Internet Connection Information
What is Each Internet Connection Type?
ADSL1: Rural broadband
ADSL2+: Urban Broadband
VDSL: More efficient (faster)broadband
Cable: Only Vodafone, Wellington and Auckland
Fibre: Available where UFB has been installed. There are a lot of different speeds available, with prices increasing in relation to the speed being offered.
Fixed Wireless This is where you are supplied with a modem/router that provides all your broadband needs using a SIM card inside the modem to link you to the closest cell-tower.
Satellite: Available everywhere. Limited ISPs offer this.
RBI: Rural Broadband Initiative (the UFB of Rural), all upgraded technologies in the rural network as a result of the government funding. Includes ADSL, VDSL and Fixed Wireless. Refer to Rural reports for our reported results.
ADSL and VDSL Broadband explained
ADSL (Short for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) ADSL is a connection that uses regular copper phone lines with data using the capacity not taken up by voice calls. The advantage of this kind of connection is that it doesn’t require any special lines to be installed, so it’s more available than other forms of broadband - particularly to rural customers. Speeds are affected by the condition of the wires; the distance between your home and the provider’s location; and any noise or interference on the line.
VDSL (Short for Very-high-bitrate Digital Subscriber Line service) VDSL uses phone lines more efficiently, but the higher frequencies used require a shorter distance for the signal to travel. A higher amount of available bandwidth delivers better overall performance than ADSL can offer. However, distance and wire condition affect VDSL more, even over short distances from the exchange equipment. It is closer to fibre Internet in speed and behaviour than ADSL
VDSL is available on 80% of broadband lines today. However, as it is a distance dependent technology, VDSL is not available in all areas.
Fibre and Cable Broadband explained
Fibre, or Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB), is now the go to for households and businesses that require superior Internet performance. Fibre bypasses phone lines and uses smaller, lighter fibre optic cables with glass conductors. These conductors transmit light signals rather than electricity, so they aren’t subject to interference from electrical wires, or damage from lightning strikes. This results in one of the clearest, more consistent broadband connections you can get, unfortunately those living in rural areas may not have access to Fibre at all.
Check to see if the UFB project has come to your area, Unlike DSL connections, you get the same level of performance regardless of location
*Advertised speeds may be available with these technologies when downloading from the core network, but only if all planets align. The actual speed from the ISP is dependent on local congestion, overheads and backhaul congestion and the speed settings given you by your supplier;
- Each area (often a street or suburb) has a single service (Fibre or Cable), and the speed being sold is the total speed available for all subscribers in that area, hence if someone else uses the line at the same time, then the speed can be slower to allow usage by other users. With Fibre the speed is unlimited from your home to the exchange where it meets the OLT, which is a device to share capacity across many fibres, often up to 64 connections. With Cable, you share the conection to the nearest cabinet, often with up to 100 others, this may impact you during peak usage periods of 6-11pm.
- Fibre & Cable are both able to be delivered at the advertised speed. Some Local Fibre Companies (wholesalers) still sell to ISPs a sub-standard service that cannot reach the advertised speed, ask your ISP.
- The capacity up and down the country is limited, and congestion may impact on your ability to get a top speed. This depends on the supplier, who may or may not have sufficient capacity for most of the time. TrueNet has already started seeing this congestion on Fibre with some ISPs, a sudden market change could cause severe congestion, just like Cable. Cable congestion suddenly developed when NetFlix was offered, but after a very large investment, Vodafone resolved this problem on 2nd October 2015.
- Speed allocation can be just wrong on Fibre and Cable. The speed you get is a software setting in the network and if your speed is allocated incorrectly you will get the speed allocated. We see many Panelists who say purchase 100Mb/s who are allocated speeds like 50Mb/s, 200Mb/s and unlimited GigE service
Fixed Wireless/ 4G
Fixed Wireless broadband is a connection that uses radio signals rather than phone lines, cable or fibre. This means it can be subject to interference such as weather, local demand from other users, or local topography - including buildings and even hedges! The gateway (modem/router/wifi) can be moved to different locations in your house because it is only connected to power.
It is often the only other option available for rural customers but relies on a 4G network, so you can guess how good it would be at your place by observing the signal strength on your smartphone.
There are two satellite wholesalers, each offering services on different satellites, speeds depend on the height of the satellite above the horizon, weather and ISP settings. Satellites are a very long way away, so it takes time for a signal to got to the satellite and return, this is called Latency which has little impact on speed but can be destructive on website downloads. Only ISP selection and ISP settings can improve performance. Smart technology that reduces the overheads of packets during the satellite hop improves website performance to that of ADSL. Satellites are a shared resource, so traffic is high in busy periods, using the service outside the busy period usually proves a reliable service.
Choosing the Best Broadband Option
Availability and pricing are the big factors when choosing between ADSL, VDSL, Fibre and Fixed Wireless for your Internet connection. Check out Broadband Compare or Glimp. Start by researching what’s available in your area, Chorus address checker. Next, consider what type of Internet user you are. If you check only email and social networks, ADSL or Fixed Wireless may be more than enough to meet your needs. Video of any kind requires at least a VDSL connection. For heavy users, and households or businesses where multiple computers or devices are accessing large amounts of data on a daily basis, Fibre provides the best and most consistent performance for a comparable price.
Shop around to find the best deal possible. Look at what different providers offer in terms of rates and packages, and beware of prices that seem too good to be true, they may include a temporary offer that increases after a limited time period.