Broadband Terminology and Jargon

14/01/2013   

Broadband Internet access in the UK is constantly growing, as the vast majority of people now embrace the Internet as the key tool of communication and the sharing of information. Throughout the country there are now a multitude of service providers offering high-speed access to the worldwide web, from BT and Orange to Virgin and AOL, your options certainly aren’t limited. In fact with so many options one wants to make the right choice, but this can be hindered by some of the unfamiliar language and terms used in relation to broadband access.

Broadband as mentioned is high-speed Internet access and this is achieved by providing a larger bitrate, literally the rate at which ‘bits’, binary digits which compose electronic information, are transferred to your computer. In the days of dial-up modems you would be looking at a maximum bitrate of 56kbits/s, or 56 kilobits per second, which is 56,000 bits per second. This compared to broadband speeds is very slow, with the lowest speeds generally offered being around 2Mbits/s. When purchasing a broadband package this is probably the most important feature to look for as the larger the bitrate is, the faster one can download more information. The second key thing to be wary of is if the package has a download limit. You will usually purchase a month-to-month scheme, and one should have a decent idea of how much information they will download. Many service providers offer unlimited downloads however and opting for a limited package is largely down to necessity and keeping costs low.

Increasingly, the broadband service is being accessed wirelessly for greater convenience and this requires a wireless router, which is quite simply the device that forwards information to and from your modem. The modem is even more simply the device that connects your home or working environment to the larger worldwide web. The installation and configuration of these devices is in most cases taken care of by the service provider after you purchase your package, though it is important to note whether or not you are provided these items in the deal. Currently the BT home hub system is very popular as they offer very high-speed connectivity at around 8Mbits/s, unlimited downloads and over a longer term contract, but importantly they include their own wireless router. This router comes with its own firewall system to provide a first line of defence against viruses and malicious software that unfortunately the Internet is fraught with.

Beyond the previously mentioned providers are a plethora of further services such as TalkTalk, O2 or Tiscali. One can very easily decide what the best deal is for them after they get their heads around some of the basic jargon that will be encountered. To get going in the right direction and for some great deals on broadband services take a look at computers & software discount codes!

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