How does broadband work
Confused by all things broadband related? Read on to get in the know. Broadband is a technology that transmits data at high speed along cables, digital networks or subscriber lines, and mobile phone networks. The term 'broadband' refers to a wide range of frequencies which can be divided into channels. The most common type of broadband is ADSL, which is carried along BT phone lines, although cable (using new fibre-optic cables) and 4G mobile broadband are hot contenders to topple ADSL's dominance as both becoming increasingly available throughout the UK. Back in the early days of the internet when there were less users, dial-up connections — where both the telephone and internet shared the same channel on phone lines — were fine. As more people started using the internet and usage became increasingly common, however, dial-up connections were no longer enough. Broadband developed from a need for greater amounts of information to be transmitted across the internet. If you imagine a narrow motorway tunnel with hundreds of cars attempting to pass through at rush hour, that's what using the internet with a 56kbps dial-up connection was like. In this analogy, the best solution would be to add extra lanes, and it is on this principle that broadband is based.

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How does ADSL broadband work?

ADSL broadband comes from your local telephone exchange, owned by BT, through a Fixed Line Access Network made out of copper wires. These are the telephone lines that you see in the street. The lines in the street connect to the wiring inside your house and provide you with an internet and phone connection through the BT socket on the wall. At this point, there's also a piece of equipment called a microfilter, which separates out your telephone line from your broadband, allowing you to use the phone and internet at the same time. The information that you initially receive in your home is a series of digital signals which are decoded and recoded into usable information, in this case for telephone calls and an internet connection. An ADSL broadband connection is 'always-on'.

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