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High-Speed Internet: What's Best for You?

To find the perfect connection, think about your online behavior and read on for the right match.

By Sharon Tanenbaum and Ashley Tate
WiresBeatriz Da CostaRealSimple.com

DSL

Best for those who: Check e-mail sometimes and browse websites. If the basic speed of 768 kilobits per second (kbps) is too slow, faster speeds, like 3 megabits per second (Mbps), are available.
Cost and speed: Around $20 a month for 768 kbps. Downloads a one-megabyte photo in about 10 seconds.
Keep in mind: DSL (digital subscriber line) works through copper phone lines, so if your phone is out of service, your Internet connection might be, too.

Cable

Best for those who: Regularly read and send e-mails; enjoy downloading music and watching videos online.
Cost and speed: Around $40 a month for 6 Mbps. Downloads a one-megabyte photo in about 1.5 seconds.
Keep in mind: You and your neighbors share the cables that deliver the connection, so you may hit a few speed bumps during peak usage hours (like after dinner).

Fiber Optics

Best for those who: Share a lot of photos and videos online and download or upload movies and other large files from the Web.
Cost and speed: About $53 a month for a 15-Mbps con-nection. Downloads three one-megabyte photos in about 1.6 seconds.
Keep in mind: Fiber optics (super-speedy networks of glass wires) are not available everywhere.
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