Broadband connection types
The broadband connection types available in your area will influence the speeds you can get.
There are many different types of broadband in Ireland, and the broadband connection you can get will depend on where you live, and what providers are operating in your area.
What is a broadband connection? How does broadband work?
Broadband can be used to describe many types of high speed internet. Depending on the type of connection, your provider will utilise phone lines, mobile networks, a satellite dish, or fibre-optic cables to supply broadband to your home.
Types of broadband connection in Ireland
The main types of broadband connections available in Ireland are:
- ADSL broadband
- Fibre and Part Fibre broadband
- Mobile broadband
- Satellite broadband
- Wireless broadband
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband uses an existing home phone line to provide an internet connection of up to 24Mbps.
As this technology uses the phone line in your home, you’ll need a home phone line installed in order to avail of it. It’s also important to note that your 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 €25 per month. This type of broadband is generally good for those in rural areas as anyone with a phone line can avail of it.
Cable broadband is another name for fibre broadband - with cable broadband, broadband is delivered to your home using fibre-optic cables. The fastest type of fibre connection is Fibre-to-the-Home, but Part Fibre (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) is more common but can still offer decent connection speeds.
At present, cable broadband is available from many providers, such as eir, Digiweb, Magnet, Sky, Virgin Media, and Vodafone. The likes of SIRO, eir, enet and Virgin Media are continually working to roll out across Ireland, which means it’s getting easier and cheaper than ever to access high-speed internet.
However, in certain rural areas throughout the country, some fibre broadband packages still may not be available. If the broadband you want is not currently available in your area, consider the other types of broadband that are available - for example satellite broadband or ADSL - and see if one of these might work for you.
Fibre/Part Fibre broadband
Fibre broadband is the quickest type of broadband connection, bit it can also be more expensive than the likes of ADSL broadband.
Fibre broadband, which is sometimes called Fibre-to-the-home or Fibre-to-the-premises, is delivered to your home using fibre-optic cables and offers the fastest connection speeds of up to 1,000Mbps.
Part Fibre, which is sometimes called Fibre-to-the-Cabinet, delivers fibre to your nearest cabinet and then usually uses copper cables to bring the connection to your home. The actual speed you’ll get from Part Fibre depends on your provider and your distance from the cabinet. Part Fibre is from the likes of eir, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone.
Fibre and Part Fibre suits consumers who require fast speeds, but want to get broadband without having a phone line installed.
Mobile broadband means mobile internet access which is provided to customers through a mobile phone signal.
As the technology used to provide mobile broadband is the same as the one that lets you use your mobile phone, many mobile network carriers offer mobile broadband via mobile dongles and 4G SIMs. Dongles can enable mobile broadband access on laptops and PCs, while 4G SIM cards can be used to gain access to the internet on a tablet.
Mobile broadband can be useful for people who need access to the internet on the move, however bear in mind that if your mobile phone signal is bad where you live, you’ll likely get poor mobile broadband signal, too.
You’ll also need to keep an eye on data allowances if you opt for a mobile broadband plan, as these can be quite low, and the charges for going above the limit tend to be steep.
Satellite broadband is set up in a household through the installation of a satellite dish, and provides speeds of up to 50Mbps.
Although it is slower than other types of broadband, satellite broadband is that it can provide an internet connection to any home - this can be particularly important in rural areas, where laying cables is not possible. Unlike other broadband, satellite packages will have a cap on downloads - at the moment, these range from 10-100GB per month.
Wireless broadband is a term that’s widely used - some people use it to refer to broadband that you can connect to via WiFi (so multiple devices can be connected at any one time), while others use it as another way to describe mobile broadband.
When we’re talking about broadband that you can connect to via WiFi, this works by using a wireless router, which converts an incoming signal and transmits it throughout your home. This signal is then picked up by any wireless-enabled devices within the transmission area, enabling them to connect to the wireless broadband.
The vast majority of broadband providers these days will provide a router to allow you to connect many devices to your home broadband via WiFi.
How to check broadband availability
The broadband options you have will depend on the providers operating in your area and whether you live somewhere that has the infrastructure for part fibre or fibre. When you’re choosing a new broadband deal, our broadband comparison tool clearly displays all of the broadband providers and plans in your area, so you can easily find the best deal for you.
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