Broadband Explained – Elf Knows It [ARCHIVED]

INTERNET connections in the home have come along in massive strides here in recent years. Gone are the days, for most people, where sitting at the computer for 15 minutes waiting for your e-mail to load, to find that you haven’t actually got any. There is still so much for Ireland to be offered when it comes to broadband, in terms of speed and availability, but for now we have enough to keep most of us happy with our internet connections in our homes.


BROADBAND is a generic term for an internet connection that is 10 to 100+ times faster than a standard dial up internet connection. Broadband differs from a dial up connection because it’s ‘always on’ and you are able to make and receive phone calls whilst you are online. Broadband makes it easier to download music, video or photos because of the speeds that data can be transferred using higher bandwidths than dial up. Broadband speeds vary from 512kbps to 24mb and in some areas, even more.


A broadband connection enables you to get a lot more out of being online. You can send and receive information quicker and it’s the end of busy signals or intermittent connections. With a broadband connection you can surf the internet without tying up your phone line. Broadband also allows for an internet connection to be shared around the house, without a noticeable drop in speed.


BROADBAND is available in a number of ways:

Cable broadband connects your computer to a cable TV service (e.g. NTL) and offers broadband at very high speeds.

ADSL transfers high-speed digital data using the same copper telephone lines that you use to make and receive phone calls.

Satellite broadband uses satellites orbiting the Earth to transmit data to a satellite dish attached to your home. This is used when a user doesn’t have access an enabled phone exchange or fixed wireless.

Wireless is any form of broadband you can use on the go, such as o2,Vodafone,Irish broad band’s rip-wave. You will be supplied with a small wireless antenna to connect to the internet. Usually aimed more at users on the go who will need their laptop connected.

Fixed Wireless is when an antenna is attached to the roof or wall of your house, and this connects to a local tower, receiving the broadband from there and shooting it into your home.

TO be able to get broadband you will need to be within the area a service operates, for regular ADSL broadband you will need to be connected to an enabled exchange and within the distance they send to.

For fixed and portable wireless you will need to be within range of their radio towers to be able to use their services. Fixed wireless woks on line of site, sou you could not have any obstacles such as hills or buildings in your way.

For other wireless services such as o2, Vodafone and 3, you will need to be in their 3G coverage areas to get the high broadband speeds. If not you can still connect, but not very fast, similar to old dial-up speeds.

Satellite broadband has no restrictions, you can get it no matter where you are located, but the price of the installation and monthly bills are enough to put people off and hold out for another option.


IF you are connected to the internet, it is a good idea to have antivirus and spyware software installed on your computer. There are many different options available and you can even get some software for free.

Some ISPs will recommend software to you or offer it as part of your package. You can also do your own research on the internet by searching for antivirus and spyware software.

Next week I will show you how to share Broadband around your home.

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