Broadband Glossary

3G broadband

3G or Third Generation technology uses mobile signal from mobile internet service provider to access the internet through mobile phones or laptops. This technology is improved by the HSPA technology.

4G broadband

4G or Fourth Generation mobile technology is the advanced version of 3G technology. 4G technology gives better speeds and also reduced traffic congestion to a maximum extent. It also helps users during peak times.


ADSL2 is a faster type of broadband that allows speeds of upto 24Mb. It uses the home connection. Upgradation of ADSL broadband is being done in several places. The typical upload speed comes to around 256Kbps to 1.3 Meg.


A data link that connects different networks like telephone operator and ISP together is called as a backbone. It mainly connects local networks of the internet.

Bandwidth contention ratio

Number of computers sharing the same internet connection at the same time is called as the bandwidth contention ratio. The contention ratio of 50:1 specifies that upto 49 persons might be sharing a connection at the same time. Varied contention ratios such as 1:1 and 20:1 are offered by different broadband providers.


Broadband bonding is a method of speeding up your broadband connection beyond the speed limitation available in your area. This facility is enjoyed by business users. The bonding process works at the router level and thus gives immense broadband speed by controlling several lines running from local exchange to the premises of broadband users. Broadband bonding also does backup functionality whenever other broadband lines go out of order.

Broadband Availability Checker

Broadband Availability Checker is usually a tool available in your broadband supplier website or as a separate service. It offers a detailed report on the DSL breakdown, wireless and cable services, for your location. The mapping line also helps you check broadband availability.

Cable Broadband

Cable Broadband is a kind of ultra fast internet service that functions through coaxial outlet cable in the same way that a cable television is accessed. Though this service is more reliable and faster than wireless connection options, it has its own drawback especially when a connection arises through shared usage.


Capping is the broadband usage limit levied on users to restrict them from using more than the download allowance limit. If users tend to use internet beyond this limit, then excess charge will be collected or throttling (Explanation given) will be implemented. Broadband providers slow down the internet speed if user crosses his download allowance limit or if he has to manage peak time periods of data traffic.

Churn/ Churning

Churn or churning is the process of changing over to new service provider without actually cancelling the old plan. It is however necessary for the existing ISP to allow for the churning process.

Contention Ratio

Contention Ratio as a broadband term is the proportion of the maximum probable demand of the real bandwidth experienced. Generally the greater the contention ratio, the higher is the number of heads trying to make use of the real bandwidth at the same time. This in turn would result in lower effective bandwidth at that time, usually known as the peak time.

Data Transfer Rate or Data Rate

Data Transfer Rate is the speed at which data can be uploaded or downloaded in the internet connection. They are often measured in megabits or megabytes per second and are usually abbreviated as Mbps or MBps.


A connection made to the internet using a modem and a telephone line is called as a dial-up connection. It is often slower than the broadband connection. Consumers are required to pay for the time they were connected to the internet.

Download speed

Download speed determines the speed of broadband connection while transferring data to your computer. Anything that is viewed on the screen by accessing the internet, opening a webpage and streaming television is considered as a download.


Downstream also called as download is the flow of data from a server to your local computer or network. The download speed of data is normally measured in Mbps (Megabits per second).

DSL or Digital Subscriber Line

DSL is a technology that offers access to the internet by transmitting data digitally over local telephone network wires. The term is widely used in the telecommunication marketing sector.

Dynamic Link Management

Dynamic Link Management is the process of providing path failback, failover and detecting automatic load balancing. Combined together these facilities help in providing greater data access for Windows, Sun Solaris, VMware and Linux platforms.


Ethernet is the system of connecting a group of computer systems that form a LAN with protocols to manage the passing of information. Ethernet has been a prolific replacement to a wired LAN technology.

Fair usage policy

The words ‘Unlimited’ as described in broadband packages is not actually unlimited, instead come with download limitation. Whenever broadband customers cross the download limit, broadband providers levy penalty such as throttling in order to stop customers from downloading too much during peak hours. Hence, customers are advised to download only when there is not much data traffic.

Fault Threshold Rate (FTR)

FTR determines a speed fault on the line. ADSL Max connection reading should never drop below the average FTR for more than eight hours in any given seven-day period. Otherwise it tends to indicate a fault and the user might have to seek help from the service provider.


Fibre optic cables are used as a medium of transmission of signals. These cables are made up of glass material that can transfer data at the speed of light. Few fibre optic cables are also made up of plastic, but the speed of data transfer in plastic cable is much slower than fibre optic cables. It is expected that in few years from now, entire copper telephone lines in UK will be replaced with the fibre optic broadband cables.


Firewall is a device or set of devices that is used to evaluate data that is sent or received to the system through the broadband connection. Detection of any data that is not supported by the Firewall will be stopped from further transfer. Firewall along with anti-spyware and anti-virus program helps in protecting the system from virus attacks.

Fixed line

ADSL or cable internet connection that comes through a BT’s telephone line or Virgin Media’s cables are called as the fixed line broadband. Fixed line broadband connection is different from wireless broadband as the latter does not use any physical connections for broadband service.


Gb or Gigabit is the unit for representing the digital information or the capacity used to describe the computer storage. It is multiplies of 109 bits. 1 gigabit = 1000000000bits (109bits).


GB or Gigabyte describes the size of the memory capacity or computer files. 1024KB makes 1GB. Measurements of hard drive capacity and large files are usually done in terms of Gigabytes. A byte is the smallest unit of measurement of digital information.


Hotspot or Wi-Fi hotspot is a point or a location where one can access the internet wirelessly over their mobile phones or laptops with the wireless enabled device. The standard wireless frequency is upto 100 meters. This point is usually located in public places such as railway stations, hotels, cafes, colleges, bars, pubs, libraries, shopping areas etc.

Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging or Instant Messenger or IM is a software that is often integrated into email accounts and social networking sites or dedicated programs like Skype or eBuddy or Google Talk. Web based email accounts like YahooMail or Hotmail also offer it.


Interleaving is a feature which uses error correction (algorithms) to reduce the errors on a broadband line (which is activated by default) usually to stabilise the connection and improve speed on noisy lines. It may cause problems for delay-sensitive online gaming.


Integrated Services Digital Network or ISDN is a digital system of transferring data, voice and video over telephone lines. It is a international communications standard for simultaneous transmission of voice and data digital signals over wire or other media.


Kb or Kilobit is also a unit of measurement of digital information but 1Kb = 1000 bits or 103 bits.


KB or Kilobyte is a unit for the measurement of digital information. 1KB= 1024 bytes or 210 bytes or 1000 bytes.

Line filter

Line filter separates out both voice and data and allows users to make calls and also use the Internet simultaneously. It is otherwise called as Splitter.

Maximum Stable Rate

Maximum Stable Rate is the value given to your connection during the first 10 days of working. It is the lowest line rate or sync speed achieved in that period on the broadband router or modem. Speed variations may be greater during peak periods.


Mb or Megabit is also used to represent the amount of computer storage and is the multiple of the unit used for digital information. 1 megabit = 1000 Kilobits = 106 bits = 1000000bits.


MB or Megabyte is yet another multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage. 1MB= 1024 bytes or 10242 bytes or even 10002 bytes.


A device called microfilter (also known as ADSL filter) plugs into the telephone socket. It splits the line into a broadband socket and a standard telephone socket. It is good to have a splitter on all telephone sockets so as not to interrupt the internet connection by a phone call.

Mobile broadband

Mobile broadband allows you to get online wherever you go provided there is mobile network. It is just like the fixed line broadband connection, which allows you to send and receive messages, watch TV, surf the internet etc.


Narrowband refers to the telecommunication information in a narrow band of frequencies of the radio spectrum as opposed to wideband or broadband. The bandwidth of the channel does not really exceed the channel's coherence bandwidth. The internet medium delivers speed up to 56 kpbs.


Notspot is an area where there is no broadband coverage. Rural areas are subject to non- availability of broadband services and hence these areas are called as notspots. Hence, people in these areas have to rely upon dial up connection for broadband services.


SDSL or Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line is a connection which provides reliable and consistent upload and download speed by operating over a dedicated line. However, broadband speed depends on the broadband package you select. Broadband speed remains the same even during peak times.

Shape/ Shaping

Shape/ Shaping is a condition reached when the monthly download allowance reaches its limit. During such situations the speed of the ISP slows down but users will still be able to use the internet without incurring extra charges.


Single-pair High-speed Digital Subscriber Line technology enables speedy data transfer over telephone wires through a conventional modem. It is a standard for symmetric DSL.


Also called as a micro-filter, this small device is plugged in to the BT telephone socket. It separates telephone service from the ADSL service. This device must be first plugged into the BT socket. One micro-filter is normally required for one telephone socket. In case, micro-filters are not used, then you would hear interference on telephone line whenever ADSL service is in use.


Sync is the abbreviation for Synchronise. Sync is also called as the Line Rate. The process of the modem connecting to the exchange for internet access is called as Sync.


Throttling is a method of slowing down the speed of the internet whenever necessity comes in or when customers use their broadband allowance more than the limited allowance. This is mainly done for the purpose of traffic management.


Sending data over the internet from a system is nothing but upstream. File sharing, web page request, composing and sending emails are termed as upstream. This method results in data usage.


VPN or Virtual Private Network utilises public telecommunication services such as the internet to connect other private networks and users with the centralized network. Users of these networks are required to be authenticated and must have encryption technology measures to prevent disclosure of their private information.


Wi-Fi refers to products certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance as those that work in tandem with the other Wi-Fi products. Electronic items that function wirelessly over Wi-Fi network are also termed as Wi-Fi. Wireless modems and routers have become common devices in broadband services. Internet is now made available even in public places such as cafes, airports, hotels etc with the help of Wi-Fi. The service is charged or sometimes free.

Wireless broadband

Wireless broadband does not use any physical connections, instead uses radio waves to connect to the internet. Wireless broadband offers high speed internet connection just like other broadband services.

Wireless hotspot

Wireless hotspots are places where broadband wireless networks are installed for the public to access the internet from their mobile phones or laptops. These hotspots are usually setup in railway stations, hotels, cafes, colleges, bars, pubs, libraries, shopping areas etc.


Wi-Fi Protected Access or WPA is a security certification program and security protocol that is developed by Wi-Fi alliance in order to get wireless networks secured. WPA provides better security than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).