Updated on 17-02-2019

Types of Broadband

There are four different types of broadband. Choosing the right type for you often depends on the availability and quality of the service.If you live in the UK, this is ADSL or Cable. Currently, ADSL broadband has more than 90% coverage in UK while Cable broadband offered by Virgin Media offers the best service in terms of superfast connection speeds.

ADSL Broadband

ADSL means Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It uses phone wire to bring broadband to homes. In ideal conditions, its maximum theoretical speed is 8Mbits/s while the advanced ADSL 2+ technology can offer up to 24Mbps speed.

Advantages

  • Currently ADSL Broadband can reach almost every home in UK.Huge competitive market has led to lot many choices and cheapest deals to the customers.
  • Easy to install, and use.
  • Free setup.
  • Speeds and service can be reliable, however, a lot will depend on choosing the right ADSL broadband provider.
  • With wireless router, you can use it on your laptop anywhere in your house or outside.

Disadvantages

  • ADSL is not available in many rural areas in UK. You have to be in urban places to enjoy the very high-speed services.
  • You may get slow speeds if you live far away from the nearest telephone exchange.
  • Another factor that can reduce your speeds is the number of people sharing the same telephone line inyour area. If too many people go online at the same time, your speeds are also affected.
  • It is wired connection with wires & cables running through your house.
  • ADSL broadband uses your existing telephone means the over-all cost also includes line rental.

Cable broadband

Virgin Media offers 50 Mb broadband through its fibre-optic cables
Virgin Media offers 50 Mb broadband through its fibre-optic cables

Cable TV service like Virgin Media connects you to broadband using cable wire (fibre optic cable). You get set-top box and cable modem when you sign up with your cable ISP.

Advantages

  • Cable broadband connection is as reliable and affordable as ADSL but quite faster than ADSL broadband services. Virgin Media cable broadband offers up to 20Mbps speeds (also 50Mb in selected areas) and unlimited downloads.
  • If you are already a Virgin Media TV customer, just bundle broadband with it and you can save a lot. Virgin also offers home phone and mobile services so it will be a great deal if you bundle as many services as possible.

Disadvantages

  • Virgin Media’s cable broadband service is not available in many areas of UK. It has just over 50% coverage, connecting most cities in UK.
  • Cable data speeds can be affected when many people share it at the same time.
  • Like ADSL, so many cables run through your house, unless you use a wireless router.
  • Additional set-up cost.

Mobile Broadband

UK mobile ISPs like 3 offer free dongle when you sign term contracts
UK mobile ISPs like 3 offer free dongle when you sign term contracts

Mobile broadband connects you to broadband using HSPA or 3G mobile networks. To use mobile broadband, you need 3G enabled handsets or laptops. Laptops and netbooks are ideal devices for mobile broadband as they are not only cheaper but also provide enhanced, online experience to the users. You will need a mobile broadband dongle to use broadband on your laptops.

Advantages

  • It is generally for the people who are on the move. You can simply use mobile broadband internet in many places or on the move or while traveling.
  • You do not need a phone line to use it, so, it is cheaper as there s no extra line rental for broadband access.
  • Pay As you Go mobile broadband deals are for the users who really do not like the idea of signing a contract. Top-up usages can be bought as and when you need.

Disadvantages

  • There are not many areas in UK that have no 3G data coverage. Even if you use it in a network area, there is no guarantee that you can receive speeds that you expect.
  • If you live in so called regional areas of your provider’s network, you may get slower speeds.
  • In outdoors, dense foliage, certain weather conditions etc can affect the performance.
  • Inside your home or office, performance can be affected by thick wall structures or electronic interference.

Mobile broadband usage is continuously on rise, while operators have limited network infrastructure to deal with the extreme load on the 3G networks. This is why, sometimes, you simply cannot do basic things online as the network gets frozen due to heavy traffic.

Mobile broadband tariff may sound cheap from the first glance. However, there are some hidden charges that you need to be warned of, such as paying for additional usage after you exceed the allotted limit. UK mobile ISPs usually charge heavily for the top-up usage on their pay monthly mobile broadband packages.

Satellite Broadband

You can access satellite broadband anywhere, even at sea
You can access satellite broadband anywhere, even at sea

It is a method of receiving broadband through satellite dish. Providers like Tariam offer this type of broadband.

Advantages

  • Suitable for people who live in remote areas without ADSL, cable or mobile.
  • Unlike ADSL or cable, performance is not affected by the traffic i.e., number of people who use it at the same time.

Disadvantages

  • It is very, very expensive as the setup & hardware cost alone could cross hundreds of pounds.
  • Download speed is fine, however, upload speed can be a bit slow.
  • There are also latency problems, so, it is not good for gamers.
  • Certain weather conditions can also affect satellite broadband performance.

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