Broadband connection types

The broadband connection types available where you live will affect the speeds you can get. Find out about what’s available in your area and what it means for your online experience.

What is a broadband connection?

Broadband is a high-speed internet connection. Most broadband services come into your home via fixed lines such as phone lines, cable or fibre-optic networks.

Broadband doesn’t always require a fixed-line; you can also get broadband via mobile phone networks, satellite internet and long-range wi-fi transmission.

The broadband connection you can get will depend on where you live, and what providers are operating in your area.

Types of broadband connection in Ireland

The main types of broadband connections available in Ireland are:

ADSL broadband (standard)

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband uses an existing home phone line to provide an internet connection of up to 24Mbps.

  • This technology uses the phone line in your home, so you need a home phone line installed
  • The distance from the nearest telephone exchange and the quality of your phone connection could impact your speed

Providers of ADSL broadband include Digiweb, eir, Pure Telecom, Sky, and Vodafone, and introductory prices start at around €25 per month. This type of broadband is generally good for those in rural areas as anyone with a phone line can get it.

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Cable broadband

Cable broadband connects your home via fibre-optic and coaxial cables.

Fibre-optic cables run from the exchange to a street cabinet in your area and then coaxial cables connect from the cabinet to your home.

  • This technology gives a much faster internet connection than traditional copper phone line cables used for broadband
  • It’s noticeably faster than ‘fibre to the cabinet’ (FTTC) broadband, but not as high-speed as full fibre

Cable broadband is available from Virgin Media. The Virgin Media network reaches around one million households in Ireland.

Fibre and Part Fibre broadband

Fibre broadband, also known as Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) or Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), is delivered to your home using fibre-optic cables and offers the fastest connection speeds of up to 1,000Mbps.

Part Fibre also called Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), delivers fibre to your nearest street cabinet and uses copper cables to bring the connection to your home.

  • The speed you’ll get from Part Fibre depends on your provider and your distance from the cabinet
  • Part fibre is faster than most other broadband connections and is a good option for affordable, fast internet

The fastest type of broadband connection is Fibre-to-the-Home, but Part Fibre (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) can still offer very good connection speeds.

Where you can get fibre broadband

Use our broadband checker to compare fibre deals where you live.

You can get fibre broadband from eir, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

Fibre optic cables are being rapidly installed across Ireland, which means it’s getting easier and cheaper than ever to access high-speed internet.

However, in some rural areas, fibre broadband packages are still not available. If this is the case where you live, you’ll need to choose another type of broadband like ADSL or satellite broadband.

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Mobile broadband

Mobile broadband is provided through your mobile phone signal. It can be useful for people who need access to the internet on the move.

  • The technology used to provide mobile broadband is the same as your mobile phone network
  • Dongles can enable mobile broadband access on laptops and PCs and 4G/5G SIM cards can be used for tablets
  • If your mobile phone signal is bad where you live, you’ll likely get a poor mobile broadband signal too

If you opt for a mobile broadband plan, monitor your data usage because the charges for going over your data limit tend to be steep.

You can find out more about 5G mobile broadband in our guide.

Satellite broadband

Satellite broadband is set up in a household through the installation of a satellite dish and provides speeds of up to 50Mbps.

  • A good option if you live in a rural area not served by cables or phone lines
  • Satellite broadband can be slower than other broadband connections
  • Packages may have a cap on downloads

The main provider of satellite broadband in Ireland is Konnect.

Wireless broadband

While most broadband is delivered through copper or fibre optic cables, wireless reaches your home via radio waves, like a mobile phone signal or a wide-ranging Wi-Fi hotspot.

If you take out a wireless broadband package, you’ll get sent a router that picks up on the signal from the provider’s masts in your area. This will transmit to your home and connect your devices to the internet.

  • A good option if you live in a rural area not served by cables or phone lines
  • Speeds are slower than other broadband connections and coverage can be patchy
  • Set up costs can be expensive

How to check broadband availability

The broadband options you have will depend on the providers operating in your area and if it has the infrastructure for part fibre or fibre.

If you’d like to find out about broadband availability where you live, our broadband comparison tool displays all of the broadband providers and plans in your area. Here’s how to check broadband availability near you.

Looking to switch providers?

Our guide to switching broadband providers tells you more about choosing a new provider or switching broadband.

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