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Common Broadband Terms Jargon Buster Part 2

Rinky Dink Inc

Following on from the first part of our Jargon Buster guide. We have continued to add to our list of terms that may be confusing to the uninitiated in the broadband world. Feel free to use any of these guides as a reference when purchasing your broadband service.


This stands for Local Loop Unbundling and is the process that broadband suppliers use to install their equipment via the local BT exchange. This allows them to offer their own high-speed DSL services rather than relying on BT wholesale broadband. The Local Loop part refers to the network of cables that actually connect to your house. The vast majority of these cables are owned by BT, and unbundling is the term used to describe the process whereby a different provider such as Sky Broadband may use their own software on BT’s lines to connect to your house and is why you are able to get services from different providers.


You may have heard this term before and is something yu may come across when you receive your broadband equipment. A microfilter is a key component to ADSL broadband installation and is essentially a splitter which is attached to every phone socket in your house that has a phone connected to it. The purpose of this is to “filter” the data so that you can use your phone without it being interfered with by any Internet data connection.


Often a term confused with Router which we will talk about below. MODEM stands for MOdular- DEModulator. This is what is used to transfer data over the phone line when connected to your computer. A modem is usually installed within the hardware of your computer. However, some older computers may have external hardware for their modems.


This is a device that is similar to a switchboard in that it transports data to the correct place, or ‘routes’ it across the network. A router will be the point of access for your Internet connection, and most modern routers come with WiFi capabilities, which allow you to connect to the Internet using over-the-air data transfer. Before WiFi, the function of the router was much the same however Ethernet cables were used to transfer data instead of WiFI. Sometimes it can still be beneficial to use wired (Ethernet) connections do to the speed increase.

A router is one area you can control the speeds of data across your network, and while the router supplied by your broadband provider is generally sufficient, you can opt to purchase a more advanced router which gives you more control over you network and can often provide increased data transfer speeds.


The is the term to describe any connection with a speed of less that 128kbps. Narrowband includes IDSN and Dial Up broadband which are obsolete technology and hence the term broadband was invented to highlight the broader speeds it can offer.


WAN or Wide Area Network is the term used to describe connection across a wide area often by connecting a series of LAN (Local Area Network).


This stands for Internet Service Provider and is the abbreviated name for the company which you purchase your broadband package from.


This stands for Virtual Private Network and is a technology used to create encrypted connections over a network. A VPN can be used to help increase security over connected systems. The most common use of VPN is to connect to a desktop remotely from home.

Wireless Adapter

This is the hardware on your computer or device that is used to connect to a router over wireless connection. A wireless adapter can search for wireless signals over a specific area, depending on the capabilities of that specific wireless adapter.

Wireless Access Point

This is the term used to describe the access point for your WiFi connection. Using the Wireless adapter your computer can search for a wireless connection and access it from here.

Network Key

This is a secure password that is usually set up by you or your ISP and provides access to your wireless connection. There are different types of network keys including WEP and WPA which have different security features enabled meaning you can have a more secure password if need be.


This is used to describe the data that is being downloaded over the Internet onto your computer or device. When you download a file or TV show or film, it will have a file size attached, and this is where the speed of your broadband plays an important part. If you are downloading a file of 1mb over a 1mbps connection, it should take 1 second.


The opposite of download, this is the term used to describe any data you are putting onto a server or device. Often the upload speed of you broadband will be a lot slower than your download speed so if you often find yourself uploading files to a server then a faster broadband is required.

Data Cap

This is the term used to describe the download or upload limit on your broadband package. Many providers will apply a cap to prevent you from overusing their connection. You can, however, purchase plans with unlimited caps which means you can download or upload as much as you want within the fair usage policies of that ISP


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