The Basics of Broadband

We have all heard of broadband technology. We utilise it on our phones every day. Without broadband, most of us would be unable to watch television or log onto our favourite Internet site. In fact, it is highly likely that you are using broadband right now to read this very article. However, how does this seemingly mysterious technology work? Is it as complicated as it sounds? Let's attempt to solve this question before examining what are considered to be the top broadband providers.

Broadband: How it Works

We should first begin by envisioning the transmission of data from one location to another much like a common garden hose. When you water your plants, you desire to have an adequate pressure. The larger the diameter of the hose, the more water can flow through at any given second. Whether you believe it or not, this is actually the same concept that broadband employs. These transmissions literally use a “broader” bandwidth, so more data can be sent and received. This is also the very same reason why DSL and dial-up Internet were so limited; they could not transmit information nearly as fast. So, broadband is normally measured in megabytes per second while dial-up services were kilobytes per second. Broadband enables us to stream videos, send and receive emails instantaneously and download large amounts of information whenever we choose. This system has truly revolutionised the ways in which we communicate.

What to Look for in a Broadband Provider

Not all providers are the same. This principle is just as true in terms of television, telephone and smartphones (all of which tend to use broadband). There are a few key metrics that you will need to keep in mind. Summarily, these are:

  • The maximum amount of information that can be sent or received (usually listed I megabytes per second).
  • The ability to enjoy “package” deals which include television, landlines and smartphones.
  • The price of the service per month.
  • The possibility of any early termination penalties.
  • Perks such as free installation, discounted upgrades, high-definition television channels and multiple connection locations throughout your home.

Are There Any Downsides to Broadband?

This is a common question that should be addressed before we move on. Like any service, there will naturally be a few disadvantages to point out. The most pronounced is that even if you are quoted at a massive amount of megabytes per second, this may not always be the reality. The number of users, the signal strength and even the processing power of your device can limit these speeds. Also, broadband is not infallible. There could be times when the system itself crashes and although it is usually up and running again in a matter of minutes (or hours), this can be frustrating if you were in the middle of streaming large amounts of data.

The Top Broadband Providers

Now that we have an understanding of broadband, let's take a look at the top providers:

  • Virgin
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • EE

Virgin offers speeds of up to 200 megabytes per second. At the time that this article was written, there is a monthly line rental fee of £17.99 pounds.

Sky is actually much slower in terms of speeds (at a mere 38 megabytes per second). However, the main difference is they offer many more television bundles when compared to Virgin.

TalkTalk provides maximum line speeds of 38 megabytes per second and yet, prices of only £10 pounds a month for 12 months could be a great option if you are on a budget.

EE provides an unlimited amount of broadband at 38 megabytes per second for £10 pounds a month under an 18-month contract. You will also be required to pay a £16.50 line rental.