Broadband terms can be confusing, especially when they’re technical – that’s why we’re here to help you understand popular broadband phrases with a simple A to Z glossary.
The abbreviation which stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, is an older broadband technology which allows for data to be transferred across phone lines. However, speed is limited up to 8 Mbps or 11 Mbps for ADSL2. ADSL is being replaced by both fibre and full fibre services, so customers can get faster internet in their homes.
Bandwidth means the maximum capacity of an internet network or connection to transmit data. For example, if your network capacity is at 100 Mbps, the network would not be able to transmit data faster than 100 megabits per second.
Broadband is high-speed internet access. It’s also an umbrella term, referring to various high-speed technologies, like fibre optic technology or wireless broadband.
Dial up-internet relies on a telephone line to access the internet. It’s an older technology that is limited in speed, so it’s slowly being phased out. It was the most common internet connection in the late 20th century.
You can think of download speed more simply as, the speed of your broadband. Essentially, it’s how quickly your internet connection allows you to download information from the internet. If you have a slow download speed, you’ll struggle to download things quickly.
Ethernet is a wired way to connect a computer or laptop to your internet connection. It connects your device to a wired local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN). If your broadband is slow over WiFi, you can connect to the ethernet port on your WiFi router and get faster speeds.
Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC or fibre broadband)
Fibre to the cabinet, abbreviated to FTTC, is an older fibre technology that uses copper wires. FTTC offers slower broadband speeds to your home; limited to download speeds of up to 80 Mbps. FTTC is being gradually phased out across the UK – it’s expensive to maintain because the technology is outdated and no longer made.
Fibre to the premises (FTTP or full fibre broadband)
Fibre to the premises, abbreviated to FTTP, is full fibre broadband. It uses fibre optic cables to get you the fastest broadband speeds. It is the latest in broadband technology. At Vodafone, our full fibre plans offer download speeds of up to 910 Mbps, as well as quick upload speeds – perfect for video calling and gaming.
In the context of broadband, a gigabit connection transmits data at one billion bits per second. This is a very fast transmission of data which is perfect for video gaming or VR experiences.
Some providers have started to offer Gigabit broadband to their customers. This means you can get download speeds of up to 1Gbps, which is currently the fastest speed available in the UK.
Not to be confused with gigabit, a gigabyte is a measure of storage available. For example, Apple iPhone storage starts from 128GB and goes up to 1TB (1 trillion bytes).
Hotspot/internet hotspot/mobile hotspot
A hotspot is an internet access point that usually uses WiFi. It allows you to connect to the internet while you’re away from home. On some mobile devices you can create your own mobile hotspot, allowing others to connect to your internet connection.
In broadband, latency refers to the measure of time it takes to send data and receive a response. If you have low latency, the response time of your internet connection will be quicker. High latency results in lag, which can be frustrating when streaming a video or gaming online.
A landline is a wired telephone connection in your home. It’s different from a mobile phone which uses radio waves to transmit and receive signal. With Vodafone Broadband, your plan includes a free landline connection.
Mb, which is short for megabit, is used to describe the speed of data transmission. For broadband, you’ll often see this written as ‘Mbps’ to refer to the number of megabits per second.
Not to be confused with Megabits, Megabytes measure the size of files or the storage of an item. For example, a video on your computer could be 100MB in size.
Mobile broadband/mobile WiFi
Unlike traditional WiFi which is located within the home, mobile broadband is portable. This can be in the form of mobile dongles, mobile hotspots, mobile routers, or data-only SIM cards. At Vodafone, we have a range of mobile solutions which are perfect if you need to get online both at home and when you’re travelling. Compare our mobile options
Router (What we call a WiFi Hub or Ultra Hub)
A router allows you to get internet access in your home. At Vodafone we have two routers, our WiFi Hub for standard broadband customers and our Ultra Hub for customers on Pro II Broadband. Learn more about how routers work
Streaming refers to any media content that’s watched on the internet, played back in real-time. For example, this includes live television, movies, podcasts, and music videos. Popular streaming platforms you’re probably familiar with include the likes of Netflix and YouTube.
Upload speed is how quickly data can transfer from your computer or device to the internet and it is measured in Mbps. Sending emails or video calls will use your upload speed. Find out what a good upload speed is
Vodafone Pro II Broadband
Pro II Broadband is our most advanced WiFi offering for the home. Powered by WiFi 6E, it is the UK’s fastest WiFi technology throughout the home. It comes with our Super WiFi 6E Booster to connect over 150 devices and automatic 4G Broadband Back-up, if you lose connectivity. It is designed to be a whole WiFi solution, making your signal stronger in every room. Learn more about Pro II
Vodafone Together saves you money if you have both mobile and broadband with us. You’ll save £3 on your broadband plan as well as 30% discount on additional SIM cards. You’ll also get exclusive VeryMe rewards – it’s great for families as you can add as many SIM cards as you need. Discover Vodafone Together
Vodafone Xtra (also known as the Xtra Package) is a package that you can add to your broadband plan. It includes Apple TV on us with a three-month subscription to Apple TV+, and Anytime UK landline and mobile calls – all for an extra £8 a month. Learn more about Vodafone Xtra
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) also known as Digital Voice connects your home phone and broadband router. This allows you to make and receive calls through your broadband. Everyone will be moving to VoIP services but don’t worry, it won’t cost you any extra. Read more about VoIP
Whole Home WiFi/Mesh WiFi
Whole Home WiFi (also known as Mesh WiFi) is a solution around your home to create a stronger WiFi signal. It uses multiple access points to create a mesh network which shares your signal, creating a long-range WiFi network. At Vodafone, our Pro II Broadband devices offer a whole home solution. Learn more about Pro II devices
WiFi booster/WiFi extender
A WiFi booster (also called a WiFi extender) helps to boost the WiFi signal around your home. This is helpful if you suffer from what are called ‘dead zones’ in your home where WiFi can’t reach. Read more about how WiFi boosters work
Frequently asked questions
WiFi refers to the wireless connection that allows you to connect your devices to broadband, which is your hard-wired internet supply from a broadband provider.
Fibre broadband comes in various different forms and the one you have depends on your connection type. Fibre broadband offers fast speeds over fibre optic cables. It is faster than dial-up internet and mobile broadband.
Different types of fibre:
Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC): Standard fibre broadband that uses copper cables with speeds of up to 80 Mbps
Fibre to the premises (FTTP): Full fibre broadband that uses fibre cables with speeds of up to 1 Gbps
Fibre to the home (FTTH): This is the same as FFTP, the terms are used interchangeably
Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SoGEA): The latest standard fibre broadband with speeds of up to 80 Mbps. SoGEA is replacing FTTC which is more expensive to maintain
Cable broadband uses the same wires that your cable TV uses, for example, if you have a Virgin Media plan and pay for their TV and broadband service. Cable broadband isn’t as fast as full fibre broadband (with speeds capped at around 300 Mbps) but it is a lot faster than standard fibre plans like FTTC.
Mobile broadband is internet accessed through the mobile network. It comes in a range of devices, including dongles and data-only SIM cards. It gives you access to the internet if you are often travelling or working away from home.
This was the first version of the internet that was commercially available. It required a phone line to use it so you couldn’t make calls from your landline while using the internet. It came before what we refer to as ‘broadband’ today. Dial-up is sometimes used today but only if no other internet connection is available.