Broadband A-Z guide

When looking for the best broadband deals in Ireland, it’s always useful to have a clear understanding of all the terminology involved. Some of these broadband terms and phrases can seem confusing to some people. But don’t panic! We’re here to help with our A-Z broadband guide.

Here, we will look at some of the key phrases and acronyms to get a better understanding of important broadband terminology.

The A-Z of broadband

Most broadband connections will fit into this category, as ADSL delivers a broadband service through existing eir phone lines. This type of connection is faster for downloading data than uploading data, with the ‘A’ standing for Asymmetric. Compare ADSL broadband deals now.

From a hardware perspective, this is identical to ADSL. However, it uses different software. ADSL2 + doubles the number of downstream bits offered by ADSL, allowing for top speeds up to 24Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream.

Annex M (or ADSL2+M)
Increases the speed of ADSL2+ by doubling the number of upstream bits.

This is related to computer processing. Every bit is either a binary digit 0 or a binary digit 1.

The volume of bits that are processed over a certain period.

This is a type of technology which allows fast connection speeds and different channels on a shared line. This allows you to use a microfilter (plugged into the wall) to use the telephone at the same time as the internet.

Cable broadband
This is a way of obtaining the internet through a fibre-optic internet connection. It provides quicker and more reliable service than 3G, 4G or ADSL.

This is a method of accessing the internet through a dial-up modem. Much slower than broadband, but was typical for internet connections during the 1990s.

Download limits
This represents the amount of data (in MB or GB) that your internet service provider (ISP) will let you download each month without charging additional fees or restricting your access.

This stands for digital subscriber line. Refers to the technology which underpins your broadband connection.

This stands for digital subscriber line access multiplexer. These are usually located at telephone company exchanges, and the further away your home is to one, the slower your broadband connection will be.

A downstream refers to how fast data can be downloaded on your internet connection. For example, a 4Mb connection speed would allow download speeds near 4 megabits a second. Download speeds will vary depending on downstream (by the user) rates and upstream (by the server/DSLAM) rates.

“Free” broadband
Usually offered as part of a telephone or TV contract.

Stands for internet service provider – this is the specific company which provides your internet connection.

This stands for internet protocol television. It refers to the technology which delivers television through an internet connection. A set-top box is required to access this technology, allowing you to watch television programmes on demand.

This is short for megabit, a unit of storage on a computer. A megabit is equal to one million individual bits. The higher the Mbps (megabits per second), the faster the internet connection will be.

Mb/s or Mbps
This stands for megabit per second. This refers to how many megabits of information your internet connection can process in a single second.

Mobile broadband
This refers to using your laptop or tablet’s USB connection to get 3G or 4G internet connectivity while you’re away from the home.
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Monthly cost
How much your internet service will cost every month. However, some providers may allow you to pay upfront for a years contract depending on their terms and conditions.

Usually referring to audio or video, streaming allows users to consume this type of internet content without having to download the entire file first. This is because the information downloads while the user consumes the content, downloading later parts of the file while they enjoy the earlier parts.

UAN number
This is an 8-digit number used to identify phone lines by telecom providers. You will usually be able to find this number on your internet provider’s bill. It’s important to have this number when you switch providers, as it will ensure the telecom provider can accurately locate your line.

Unlimited broadband
This refers to having no specific limits on your internet deal about how much you’re allowed to download during a set amount of time. Compare unlimited broadband deals now.

The process of transferring data from the user to the web server. Common examples of upstreaming include attaching files to emails, uploading images or videos to social media/YouTube accounts etc.

This stands for video on demand. This allows users to download or stream video content through an interactive television service. Sky and Virgin Media both use VoD services in the form of Sky On Demand and Virgin Media On Demand.

This stands for voice over internet protocol. Refers to the routing of voice conversations through an internet connection, enabling internet telephones (and services such as Skype).

Wireless broadband
This mainly refers to broadband using a WLAN (wireless local area network). With the right hardware, any internet connection can be wireless – this will be determined by the modem or router. Broadband companies will often provide a wireless router to their customers for free. Compare wireless broadband deals now.