Broadband - Speed & Caps

by : Liam G

With the wealth of ISPs offering all manner of broadband package's to suit individual needs it's understandable if even the more technical savvy of us feel somewhat bemused.

It's important though, to ensure that you are "in the know" with regards to the speed and cap that will relate to your chosen broadband package.

Firstly, the speed of a broadband package is expressed in kilobits per second (Kbps) and megabits per second (Mbps) and is known as bandwidth. This is essentially the amount of data you are able to transfer in a given second, thus the higher the figure the faster your access to the internet will be.

Throughout the UK, broadband speed is one of customers' main gripes with their ISPs, with the actual speed they receive almost always far less than that advertised. The typical advertised speed offered today is 8Mbps, with actual speeds in the region of 2Mbps to 4Mbps.

The speed you require will depend entirely on what you wish to use your broadband connection for, and how many devices will be sharing the connection within your home.

As mentioned, 8Mbps is the speed advertised for the majority of today's packages. This should prove sufficient for most customers, especially those who intend to download and/or stream music and video files and participate in online gaming.

If however, you know you will not be using your connection for such purposes, then it may be a better idea to opt for a slower speed, such as 512Kbps. This is often sufficient for those who wish to simply browse the internet, send emails and maybe occasionally download media files.

The other factor of your broadband package that will depend entirely on how you use it is the download limit or cap. This is essentially a set limit on how much data you are able to send and receive using your connection, which tends to range from 1GB/month to an unlimited amount.

The advantage with the latter being you do not have to worry about exceeding your limit, thus incurring any extra charges; although ISPs that offer such services tend to have lower download speeds in practice.

The broadband cap you will require will increase considerably if you intend to download multiple media files, with this being common practice for those with broadband though; finding cheap broadband packages with large caps is very easy.