what is broadband ?

Broadband internet speeds let users take advantage of technologies including videoconferencing via computers, voice calls over computers and streaming high quality audio and video. The major types of broadband available in Canada include DSL, cable, satellite, fiber-optic and mobile broadband. High-speed internet, also commonly called broadband internet, is internet access of at least 200 Kilobits per second (Kbps).


Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is broadband internet delivered over copper phone wires. The lines are split into two frequencies: one for data and one for voice. Traditional DSL speeds range from 768 Kbps to as fast as 7 Mbps–but must be located within 2 miles of the phone company’s central office for optimal speed.


Fiber-optic broadband, commonly referred to as “fiber,” is broadband internet delivered over fiber-optic lines–these use light to transmit data signals at far faster speeds than traditional copper wires or coaxial cable.


Cable broadband internet delivers data at broadband speeds over the same cable used to deliver television data. Basic cable internet speeds range from 6 Mbps to 18 Mbps, while more advanced cable internet can reach speeds of 75 Mbps and more. Cable Internet speeds can be affected by users within the same vicinity using the same cable connection.


Satellite broadband uses orbiting satellites to transmit and receive broadband data. Satellite broadband is primarily used in areas where terrestrial broadband technologies like DSL, fiber and cable are otherwise unavailable. Speeds for satellite broadband are comparable to traditional DSL, ranging from 768 kbps to 5 Mbps–but data speeds can be affected by changes in the weather and satellite position.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile networks are a wireless broadband technology accessible via 3G/4G/LTE enabled cellphones and smart devices like ebook readers. Speed differs between carriers and can be affected by user location and carrier coverage. The fastest wireless technology, LTE, offers maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 150 Mbps

Advantages of Broadband Internet Access:

  1. Connection speed is up to 100 times faster than dialup connection.  You can download pictures files, software in seconds or minutes instead of hours.  Online gaming is only possible using a broadband internet access.
  2. It does not affect the phone line.  For DSL internet access, you can use the same phone line for both voice/fax and data transmission.  For cable internet access, you are connected to the internet via the cable network.  In either case, your phone line is not occupied while you are connected to the internet.
  3. It is convenient because the internet connection is always on.
  4. You don’t need to dial an access number and risk getting a busy signal.
  5. Broadband internet offers unlimited access and you won’t be charged based on the connection duration.
  6. Broadband internet not only gives you high speed internet access, it can also provide cheap phone services via VoIP technology.

Disadvantages of Broadband Internet Access:

  1. High monthly fee compared to dialup internet access.
  2. Higher security risk than dialup connection.  A personal firewall is needed to protect your computer.
  3. Not all phone wires are equipped for DSL service.  May not be available in rural or remote areas.
  4. Not all cable TV networks are equipped for cable internet access.  May not be available in rural or remote areas.

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