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Here starts a guide on all things internet!

According to the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OEDC), Japan ranks number three in the world for fixed broadband subscriptions, behind China and the USA respectively. It also has the 4th fastest average broadband speeds in the world. Long story short, Japan is a big time internet user with world class networks. If you want it (you do, right), then let AccessJ guide you through every step.

First, varieties:

Types of Internet
  • Fiber Optic-- The latest and greatest in internet technology. Japan has a world renowned fiber optic infrastructure with base speeds starting from 100 mb/second both up and downstream and going up from there. KDDI currently takes the cake with a 1 gb/second connection. The biggest wire line companies are NTT East and NTT West. KDDI offers service in some big cities as well. In addition, local power companies offer very competitive fiber optic services of their own. Unlike other technologies, fiber offers consistent speeds even at peek hours.
  • Cable-- Your basic cable modem infrastructure. Unlike North American and Europe, there are no truly national cable franchises in Japan so chances are that your cable company is very, very local. Cable speeds differ by company but usually providers offer plans with 1 mb/second uploads and faster downloads varying by price and location. Since cable bandwidth is, to an extent, a shared resource, speeds are affected by the number of users online. 
  • DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)-- One of the most venerable internet technologies and also one of the cheapest options around, DSL coverage extends to all but the most remote areas of Japan. The Japan-specific V-DSL standard offers highly variable speeds via NTT's copper wire phone network. While companies advertise download speeds of up to 50 mbs/second, this is only true under a very specific set of circumstances. DSL speeds drop the further your house is away from a telephone switching station and can vary by peek hours. If you live far away from a city center then expect significant speed drop offs.
  • Wireless Internet (Wi-Max, 3G, etc.)-- Large metro areas often have significant next-generation wireless coverage. Companies like KDDI and EM Mobile have been aggressively marketing small Wi-Max modems that can plug into your computer or laptop and offer downstream speeds of up to 40 mb/second and upstream speeds of 15 mb/second. Of course, this is subject to signal coverage and the number of simultaneous users. 3G (and soon to be 4G) are available where ever there is a mobile phone signal although 3G is significantly slower than Wi-Max and data-only modems tend to have stringent data limitations.

Next week: how to shop and sign up for internet.

Other Posts in this Series
#2 Carriers and Providers 
#3 Shopping for Service 
#4 Signing up
#5 Set-up
#6 Optional Services

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