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When it comes to broadband there are technical terms aplenty. Whether it's ADSL, Mbps or Wi-Fi, these phrases can seem incredibly confusing to people who aren't familiar with them.

What's more, having to work your way past all of this jarbon can make choosing the broadband package that's best suited to your needs a bit of a nightmare. However, you'll be pleased to learn most of these terms are actually pretty easy to understand when you know what they mean and this makes choosing the right broadband service a whole lot easier. 

Download and upload

Let's start with the basics. To download means to transfer a file from the internet on to your computer. Uploading is simply a reversal of the process, with the file being moved from your PC to the web.


To stream content means you are using a file while it is downloading in the background. This is what happens when you watch a TV programme using a service like BBC iPlayer or listen to music using software such as Spotify.


This means megabits per second and is basically a way of measuring how quickly data can be transmitted. The more megabits that can transferred per second, the faster your internet connection will be. Both uploads and downloads are measured in Mpbs, but when you see it mentioned in relation to a broadband package it is normally referring to the latter.


ADSL stands for asymmetric digital subscriber line and this is a form of internet connection where you go online via signals delivered along a phone line. This has been a common means of providing broadband access in the UK for a while and is much faster than dial-up connections, but is slower than fibre optic.

Fibre Optic 

This is a modern advancement in broadband technology and uses underground cables to connect households to the internet. Fibre optic can provide very fast download and upload speeds, but the time and cost of laying the cables makes it expensive. Furthermore, it is often not available in rural and remote areas.


An alternative to ADSL and fibre optic is satellite broadband. This is the technology that we at Avonline offer and it allows you to connect to the internet via signals transmitted through a satellite in space. 

Going online this way has many advantages, it provides a fast and reliable service, as well as being quick and easy to install. Satellite broadband does not require any infrastructural development, other than the installation of a small dish and modem, making it perfect for rural locations.


Another term you'll commonly hear these days is Wi-Fi. This refers to a wireless local area network, which essentially lets computers connect to the internet without the need for any wires or cables. Wi-Fi is a common feature in people's homes as it allows them to go online in any room and is also being introduced to a lot of public areas such as coffee shops, train stations, libraries and more.