When it comes to selecting the best broadband deal that’s right for you, it really does pay to know your stuff. The tech jargon alone is enough for a sales rep to bamboozle you into a 12 – 24 month contract, or an introductory offer that conveniently ups the price not too shortly after.
What’s the lingo you need to know?
Three in particular…
- MBPS – Megabyte per second – pertains to download speeds
- Megabyte (MB) – Term used for digital storage – equal to 1’000’000 bytes
- ISP – Internet Service Provider (BT, TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin)
The above terms are what the rest of the information will relate too.
There’s also Gigabytes, and Terabytes, but those are more for the hard drive and informing you about how much memory your system has. For selecting a broadband service, you only need to know about the mbps and the megabytes for what you’ll be downloading.
That’s because if you choose a service provider with 20 MB download limit per month, and then download 50 films, you’ll probably exceed you’re monthly download quota.
Very few providers actually offer truly unlimited broadband. There’s usually a cap in the contract somewhere, and that can hike your fees significantly.
That’s why you should think carefully when shopping for the best broadband deal in town.
There’s three different ways ISPs can deliver a broadband service to you. All of the different methods will have pros, cons and be suited to different people, but very few companies are going to ask you what technology you need.
That’s because they supply what they feel is best for you. Sometimes, even if it’s not – for the simple fact that it can be easier than sending around an installation engineer.
It’s much easier to post you a router, with some installation instructions included.
How are you to know if it’s right for you, if you don’t know the different technologies available?
Don’t fret it though as we’ve got you covered.
3 Technologies to find out which broadband is the best solution for your needs
1) ADSL copper cable line
This is the one that most people have. It plugs a box directly into your phone line in the house, and uses the exchange with an ADSL cable, plugging into your computer or laptop.
It’s the wired setup to receiving broadband and mostly used in rural areas.
Any location with broadband exceeding two miles from an exchange point, will receive a poor coverage. That will lower the speed of your connection. The amount of mbps you actually receive. That’s why nearly providers will tell you their speeds are “up to.” They can’t be specific until they’ve ran a speed check and more often than not, that speed is lower than the advertised “up to” MBPS broadband speed.
For a cable broadband service, you can expect to have up to 16 mbps. That’s not to say you will though, as it is dependent on being within a couple of miles from an exchange point.
It’s among the most reliable of delivery, as other gadgets tend not to interfere with the technology.
This is suited to those in rural locations, or just casual internet users. It’s also the cheapest option as it can cost as little as a few pounds extra on top of your line rental fees.
This is the highest performing broadband service and it doesn’t come cheap. This option can set you back as high as £27 monthly premiums, on top of your monthly line rental fee.
The speeds though are where the benefit is, and it’s more suited to families with a range of Smart phones, tablets, laptops, and perhaps even live streaming movies online with an Internet ready TV.
The speeds you can get from fibre-optic cable can be as high as 100 mbps, which is a super faster delivery as typical speeds average around 12 mbps, according to OFCOM reports.
It’s not available in all areas though, and still being rolled out in major cities around the UK. Not every area will have access to this service.
What fibre-optic is good for:
- Live streaming TV and movies or catch up TV
- Downloading large amount so data
- Online gaming (Xbox live)
- Social media users
- Video calling
For those who find that they use the internet often, leading to a slower speed, fibre-optic could be the right fit.
3) Wireless broadband
This is one of the most popular services offered to many, and it’s popular because it’s convenient. There’s no trailing wires, besides the initial setup of the router. That will plug in to your phone line, and can then connect wirelessly to any Wi-Fi devices within range.
Users can use the wireless router to access the internet from anywhere in the home, or even in the garden.
For mobile devices, there’s also two different Wi-Fi options. 3G and 4G network coverage. These allow mobiles, tablets, and laptops to use the same router to access the internet at faster speeds.
Some areas with 4G network coverage can find the speeds as high as 60 mbps but that’s not always the case, as it will depend on the distance you are using the device to the exchange point.
Also note that with the wireless router options, the speeds can be affected by other technologies, such as:
- Cordless phones
- Baby monitors
…even fish tanks can interfere with broadband speeds
This option is suited to family households with a range of devices and multiple internet users. Everyone can access the internet with their own devices at the same time. Although the more users, the slower it can be. It’s the most cost efficient though, and prices start from around £26 per month.
You need to factor your use into what technology is right for you
Not everyone needs the same service from their ISP. We all have different usage and will use more or less each month.
The way you use the internet will affect your phone bill, as much as the technology will.
For users just logging into social media, and checking email, you may get by with a 3G or 4G enabled Smartphone, and a Wi-Fi accessible location.
For gaming, streaming live TV, and downloading movies, etc., you’re going to need a fast speed. Fibre-optic being the fastest, and cable being the next best thing, and cost effective for most too.
The more the broadband is being used, the faster a speed you’re going to need.
Note the delivery speed that your ISP advertises and check that online when it’s up and running. You’ll often find that you’re paying for speeds of up to 16 mbps, yet when you actually test the speed you have…you can find that it’s lower.
If the speed drops below 5.5 mbps, you’re on a really slow connection, and should contact your provider to rectify things.
Don’t pay for an underperforming service. If you expect 12 mbps, demand the service you’re paying for and don’t settle for less.
Slower speeds can be caused by interference, but the network can also cause it during peak times. When you find yourself affected by peak times on your ISPs service, an option is to upgrade your wireless router to one with minimum interference to surrounding objects.
The less interference your router is affected by, the better your broadband can perform.
Being equipped with the right knowledge on the technology you need, will help you get the best broadband deal, that’s in line with the way use it. Matching your needs to the package is the best way to ensure you get value for money from your ISP.