A,B,C of Broadband; For the non-technical, the jargon surrounding broadband can be daunting. Here's some of the most common terms explained:.
An internet connection which is on all the time and does not interfere with your standard phone line.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) ADSL is currently the most common form of DSL broadband. By using the existing national telephone network, data can be carried over standard phone lines. Using this technology it's quicker to download information than to send it.
Bandwidth Also known as 'capacity'. In simple terms, how much information or traffic can be carried in a given amount of time. The simple rule is that more is better. For instance using a modem it's not really practical to send the contents of a music CD via the internet, but this is easily done with broadband because it has a higher bandwidth.
Broadband A high-speed telecommunications link, normally defined as allowing transmission at 512Kbps (Kilobits per second) or higher, compared to 56Kbps that is available using a dial-up modem.
Cable Modem Cable modems are used to provide internet access over cable TV networks. Contention Ratio With most broadband technologies, some of the bandwidth is shared between other users. For example, if the service is contended at 20:1, it means that you share the bandwidth with up to 19 other users. Basic ADSL services in the UK (mainly using the BT network) typically have a contention ratio of 50:1 with the more expensive or business packages having 20:1.
Dial-up modem Non broadband technology that's used to connect to the internet with users having to log on and off every time they want to surf the web.
Download speed The speed at which you receive information from the internet.
Firewall Either a software application or separate piece of computer hardware that, when loaded on to a computer that has a connection to the internet, stops unwanted visitors being able to access files on that computer. It is absolutely critical for computers or servers that have an 'always on' connection to the internet, such as ADSL or cable modem, to have an appropriate firewall application in place. ISP (Internet Service Provider) An organisation that provides access to the internet. Examples of ISPs include Demon and AOL.
Kbps (kilobits per second) A measure of the speed at which data travels - 1000 bits per second.
Mbps (megabits per second) A measure of the speed at which data travels - one million bits per second.
Modem A device that translates the digital signal from a computer into analogue signals that can travel over a standard phone line and vice versa. Satellite A connection to the internet using a satellite dish.
Upload Speed The speed at which you send information from your PC to another location on the internet.
Wireless broadband A connection to the internet using wireless technology i.e. no physical cable.