3 Myths and Misconceptions about Broadband

There are many common myths and misconceptions about broadband. If you want to get the best broadband deal to suit your requirements, you should consider what you can reasonably expect from the average Internet service provider. The service provider’s advertising will often be somewhat misleading, and taking it too seriously will inevitably leave you disappointed and, in some cases, a lot more out of pocket than you should be.

1 – The Connection Will Always Be Working at Maximum Speed

Broadband speeds vary greatly with the slowest connections starting at about 512 kbps and the world’s fastest ones being up to 20 mbps. It is important to realize that broadband speeds are provided in bits rather than bytes. An 8 mbps broadband connection will have a maximum attainable download speed of 1 megabyte per second or 8 megabits per second for example. Typically cheap broadband will have smaller speeds anyway so calculate what you are likely to actually receive before buying a package.

In spite of the speeds cited by the Internet service provider, the reality is somewhat different. These are almost always the maximum possible speeds that that service provider can offer. What you actually experience, however, may be quite different. The actual speed of your Internet connection depends on a multitude of factors such as the website or service you are trying to connect to, the area in which you live, the time of day and whether or not anyone else is sharing the connection. The maximum download and upload speeds provided by your ISP are only a factor and should be taken as a guideline only.

2 – Unlimited Broadband Means Unlimited

Many Internet service providers offer an unlimited broadband package. These packages allow you to use the Internet more than others do, particularly with regards to bandwidth-heavy activities such as downloading files and streaming online media. By contrast, most regular packages only provide you with a limited amount of bandwidth per month and, if you go over this limit, you will usually be charged per gigabyte of extra bandwidth used. This can get extremely expensive if you are a heavy Internet user.

An unlimited package may seem to imply that you will be able to download as much as you want from the Internet, although this is rarely literally the case. While unlimited broadband packages are highly recommended for any heavy Internet user, they are not usually truly without their limits. Most such services do have a fair usage policy which will be mentioned in the small print when you sign the contract.

3 – You Must Use the Software Provided with Your Package

When you sign up for a new broadband Internet package, your ISP will typically provide you with a new router, instruction manual, cables, micro-filters and a CD. Even cheap broadband providers increasingly do this. You do not actually need to use any software provided by the ISP and, in fact, it is generally recommended that you don’t. No drivers or other software need to be installed in order to connect your computer to the router and the Internet whether wired or wirelessly. Extra software such as custom Web browsers, connection managers, security suites and other programs provide little or no benefit.

Sam Jones, the author, has been researching cheap broadband deals and has found that you absolutely have to pay attention to speed and quality.