Hand holding up Switcher brochure

Understanding ADSL broadband

The majority of home internet usage in the Ireland is powered by ADSL broadband technology. Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, or ADSL, is a technology that utilises an existing home phone line to provide a high-speed internet connection of up to 24Mbps (megabytes per second).

Of course, you’ll need a home phone if you’d like to have an ADSL connection, which means you may have to get an eircom telephone line installed if you don’t have one in your home already.

eircom is just one of the many providers in Ireland that supply a range of competitive ADSL broadband packages. Other providers of choice include, Sky, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb, Smart Telecom, and Magnet among others. Some providers such as Sky, offer a discounted bundle of phone calls, TV and ADSL broadband, making it possible to save even more money.

Most home users do not experience any kind of issues when using ADSL, although you should be aware that your distance from the nearest telephone exchange and the quality of your phone connection may impact speeds. Talk to your provider if you have any queries.

Compare the latest ADSL broadband deals.

How does ADSL broadband work?

Before the advent of ADSL, dial-up was the most common method of connecting to the internet via a phone line. One problem with this method was that a connection could not be created when a phone call was being made.

ADSL broadband gets around this by using a microfilter to split the phone frequencies into two channels, voice and data, which means that you can make calls while accessing the internet.

  • ADSL broadband has become extremely popular in the Ireland as a result of its wide availability and ease of use.
  • ADSL coverage is available to the vast majority of the population. The only exception is for those living in very remote parts of the country or for those who do not have telephone lines at home.

ADSL2 connections are currently gaining in popularity and can provide speeds up to 3 times faster that standard ADSL, although ADSL2 broadband can be even more sensitive to your distance from the local telephone exchange, so those speeds are not guaranteed.

ADSL is the standard connection offered by the majority of broadband providers in Ireland. ADSL2 broadband is available in some regions, so it’s worth investigating whether or not it’s available in your area, if you’d like a faster connection.

Alternative types of broadband

For some people, having a eircom phone line at home may not be viable or suit their needs. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to connect to the internet that don’t require a landline.

Cable broadband (also known as fibre optic broadband) can provide speeds of up to 200Mbps, which is many times faster than ADSL broadband, and does not require an eircom line. You will require a new cable connection to be installed if you don’t already have one, and it may not be available in every area.

3G Mobile broadband is much slower than ADSL broadband, with speeds in the region of 7.2Mbps, but it doesn’t require any installation and you can take your internet connection with you when you leave the house.

4G broadband will be available in Ireland in 2013. It is still to be confirmed how widely available 4G will be throughout Ireland and the cost of 4G services is expected to be significantly higher than current 3G broadband services.