What is the Best Broadband Available?

If you’re in the marketplace for new broadband deals, it can be difficult to know what actually characterises better value-for-money; ‘ADSL’ or ‘Fibre Optic’. Prices for these different solutions can vary hugely; but the technical specification and presentation differ greatly too. It is therefore important to understand what sets these two broadband types apart.

To help you make an up-to-date decision, we’ve put together a brief explanation of both types of broadband plus comparisons across the 4 most important factors…

What is ADSL broadband?

ADSL is the next cohort after dial-up, with improved speed/performance and more importantly a split in the line allowing simultaneous broadband and telephone connections. These connections can use copper telephone lines or coaxial cables to bring the data into your building. There have been enhancements since the launch of ADSL, culminating in the most recent ADSL2+ which offers considerably faster connections.

What is fibre optic broadband?

Fibre broadband, or FTTC, uses an completely separate type of cable called a fibre optic cable. Each cable is encompassed of thousands of individual fibres—each as thin as a human hair—which carry information in the form of light photons as conflicting to the electrons pushed down a copper or coaxial cable.

Which is better?

Speed & Availability

The type and quality of cables running between your home or office and your ‘local telephone exchange’ can have a huge impact on performance.

Having an ADSL internet access means that your data will be transferred via ADSL lines all the way from your office premises to the telephone exchange (a distance of up to 6 miles!).

Fibre to the cabinet cuts the distance of ADSL lines carrying your data down to less than one mile by introducing a fibre cabinet. The fibre cabinet sits in-between your office premises and the telephone exchange.

The short distance between your premises and the recently introduced cabinet, the existing lines can carry data on a higher speed due to its shorter distance (also known as VDSL), whereas the longer distance between the cabinet and the telephone exchange fibre optic cables are presented.

A steady ADSL line will usually come advertised at around 24Mbps or less. A recent study by Ofcom found that the average ‘actual’ connection speed was a paltry 6Mbps. ADSL2+ lines advertise at 16Mbps but deliver around 11Mbps, which is certainly more respectable and is fast enough for the majority of general internet browsing and usage (similar to an average 3G connection on your phone).

On the other hand, current fibre optic broadband packages advertise products at 38Mbps and 76Mbps. The actual speeds of these connections are very close to the advertised speeds; the latter averaging around 60Mbps. The next group of super-fast broadband, Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), will offer up to 330Mbps!

To complicate things more, your internet speed has more than one dimension. The most important are bandwidth (the amount of data that can be downloaded/uploaded per second) and latency (the average response time in two-way communication). Different cable setups can affect each dimension differently.

Dependant on your location, you may have access to a faster internet connection. Get in touch with us for free advice – we can find out what’s available for you.

Usage

Some broadband packages have capped ‘download limits’, meaning you are restricted by how much data you can download in any given month. That includes website data, videos, images, push notifications to apps and programs, emails and all other internet data.

Many ADSL packages do offer ‘truly unlimited downloads’, meaning you can download as much data as you like in any given month. However, with an average bandwidth of 6Mbps you may not be able to take advantage of all that data. It may not even be fast enough to stream HD video! A fibre broadband connection could therefore be absolutely necessary to handle the volume of data you will download/upload.

Don’t be fooled by big promises that you won’t be able to take advantage of. Talk to us about your usage requirements and we can find the most suitable and cost-effective solution.