Do You Even Know What ADSL Means?
Telkom ADSL, VDSL, Elite xDSL – what do all these terms have in common and how do they differ? We explore the different terms.
Published: Tuesday, June 21st 2016
When it comes to internet connections, ADSL is the most common type of data connection available - But what is ADSL?
Simply put, ADSL is a fast broadband connection which allows more data to be transmitted at higher speeds over existing copper lines than traditional modems (aka dial-up internet).
With ADSL being the standard type of broadband connection available these days, there are many variations of what type of ADSL package you can sign up for.
With so many options though, how do you decide which one to get?
The most important question to ask yourself is what do you need your ADSL internet connection for?
Are you into gaming and can’t wait to get home each day and play the latest online multiplayer game? Or is social media more your thing and you just need to be able to connect with loved ones and check your email? Or are you looking at cutting the proverbial cord and watch all your favourite TV shows and movies online?
2mbps - If you’re hardly ever going to be online and all you intend on doing is checking the odd email and posting a few Facebook statuses then a 2mbps package might be best for you.
4mbps - If you’re looking to Skype or Facetime with friends and loved ones, as well as spend some time on social media sites, then this is what you’re looking to get. You’ll get sufficient speeds to sustain a decent video call and be able to stream content.
10mbps - if you’re a heavy internet user looking to stream content, make video calls and spend a fair amount of time online, then you’re going to want a 10mbps package. This speed ensures that you’ll a decent connection with little (or no) buffering.
20mbps / 40mbps - if you’re a super heavy internet user, or a YouTuber, who spends most of their time online and needs the best possible speeds with as little buffering as possible, then you might want to consider a 20 or 40mbps package. This is a great option if fibre isn’t available in your neighbourhood and you need super high speed internet in order to do data intensive work.
ADSL isn’t the option available if you need a broadband internet connection, however it is the most commonly available type, thanks to its reliance on copper telephone lines.
With the introduction of fibre internet, which utilises fibre optic cables in order to transmit data, the cost of ADSL has continued to decrease making it a far more cost effective option when looking for an internet package.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when selecting an internet package is that while you might be selecting a specific speed (e.g 4mbps or 10mbps) you might not always get that specific speed internet connection.
Because the broadband network is a shared resource which does not have unlimited capacity, ISPs (internet service providers) have created what they call a fair usage policy. This allows them to throttle (slow down) your internet speed should the network become congested.
If you’re trying to stream content (whether it be a video or music) and you encounter lots of buffering, it might be that the network is congested and your ISP is throttling your connection speed.
One of the best ways to check whether you’re getting the connection speed you’re meant to is to do a speed test. The most popular internet connection speedtest site is Speedtest.net.