Broadband at Home
Broadband internet is now available to most of the country via telephone lines ("ADSL Broadband"), via dedicated cable services ("Cable" - as typically offereded by companies such as Virgin), and also via the mobile telephone networks (often called 3G broadband). If you don't have it yet you are missing out on a number of advantages:-
How do I get it? - step by step guide
You can use any ISP that offers Broadband (see here for a list including prices).
What does it cost?
Your chosen ISP will charge you a monthly fee (some offer monthly contracts - some yearly, and some both). You may need to purchase your connection hardware. Prices can start from under £10, for a complete router based connection with a single plug in filter.
If you are opting for ADSL broadband via your telephone line, then we recommend that you wait until the line activation has been confirmed before buying hardware, just in case your telephone line fails the line test and is not suitable for ADSL.
We currently recommend PlusNet as a ADSL Broadband ISP since, in our opinion, they offer a good service at a very reasonable price. They have real people who answer the phone, speak english, and know what they are talking about!Any Gottchas?
Prices can vary for apparently similar services depending on which ISP you choose. Note that sometimes a "free" service may be worth what you are paying for it (and sometimes less!)
Some ISPs will include bundled hardware which may seem like a good idea, but check carefully what is on offer since it may work our more expensive (and less flexible) than buying your own hardware. You may also find that ISPs who bundle hardware are unwilling to offer technical support to customers who use their own hardware rather than the bundled offering.
It is also important to understand that different ISPs offer different levels of service. All will give you access to the internet, but some may only have limited access to other services like email, and newsgroups etc. Hence some people will find they need to arrange for these missing services separately with other providers - either at extra cost, or by using web services like gmail.
ADSL Broadband - Do I need a special "modem"?
In a word yes! ADSL modems come in three flavours:
Its good to Share!
Internal PCI cards - Not often seen, and mostly for Windows based PC users, Unless you have a special requirement you can ignore these.
USB Modems - connect to a spare USB port on your computer. Works well with Mac and PCs. Simple to setup and cheap. The level of security of USB modems is now improving but still not as good as that offered by a router. Not as easy if you want to share a connection with other computers.
Routers - connect to your computer, or in fact, several computers at once via a Ethernet ore WiFi network connection. These are simple to setup and give the most flexibility and security. Some routers offer wireless connectivity as well. So you can enjoy Broadband on your laptop at the end of the garden!
We recommend use if a router for connection to any broadband service. Prices start from Under £20 and for that you will get good flexibility, and strong security as standard.
We can supply routers from a range of manufactures, but normally recommend models from Solwise. See the Solwise web site for information and current pricing.
Many of the PCI and USB connected ADSL modems, rely on the (often poor) security facilities built into the host operating system, or add on "firewall" software products to protect the computer from attack.
In our opinion this on its own is not an adequate level of protection. This is another reason we recommend that our customers always select a router for connection to their ADSL line.
A router will include a "firewall" that will hide your computer (or your whole network if you have several) from the rest of the internet.
ADSL - What about filters?
Because ADSL uses the same phone line for both voice calls and data, it is necessary to make sure that voice and data parts do not interfere with each other. This is done using "micro filters" (aka. "Splitters", "filters" etc). Typically you will need to purchase one of these small devices to plug into each telephone extension that has a telephone, answering machine, fax machine, or conventional modem, connected to it.
However, if you have more than 4 extension sockets in use, you may find it cheaper (and neater) to fit a filter at the master socket so that the whole house is filtered in one go, rather than have separate filters for each socket. You will then need to run one additional cable from the master socket to where you have your ADSL modem or router situated.
We can carry out filter installation for you if required. We can also install additional telephone, network, and modem/router connection points.
You can find more information and pricing on filters here.
For more introductory information on ADSL see the Think Broadband Guide here
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