What is Broadband and Types of Broadband

Posted by Bhavesh Joshi On Tuesday, December 11, 2012 0 comments

Ways for Connecting to Internet

Ways of connecting to WWWBroadband is the generic term that is used to cover the new generation of Internet connections. There is no one precise definition as the term is used to describe a range of services, but they all have common key features such as:

1. Fast access speeds

2. A permanent "always-on" connection to the Internet

3. Ability to handle large files quickly

4. Flat-rate monthly charges

There are a number of different types of broadband - it is available by telephone line, cable, satellite and wireless networks, among others. The different types have varying speeds and costs. Where you live will determine which options are available to you. You can check if you are in a broadband area by visiting one of the broadband checker sites provided by broadband suppliers. Different types of broadband are as -

ADSL BroadbandADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) as offered by BT and other providers is the most common form of broadband. To get ADSL, your business needs to be within 6km of a broadband-enabled exchange.

ADSL operates at the same time over the same pair of telephone wires, which means that you can simultaneously make telephone calls (which are charged separately), send emails, send and receive faxes, and access the Internet.

With ADSL you will need a special modem or router and what are known as microfilters on all your telephone sockets. The filters prevent the ADSL signal from interfering with your voice calls. Your Internet service provider will often provide you with one or two micro filters and the broadband modem as part of their package.

Connection speeds will vary, but as a general rule, the more you pay, the higher your connection speed will be. Prices are reducing as competition between providers increases, so it is certainly worth shopping around for the best offer.

The main advantages of ADSL are that it is:

1. "Always-on"

2. The most widely available form of broadband

3. Relatively cheap

The main disadvantage of ADSL is that it is only available within 6km of local ex-changes which have been upgraded. In addition, ADSL may not always be as fast as you would like:

1. Upload speeds (i.e. the speed at which you can send- rather than receive - data) are relatively slow. This can be a problem for businesses that regularly send large files across the Internet.

2. Parts of your connection are shared with other Internet users - known as "contention". If too many of these are using the Internet at the same time as you, your connection will be slower.

Cable Broadband
Broadband services are now available via cable operators using their high speed fibre-optic networks. Connectivity is delivered through coaxial copper cables using a high-speed cable modem. The cable modem uses the same cabling infrastructure and connection to your home as cable TV. The cable modem connects to the PC via a local area network (LAN) card.

Most cable companies offer bundled packages that include telephone, broadband Internet connection and TV channels. As with ADSL, there are a number of different deals for different requirements.

As in other areas of broadband provision, there is fierce competition between the main cable providers. This is reflected in the increasingly high speeds of connectivity that are available. The main advantages of cable are that it:

1. Is relatively cheap

2. Offers high connectivity speeds

3. Offers "always-on" connectivity

You must, however, be in a cable TV coverage area to receive cable broadband.

Satellite Broadband
A satellite broadband connection is a further option if your business is located in a remote area that cannot access any other broadband Internet connection. This type of connection is available throughout the UK and requires the installation of a special satellite dish. There are two types of service.

With this option you would send emails or requests for information via a normal dial-up modern connection or ISDN link. However, you would use a satellite to download data such as web pages and web applications. This overcomes the normal problems associated with downloading large volumes of data via a dial-up connection.

The more expensive satellite services provide a two-way option for both uploading and downloading, and, utilise a dedicated satellite dish to send and receive information.
With both types of connection, download and upload speeds may vary, but faster speeds are increasingly becoming available. As with other broadband services, the provision of satellite broadband is very competitive, with lots of new offers and special deals, so it is certainly worth shopping around.

The latency (the time it takes to send and receive a message) can be much higher with satellite than on terrestrial networks, thereby limiting the use of some web-based applications that rely on fast response times.

In addition, although coverage is often referred to as "ubiquitous", users must have direct line of sight to the orbiting satellites, away from tall buildings or large structures. Rain clouds or even dense trees can also affect availability.


1. It is widely available, even in rural areas.

2. It is good for home use.


1. Slow upload speed for one way connection may be unsuitable for business use.  

2. Transmission delays (latency) can disrupt interactive services.

3. Weather can affect reception.

Wireless Broadband
Wireless is a collective term used to describe different technologies that use radio transmitters and receivers to link computers.

A further broadband option is provided by wireless technologies. In certain locations, usually rural areas, the adoption of broadband is limited due to lack of broadband-enabled telephone exchanges, or businesses being too far from the exchange to use ADSL services.

An option for delivering broadband into such areas is to use variations of wireless technology. Wireless networks are also currently being developed in several major UK cities.

Wireless services are quickly gaining popularity across the world and, as they do, products and services are being upgraded.

Wireless LAN (WLAN) hotspots, also known as WiFi hotspots, (subscription only, pay-per-use and free for customers) are being rolled out globally. As more of these hotspots appear in airports, hotels, caf├ęs, pubs and motorway service stations, operators are beginning to get together and offer mobile phone style "roaming" facilities that will mean you only need to subscribe to one service. WLAN hotspot providers are also beginning to deliver broadband to increasingly remote areas of the UK.

Wimax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a fast-emerging wide-area wireless broadband technology that offers much greater reach than the existing WiFi broadband.

Whilst WiFi signals do not reach much beyond 100 feet, Wimax is planned to have a 25-mile range, enabling it to be used to provide broadband in areas where other technology is unsuitable.


1. High bandwidth.

2. Access the web on the move.

3. High media profile makes advice easy to come by.


1. Still in its infancy, so availability is limited.

2. Setting up a wireless network requires substantial technical knowledge.

3. Some security concerns persist about wireless technology.

Some businesses manage with a basic dial-up package to connect to the Internet, paying for each call at local rates. While this can work for businesses that only use the web occasional browsing, you may find that if you use it for more than a few hours a month, you could be better off with a different payment option. It is also worth noting that reductions in the cost of broadband are making these dial-up packages less attractive.

Many Internet service providers (ISPs) offer packages where you get free unmetered Internet access for a fixed fee every month. This is suitable if you anticipate using the Internet for longer periods.


1. Cheaper than pay-as-you-go for heavier users of the Internet.

2. You can choose a package tailored to your requirements, such as all-day or off-peak only.


1. Download times for larger files and emails are still slow - such packages still use the standard 56k modem.

2. Some ISPs have more users than they can cope with, leading to difficulties in signing on at peak times, and connections may be cut if there is a period of inactivity.

3. You must consider security, such as a firewall, if you leave the connection open all the time.

4. Some packages are not designed to meet normal business needs, for example they may prevent you from sending bulk emails.

There are also subscription packages where you pay a monthly fee and call costs. They typically cost about £100 a year. These can offer a quicker, more reliable service with good technical support and other services.

ISDNThe Integrated Services Digital Network is a set of communications standards allowing a single wire or optical fibre to carry voice, digital network services and video. Originally developed in the mid 1980s, and widely available, its appeal has waned with the growth of broadband technology.

ISDN primarily uses existing Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) switches and wiring, upgraded to provide all-digital end-to-end channels.

The basic-rate ISDN service consists of two channels which effectively give you two separate telephone lines, enabling you to use one channel for voice and one for data. An ISDN channel is faster than dial-up access, and two ISDN channels can be bonded together to provide an even faster connection. However, the use of each channel is charged separately, and be-cause you pay a higher call rate than with standard telephone lines using "channel bonding" can be expensive. Because it is a digital system ISDN doesn't use modems. Instead a device called a Terminal Adapter provides the interface between the computer and the ISDN line.

Advantages of ISDN

1. Available to 97 per cent of the UK.

2. Provides two digital channels as standard.

3. Guaranteed data rates.


1. Technically only "midband", i.e. faster than a modem but much slower than broadband.

2. Not "always-on".

3. Expensive, considering its speed.

4. Generally requires on-site installation by an engineer.

Virtual Private Networks
VPNIf you want to give off-site workers or remote offices access to your network, you can use your broadband connection to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This is an extremely secure system of transferring data because it uses the most powerful encryption technology available. It is also a comparatively cheap way of securing data, because you don't need to hire a system of private leased lines - data is sent over the Internet instead.

Potential applications
Effectively, a VPN uses the Internet to extend your company network globally. In other words, with the correct security clearance, you can use a VPN to access your company network from any Internet-connected computer. This opens a huge range of possibilities, as:

1. Sales people can access real-time data on stocks and prices

2. Home workers can receive email and work on the most up-to-date documents

3. People working away from the office, like engineers or delivery people, can provide real-time information - like progress reports on work or immediate confirmation of delivery

4. Businesses with several offices can network sites more cheaply than by leasing dedicated connections

VPN cost implications
There may be the potential to save on some of the cost compared with remote modern access. Most VPN options require a broadband connection and have installation and annual charges.

Outsourcing VPNs
Increasingly, VPN applications can be outsourced to a commercial service provider who specialises in managed security services. In such outsourced VPNs, the service provider is responsible for VPN configuration (provisioning) and monitoring. Service providers may locate their VPN devices at customer premises, or at their own sites. 


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