Broadband is a high-speed internet connection that allows you to enjoy everything the online world has to offer. Broadband is a connection that allows you to use multiple devices to surf the web simultaneously. The average home now has around 10 devices that require an internet connection and broadband allows them all to connect to the internet at the same time.

Are broadband and Wi-Fi the same thing?

Broadband and Wi-Fi are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are two separate things and need to be understood clearly so that you get your internet basics right. Wi-Fi uses radio frequencies and signals to transfer data without wires and broadband is the transmission of data with the use of high-speed internet.

Broadband is a type of internet connection given by your internet service provider. Wi-Fi is a technology and one of the means of connecting to broadband to access the internet. Your broadband can be accessed via a LAN cable directly connecting your router and device. However, the advantage of a Wi-Fi connection is the ability to access information without a physical connection between two devices.

How does broadband work?

A Broadband internet service is supplied by an internet service provider (ISP). The service provider supplies the service, the router and if required, arranges for the socket to be installed. Some ISPs have their own internet infrastructure e.g Purefibre Internet and Sky, however, this is costly and complex, that’s why most ISPs use shareable networks to provide their service.

What are the different types of broadband?

Broadband packages come in all shapes and sizes, from ADSL broadband to cable broadband and 3G, 4G and in recent years 5G mobile broadband. A broadband connection, like a telephone line, is never switched off and can be accessed at any time.

What is ADSL broadband?

ADSL is a service that is provided using existing BT phone lines. ADSL stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. ADSL broadband works through a fixed-line access network, otherwise known as telephone lines in the street. These are made up of copper wires and exchange a series of digital messages which translates the information you receive. These messages are split into either phone or internet signals using a microfilter, which is a small box that fits into the main BT socket in your home.

ADSL is not as fast as fibre, but it is still a reliable choice. The speed you receive will depend on your distance from the telephone exchange, so those who live closer will likely get a faster connection. The age and health of the copper wires providing your connection can also play a part in connection speed.

What is cable broadband?

Cable broadband is a form of internet access that uses the same infrastructure as cable television. Cable uses mostly fibre-optic cables to pass digital signals, unlike an ADSL connection which only uses copper wires. The fibre optical material in the wires provides a secure connection for the signal to travel, resulting in a much more reliable signal and less chance of distortion than ADSL. However, cable is not the same as fibre optic. For the last mile between your local telephone exchange and your home, the cable connection is carried in coaxial cable while fibre optic travels through copper wires. Coaxial cable can carry data faster than copper phone lines, making cable packages generally faster than other options.

A cable connection can also carry audio-visual signals, which is why you can get digital TV services from some cable providers.

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband is a high-speed internet connection that uses fibre optic cables. These cables are quicker at transferring data than standard copper cables used in ADSL; meaning it’s a great choice if you regularly enjoy streaming films and music.

There are two types of fibre broadband connection: FTTC and FTTP.

What is FTTC fibre broadband?

FTTC is otherwise known as superfast broadband. FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband uses a full fibre optic connection from the provider to the cabinets (the green ones you see in many streets), and copper wire from that to your home from the cabinet.

FTTC broadband is the most common setup for broadband in the UK, and makes use of existing street cabinets and infrastructure, curbing the need to dig up any roads in established areas. This makes it a lot cheaper to install than FTTP broadband, and the reason why most of the UK can access it. However, because it still uses inefficient copper wire, speeds are far lower than full-fibre connections.

What is FTTP fibre broadband?

FTTP Fibre is an ultrafast connection. FFTP means ‘fibre to the premises’ – it’s also sometimes called FTTH (fibre to the home). Rather than reach your home via the green cabinet at the end of your street, FTTP travels directly from your internet provider.

Unlike FTTC broadband, FTTP uses all fibre optics, making it the fastest type of fibre on the market. It can reach speeds of up to an impressive 1Gbps. 1Gbps is extremely fast for those who are unsure on what is considered a fast broadband.

What is mobile broadband?

There are some types of internet services that do not require a fixed line for installation, for example, mobile broadband. This wireless connection uses mobile phone networks and satellites to transmit a broadband service through an ISP, providing long-range internet access so you can browse the internet using mobile data or Wi-Fi on your phone.