It’s Time to Go Broadband – But Don’t Know Where to Start
It’s Time to Go Broadband – But Don’t Know Where to Start
It’s Time to Go Broadband – But Don’t Know Where to Start

Need a Broadband Connection, but Do Not Know Where to Start?

A ‘Simple To Read’ Guide, To Assist You with Making Important Decisions On Your Internet Connection

This article is written for those with a minimal understanding of internet connections and the technology behind it. We aim to provide you with useful, simple ‘easy to read’ information, which we hope will be of assistance to you when trying to choose a type of connection, a service provider, and also arm you with the right questions to ask when talking with service providers.

1. Types of Internet Connections

Firstly, let’s look at what the most common types of internet connections that are available, and a brief look at the features of each.

Dial Up ConnectionThis is the slowest of all the types of internet connections. This connection works through your telephone line. You are not able to be connected to the internet and make or receive phone calls on the same phone line at the same time. This is generally a fairly cheap form of internet connection, however it must be remembered that each time you connect to the internet you incur a phone call charge. This form of internet connection is inefficient, and not viable for today’s computers which require a faster connection speed for the purposes of running windows and security updates daily.We do not recommend Dial Up Connection ADSL Broadband

This is a fast speed internet connection, which also works through your telephone line. However, unlike Dial Up, you can use your phone for voice calls at the same time your internet is working on your computer. Your computer is continually connected to the computer. An ADSL connection is not transportable, and is available only to the telephone line (and residence) it is connected to. Please note there are two types of ADSL connections available  , they are ADSL and ADSL2+, if you have a choice, always choose ADSL2+, as it provides a much faster connection, and there is not usually any difference in cost.

If your telephone line is available for ADSL, then we recommend ADSL or ADSL2+ over the other types of broadband connection.  If multiple internet users will be accessing the internet at the same time, or you were wanting the fastest speed, then ADSL2+ would be the better choice

Cable Broadband

This is also a fast speed internet connection, however it is delivered through a TV Cable connection, so if you already have cable TV, then you can consider Cable Broadband as one of your options. Your computer is continually connected to the computer with a cable connection. Cable broadband is not transportable.

If your telephone line is not available for ADSL, and you have Cable TV, then we recommend Cable Broadband over the other types of broadband.Wireless BroadbandWireless broadband uses similar technology to mobile phones, you plug in a USB modem into your computer, and your computer within moments is connected to the internet. Wireless broadband can be slower than ADSL and Cable connections, however, is extremely useful for it’s transportability. You can take your wireless connection with you wherever you go, as long as you have a computer to plug your modem into, and there is a mobile broadband signal.If you are frequently on the move, and you take your computer with you, then we recommend Wireless Broadband. Alternatively if moving around is not a priority, but you do not have ADSL or Cable options available, and then we recommend Wireless Broadband as your optimum choice.From reading through the information above, you may have formed an opinion on which of the types of broadband might best suit your situation, however, if you are unsure on what to do next, when it comes to finding a suitable service provider then please read on.

2. Some Technical Terms Explained Simply, to Enable you to Compare Broadband Plans

Contracts – Most Internet Plans involve the signing of a fixed term contract for the minimum length of time you will be locked into the same Internet Service Provider. Some providers offer cheaper plans with longer term contracts. Recommendation: Be aware of signing long term contracts, say greater than 18 months. Times change very quickly indeed in the internet world, and it is most often that prices come down and data amount allowances go up, so those locked into long term contracts can be penalised over time by having to pay higher monthly fees, than the same provider is offering on new contracts. Ensure you ask your intended Service Provider these questions:<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->How long is the contract?<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Is it possible to change plans within the contract, so to a higher, or lower plan, and if so are there any penalty fees in doing so<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Is there an exit fee for exiting out of the contract early, and if so, how muchWith Phone Line – Most Internet Service Providers will bundle a phone line connection with the internet connection plan, offering the benefit of monthly overall savings on both. Consider that you will be locked into your Provider for both the phone line and internet connection for the term of the contract.Naked ADSL – In terms of ADSL plans, a Naked ADSL plan refers to a plan that does not require you to pay for line rental. You will however require a physical phone line. This enables you to enjoy a fast ADSL broadband over your phone without having to pay a monthly phone connection fee. This is particularly useful in a household where the phone line is not used for voice calls. Important Note about Naked ADSL – monthly contract fees are always more expensive than comparable ADSL plans, so if the difference between the cost is the cost of a monthly phone line fee, then you may not be any better off in dollars. Also consider that most of the Naked ADSL plans count in their data allowance both downloads and uploads, whereas most ADSL plans only count the downloaded data.Data Allowance – Data allowance refers to the limit each month of the amount of information measured in Gigabytes that you can upload and download using your internet connection. All the information that is shown on your screen when you are surfing the internet uses some of your data allowance. The more surfing you do, the more of the data allowance you will use each month. Some people may download movies and music, in this case they will need a larger monthly data allowance.Recommendation: If you are an occasional user (half hour browsing several times a week), choose a plan with a minimum of 5Gb of On Peak Data Allowance. If you are moderate user, on the internet browsing everyday up to 2 or 3 hours), then choose plans from 10gb On Peak and upwards. If you are a heavy user and download lots of movies and music, or have other family members who do, then choose a plan at least 50gb On Peak and upwards.On Peak Data - Many Internet Providers split the day up into Peak time and Off Peak time, with Peak time being during the day and the evening. You will often see a plan advertised where it may list the data allowance to be an amount of Gigabytes On Peak, and an amount Off Peak.Off Peak Data –Off Peak times is typically in the very early hours of the morning, say from 3am to 8amRecommendation: If you never surf the internet between 3am and 8am, then do not count the Off Peak data allowance when working out which plan best suits youUpload Data – Information transferred from your computer over the internet, for example sending an email is uploading data, putting photo’s on your Facebook page is also uploading data. This is measured in Gigabytes and in many internet plans does not count toward your monthly data allowanceDownload Data – Information transferred from the internet to your computer, for example receiving an email is downloading data, viewing YouTube. opening any webpage is downloading data, as is running updates for windows or your security. This is measured in Gigabytes and will count toward your monthly data allowance.Important Note: Some internet plans include in monthly data allowance both uploaded and downloaded data. This is the case with many of the Wireless Broadband plans. Take this into account when working out what data allowance you may need, as you will need more data allowance if both upload and download of data is counted. Connection Speed – Connection speed is the rate of transfer of data (downloading and uploading) of information from the internet to your computer, and from your computer up to the internet. Speed is measured in multiples of bits per second (bit rate). One Kilobit is 1,000 bits per second, and one Megabit is 1,000,000 bits per second. Kilobits Per Second is noted as kbps, and Megabits Per Second are noted as mbps. The higher the connection speed (bit rate), the faster your internet will work, that is the faster your pages will load. Connection speed for downloading data and uploading data is nearly always different; downloading is a much faster transfer speed than is uploading. When viewing the specifications of an internet plan, you will see the download connection speed written first followed by the upload speed. An example is: 1500 / 512 kbps. This can be interpreted as connection speed for downloading is up to 1500 kbps (or 1.5 mbps) with uploading speed being 512 kbps. Compare this to dial up speed of a maximum connection speed of 56 kbps, and you can now see why dial up is so slow.Recommendation: When comparing internet plans, ensure you consider connection speed, with the higher the speeds bringing you the benefit of faster web browsing.Excess Data – When you reach your data limit for the month, one of two things will happen. Firstly, the speed of your connection can be slowed down considerably until you clock over to the new month, this is called ‘Shaping’, or secondly, you may start incurring a charge for every megabyte you go over your monthly limit until you start the new month, hence you could get a very unpleasant surprise to find out your bill has gone up exponentially. Recommendation: When comparing plans, always ensure you choose a plan where if you exceed the data amount, the connection is shaped (slowed), rather than being billed for excess data.

3. How to Choose a Broadband Plan?

Now that you have a reasonable understanding of the technical aspects of broadband plans, it is time to compare Internet Service Providers, and to compare Plans.You need to compare the following features:Connection Speed – the higher the better, remember broadband speeds are measured in kbpsData Amount – you need at least 5gb a month for light internet users, say half hour four times a week, to at least 10gb for moderate users surfing the internet for a few hours a day, to heavy users doing lots of movie and music downloads, at least 50gb per monthOn Peak / Off Peak – if you do not use the internet in the small hours of the morning, then do not count the Off Peak data allowance in your Data Amount needsExcess Data – What happens if you exceed the data allowance, choose a plan where the connection speed is slowed down (shaped) over a plan where you are charged extra on your monthly billNaked – Do you need your telephone for voice calls, if not, you may want to consider in your comparison of plans the Naked ADSL plansUpload of Data – you need to check if uploaded data is counted in the monthly data allowance, if it is counted, you may require a higher data allowance, thus a more expensive planBundles – If your phone line is not under contract with another provider, consider a bundled plan, where you may be offered a discount for a phone and internet plan bundled togetherContracts – Consider length of contract, whether there are charges for changing plans within the contract, consider what the exit fees are, if your circumstances change and you need to exit. The shorter the contract, may be the better way to go, so you are not locked in so long.Monthly Cost – Of course you need to consider cost as well, when comparing plans.

4. What’s the Easiest Way to Compare Internet Plans?

By far the easiest way to compare Internet Plans is by getting on the internet and to research providers and their plan offerings. The Whirlpool website has a ‘Broadband Choice’ facility, which is very easy to use, and allows you to compare plans very easily, below is the link.Broadband Choice – The Australian ISP Directory Link: hope that the information we have presented you with has made you more informed and more aware on what you need to look for when it comes to searching for internet plans, and we hope that as a result you have found the best plan to suit your needs.Foot Note: When it comes to ADSL Plans, and Wireless Broadband Plans, Telstra and Optus are not your only choices, in fact their plans offer some of the most uncompetitive rates and data amounts when comparing to other providers. However, for Cable broadband, your only choices are Telstra and Optus.

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This webpage and other documents provided pursuant are for informational purposes only. The information type should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of the Supplier. The Supplier cannot guarantee the accuracy of information presented. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document.


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