- Accessing faster internet is not as simple as you may think
- Speed and technology explained
- Possible solutions for faster internet access
It’s what everybody asks for when looking for a broadband plan, “I want fast internet”. This is not surprising considering how and why people use the internet. Consumers want access to the worldwide web instantaneously and consistently. They want to be able to use it immediately when jumping onto the computer and they want to be able to click onto a website and have instant access. Thus, speed is an expectation that consumers have when purchasing broadband. Unfortunately, however, access to fast internet is not a reality for all Australians. It is not as simple as finding the company or the plan that provides internet the “fastest” or demanding your provider to make your internet work faster. The speed of your broadband is very dependent upon factors such as what broadband product you have purchased, what technology it uses and the location of your house.
ADSL speeds and limitations
When most Australians purchase broadband for their home they are purchasing ADSL broadband. This is the fixed line broadband that you can usually bundle with a home phone. The speeds you will be able to access on this type of technology is determined by the location of your house. The further your house is from your telephone exchange, the slower your internet will be. Conversely, the closer you are to your telephone exchange the faster your speeds will be. With this type of technology it is virtually impossible to majorly increase your broadband speed, unless of course you move houses.
The reason why ADSL speeds slow down the further you are from the exchange is to do with the infrastructure and technology ADSL runs on. The copper communication lines, or the copper access network, was originally built to service every home in Australia with a telephone voice service. When internet came along the copper wiring was utilised to provide homes with an internet connection. The copper was sufficient to transfer voice data, however copper as a material to transfer internet data is not as efficient, and thus loses speed over distance. You must also remember that the majority of the copper wiring throughout Australia has been there for over 30 years and has been subject to wear and tear by it’s environment. If you already have ASDL broadband and are thinking about switching providers use your current speed as an indication of what speed you will get with another provider.
If you want unlimited ADSL broadband for $59.99 per month call TPG on 1300 106 571
Slow mobile broadband speeds
If you have purchased a mobile broadband dongle, usb stick or pocket Wi-Fi and you are not satisfied with your speeds it is possible to get faster internet. The reason you may be experiencing slow speeds is to do with the technology that mobile broadband uses. Mobile broadband, as the name suggests, utilises the same technology that your mobile phone uses to transfer data. Data travels to your dongle, usb stick or pocket Wi-Fi through radio waves from radio towers. As you can imagine in order to transfer data the signals will travel through air, through buildings, through the walls of your house. Each interference will cause the transfer speed to slow. And because the method of delivery is not through one focused wire or line, but dispersed through waves, the speed will not be as consistent as an ADSL connection.
However, you have options if you would like faster broadband speeds. Firstly, you could switch providers. The three companies in Australia that have a mobile network are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Each company has differing levels of coverage in different areas. Telstra has the most coverage around Australia, then Optus and then Vodafone have the least. So, for example, if you have mobile broadband with Vodafone and Vodafone do not have wide coverage in your area you may consider switching to Optus, or a company that uses Optus’ network, to potentially have faster speeds. If you are unsure which network a company uses ask their customer support. Generally most budget companies will use Optus’ network to provide customers mobile broadband access. You second option is to switch technologies altogether and go with ADSL. Providing your house is a good spot, you will get much more consistent speeds with an ADSL connection over a mobile broadband one.
If you want 15GB of mobile broadband for $55 per month call Club Telco on 1300 138 155
What’s the fastest possible internet?
Most people are quite happy with the ADSL speeds they reach at home. Something like 12mbps, which is half the speed that ADSL2+ can possibly go, is still sufficient enough to use the internet. Considering the average speed Australians are currently getting, according to recent figures, is 4.3mbps, someone getting 12mbps should consider themselves lucky! However, there are opportunities to get faster than ADSL2+ speeds if speed is imperative to you. Fibre optic cables is where broadband technology is currently at its best and fastest. Unlike the ADSL copper wires, fibre optic cables use tiny strands of glass and light to transmit data. With fibre optic technology you can access data at 100mbps, around 5 times faster than the fastet ADSL. The technology is much faster and does not slow over distance. Therefore you can access high speeds even if your house is kilometers from your exchange.
There are two types of broadband products that utilise fibre optic cables, cable broadband and the NBN. Cable broadband is only offered by two companies in Australia, Telstra and Optus. There are two downsides to cable, it is not available to everyone home in Australia and it is more expensive than ADSL. If you have cable availability at your home and you are willing to pay for fast internet then you will have the fastest possible internet in Australia.
If you want 120GB of cable broadband for $75 per month call Optus on 1300 137 897
There are a significant amount of homes in Australia who do not have access to a decent speed of internet or no internet access at all. The NBN is the proposed solution to the problem of Australians not having equal access to internet and not having access to fast and consistent speeds. The NBN plans to service 93% of Australian homes with a fibre optic cable straight to the house. The last 7% will have access to next generation wireless and satellite technology. Access to the NBN is slowly being rolled out across Australia, thus only some homes will be able to purchase this type of broadband. If you would like fast internet you should investigate whether the NBN is currently available to you or if it will coming to your area soon.
If you want to check NBN coverage and query NBN plans call iPrimus on 1300 137 794
The fastest internet on the market today is cable broadband and the NBN. If you want the fastest it is a matter of living in an area that is privileged enough to have access to fibre optic technology. Most people will have to make do with an ADSL connection, and again speed is determined by location. Some people are lucky and will get good speeds, while others will live in area where they will need to make do with what is available until something better comes along in the future.