Broadband 101


High speed broadband has finally come to Newent, so we’re here to decipher the jargon from the internet providers, and help you tell your ADSL from your Cable from your Fibre.

GMT Solutions: Broadband 101These are all terms for different types of broadband:

  • ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is the type of broadband most of you will have, delivered via your telephone line.
  • Cable internet is usually supplied by Virgin Media in the UK, and is only available in cabled areas.
  • Fibre is the new high speed broadband, supplied by fibre optic cables rather than the traditional copper ones.

If you’ve found a broadband offer which quotes speeds of 30Mb or more, it’s most likely to be fibre optic or cable broadband.

Fibre optic cables can carry more data at faster speeds than the copper cables used for traditional broadband connection, so internet providers that use these cables can offer superfast packages. The thing to watch out for, is that most fibre optic broadband suppliers (BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet etc) use technology called fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC). This means that the faster cables only run as far as the green telephone cabinet connected to your house. The cables that between the cabinet and your house, sometimes called the “last mile” – make a real difference to the speeds you actually receive. The closer your are to the green cabinet, the faster your connection will be; if you have a much longer “last mile”, your connection speeds and quality may suffer.

So what is cable internet, if they all use cables? ADSL and Fibre broadband use the traditional copper cables for the last mile to your house – and these can’t carry as fast a signal as fibre optic. Cable internet, from Virgin Media, uses coaxial cable right up to your house, so will not suffer any speed loss compared to copper cable.

If you’re a business that relies heavily on a broadband connection for critical matters, you may want to consider a leased line. This is essentially your own private internet connection, not affected by how many other users are online, or the distance to the cabinet. You will be looking at £150 or more, but could get speeds of up to 10Gb per second!

If you want to talk about broadband, need help setting it up, or have queries on anything else IT related, please contact us on [email protected], or search for us on Facebook or Twitter!