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Broadband Explained

What is Broadband?

Broadband is the term used to describe an internet connection. Trust me, I always thought it was more complicated than that too.

Broadband provides internet to a home or business and there are several ways it can do that. It’s the most widely used data connection in the UK market. I will be covering ADSL, Fibre and Mobile Broadband as well as discussing Bonded Broadband.

ADSL Broadband

ADSL Broadband, or Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line for people in the know, is an older broadband technology. It is a data connection that uses fixed single phone line (PSTN). The PSTN line is what you think of when you pick up an ordinary telephone to make a phone call.

Openreach Cabinet
Openreach Cabinet

The signal runs on a copper wire from the Local Exchange (owned by Openreach) to the cabinet (also owned by Openreach). After that it will be routed via a telegraph pole or underground to the business or residence.

Walking home from work last night, I spotted a green box on the path near my house. I usually don’t even see it when I pass by.

Now I know it is the cabinet that takes the cable from the local exchange and then sends it to the telegraph pole. From there, the cable goes into my house and into the other homes on my street.

Check out my amazing drawing skills!
Check out my amazing drawing skills!

In addition to a potentially poor signal due to the distance from the exchange, there is a limit to how fast the connection is for both download and upload speeds on ADSL broadband (20Mbps download and 2Mbps upload).

These speeds might be important to you. For example, when you want to download emails with large attachments, stream videos or install software updates. Upload speeds may be a concern when you want to send emails, perform an off-site backup or use cloud services.


These are just a few examples. The things your business needs to upload or download is important and you have to be able to do it quickly. Time is money!

ADSL Broadband, as well as other types of broadband, can be bonded together to increase speeds. I explain bonded broadband below.

Fibre Broadband

What it is – Fibre Broadband (FTTC, Fibre to the cabinet) is definitely a step up from ADSL Broadband. FTTC offers faster speeds on the UK network with up to 80Mbps download and 20Mbps upload. The fibre cabling is a newer and more efficient technology. The signal doesn’t deteriorate at the rate that it does on the copper cable.

Faster than ADSL,  fibre cable runs between the cabinet & the exchange

What it means – What this all means is a better connection. When several employees are sending files, uploading videos, downloading large documents all at once, your connection will be faster and more reliable.

Unfortunately, there are still areas in the UK where fibre cabling has not been installed. A telecoms provider can let you know if you are able to get Fibre Broadband.

There is such a thing called Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). That means that there is fibre cabling from the exchange to the cabinet and from the cabinet to the premises. It is not available everywhere and requires additional installation fees.

If you are not happy with your speeds, Fibre Broadband can be bonded together to increase your speeds.

What is Bonded Broadband?

Bonded Broadband is when 2 to 8 PSTN (those traditional telephone lines) are connected together. These are not twisted together physically and you don’t need to get any power tools involved in the bonding process. In the case of bonded broadband, bonding means connecting more than one line together to increase speeds. You will need to set up the service with a telecoms provider, such as Structured Communications, offering Bonded Broadband. The engineer will utilise existing lines or have them installed, then the lines are connected to Bonded Broadband Router(s).

Why choose bonded broadband?

  1. Each line gives you up to an 80% speed increase for both download and upload speeds. Bonded Fibre lines can reach up to 120Mbps download.
  1. Having 2 or more lines acts as a fail-safe. If one of those lines fails, the rest will maintain the connection until the problem is resolved.
  1. If your broadband needs increasing, due to business growth, for example, more lines can be added as needed.

Mobile Broadband

There are times when you need to have access on the move. Mobile broadband is a great idea for those people attending client meetings out of office or frequently needing to connect in a variety of locations. It can be very helpful in areas where it is the only kind of available broadband and you have a good cell signal.

One thing I wanted to be sure to mention is security.Train window
Working an afternoon away in a café with a coffee and sandwich is sometimes preferable to your desk. The problem with connecting to the free Wi-Fi is that you can’t be guaranteed security. I had my personal twitter account accessed a few months ago and the problem was thankfully solved within 10 minutes by changing my password. The information a company needs to protect is a lot more important than my twitter password so you need to keep it safe.

Faster Broadband

A problem might occur for a business when the location of the telephone exchange is too far from the business location as the signal from the exchange deteriorates as it gets further away. The speed potential can be checked by a telecoms provider and then improved in a few ways. You can find out what your current speeds are

That’s a (relatively) simple explanation of broadband. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the different types of broadband. If it is still not clear, please get in touch.