ADSL2 / ADSL 2+ Broadband Providers, Packages
There is a lot more hype around high speed broadband ever since ADSL2+ was introduced in the UK by providers like Be There. With many IPTV services and online game consoles hitting the market, the need for fast internet connection has been acutely felt by many users and make ADSL2+ broadband deals worth hype. But, what is ADSL2+ actually? Can it provide better quality, better coverage? Is it true that cheap broadband is loosing its ground when big technologies enter the market? What is your stance - cost-effective deals or these higher level packages?
What is ADSL?
ADSL is the type of broadband that you get via your telephone wire. The splitter in the ADSL allows your broadband access as well as your telephone calls on the same copper line. Although the speed of a broadband connection is many times that of dial-up, the actual speed that you get depends upon the quality of wire, distance from the exchange and the package. Since data transfer in ADSL is asymmetric, downstream speed is usually higher than upload speed. Generally speaking, ADSL can work well for you if you are within 5kms from the exchange.
ADSL2 and ADSL2+
These are improved versions of ADSL and can offer higher speeds over long distances. ADSL2, also known as ITU G.992.3 can offer downstream speed up to 12 Mbps while ADSL2+ can double this speed and can offer 24 Mbps download speed and up to 1024 Kbps upload speed at theoretical conditions. Upload speeds may go up to 3.5Mbps. ADSL2+ is the advanced version of ADSL broadband. It works using the same infrastructure and cabling as that of the earlier versions (ADSL and ADSL2).
Connection speed depends on the distance between the customer’s house and the DSLAM (DSL Access Multiplexer). A DSLAM is a network device that increases faster connections of telephone lines to the internet. Hence, telephone companies and ISPs are able to provide faster connection speeds.
According to BT, ADSL2+ broadband, the advanced copper broadband will cover about 90% of the UK by the end of May 2013. Currently, BT provides ADSL2+ broadband to 80% of the population in the UK. The connection speed ranges between 20Mbps to 24Mbps. Bulldog broadband is another provider that has introduced ADSL2+ broadband with speeds of 16Mb.
However, like ADSL, both ADSL2 and ADSL2+ connections will shed speed gradually after certain distance. They are also affected by the factors like line quality, line length and the interruption on the line. It is always a good idea to ask your provider over the actual speeds you are likely to get, before you subscribe to these services.
Why I need ADSL2+?
Many popular internet activities like online gaming and streaming videos like IPTV services require faster download speeds than what normal ADSL can provide. If you are using high bandwidth applications like P2P or IPTV and bandwidth sensitive applications like VoIP and online gaming and if you want to get the best out of these programs, it is time for upgrading your ADSL to ADSL2 or ADSL2+.
One of the main advantages of changing to ADSL2+ broadband is that it is readily available unlike the cable broadband. On the other hand the disadvantage is that the connection speeds vary based on the distance between the local exchange and the customer’s premises.
Technically speaking, ADSL2+ doubles the existing connection speeds, both upstream and downstream. Hence upstream upto 3.5Mbps and downstream upto 24Mbps can be reached. However, it must be noted that these figures are just theoretical and consumers may not get up to that extent.
Customers who were able to access broadband at a slower rate can now get faster connection with the ADSL2+ broadband. This is of course a blessing for all those who have been using a broadband with slower connections. With the introduction of this new technology one can experience faster connection speed not only in the present situation but also in the future projects.
It is to be noted that ADSL2+ works fine even on ADSL phone line. If you are planning to take a new connection then you must get a new bespoke router or upgrade it in order to avail the advantage of ADSL2+ broadband connection. If your router is not compatible then you are likely to end with the same speed as you had with ADSL. You may also have to upgrade your firewall. However, it would be better for the existing ADSL users to contact their broadband providers to get directions regarding up gradation of their existing firmware to be compatible with ADSL2+.
Be broadband is one of the providers of ADSL2+ connection in the UK. This company is rolling out its 24Mbps broadband in most parts of UK in order to give customers the faster broadband connection. However, fibre optic broadband is sure to replace ADSL2+ connection as it cannot reach download speed of 100Mbps as in the case of fibre optic broadband connection.
Recent developments in ADSL2+ technology has led to the process called as ‘Port Bonding’ and ‘Double Bonding’, which are likely to increase the speed from 24Mbps to 48Mbps.
Will I get 24 Mbps?
If you are within one km from the DSLAM (DSL Access Multiplexer) and if your line is perfect with no interruptions whatsoever (no line noise), there are chances that you can get download speed up to 22Mbps. As the speed degrades after a certain distance, you may get around 15 Mbps when you are 2 kms away from the exchange. If you are farther away from DSLAM or local exchange, the speed may decrease to 5 Mbps or even lower.
What is the catch?
Since the existing telephone lines (copper wires) can also be used for ADSL2 or ADSL2+, all you need to is an ADSL 2+ enabled modem / router. Often you get it free from your ISP when you sign up for a contract. ADSL2 is a proven technology in time so it is less susceptible to any service problems.
How to check ADSL2/ADSL2+ availability?
A few ISPs like Be, UK online and O2 offer ADSL2+ using their LLU network. You can get your own ADSL2+ connection, only when you are on LLU lines of any of these providers.
Currently, the ADSL2+ is mainly available in urban areas while these providers are slowly extending their local looped lines to other areas. Use our broadband checker availability tool to find out whether ADSL2 service providers are available in your area.
Factors affecting high speed broadband connection
Although ADSL2+ broadband connection does come with faster broadband connection compared to its earlier versions, various factors affect its connection speed in different ways. Some of the main factors are:
- Bad weather
- Distance between the local exchange and the customer’s premises and also the length of the copper wire used for connection
- Electrical interference from the external devices
- Quality of copper wire
- Demand during peak times
Comparison of ADSL2+ with ADSL broadband
Connection speeds has always been increasing ever since the introduction of copper wires. The speeds of different types of broadband such as wireless, mobile, fibre, satellite and ADSL that have been introduced thereafter have been increasing steadily.
Broadband that is accessible through copper wire phone network is called as the ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband. Asymmetric broadband means that most of the bandwidth is used for downstream purpose only as consumers download more data than uploading. Moreover, it is always in ON mode unlike the dialup connection. According to Which?, ADSL broadband is available to nearly 99% of UK’s population. It is also not required to use BT’s line in order to get ADSL broadband connection, instead Post Office, one of the home phone line rental providers uses the BT’s phone line connection.
The LLU (Local Loop Unbundled) broadband is also another type of ADSL broadband where the broadband equipment of the ISPs is installed in the BT’s telephone exchange. ISP’s broadband equipment and BT’s wire, together contribute to the speed of home broadband connection.
Advantages of ADSL
- Connection speed is 10 to 40 times faster than typical modems
- Connection is always ON unlike the dialup connections
- Makes use of the telephone line and fax line while being online
- Makes use of broadband capabilities
- End users get the maximum out of ADSL broadband
- Connects different sector and satellite office
- 10 to 40 times faster than typical modems
- Access speeds of both intranet and internet is faster
- Fixed monthly cost
- Good value for money
- Online games with lower pings
- No more disconnections
Disadvantages of ADSL
- Consumes more time for line testing
- Slower uploads
- Service not available in few places
- Contention ratio is 50:1, which means your broadband line will be shared with 49 other people
- Performance depends on the distance between the premises and the local exchange of the ISP
- Speeds depends on the peak hours
Advantages of ADSL2+
- Comes with a PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) line
- Faster download of files and videos compared to ADSL
- Faster and stable internet connections compared to the previous versions of ADSL
- Speed depends on the distance between the premises and the local exchange. The closer the better
- Filters attached to the modem gives better performance
- Download speeds upto 24Mbps
- ADSL services can be subscribed from one provider and telephone services from the other. Hence, any of the service will function even if one is out of order
Disadvantages of ADSL2+
- Line rental must be paid in addition to the internet access payment
- Upload speed remains as that of the previous versions
- At times internet performance may not be better than the previous versions such as ADSL and ADSL2.
- Splitter must be installed in order to separate data and the telephone line
- Continuous phone connection depends on the quality of the phone line
Comparison of ADSL with mobile broadband
Advantages of mobile broadband
- It is easy to take your broadband wherever you go
- Easy to go for plug and play technology
- Numerous options available for consumers to select
- Zero line rental
- No landline charge
- Broadband facility available in those areas where there is no standard phone connection
- Not very high connection fees
- Pay as you go options available in large
- Be connected wherever you go, However better to check for the coverage details
- Software to connect to the internet gets installed automatically when the stick or the USB modem is plugged in to the laptop. Hence a separate installation is unnecessary.
- No messing up of wires
Disadvantages of mobile broadband
- Limited download limits
- Slower broadband connection when compared to standard broadband connection
- Restricted download and usage limits
- High charges when you exceed your limit
- Check for the coverage details as it might not be the same everywhere
- Costlier than standard broadband
- Consumers may not rely on mobile broadband easily as this is a new technology
- Setup fee may be too high
- Unreliable connection as it may get disconnected anytime
Comparison of ADSL with cable broadband
Advantages of cable broadband
- Connection speed is high with upto 50Mbps
- Number pf cable broadband providers is limited
- Reliable connection
- Download speed upto 100Mbps
- Broadband package include phone deals, cable TV and product bundles. All of these services are brought together in a single line
- Monthly payment can be made easily with just one bill
- Cheap package deals available
- Monthly fees only. No extra charges
- Landline connection is not required
- ADSL enabled exchange not required
Disadvantages of cable broadband
- There is no choice of speed as cables are laid underground. An area with a specific speed is available with the same for the whole area.
- Service is not available to all
- Setup process is difficult
- Usage depends on the number of computers connected
- Fibre optic cables cannot be used in LANs
- Cost incurred to lay fibre optic broadband is high compared to standard telephone lines
Comparison of ADSL with Satellite broadband
Advantages of satellite broadband
- Satellite broadband can be installed anywhere to the fully integrated vehicle solutions
- Accessibility from any corner of the earth
- Available in those places where no other broadband type is possible
- One way satellite broadband connection cheaper than two-way satellite broadband.
Disadvantages of satellite broadband
- Bad weather, travelling and solar conditions affect continuous broadband connection
- It is expensive to install a satellite broadband
- Detection of errors in the dish antenna placed on top of the house is difficult
- Unsuitable for online games, videos and movies
Which providers offer ADSL2+ in the UK?
While the UK's largest ISP BT is setting up its 21CN which also includes nationwide ADSL2+ network next year, LLU operators like Be and UK online have been offering high speed broadband services in many areas across the UK.
The ISP owned by O2 Telefonica is best known for its high speed services. Its packages like Be Unlimited and Be Pro offer up to 24 meg downstream and 2.5 meg upstream speed. Be has been fast unbundling the exchanges to offer its ADSL2+ services in more areas. Its parent company, O2 recently launched ADSL2 packages that offer downstream up to 20meg.
UK Online / Easynet
Easynet, the subsidiary of BskyB has unbundled the largest number of exchanges (1,154) by October, 2007. Both UK online and Easynet, the members of Sky Group, offer ADSL2 packages with speed up to 16 Mbps.
One-tenths of Virgin Media customers are on its ADSL lines. Currently, Virgin offers 24Mb ADSL2+ broadband after upgrading its lines.
Bulldog, owned by Pipex, also offer ADSL2+ services with speed up to 16Mbps or 24Mbps.
How do I get ADSL2+ broadband?
You can get ADSL2+ broadband connection only if your telephone exchange is upgraded to ADSL2+ technology. Sometimes even if the telephone exchange is upgraded, the provider may not be able to provide broadband speed upto 20Mb. On the other hand, if all conditions are favourable to you, then you can avail ADSL2+ technology from your existing ADSL phone line itself. The only thing you need to do is to upgrade your connection or purchase a new router. However, it is always advisable to consult with the broadband provider regarding the ADSL2+ broadband connection.
New customers can get ADSL2+ broadband when they sign up and also if ADSL2+ is available and if your line can support it. Customers with the old version of ADSL broadband can upgrade to ADSL2+ as and when the service becomes available. Customers are informed that they cannot be reversed back to the older version once they are switched to the new version (ADSL2+).
It is to be noted that even if the router is compatible to ADSL2+ broadband it is worth checking with the provider about its working. In most cases, it is possible to upgrade the firmware to make the router compatible to the existing router. Hence, you might not need to buy a new one. A router built for ADSL2+ and that which is upgraded can provide better broadband speed and performance.