Confused by all the broadband jargon? Don’t know where to start choosing your WiFi? Fear not and welcome to Broadband 101 where we will teach you everything you need to know.
First, let's get the basics right...
What is broadband and how do I get it?
Broadband is simply a high-speed internet connection, which you can get sorted easily when you sign up with Fused. Fused offers Virgin Media, Cuckoo, and Sky broadband so that we can provide you with the best possible internet speed. Virgin Media and Cuckoo Broadband have the option to use fibre-optic cables that allow for up to three times the maximum speed of any other competitor. Netflix and chill? No problem! If your property isn’t in a Virgin Media or Cuckoo area and you can't get access to their fibre-optic cables, we can still offer you broadband with Sky. Sky uses BT lines to transfer information which sometimes covers different areas than Virgin. Your speed will be lower if this is the case.
What does Mbps mean?
When deciding for your package, you will have to choose broadband based on the Mbps. This abbreviation stands for Megabits per second and expresses the amount of information that can be transmitted one second at a time. Essentially, this determines the speed your internet works at.
Now onto the difficult bit...
What speed internet do I need?
Now the important decision lies before you - what speed should you choose? There are a couple of things to bear in mind, when deciding what broadband to go with, we'll guide you through these below:
- Number of occupants vs. number of devices in the house
It is important to remember that with the number of devices using the internet rising, each device connected (i.e. mobile, TV, laptop, gaming console) will fundamentally get a smaller piece of pie that is the transmitted information. Consider this, if there are 4 of you in the house and each of you has a phone, a tablet and a laptop, 3 x 4 = 12. Twelve devices is what you are essentially working with.
The rule of thumb goes as follows, for small households with 1-4 devices and a normal internet usage, 50 Mbps internet will probably suffice. If you and your housemates are keen Netflix and music streamers however, consider going up to 100 Mbps for a 4-10 device household. If you have anything over 10 devices and waiting on a Youtube video to load is your pet peeve, opt for the 200 Mbps or even higher.
- ‘Up to’ speed
We advise you to pay attention to the ‘Up to’ speed. Because many factors affect transfer speed, including device limitations and broadband traffic, you might not always get the maximum connection speed (i.e. instead of 150 Mbps, you might get 100 Mbps in busy time periods). Usually the average speed is higher in off peak times for example during the day when most people are at work. It is best to focus more on the average speed when deciding your connection speed.
- Upload vs. Download speed
Another thing to consider is that the download speed is always far higher than the upload speed. What is the upload speed? Well, consider anytime you are sending a piece of information out to the server - Skype call with your mum, sharing that funny cat video you found on Facebook and emailing large files (likely to be important assignments) to your lecturer. All these things will not run at the same speed as your regular album download and you should be prepared for that.
- Peak time slow downs
As mentioned before, the speed you get changes throughout the day. It might be that everyone in the area is using their phones when they wake up in the morning or that the new season of Game of Thrones just came out and no-one wants to miss it. That will affect your own internet speed and might mean your browser will take longer to load your favourite website.
- Distance from the router
This one might be a given but the further away you are from the router, the weaker the signal will be (again, you can avoid this issue by wiring your laptop in). If you live in a very large house with three storeys and only have one router downstairs in the living room, it might be worth investing in something called a WiFi booster. It is a handy little thing you simply plug into an electric socket and it amplifies the WiFi signal, which helps it to cover all of your house so you will not have to sit in that one corner of your bed when Facetiming your bae without the signal breaking.