Broadband

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Broadband is a term used to generalize high-speed internet connections. This includes any connection that provides greater speeds than traditional dial-up modems.

To get broadband on your computer you will first need to find what services are available in your country and area, then select an ISP. You will also need special equipment in the form of a modem or router, which may be included in the service from your ISP. It is often preferable to choose your own hardware elsewhere, as this gives you the option of having additional features (such as using a wireless router and/or a firewall) and avoid often troublesome, driver based, USB modems.


Contents

Technologies

There are several technologies in use that provide broadband internet to homes and businesses:

  • DSL or a variant (such as ADSL, RADSL, SDSL) through a phone line.
  • Cable - Often included with a TV and phone service package
  • ISDN
  • Satellite used in conjunction with a dial-up upload channel.


Usage

While broadband usage is becoming increasingly popular, it has not yet overtaken dial-up modems. According to OECD statistics, Korea is the country with the largest broadband penetration, with 24.9% of residents using the technology. This compares to a 13% adoption rate in the USA, and 10.3% overall in the OECD.


Speeds

Broadband is available at many different speeds and often the download rate is higher than the upload. Figures quoted by ISP's are the absolute maximum speed you will achieve and it is expected that due to overheads, noise and contention the actual transfer rates will be less. The connection speeds available to you can depend on many factors including:

  • Location. Varies depending on country and distances from a local hub (telephone exchange or cable box for example)
  • Noise/Interference. An ISP will often measure this before providing a service.
  • ISP. All operate slightly differently. Some offer cheaper services with a trade-off that during busier periods the total bandwidth available is shared out between many users (contention.)


Links

adslguide UK site with ADSL information, speed tests and ISP feedback.

dslreports International site with feedback for various ISP's, speed tests and tips.