If you want to make the best decisions when choosing an internet package for your home or office, you need to understand what your options are. Most internet service providers (ISPs) will break down their offerings for potential customers, but many fail to explain the details. This industry is full of jargon and acronyms, which can easily fly straight over your head when reading about various internet services.
Most of these acronyms and jargon relate to the type of internet connection and the various technologies used to deliver these services to customers. Internet connectivity has come a long way in a short space of time; just over a decade ago, many homes and businesses still used dial-up modems to access the world wide web via telephone cables. Nowadays, fibre, ADSL and cellular networks are the major connection types.
Types of internet connection
There are many types of internet connection – some older and more outdated than others, yet still being used today. Here are the most common ones:
- Fibre optic – This is one of the most popular and up-to-date technologies available, which is why WonderNet opts for this connection type. It uses tiny glass-like fibres, called optical fibres, to transmit light signals between a station and receiver. These optical fibres can be as thin as hair. The receiver converts the light pulses into electrical signals which conveys data. Fibre optics transfer data at 70% the speed of light, which enables faster internet. WonderNet offers internet speeds at up to 1Gbps through fibre connections.
- Cellular – This is a wireless connection that can be accessed through cellular networks. When using your smartphone, you will notice various types of internet connection, such as HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), E (Edge), 2G, 3G, 4G and now, 5G. The ‘G’ simply stands for ‘generation’ and refers to the upgrade in technology and speed. A 4G connection can reach speeds of up to 100Mbps.
- ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) – This connection is similar to dial-up in that it uses telephone cables, but it is always connected. Unlike dial-up, ADSL uses two separate phone lines so that you can still make phone calls while using the internet. ADSL uses a router to transfer the data and connection speeds can vary from 128Kbps to 8Mbps.
- Satellite – Satellite internet sends a signal from a ground station to a satellite in orbit. The signal is then sent back down to a receiver on the ground. The incredible distances covered by the signal mean that the connection can be slightly delayed, making it slower than ADSL. Satellite connection speeds range between 512Kbps and 2Mbps.
Internet jargon that you should know
You are likely to come across the following acronyms and jargon when looking at internet connectivity options with your preferred ISP:
- Ethernet – This is a network of computers that are interlinked and interconnected, like in a school or office. Physical cables plug in to each computer and connect them to a main server. When ethernet is set up within the same building, it creates a Local Area Network (LAN), but when it is set up between buildings, cities or countries, it establishes a Wide Area Network (WAN).
- FNO – This is the fibre network operator; the company that owns and installs the physical fibre optic cables. The FNO largely determines the price of internet as they ‘lease’ their cables to ISPs.
- ISP – This is the internet service provider; the company that the customer deals with for their internet services. The ISP uses the FNO’s fees as a base from which to create various internet packages for customers. WonderNet is an ISP.
- IPv4 – Internet Protocol version 4 is the fourth generation of internet addresses. Each device connected to the internet has a unique IP address. IPv4 is the method of assigning these bespoke, numerical addresses to each device.
- IPv6 – The sixth generation of IP addresses that is intended to replace IPv4, which is now running out of unique addresses. IPv6 functions the same as IPv4 but it makes use of a 128-bit IP system, which allows for auto-configuration, more efficient routing, fewer IP errors and improved security for new IP addresses.
- FIA – This simply means ‘fibre internet access’ and is WonderNet’s preferred internet connection option.
- FTTB – This means ‘fibre to the business’ and is one of WonderNet’s two core offerings, intended for companies in South Africa.
- FTTH – ‘Fibre to the home’ is our second core offering. We can provide fast, reliable and affordable internet to your home.
- SLA – A Service Level Agreement is a commitment between us and you, as the customer. It defines and outlines the quality, availability and responsibilities of both parties when an internet service contract is signed.
The jargon outlined above should allow you to make a better decision when choosing an ISP and an internet connection. The better you understand the world of internet connectivity, the more informed your decisions can be. For more information about our fibre offerings or to get a quote for an internet upgrade, please contact us today.