When it comes time to renew your broadband subscription, you probably have a few questions: which package should I choose, who has the most reliable service, and am I getting a good price? These days, not only are there a wealth of different providers to choose from, but you also have several different broadband technologies available to you. With so much technical jargon, figuring out which option makes the most sense for you can be difficult so here’s what you need to know.
Digital Subscriber Line, commonly known as DSL, uses traditional copper telephones lines to transmit data. This has become the most popular option because most homes and business premises already have these installed. There are two main types of DSL technologies: asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) and symmetrical digital subscriber line (SDSL). The difference being that ADSL typically provides you with a faster speed in the downstream direction whereas SDSL looks to give you an equal split in bandwidth between both upstreaming and downstream. ADSL is the most common option for residential properties, as most people will be using their internet connection to download content, stream movies, and other consumptive habits. SDSL, meanwhile, is useful for businesses that rely on services such as video conferencing to get their work done.
The Best Approach
While DSL-based connections are the most popular options, recent years have seen advancements in broadband technologies. Fibre-optic carries information by converting the electrical signals into an optical, or light-based, signal. Each strand is less than a tenth as thick as the average human hair, meaning it’s able to carry more information at a much quicker rate. DSL service speeds usually range anywhere from several hundred Kbps to a few Mbps, depending on your area. Fibre-topic connections, however, can transmit speeds far exceeding DSL speeds, often by tens or even hundreds of Mbps depending on your supplier. Like DSL, though, the actual speed of your connection will be dependent on some different factors, such as location. While some rural areas are still unable to receive this kind of service, for the businesses that it will be worth the extra investment.
While DSL may be the most common option right now and fibre is looking like the future, there are still a few alternative methods to getting connected. Satellite broadband aims to bring the speed of fibre-optic to those living outside major cities. Many providers aim to bring speeds of up to 30Mbps, which is almost three times the national average. Similarly, you could also receive your broadband from a cable box provider like Virgin Media. In some instances, cable connections may even be faster than fibre-optic connections. Both solutions use light-based technology to send the signal, but for the so-called “the last-mile,” the distance between your local exchange and your home, many fibre-optic suppliers use traditional copper wire. Cable solutions make use of the same coaxial cables that deliver the picture and sound to your TV. While this may be faster, it’s the only option if you’re already invested in a cable TV subscription and may not be an option for businesses.