Broadband Vs Broaderband

Almost 90% of internet users in the UK use a broadband connection, with average speeds of 2-8 Mbps. But because of technology becoming more and more advanced, such speeds may soon be too slow. Fortunately, there are new systems being developed which could deliver super-fast broadband to our homes.

The first is the use of fibre optics instead of the current copper cables. These fibres can carry speeds between 50Mbps and 100Mbps both upstream and downstream, meaning that uploading files to your online storage could be just as fast as downloading media from a website. Fibre optic systems can be expensive, in the region of £15 billion, but it could well be a reality in a few years.

VDSL (Very high speed Digital Subscriber Line) is a cheaper option which combines the use of optics with copper. VDSL can handle high bandwidth applications like VoIP and HDTV, as well as general internet access. Rolling out VDSL across the country will involve building 90,000 cabinets to house the cables at street level and will give users speeds of around 30Mbps

Wi-Fi has been available in the UK for some time, but the next generation, WiMax, will be able to deliver high speeds, around 70Mbps, over much longer distances, approximately 50km, all without the use of cables. In many countries WiMax is the predominant broadband infrastructure, and it shouldn't be too long before it becomes as commonplace as Wi-Fi in the UK.

Cable was perhaps the first method of delivering broadband to homes, and the protocol used currently is DOCSIS 1.0 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification). Version 1.0 is capable of speeds of up to 38Mbps, and a version 3.0 is being trialled in parts of the UK, and noting speeds of 50Mbps. It's hoped that eventually, DOCSIS will deliver around 120Mbps. This system has another advantage; unlike current methods, the connection speed isn't reliant on being close to the local exchange, and speeds should be consistent among all users.

But while these systems are still widely unavailable, there are a variety of other options for any broadband customer wanting to get a faster connection. Take a broadband speed test to find out what your current connection speed is. Use the internet to compare broadband packages to see if you can get a better deal.