The latest innovation or upgrade in technology that’s hot on everyone’s lips is 5G — a new super-fast, low latency wireless system. 5G- which has been hailed as the fourth industrial revolution by AdWeek, is a next-generation way to connect to the web as we attain an ever-expanding number of high-tech devices, many of which require extensive bandwidth. Put simply, 5G is the 5th generation mobile network. You have heard of 2G, 3G and 4G, the change in signal and speed when you are in the city vs out in the sticks. With 3G mobile networks introduced mobile data for the first time, access to the internet to browse the web, 4G introduced LTE, an advanced in speed and improvement in capabilities. Whereas 5G is much faster — up to 10x faster than its predecessor and welcomes a whole new realm of opportunities.
What is broadband
Broadband is a type of high-speed internet connection that has surpassed dial-up as the standard way to connect to the internet. Broadband packages come in all shapes and sizes, from ADSL broadband to cable broadband and 3G and 4G mobile broadband. A broadband connection, like a telephone line, is never switched off and can be accessed at any time. Broadband is one of the most popular forms of internet connection and is used by millions of people across the world. Broadband is actually a relative term because it can only be understood in context, i.e. as opposed to narrowband, which was the technology behind dial-up connections. In the days of dial-up, you had to hang up the phone to use the internet. With broadband the frequencies can be split into channels, so you can use the phone on one channel and the internet on another, if you want broadband with a phone and tv package there are many deals that can be found online.
When was broadband created?
Broadband breathed new life into the internet in the early 2000s by allowing the signal in one line to be split between telephone and internet, meaning users could be online and make phone calls at the same time. This also led to faster connections, making it easier to browse the internet and download files. The advent of broadband networks meant that people were able to download files, songs, TV shows and movies at greater speeds. This opened a whole new world in online media: On the previous 56kbps connection speeds, sites such as YouTube just were not possible.
Like most new technologies, broadband was extremely expensive when it was first launched, so initial usage was low. Now, nearly everyone uses some form of broadband, whether through their phone lines or other connection types.
Since the launch of broadband, we have seen the rise of new broadband technology, such as 4G mobile broadband, which allows users to get online anywhere, and cable (fibre-optic) broadband, which has boosted connection speeds in the UK to a maximum of 300Mbps.
Different types of broadband
ADSLL – Shortened to ADSL because it makes everyone’s lives much easier, Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line became the dominant type of internet connection after dial-up drove everyone insane. It is far more effective at downloading than uploading, so this suits the casual customer.
It is available to 99% of the UK and transfers data using the copper phone line, without interfering with voice call frequencies. Therefore, unlike dial-up, you can still have the phone in use. The speed experienced by an ADSL user can vary dramatically, and whilst there are maximum speeds available, they can also be unachievable. This might seem a little odd, but the fact is that external factors like distance from the exchange and local web traffic will affect your broadband speed, and this is out of the control of your broadband provider.
Fibre-optic broadband uses glass fibres instead of copper lines, and this advanced technology allows for significantly faster data transfer. With ADSL you could see speeds peak at 8Mbps, whilst with fibre, you might be looking at ten times that figure. The exact speed available to you depends on your package, with providers offering different deals for fibre. Even the smallest fibre deal could deliver speeds of up to 30Mbps, whilst the top packages boast 80-100Mps.
Without trying to complicate things, you will find that most fibre providers revert back to the copper lines for carrying the broadband between the street’s cabinet and your house – the home straight. So you still have fibre broadband, except for that last bit. This means that distance from the cabinet, local web traffic and other external factors can still affect your speed, but your average speed should still be significantly faster than ADSL.
Satellite broadband is an alternative option, although there are few providers offering the service. The name is a giveaway regarding how the broadband is operated; essentially you need to be able to see the sky. Limited take-up is hardly a mystery – the high prices for satellite broadband are eye-watering, and you can’t get near the superfast download speeds available through fibre.