Explanation of broadband terms

3G:
Mobile phone technology that includes services and applications with faster access to the web.
ADSL:
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line - the technology that allows you to receive broadband using existing telephone networks. It works like a very fast telephone line that is always connected to the internet. By converting data more efficiently over a wider frequency range than a computer´s modem, ADSL makes the line much faster.
ATM:
Asynchronous transfer mode. This is a way of transferring voice, video and data over a high-speed network.
Bandwidth:
This is the amount of data that can be transferred over a connection usually expressed in bits/bytes per second (bps).
Be Box modem:
Part of the Be broadband range of packages, the Be Box Modem is a wireless router that is ADSL enabled and provides voice over IP functions for home and office users.
Bit:
This is a single unit of data — and in broadband terms this means the unit of transmitted data. A kilobit (Kb) is 1,000 bits. A megabit (Mb) is 1,000,000 bits.
Broadband:
Broadband is a faster version of the internet that works at higher speeds because of an increased bandwidth. The most commonly used form is ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line) which is an upgraded home telephone line that remains connected so there is no need to dial it up each time and you can make phone calls while using the internet. Broadband can also be obtained through cable TV or satellite.
Broadband/Landline bundle:
An all-inclusive package in which you pay for both broadband and line rental together.
BT Home Hub:
A wireless internet router available from BT.
BT Hub Phone:
This is a digital cordless phone that allows you to make low cost calls over the BT Broadband Talk service.
BT Vision:
A digital television service offered by BT. The set-top box includes access to the video on demand service. The service works with a BT Home Hub.
Bundle:
This is effectively a package deal. For example, with mobile phones you could get a text and minutes bundle offering you call-time and text messages for a predetermined fee. A broadband bundle could be a combination of broadband and line rental, for example.
Cable broadband:
Much like cable television and telephone services, broadband is carried through a fibre optic cable buried under the ground.
Chatroom:
An online area, or part of a website, where two or more people can ´talk´ in real time by typing messages.
Contract:
The deal you make with the broadband provider. They agree to supply the service, and you agree to stay with them, for a set period of time — usually twelve or eighteen months.
Convergence:
The unification of services such as Orange combining its mobile phone and broadband operations to offer cheaper deals.
Data:
A general term for videos, text, pictures or sound stored on, processed, sent or received by your computer.
Dial-up internet:
This is when your computer calls your Internet Service Provider (ISP) as you connect to the internet — this can normally be heard with a dialling tone. This means you have to establish a new connection each time rather than staying online as with broadband.
Download:
Moving files from the internet on to your PC.
Download restriction:
The amount of data you are restricted to over a set period. For example a broadband package could offer a 3GB download restriction meaning you are limited to 3GB over a predetermined (usually monthly) period.
Downstream:
This is data that goes from the internet to your computer — so for example emails, downloading from the internet, etc.
DSL:
Digital Subscriber Line - this technology transfers data over a phone line without interference.
DSLAM:
This is technology used at a phone company´s central office that connects the carrier to the subscriber loop and in turn the customer´s PC.
EON:
An Ethernet Optical Network. For a full description of Ethernet, see the next term.
Ethernet:
This is a network standard for data transmission, most commonly used on local area networks (LANs) such as in the workplace. New systems are now capable of running at 1,000Mbps.
Exchange:
The service area that your connection is associated with. For example if you are unable to receive broadband where you live it is because you are not within range of a broadband exchange.
FTP:
File transfer protocol — a process of obtaining and uploading files to and from the internet.
GPS:
Standing for Global Positioning System. This allows the user to know exactly where they are on earth and is now used within mobile-broadband technology.
Internet protocol:
This enables information to be routed from one network to another. The information is sent in packets and then reassembled into information when it reaches its destination.
Instant messaging:
A service that allows you to ´chat´ with another internet user in real time by typing.
IP address:
An individual number attributed to every computer on the internet for identification purposes.
ISP:
Internet Service Provider - the company that supplies your connection.
Landline:
is the telephone line in a home — not a mobile, but a routed line.
LLU:
Local Loop Unbundling - when a provider rents space from the exchange and then sells its own services on the line.
MAC:
Migration Authorisation Code - allows you to migrate from one broadband provider to another.
Mbps
Megabits per second. This measures how quickly data can be transmitted.
Mobile/Broadband bundle:
Basically an all-inclusive package in which you pay for both broadband and mobile phone network charges together.
Modem:
The device that allows your PC to connect to the internet via your telephone line — previously they had to be plugged in, but now they are inbuilt within computers.
Multiple port router:
This is a switch and a router sold in a single package.
Orange Livebox:
A VoiP service offered by Orange that allows users to make calls over the internet for less. You simply plug your phone into the livebox - you don´t have to have your computer switched on and you can even use your home phone line at the same time.
Pay-as-you-go broadband:
This means you only pay for your actual usage — that is, downloads and uploads, looking at websites, emails, etc. You pay based on the time you spend online.
Ping:
When a message is sent to another computer and the command waits for a response. This is a method often used to check if a network is reachable.
Protocol:
A command sent from one computer/network to another.
Quad play:
A combination of broadband, television, mobile phone and landline phone services. This was first offered by Virgin Media in 2007.
Router:
With a router you can set up your own home network because it will buffer and forward data. It connects the Internet Service Provider´s network together with the LAN at home through a single broadband domain. So instead of paying for a connection for each PC, the router allows you to put your home network on the same connection.
Satellite broadband:
An alternative to ADSL that uses a satellite connection to provide a permanent connection to the internet.
SDSL:
Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line - allows more data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines at rates up to 3Mbps.
See Surf Speak:
A range of products offered by Sky that combine television (see), broadband (surf) and phone (speak) services.
Speed:
The rate at which you can receive downloads. For broadband, the connection is normally at least 256kbps and can be as much as 24Mbps.
Streaming:
Allows the user to watch/listen to a download as the download commences in the background. This is most common with live streaming, such as with commentary from sports events, etc.
Switch:
Of course this can mean to move from one broadband provider to another, for example "I switched from BT to Sky". However, a switch is also a term for a device that connects local area networks.
Unlimited download:
This means you can download as much as you like — ideal for heavy users such as online gamers.
Upload:
Transferring files from your computer to the internet.
Usage cap:
With some broadband packages you are limited to the amount you can download over a set period. This will be outlined in your contract.
V+:
on a range of Virgin products, with V+ you can pause and rewind live TV as well as recording two programmes and watching a third.
Virgin Central:
A TV channel that offers Virgin´s video on demand service. By pressing a button a viewer can access an on-screen guide and view different episodes of a show they can select. A user can also stop, rewind and pause the TV show, much like using a DVD player.
VLAN:
A virtual local area network. This is a network of computers that behaves as though they are connected to the same wire even though they might actually be on different sections of the LAN.
VOD:
Video on Demand - a technology or service that allows a video feed to be called on near instantaneously for viewing, usually for a fee.
VoIP:
Voice Over Internet Protocol — allowing you to make long distance phone calls using your computer.
Web n Walk:
A T-Mobile package that gives the user unlimited broadband internet access on a mobile phone and laptop for a monthly fee.
Wireless broadband:
This is when a broadband connection is formed without wires such as when using a laptop or through a mobile phone. Wireless networks can be set up using radio waves to link users.
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