Broadband Overview

Broadband Overview
What is “Broadband”
Simple answer nowadays is that it’s generally your ADSL connection to the Internet via your phone line. Although technically broadband can mean any number of different types of connection. It’s called “Broadband” because it uses a “broad” or “large” portion of your phone signal – leaving a small portion for voice. “Narrowband” internet is generally the name given to DialUp whereas Broadband can be anything over 256Kbps.

What is “ADSL”

ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It’s data over your phone line – the asymmetric part means that it’s not the same speed uploading as downloading. DSL which is the same speed up and down is called SDSL (Symetric Digital Subscriber Line).

What is “FTTC”

It stands for Fibre To The Cabinet. It’s still data over your phone line but the vast majority of the line is made up of fibre optic cable.
Fibre cable runs to the street cabinet, then copper wire takes it the last stretch to your property.

What is “FTTP”

It stands for Fibre To The Premises. It's very similar to FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) but the fibre optic cable runs straight to the property, meaning there's no copper cable to slow it down.

How does it work?

It’s quite complicated – there are 20 or 30 stages in the connection process and many more once you are connected. Essentially though, it works like this, starting at your browser:
  1. Handshaking: Your router connects via your telephone line to your local BT exchange. Here your line is verified that it has ADSL enabled. The speed and reliability of your connection is also tested (and adjusted if necessary)
  2. Authenticating: Because you are using us, BT’s equipment sends your data onto our network and to our authentication system to check your username and password is okay.
  3. Connection: A connection through our network is then opened up to the rest of the internet.
  4. Browsing: Although you browse by URL’s (like the internet works on numbers, or IP addresses, like – these are like postcodes used to find the sites and services you want.
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