Today, people jump on and off the internet without even thinking about it, but there was a time when internet connections were different. Did you know that, in the early days of the internet, you had to dial up to connect to the internet? You couldn’t use the phone and the internet at the same time? Then along came ‘broadband’ and it was a game changer, allowing you to surf the World Wide Web and still use your landline phone if you want(ed) to.
How broadband works
Ever wondered how it works? Well, lots of different bands — i.e. different frequencies — replace the single band of the old-style internet. A network sends digital signals between a local exchange and a street cabinet. The internet then flows through a cable — copper or fibre optic — from the cabinet and into your home to your router. The signal is then transformed into a radio signal around the home.
When you’re searching for broadband deals, you’ll see that there are several different types of connection. One of the most common is ADSL, but it’s slower than fibre optic broadband and tends to be more suitable if there are just two people in the household using the internet. Fibre-optic broadband has become more widespread and is an excellent option for families or households that have four people in them. If all of the members of the household use devices regularly and connect to the internet, fibre optic broadband is more suitable. Some service providers offer a download speed — the speed at which your internet connection downloads information — of up to 1 Gbps.
A good average speed is 10 Mbps, but if you’re going to stream online services, a speed of 11 to 35 Mbps is better for households of four members. If there are more than four people in the household and all of the members are heavy internet users, a speed of more than 35 Mbps will be necessary. Basically, the more people who are using the broadband frequently, the higher the desired speed should be.
Speaking of streaming, did you know what the first ever video to go up on YouTube was? It went up in 2005 and was by a user called Jawed Karim. The title? ‘Me at the Zoo’, so you can guess what it was all about, and it was just 18 seconds long.
Speeding up your broadband
If ever your broadband slows down, don’t assume some technological disaster has struck. There are several ways to speed it up. You can use a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi. You can move any objects around the router that might be obstructing the signal. You can disconnect some devices. You could also update your browser. If these measures fail, then maybe it’s time to call your internet service provider. But in the meantime, fixing your broadband might not call for the technical expertise you thought!
The internet has come a long way since the days of the dial-up connection and ‘Me at the Zoo’. Now the world has an amazing thing called broadband and there are different types of connection and different speeds to suit your needs. Where would we be without it?!