by Ryan Bauer, a writer who works with iiNet Australia
The internet today is faster than it has ever been. We know that because last century we were willing to wait hours for files (such as those containing music and videos) to download. Now, the latest podcast or the hippest viral video from YouTube can be available in just seconds. Broadband internet is what made this possible. But just what exactly is this magical technology that has helped simultaneously save and waste days of our lives? Glad you asked because it’s time get up to speed on what makes the internet so fast these days.
Broadband internet uses, appropriately, a broader (rather than narrow) band to transmit information.
In early days of the World Wide Web (www), desktop computers and phone lines were used to get dial-up access.
Modems that worked with analogue cellular phones were virtually unheard of.
Phone lines are generally are, generally speaking, narrow data transmitters. In the early days modems were capable of downloading at a speed of around 56 Kbit/s.
This low capacity for data transmission meant the phone networks could become clogged. Users would experience reduced downloading rates and sometimes even get kicked offline altogether.
Think of data congestion like a hallway. If you are in the only one in the hallway, it’s easy for you to move freely and utilise the hallway easily.
But, the more people in the hallway, the more crowded the hallway becomes and the less freely you can move.
Eventually there can be too many people, stopping any sort of flow and rendering the hallway useless.
Broadband changes things so that doesn’t happen to your access to cyberspace.
In fixed network terms, one of the fastest and best versions of fixed broadband is ADSL2, which is the second generation version of ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line).
In Australia, for example, ADSL2 technology is available from companies such as iiNet which allows for faster downloading speeds than uploading speeds.
This difference is important because the average household does far more downloading than uploading when it comes to the web. So all broadband (both fixed and wireless) tends to be asymmetrical.
What ADSL2 basically does is amplify the internet signal that is already being sent to your household over a telphone line.
It’s sort of like regular broadband but on steroids. For example, with ADSL2 from iiNet Australia can have you downloading speeds of well over 10,000 Kbit/s.
With so much jargon surrounding the internet, it can be more than a little intimidating to get to the bottom of just what makes this everyday ‘luxury’ so easy to use.
It’s a good thing broadband makes it so easy to get online and figure it all out.