Advancements in technology have allowed the efficiency and speed of interconnectivity to filter into every layer of society and every feature of human interaction. The human race can now be entertained with streaming music in crystal clarity; with mind shattering high definition movies; by instantaneous video calls from half way around the world; and, all this in the comfort of one’s home, or with ease even on the go.
The latest leap in these technologies is the advent of broadband. It has not been very ages since broadband first entered our vernacular, and it has grown exponentially in both its use and its effectiveness. Now, we stand at the cusp of the latest instalment in our march to unlimited communication- superfast mobile broadband.
Brief History of the Internet
Stepping from fixed line Internet on to mobile technology was a giant leap for broadband. Mobile technology severed the anchors and literally liberated the masses. As technology propelled the very nature of how we connected, it evolved into something more natural. In the past we were tethered to our desktops or laptops, we had to be indoors to connect to the outside. A stroke of irony there, perhaps, but one had to remain in the room to be able to chat with, or otherwise, communicate with friends anywhere else. Mobile technology changed all that. It got us out of our proverbial caves and into society, while being able to keep in touch with email and the web.
With the hardware developments, applications and services have also exploded on to the scene from social networking sites, to consumer services. We are more serious than ever about getting the right broadband and comparison services like broadband checkers have sprung up around the web.
Generations of Mobile Broadband
We have now passed the level of the Third Generation developments where speeds were adequate to do browsing and emails. Now, mobile technology is competing with ADSL and fibre, and packages are able to cater for mobile streaming, video in high definition and other high speed tasks. This is the world of 4G.
With all the various broadband technologies, there are also various ways of getting it to the customer’s doorstep. Off course there is wireless broadband, whose speed and flexibility is making it viable for homes to use fixed broadband all around their homes, unconnected. Fixed broadband comes as fibre optic option or ADSL. Some people are even still on dial-up services, but most providers withdrew these services a long time ago. A quick check with a broadband checker will tell you what level of ADSL you can get, and whether fibre is available in your area.
In deciding on a broadband package, the first thing to consider is the method of delivery. All broadband is comparable in terms of what kind of data it can carry. 4G, fibre optics and ADSL can all bring streaming movies to your doorstep, but all have different cost structures and speeds in terms of upload, download and latency.
The latest in wireless technology, 4G, is the platinum standard of mobile broadband. It allows data speeds comparable to ADSL fixed line, or even fibre optic broadband. The speeds are enough to make some people consider replacing their fixed line with an all-mobile environment at home. After all that is whole point in paying for line rental. When you walk out the door in the morning to work your mobile device follows you while your desktop does nothing all day. There is no need to keep a fixed line broadband connected to it. Mobile Internet connectivity is a very personal service, it follows you wherever you go. This is the reason mobile broadband is gaining popularity, fast.
Here in the UK, telcos have been rolling out the 4G service since the beginning of 2013. Check a broadband checker for availability in your area. They are accelerating their infrastructure to be able to cover the entire UK, or as much as 90%, within a short period of time. At the rate they are presently going, it looks like all the major towns and cities will be fully 4G capable by the end of the year.
Fibre optics is a fantastic technology. They are strands of fibre that carry light. Essentially they run from switch to switch across long distances and as one would guess, they travel at the speed of light. This allows more data to be packed in across the backbone and as such more data can then be channelled to the various nodes. Fibre optic cables are the fastest technology we have at the moment, and can allow speeds into the Gigabyte range if all the switches and substations are upgraded. Cables are a long term fixed investment. They need to be laid underground and once laid, are not easily replaced without huge investment. An online broadband checker will help you find out if you can get on fibre.
ADSL is an older technology compared to fibre optics. It is naturally slower but sufficient for most purposes. ADSL can even take loads when used for streaming music or videos. However streaming high definition movies may be problematic as the speeds required to handle high definition movies normally need to exceed 5MB/s and ADSL is not always quite there.
Between the three available technologies there are a few parameters you need to think about before you can get a technician though your door to hook you up. The first of course is a cost comparison. All the data and convenience in the world is not the ideal solution for everyone, it must fit your budget as well. So make sure that you begin by looking at a broadband checker to compare and understand what is available to you, and at what price.
Taking The Leap
As 4G rolls out this year, and the service is penetrating far and wide, this may be an alternative to using fibre optics at home. As mentioned earlier, Internet connectivity is a very personal service, it’s used only when you are present, so it makes sense that mobile services are used. As devices get smaller, then larger again, smartphones, tablets and even wearable computers in the future (the ones that look like goggles) will all rely on wireless technology, 4G will be able to handle that. But while hardware technology catches up, the present roll out of 4G will surely revolutionise the way broadband is used.