Why is broadband so much better?
If you remember the days of dial-up internet connections, you remember a time when signing onto the internet meant shutting down your phone line and waiting a long time for web pages to load. You also undoubtedly remember the screeching and screaming that came from your computer every time you signed on. In the days of dial-up, internet service was piped in through phone lines, but it is delivered much differently now.
Today, we use broadband to pass those digital signals into our homes and devices. It’s much faster and quieter, but those aren’t the only benefits of broadband. Let’s take a look at what broadband is and some of the ways it has changed the way we access the internet.
What is a broadband connection?
Short for “broad bandwidth,” broadband is a type of high-speed internet that is always connected. That’s because a broadband connection uses its own infrastructure or frequencies to send and receive information—no more sharing that pipeline with the phone.
One of the great benefits of broadband over the old dial-up system is that you no longer have to stop using the phone to go online. But the greatest benefits of broadband connections come from the incredibly fast internet speeds they can deliver.
What kind of speeds do you get with broadband?
As far as speeds go, broadband internet is generally defined by download speeds of 25Mbps or higher and upload speeds that meet or exceed 3Mbps. This FCC description sets the minimum parameters for broadband speeds, but in reality, most broadband internet is much faster than that, with the average user in 2022 getting well over 100Mbps download speeds, based on broadband speed tests from multiple sources.
When we talk about internet speeds, many times we are only referring to the download speed, as that is what dictates the majority of our internet speeds. If you like to stream movies, visit websites with a lot of content, or any of the most common things people do on the internet, you are simply downloading information. On the other end, we have upload speeds.
Fast upload speeds are great if you have large files you are trying to send or upload, like video files or large graphics files. They are also crucial if your online activity revolves around gaming. You have to send information as well as receive it, and upload speeds are generally quite a bit slower than download speeds. If you require fast upload speeds, fiber internet is going to be your best bet since the upload and download speeds are nearly identical to each other with a fiber optic connection.
Your actual speed will vary based on your location and the type of broadband connection you have. There are multiple internet speed test options out there, and you can simply log on and run a broadband speed test to find out what you’re currently getting. If you need more speed, you may want to consider switching to a different type of broadband.
How does broadband work?
It’s a common question with a complicated answer. Different types of broadband work differently, and that difference is mainly defined by the type of medium through which we send the signals.
Broadband is really just a class of internet connections, and there are multiple options available, depending on where you live and what kind of internet speeds you require. The most common Wisconsin broadband options available at homes and offices in the US are DSL, satellite, cable, and fiber.
A fiber optic connection is the fastest option on the market today and will be for the foreseeable future. Fiber connections pass laser pulses through a cable made of glass core that’s surrounded by a cladding layer, which keeps the info passing through the core like bowling bumpers. The whole thing is coated with a protective layer that protects it from the elements.
The fact that the information is transmitted via pulses of light literally means that the info travels at the speed of light. We mentioned a unique benefit of fiber internet a little earlier, which is that upload and download speeds are pretty much identical to each other, whereas the average internet upload speeds on other types of broadband connections is usually considerably slower than the download speeds.
The fact that DSL, or a digital subscriber line, is always on and has average speeds above 25Mbps mean it’s technically a type of broadband, but it’s much slower than the other types of broadband. DSL uses telephone lines like dial-up connections did, but the phone and internet use different frequencies, meaning you can use them both at the same time. It’s still fast enough for most things you’ll be doing on the internet, whether it’s video streaming or online gaming, but it won’t deliver all the benefits of broadband. If it’s affordable and it’s what’s available in your area, you might be fine, as long as you don’t have too many devices connected.
Satellite internet service has been a popular form of broadband wireless access for a couple of decades now. Signals beam down from satellites orbiting the earth to your satellite dish. One of the main advantages of satellite is that you can get service nearly everywhere in the world, but it does come with some downsides.
Satellite internet isn’t as fast as hard-wired services like cable or fiber, and outside factors like weather can sometimes affect your service. You get many of the benefits of broadband, but the limitations can be a dealbreaker if you require great service any time of the night or day.
Cable may be the most common form of broadband internet in homes and businesses today. Most of us have coaxial cables running through our walls, and the companies that have been providing our cable television all these years are now offering high speed internet through those cables as well.
Cable is fast and reliable. It’s a great choice for most consumers, but if your local providers offer fiber connectivity to your home, you can futureproof your internet connection and achieve speeds you only dreamed of.
Is broadband available in my area?
Broadband in one form or another is available in most areas (satellites can reach nearly everyone on the planet), but if speed is one of the main benefits of broadband you’re looking for, you’ll want to upgrade to either cable or fiber. Unfortunately, those aren’t available everywhere, so you’ll need to find out if they are available in your area.
If you live in western Wisconsin, there’s actually a great chance you have incredibly fast internet speeds available to you. There are a lot of Wisconsin broadband maps available, so you can find out exactly what kinds of speeds are available in your county. You can also call your local provider to see what options you have.
Bring the benefits of broadband into your home and business
Whether you’re streaming videos at home or uploading large files or documents daily at work, we all rely on a fast, dependable internet connection to live our modern lives comfortably. Investing in broadband business solutions may be just the thing you need to increase your team’s productivity and keep your company on the cutting edge of technology, while upping your home speeds may mean everyone can stream their own favorite shows without affecting image quality. With so many benefits of broadband, keeping yourself on a slower connection may cause more headaches than simply making the switch.