Some Lessons in Aspects of Broadband

Jul 25 09:49 2013 SelJones Print This Article

There are so many considerations to take in to account when choosing a broadband service for you needs, this article guides you through the speeds, data allowances and contract lengths to help you make the right choice when it comes to your broadband.

When we’re choosing broadband,Guest Posting there are a lot of considerations.  The market is actually relatively new; it’s only around ten years ago that we were based on narrow band dial up connections of 56kbps.  Nowadays, we have super fast broadband up to 100Mbps on residential broadband and much faster on business broadband.  It can be a confusing time when we’re looking to select packages.  This article will look at the importance of download speeds, data allowances, and contract length and then we’ll consider some of the lessons on aspects of broadband such as fixed IP address, free web space, e-mails, latency speed, and upload speed.

Download Speeds, Data Allowances, and Contract Length

The three key components of a broadband package are your download speed, your data allowance, and your contract length.  It’s important to understand your usage profile in order to get the right package for your requirement.  Generally, broadband providers will classify people as either light consumers, medium consumers, or heavy consumers.  Which category you fall in to will dictate the speed that you require and the download allowance that will meet your needs. 

With Sky Broadband, there is a light package that comes with your digital TV package.  If you have a landline with Sky and any Sky package, you get 2GB of data free.  This broadband doesn’t cost you a thing and this is perhaps the only free offering out there at the moment.  However, 2GB of data equates to the downloading of around three or four high definition movies and is therefore not a lot of data.  It’s akin to the kind of levels of data allowance that you get on your smartphone when you have a £40 or £50 contract with a really nice premium device.

This type of light package really does not suffice for homes with multiple consumers or homes with a single heavy consumer.  To understand your usage profile, it’s a good idea to do a broadband consumption calculation.  If you type into Google ‘broadband data calculator’ you will find lots of sites that offer the opportunity to assess the amount of data you use every month.  You will be given different activities and have to say how long you do something or how many times and from this you will be given an estimate of the amount of gigabytes you use per month.  This can be good way to guide you on the kind of data allowance that you require for your home. 

Indeed if you do a lot of heavy data-intensive activities such as streaming high definition movies, multiplayer gaming, or VoIP communication with the video turned on, you may well need fast speeds and a 4Mbps connection speed as available on some AOL packages won’t suffice. 

To stream a high definition movie, you need at least 5Mbps to get a seamless experience on some websites and if there are multiple people doing high intensity activities, you’ll need significantly more.

The average broadband connection in the UK is around 10 or 12 Mbps and so this will suffice for most requirements, although those that are particularly heavy in their activities will need a fibre optic broadband connection in most situations.

ADSL connectivity slows over distance from the telephone exchange.  Where I am, I am 200 meters from the telephone exchange and I get 20Mbps connection speeds on ADSL.  This is enough for most homes, and I am a heavy user of broadband.  You should do a post code check to find out what’s available in your area and you should look at the download speeds and the data allowance.

A Note on Download Speeds

It’s important to understand that the download speed of broadband is measured as an up to figure.  The Advertising Standards Agency and Ofcom have improved the transparency of broadband advertising and now internet service providers must advertise speeds that are more attainable in their networks, which was not the case in the past.

However, the up to speed will be unattainable by around 90% of consumers because of degradation of speed over distance on ADSL.  Even fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband has slowing of speed and you won’t get the full fibre speed unless you are on a fibre-to-the-home package such as one that is offered by Virgin Broadband.

Contract Length

Contract length is a crucial aspect for many.  If you get yourself tied in to a 24 month contract and only have a 12-month tenancy, you may end up having to leave the contract early and pay some hefty fees.  Indeed, being light on your feet is good for many consumers and so you should consider how long you are going to be paying the contract for before you commit to it.  There are 12-month contracts, 18-month contracts, and 24-month contracts as standard but you can also access rolling one-month contracts, although you have to look out for penalties in terms of repayment of installation fees and early exit fees if you don’t commit to the contract for a specific period.

Fixed IP Address

A fixed IP address is a little known aspect of broadband but is very important to business consumers and gamers.  In order to be able to remotely access your computer from outside your home or away from your office, it’s much easier if you have a fixed IP address which doesn’t change.  Essentially the IP address is the identifier for your computer and most residential broadband packages have a dynamic address that changes every time you log on to the internet.

Dynamic addresses mean that you won’t be able to find your computer as you need the IP address to do so.  With gaming, it’s important to have a fixed IP address if you’re setting up game servers and many multiplayer games especially on older routers which require you to have a fixed IP address in order to function fully. 

Upload Speeds

Upload speeds are the speed at which you can send information upstream.  This involves sending files up to social network sites such as pictures, sending e-mails, uploading website data and images and anything that involves sending rather than receiving information.

Upload speeds are normally less important than download speeds but for some the upload speed is a crucial aspect.  Upload speeds on many residential packages are only around 0.5Mbps tops and there are business broadband packages that have five times the speed at 2.5Mbps, for instance through Eclipse Broadband.

Web Space

As well as getting a fixed IP address, you can get web space through many business broadband packages.  This provides free space where you can put your website which could otherwise cost you £3, £4, or even £5 per month on the basic packages, or if you needed a reseller account you could be spending around £40 or £50 per month on a package such as Heart Internet’s.

E-mail Addresses

Many providers will offer you a free e-mail address or even many free e-mail addresses.  These can be branded to your business in many cases and offer you the opportunity to save on this expense.  When you have a package that has web space and e-mail addresses, you have all of the services for your business in one handy location.

Latency Speed

Latency or ping is the time it takes to get a response from the server.  When you do a speed test you get shown the upload, download, and ping speeds.  Ping is important for time sensitive activities such as streaming and video chat.  Indeed, if you don’t have a ping of better than 50 milliseconds you may well get breaks in communication when you’re talking over the internet.  Ping is therefore very important if you enjoy talking to relatives and friends overseas on Skype or another video chat provider.

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When Sam Jones daughter found a great deal on a fixed IP address broadband connection she had her father to thank. He advised her to try uSwitch and other price comparison sites and it helped to make the decision easier.

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