Dipping your toe in the world of broadband providers can often feel like going into a shop to find everyone but you suddenly speaks a foreign language.
Littered with technical speak for every stage of the investigation and purchase process, even choosing what package you need can be tricky.
But fear not our jargon-buster will mean you can hold your own, while ensuring you get the package you need because you have the right knowledge at your fingertips.
So, without further ado, here are our explanations of the most common broadband terms you are likely to come across…..
ADSL Broadband – The UK’s most popular form of internet connection and is provided over telephone lines. Quality varies depending on how far your connection is from the telephone exchange.
Bandwidth – refers to the rate data can be transferred between two points in a given time.
Broadband – A high bandwidth connection to the internet.
Cloud-Based – A programme that functions in the cloud, otherwise known as large groups of networked remote servers. Often hosted in a data centre, these allow a user to access the cloud from an internet-enabled device. Dropbox is a well-known example of a cloud-based service.
Connection – This refers to the path between at least two places and can refer to either a telephone or an internet connection.
Contention Ratio – Refers to the maximum number of users or businesses sharing a bandwidth connection, each of whom will have an equal proportion of the total speed. The lower the contention ratio, the better the service.
Download Limits – The amount of data that your ISP will allow you to download each month before you are charged extra or have your account restricted.
Download Speed – The rate or speed at which your computer can receive data from the internet.
Ethernet – connects a number of computer systems to form a very fast, private local area network. It is even faster over fibre cabling and can handle a huge amount of online activity, such as downloading large files or using real-time applications such as video-conferencing.
Fibre – use glass or plastic threads or fibres to transmit and deliver data, but are only available in fibre-enabled areas of the UK.
Firewall – accesses traffic from the internet and stops unwanted traffic arriving at your computer.
Fixed-Line – Internet connections that come into homes or businesses via either cables or a telephone line. Distinct from mobile broadband, which uses
the mobile network.
FTTC & FTTP – Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), has fibre-optic cable running between the telephone exchange and your nearest street cabinet, but copper wire on the final stretch to your home or business. Fibre to the home/premises (FTTH or FTTP) is a superior version where the fibre-optic cable runs all the way, which is both faster and more reliable.
IP Address – Your Internet Protocol address is a string of numbers unique to a device that identifies you on the internet, facilitating communication between your computer and the rest of the internet.
ISP – An Internet Service Provider can provide the internet access, domain registration and web hosting, and will be the company that bills you for your internet, regardless of how the internet enters your home or business.
LAN – A Local Area Network is the data network connecting all computers, servers and printers in one physical location.
Latency – The speed of your network, and whether it has small delays and processes information quickly (low latency), or longer delays and slower processing (high latency).
MAC – A Migration Authorisation Code aids the process of changing ISPs. Your existing company is supposed to supply this for free within five days. It should be passed to the new ISP within 30 days. Downtime when using this method of switchover is not supposed to be more than a few hours.
Managed Internet Access (MIA) – refers to a dedicated internet connection that is fully and pro-actively managed by a provider, meaning problems should be spotted and fixed as soon as they occur, instead of having to be reported.
Mobile Broadband – Broadband for a laptop or tablet, requires a 3 or 4G-enabled device or a plug-in adaptor, typically USB.
Network – All the internet-related services you invest in, be they broadband or VoIP, are all connected and provided to you through a network.
Point-to-Point Leased Lines – A point-to-point leased line is a private circuit linking two premises so data, voice and internet traffic can be transferred securely.
Streaming – A way of transferring data at a steady speed, most often used for watching media without having to download it.
Unlimited Broadband – A broadband package that has no limits on how much you can download each month, although some do stipulate a fair use policy so check before signing a contract.
Upload Speed: How fast your broadband connection can send data from your computer, such as sending your photos to an online website or portal, or sending emails.
VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol translates words into data packets for transmitting across the internet like any other file, transforming it back to its usual form on arrival. Much cheaper than
traditional calls, communication can be carried out through any computer or phone that can connect to the internet.
Wide Area Network (WAN) or Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) – WANs or MPLS technology are used by businesses that want to link and exchange data between computers at two or more sites that may be far apart, such as disaster recovery sites. Usually private, they can be accessed remotely and are often formed of two LANs (see above).
We hope this helps break down those language barriers, if there is anything we haven’t covered, please do get in touch and we’ll be happy to clarify for you.