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A Consumer's Guide to Home Broadband

By Edited Nov 28, 2016 0 0

Choosing the Best UK Broadband

In this age of improving technology, most households require some form of broadband connection.  With children using the internet for school projects and mothers wanting to look up recipes on the internet, it is imperative that many household have good quality broadband too.  However, the choice is so confusing and knowing which package to choose can be an arduous task.


This is a basic guide to home broadband and what you should know about it.


Home Broadband Speed

When you are on the internet, every image and page view is delivered to your computer in packets.  The speed of the packets that are delivered uses a measurement of Megabits per second.  The technology used with broadband allows the packets to move from your point of connection much quicker than using a telephone, modem and dial-up access.  
There are two speeds that you have to be aware of – upload and download.  The upload speed is the speed of getting information from your computer to the web and the download speed is the speed at which information is received from the web to your home computer.


Speed Availability


You may use the internet for checking your mail, watching movies and a host of other activities, and to achieve superior service for all these activities you will require a service that is dependable and predictable.  Bear in mind that as the internet grows and your needs grow; you may require faster and even more dependable services.


It is possible to get a fair idea of the speed that you require for any online activity via certain broadband provider’s websites.  These guides often indicate the minimum download speed that you will need to obtain good performance for different types of activities.  If you opt for higher speeds than these charts indicate, your web browsing experience will become easier and less stressful.  Having a slow internet connection can make for extreme dissatisfaction and frustration.  Keep this in mind when you decide on the speed that you choose when making a selection of available services.


Consider Your Household


You should take into consideration the number of people in your household who will be using the home broadband connection at any given time.  Some of the people in your household may even make use of two devices at the same time, such as a laptop and tablet or a tablet and Smartphone.  This will place higher demand on your service and system which may require a super-fast broadband connection.


You Need More than Download Speed


Emphasis is always placed on the download speed of your home broadband, but this is not the only deciding factor in your choice of service.  Dependent upon your online activities, you should consider other factors, such as:


The upload speed of your service.  This refers to the speed at which information is transmitted from your computer to the web.  This speed is particularly important if you happen to work from home and you need to share large files with others, undertake video conferencing, two-way gaming and if you use cloud computing that requires your computer and the internet to stay connected and communicate for extended periods.  If you use your device for these purposes, it would be great if your upload speed was equivalent to your download speed, however, this is generally not an option with service providers.


You will often experience a delay in the delivery of information on the internet which is termed as latency.  Increased latency can become a problem if you run applications that require real-time interaction such as video conferencing, online telephone calls and gaming.
Depending on the contract you choose, you may have a data usage allowance that you can use over a certain period of time.  When you are considering the most suitable home broadband package for your use, bear in mind that a SD movie download is normally between one to two GB, while HD can be between three and five gigabytes.  If you are a high internet user, you should consider choosing an unlimited broadband package.  This will allow you to continue your internet activities without having to monitor your usage.


Providers and Packages


It is important that you find the best home broadband package for your particular needs.  Research the providers that offer suitable services in your area.  You may have the choice of ADSL or fibre optic broadband in your area.  If you require high-speed internet, you may do well to consider fibre optic, however, this service is often not available in all areas, particularly rural England.


There are several home broadband packages that you could investigate.  Check on the provider’s website as you could get a special deal if you opt for a package deal which includes broadband, television and a telephone line.  These packages often cost less than getting the services individually.


Contracts


You may have to sign a contract for your home broadband and it is recommended that you read the contract carefully.  Check the fair usage policy in your contract as this may affect the usage levels of your home broadband.  Although you may have opted for an unlimited contract, the fair usage policy may still allow your service provider to slow down your connection if you breach this policy.  In cases where you constantly exceed the amount stipulated in the fair usage policy, your service provider may charge you a levy for this.  In extreme cases, you are at risk of having your contract terminated.


At the moment Sky is the only broadband provider that offers truly unlimited download options, with no fair usage policy or traffic management intervention.


Service Levels


If you experience slow surfing speeds on a regular basis, you should do a speed test.  There are online facilities that will allow you to do this.  There are several reasons why your speed may be reduced.  If you have a slow or old model router or an older computer, it may slow down your speed of interacting on the internet.  Using the internet during peak times or when most of your household is using the facility may well slow it down.  If you do not fall into any of these categories and you continue experiencing slow speeds, you should contact your service provider.

 

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