hours, when many users use the Internet simultaneously. ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2 +, SDSL, IDSL, HDSL, SHDSL, VDSL and VDSL2 belong to this family of services , with ADSL being the most used worldwide.

What is ADSL?

The ADSL, or “Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line”, is a type of technology that, using a common telephone line, allows the user to digitally transfer data at high speed. The reason for this technology to be “asymmetric” is in the fact that there is a significant difference between the download (download) and upload (upload) rates.

Why is it possible to talk on the phone with ADSL while browsing?

Because ADSL technology divides the telephone line into three digital channels, being one for voice, another for download and the last for upload.

What are the differences between ADSL and ADSL2 / 2 +?

Basically, the most notable difference is speed and technology. While ADSL can reach download levels of 8 Mbps (megabytes per second), ADSL 2/2 + reaches up to 24 Mbps, however, both have the same maximum shipping limit: 1 Mbps.

Why is the upload speed of both of them the same?

The team that developed the ADSL2 / 2 + decided to only increase the download rate (without altering the upload rate), because according to the typical traffic profile of ADSL users, 1 Mbps would be sufficient for their needs.

Internet connection by radio (Wireless connections)

Internet access by radio is a way to extend a broadband connection to some place where the service is not available. That point can be from a small restricted area, such as an office, to a complete city. For that, it is necessary to configure a network without cables. Wi-fi and Wi-Max are included in this modality.

One of the advantages of the radio connection is the possibility of distributing the access and guarantee of mobility to the users. The basic infrastructure requires a point of delivery of Internet service, which can be a cable, xDSL or satellite access, a modem compatible with the service, an Access Point and computers with a receiver or wireless network adapter to capture the signal.

By sharing a high capacity connection, users can divide the expenses, at the same time, that the service guarantees them a permanent Internet connection and low cost of installation and maintenance. However, simultaneous use for downloads may impair access.

Internet connection by cable television

The cable connection is increasingly popular and uses the same infrastructure as the contracted cable service, which facilitates installation. Many cable television services offer Internet access at different speeds in the package. Only one cable transfers television service and internet data. A device called a splitter separates the cable signal from the web data, and a cable connected to a modem allows access to the internet.

One of the advantages of this type of connection is that it is enough to connect the modem cable to the computer to have a connection, without the need to dial or activate a service. For all this to work, it is necessary to have an Ethernet board installed. This type of access is only possible in regions where there are paid cable television services.

This type of access provides different types of speeds. The speed of navigation, and the limit of downloads and data upload, depend on the package that is contracted.  In addition, the speed is not affected by the number of users or schedules in which the service is used. Unlike xDSL access, the user will always have the same Internet access speed, at any time.

Internet connection by Satellite

Within the framework of a large number of options that can be found to get a speed Internet connection and with certain security conditions, one of the possible alternatives is the technology called “satellite Internet”. Perhaps it is not the most economical proposal, but it can undoubtedly be very valuable at times, especially in rural areas.

Thus, in those sectors of the country in which broadband is conspicuous by its absence, whether through ADSL technology, cellular telephony or cable, one of the remaining alternatives is the satellite connection to the network. Obviously, the technological resources employed are not at all simple and require certain specialized tools that make the service more expensive.

One of the advantages of the satellite Internet connection is that the access does not depend on the location. In this way you will have access to the internet anywhere the coverage comes. However, the more remote the place where we are, the more powerful the signal will be.

However, in order to access the satellite Internet service, we will need specific equipment that usually has a very high cost. It is necessary to acquire an antenna capable of capturing the satellite signal and transmit it to the computer that has an internal or external receiver modem . In some cases, the antenna is supplied by the service provider itself. In some cases, speeds of up to 30 Mb can be achieved.

To be able to connect via satellite Internet, an artificial satellite is needed as a means of communication. This system can provide a service of similar quality to which any of the other broadband technologies known to date.

The artificial satellite works to connect to the Internet in a manner very similar to the way in which digital television transmissions are made, since the standard used is the same. In both cases the DVB, or Digital Video Broadcasting protocol is used .

Technology to be used for satellite Internet access

Anyone who wants to enjoy a satellite Internet connection must acquire certain technological tools: a satellite dish, a decoder and a satellite modem. With these three elements, you will be able to connect to the network through the services of any satellite Internet provider.

How does the connection mechanism work in these cases? In principle, the satellite dish captures the satellite signal, which is then conducted to the decoder and, finally, transferred to the modem through a cable. Once the modem has a signal, the computer connected to it can join the network.

Regarding the advantages that can be highlighted of this modality, besides the possibility of reaching geographical points to which other technologies do not access, it is worth mentioning that the satellite connection can incorporate mobility, through a simple mobile antenna that provides a connection in any time and place.

Also, satellite Internet connections usually offer speeds and bandwidths that exceed ADSL services, for example, although of course at higher rates. In addition, to these more onerous quotas the expense of buying the necessary technical elements, such as the satellite dish, the decoder and the satellite modem, must be added. At the same time, it is very likely that the installation must be carried out through a technical service, due to the characteristics and complexity of it.

PLC: Internet through the electrical network

Undoubtedly, PLC technology (Power Line Communications) is one of the most interesting forms of connection mentioned in this post, since it takes advantage of power lines to transmit data at high speed.

This type of technology allows us to access an Internet connection from the house plugs.  Although it does not sound very logical according to what we are used to, such as connections by telephone line, wireless, satellite and others, the lines of access to the network through electric power are already a reality in many countries.

Power Line Communication (PLC)  allows access to the Internet and  create internal networks to share data between different devices,  taking advantage of each electrical appliance of the home as a point of access to the web for any device. It is an excellent alternative for places with limited Wi-Fi connectivity.

Currently it is one of the alternative connection systems most used by users around the world, since among many of the benefits it offers, is the possibility of using the electrical wiring of any house to exchange data between the nodes of a local network, with the convenience of not having to invest in the necessary cable to mount it, something that many homes and small businesses are grateful for.

This type of connection works with adapters, which are placed in the plugs and take the Internet signal. It does not matter that there are walls that interfere with the signal, only electrical appliances are needed. In this way, wireless networks are created in the home,  which, although they do not reach Wi-Fi speed, also have other advantages.

For example, to make a network connection using Ethernet cables the system would be much more complex and less practical. The installation of a PLC network, moreover, is very simple. However, its performance depends on the state of the household electrical installation.

Points to improve in PLC technology

Also, since the PLC sometimes uses the same frequency used by radio amateurs, interference may occur. Another drawback that has made this technology even more difficult today is the interference caused by appliances that consume more energy, such as microwaves or washing machines.

As for the connection speed,  PLC networks can theoretically reach a speed of more than 100 megabits per second. However, everything depends on the factors mentioned above. As with all relatively new technology, this type of connection is in a phase of development and improvement.

Thus, a group of companies called  OPERA (“Open PLC European Research Alliance”)  is currently facing a second phase of the PLC,  with the aim of having a connection technology via electricity that does not produce radio interference and reaches a Speed of up to 200 megabits per second.

Meanwhile, the PLC occupies a minimum strip of global connections, mainly due to the deficiencies that it still presents and the high cost it still entails. However, the practicality and simplicity of PLC use technology allow us to think that if technologically it achieves a higher quality it is likely that in a short time it could become a commercially viable option.

Mobile connections through telephony: 3G and 4G connections

The connection to the internet through cell phones is getting better. The arrival of 3G technology provided broadband to cell phones and granted a navigation speed with considerable acceleration. However, the maximum expression, at least until today, is the appearance in the market of the 4G standard, which allows receiving and sending data at speeds previously impossible to reach, which gives us the possibility to watch videos in HD quality and listen to music directly from the cloud, among others.

Mobility is a great advantage of services of this type. In the case of GSM networks, the transfer speed can reach 800 kbps. In the case of CDMA networks, the transfer can reach a speed of up to 2 Mbps .

These numbers are widely surpassed when our phone is compatible with 3G or 4G, which can greatly exceed these figures, reaching in the case of 3G up to 2 Mbps, and in the case of 4G up to 200 Mbps.

4G era

4G technology is based on IP. Your service will be of high quality and high security, offering your consumers services of any kind, at any time and in any place.

The 4G concept goes beyond a cell phone. The new technologies of mobile broadband networks will allow access to data in devices that operate with IP. The two most explored technologies are: WiMAX and LTE.

What is 4G?

Basically, 4G technology is the logical evolution of the previous mobile wireless connection technologies, and that in this instance can reach minimum transmission speeds of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps), represented by the communication of two mobiles at two points different communicating, or by a mobile and a high speed server, always maintaining high QoS standards.

The greatest benefits of 4G

The advantages of 4G with respect to the previous Internet connection technologies are multiple, but the most important for the user are:

  • Convergence of a wide variety of services, previously accessible only with fixed broadband
  • Costs reduction
  • Widening the use of broadband in society

4G was developed to offer services based on mobile broadband such as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), video chat, mobile TV, HDTV content, Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) and basic services such as voice and data, all at a high speed and quality.