A good broadband connection is an essential part of daily lives these days. Not only does it need to be consistent — no-one likes having to wait for their content to keep buffering — but it also needs to be powerful enough to download large files quickly. If your current deal is coming to a close, here’s what you need to know about your current options. You can also use Netflix’s new website, fast.com, to check your current internet speed and compare it against the competition.
ADSL, short for asymmetric digital subscriber line, is widely available throughout the UK and the most popular choice for typical home use. The name refers to the fact that the connection favours the downstream direction, used for downloading files, rather than the upload direction, used for uploading content. Service providers will usually market ADSL as a service for consumers as it benefits what is often referred to as “passive use,” though small businesses can also be suitable depending on the usage behaviours. The fact that the connection favours the downstream direction is ideal for those who find themselves downloading files and streaming online content more often than actually uploading files themselves.
SDSL, short for symmetric digital subscriber line, uses the same kind of copper wire technology as ADSL connections. However, because it is symmetric rather than asymmetric, the bandwidth in the downstream direction is identical to the bandwidth in the upstream direction. This provides a significant advantage to users who upload video or other large files, which is dependent on their upload speed. SDSL connections are rare amongst consumers, unless they have specifically seeked them out, and are generally recommended to small to medium business which don’t require the service guarantees of frame relay or the higher performance of a leased line.
Fibre-optic cables deliver much faster and more reliable connections and are often recommended for data-heavy business users. Service providers, like Gradwell, can also offer an automatic backup circuit so you never have to worry about being offline in today’s ultra competitive business world.
Consumers who play a lot of online games or stream HD content online will also benefit from these increased speeds. However, this kind of technology is much more expensive than ADSL or SDSL and that’s assuming you even have the option. Much of the country still doesn’t have this kind of coverage, but you can check to see if your local area does here.
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