Broadband jargon busting Part 2 header image

Published: 6th Dec 2013

Earlier this year, we published a piece on broadband jargon busting to help you understand the common technical language used in the industry. 

However, at the end of November a survey by revealed a significant number of people in the UK still find it hard to understand internet terminology. Some 46 per cent of respondents said they were confused by broadband jargon and many may struggle to find the best service for their needs as a result. 

With this in mind, we've compiled some simple explanations to a few more of the phrases you might come across when reading up on broadband. 

'Insufficient bandwidth' is a term many people who've had their attempts to stream a TV show or film online interrupted will be familiar with. Bandwidth essentially refers to the amount of data that can be carried over an internet connection in a certain period of time.

This is usually defined in megabits per second (Mbps) and is a means of measuring the download and upload speeds of an internet connection. So, if your bandwidth is insufficient, that essentially means your broadband isn't fast enough to do what's being asked of it.

Another phrase you might have come across is ping. This refers to when a computer sends a message to another and waits for a response. The amount of time this takes provides an indication of the speed of the network the computers are using.

Any data that is transferred from the internet and on to your computer can be classed as downstream. Examples of this are email, downloading files and streaming videos or music.

Upstream is essentially the opposite of downstream and refers to anything that is transferred from your computer on to the internet. Uploading photos to a social media account is a common example of this.

Standing for voice over internet protocol, VoIP basically refers to the technology that allows phone calls to be made over the internet. The most well known example of this is Skype, which is a free service that lets people have online video phone calls with other Skype users. It is also possible to make calls to normal phones, although this does incur a charge.

This is a word that most people will understand, but it's worth clarifying anyway. In broadband terms, it refers to when an internet connection is available without the need to physically connect a computer or device to a modem. Instead, they are able to go online via signals transmitted through a router. 

Fair Access policy
The majority of broadband providers, including Avonline, have a Fair Access policy in place. This is designed to prevent one user doing so much on their connection that it slows down the network for others.

Individuals that exceed the fair usage policy will see their broadband speed limited at peak times to ensure they don't affect the service received by fellow users. You can find out more about this here.