In our previous networking blog, we looked at the different kinds of networking hardware. This blog is all about the connections available and how these interact with your hardware. Essentially there are three means to connect to the internet – ADSL or VDSL, wireless and fibre. Both your networking hardware and the quality of your connection will factor into the speed and reliability of your internet.
Before we jump into connections, we need to explain a few terms.
Megabits – Mbps (megabits per second) is an abbreviation mentioned a lot when it comes to networking and refers to bandwidth – the rate data can travel through a network. The larger this number, the larger the capacity. Why is this important? A larger capacity means that more people can use the internet on multiple devices without sacrificing speed or reliability.
Bandwidth – Used when talking about both internet connections and networking hardware, bandwidth refers to the theoretical capacity of your internet service or device, whether this is a router or a mesh network. Measured in megabits per second, bandwidth on your router is the number that follows AC (Wi-Fi 5) or AX (Wi-Fi 6).
Capable of providing some of the fastest speeds around – up to 900Mbps. To compare, VDSL and ADSL range from 5-70Mbps, a fraction of what fibre can achieve. How? Fibre optic cables are built with strands of glass instead of traditional copper wire used for VDSL and ADSL. Because of this, fibre cables can transmit signals via light instead of electricity so data can travel instantaneously. After all, what’s faster than the speed of light?
The larger capacity and speed make fibre the best option for multiple users without sacrificing speed or quality. Fibre works for everyone, whether for multiple people working from home or studying, gamers, or just 4k streaming.
With fibre, the need for a modem is no more. As part of the installation, an optical network terminal that operates as a modem is placed in your home. You can then plug this into your router, modem router or mesh network.
VDSL or ADSL (Broadband)
Both VDSL (Very High-Speed Digital Subscriber Line) and ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line Service) use copper wires to transmit data. The main difference between them being speed. VDSL has a bandwidth of up to 70Mbps and ADSL up to 25Mbps. Both have varying download and upload speeds, but VDSL is faster – making it the better option for small households with casual users.
A Wireless network relies on a mobile network, making it ideal if you can’t access a direct line. The downside is that network speeds can be affected by the number of people using the network.
If you want the best connection, we’d recommend a relatively recent hardware setup (Wi-Fi 6) with a fibre connection. Check out our selection of Routers, Modem Routers & Mesh Networking online or head in-store to chat to one of our knowledgeable staff.