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Before covering specific broadband services and technologies, we will explain a few broadband concepts that occur during the course and need to be understood before proceeding.

Connection Speeds

What affects the quality of my broadband infographic depicts The type and number of devices being used, and the number of webpages and applications open will affect the performance and speed experienced. If lots of devices and people are trying to access information, then the connection will be shared between all these requests, which may affect the performance.
 When describing their broadband offers, service providers will refer to 'connection speeds' or 'line speeds' of so many megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps). This is usually the maximum speed for the particular technology being provided in a perfect world.In reality, many things can affect speed, including the distance of your premises from the telephone exchange, internet traffic congestion, the quality of the copper wire to your premises, your hardware and software, and the speed and capacity of websites you visit. You should, however, experience a reasonable approximation of the speed offered: if you are unsatisfied you should complain to your provider. If still unsatisfied, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

Download Versus Upload

Downloads aren't just the things you choose to save to your computer; they also include all of the data you receive from others, e.g. an email attachment you receive, a website you look at, or a video which you view online. Download speeds have been seen as the most important aspect of a service until recently, but this is changing.
manila folders with arrows representing upload and downloadUploads are the data you send from your computer to others. Examples of uploads include a marketing video of your event, sound bites of your music, high definition photos of your work, assessment results for tests.
For some users, upload speed is becoming almost as important as download speed. This is due, for example, to the increased use of:
  •  Cloud services (see Module 4: Using the Cloud), where your previously in-house data and applications can now be delivered or held in another suburb, state or country.
  • Social media and email, where you often send as much as you receive.
  • File transfer applications that allow the transfer of files that are simply too big to be email attachments, e.g. a marketing video of your event, sound bites of your music, high-definition photos of your work, assessment results, etc.

Also, once you’re on line, your business will become a source of downloads for your clients (hence uploads for you). Small businesses should consider their upload needs and the expectations of their clients when choosing their broadband service. Providers still tend to focus on download speed, so you may need to prompt them for further details about the upload speeds they offer and whether uploads will count towards your monthly data allowance. Plan comparison websites (e.g. WhistleOut and CalculatorWeb) and service provider usage calculators (e.g. Optus’ and Vodafone’s) have tools or advice to help you in assessing your data needs.

Fixed Broadband 

Fixed broadband refers to broadband that is provided via fixed links into your premises (e.g. DSL, HFC cable and optical fibre). Fixed wireless and satellite connections, although not land-based, involve fixed infrastructure on your premises and hence still fall broadly into the fixed broadband category.

Getting connected   4G TowerMobile Broadband 

Mobile broadband allows fast mobile internet access via a portable or plug-in modem (often called a ‘dongle’) which contains a mobile transmitter/receiver.

Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) supply a USB or WiFi modem with their mobile broadband plans. Some laptops and tablet PCs have built-in support for mobile broadband, while others will be able to use a Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone to access the internet.

The mobile broadband option will be particularly appealing for businesses that provide on-site services to multiple clients, or in outdoor environments (e.g. camping or personal training).

Mobile broadband is subject to the same coverage constraints as mobile phones. The actual speed of download will also be affected by the number of users in the area.


 Part 2 - Understanding Technology   Continue to 'Digital Subscriber Line'