Most people connect to the Internet using a modem, a piece of circuitry that connects your PC to a phone line. Almost every modern computer comes with a built-in, preinstalled modem.
On the other hand, a growing minority of computer fans connects to the Internet with much faster gear called cable modems and DSL. These contraptions offer several gigantic advantages over dial-up modems. For example:
Speed. These modems operate at 5 to 50 times the speed of a traditional dial-up modem. For example, you might wait five minutes to download a 2 MB file with a standard modem—a job that would take about 10 seconds with a cable modem. And complex Web pages that take almost a minute to appear in your browser with a standard modem will pop up almost immediately with a cable modem or DSL.