When it comes to choosing a broadband solution it really is vital that you understand what kind of internet consumer you are. Its very tempting to go and get the all singing, all dancing unlimited broadband package from Virgin Media but do you really need it?
This article will consider some of the activities that consume the most data and well look at the different categories of internet user as classified by internet service providers. After this, well give you some tips and tricks to find out which providers are available in your area and choose the best deals for you.
High Consuming Data Activities
Some of the highest consuming data activities on broadband include streaming high definition movies, watching online TV, jumping on to YouTube and doing a long YouTube journey, talking with friends on video chat over the internet, file sharing large files, downloading large software packages, and using online games.
Most of these activities require a massive amount of continuous data to be downloaded in order to receive the files and conduct the activities. For example, streaming a high definition movie can take two hours of continuous audio and video download and therefore can consume around 5GB of data. Mobile broadband connections tend to have monthly limits of around 20GB of data at the most. Some packages are unlimited but these tend to actually have user caps imposed on the internet consumption. Seen in this context, streaming a 5GB high definition movie is a massive proportion of your data allowance. It really is crucial that you understand the different types of package for different types of consumer.
Best Broadband Deals for Different Types of Users
Broadband providers tend to categorize consumers as light, medium, or heavy users of the internet.
Light users will tend to avoid these high intensity activities or not have any interest in them at all. They may well spend a bit of time browsing the internet, doing social networking, and checking e-mail but will probably do very little else.
Medium users may do more of the high intensity activities but these wont be a regular part of their daily routine.
With heavy users, there may be certain periods of the week that they spend a lot of time on line doing high intensity activities, or they may be part of a daily routine.
Unlimited Broadband Packages
If you consider yourself a heavy user, then its a good idea to consider an unlimited broadband package. The challenge with unlimited broadband packages is that the best broadband deals arent always obvious. Many providers have a cap on the fair usage of their unlimited packages. They have policies that state exactly how much data you should be consuming per month and limit the amount of data that you can actually consume. This seems very unfair and can mean that users are heavily restricted towards the end of their month in the activities they can do because of the lack of data allowance they have left. Even worse, some users get extra charges, slowed connections, and even complete down time when the provider deems their behaviour outside of the fair usage policy.
On top of these, some providers â€˜manage the activities of all of their users. Some have a tiered system whereby they will limit certain activities at certain times of the day or even all the time. For example, file sharing is often heavily restricted during peak times and on some networks is restricted all the time.
Internet connection speeds of 20 Mbps can be slowed to close to that of a dial-up connection for peer-to-peer activities. If youre a consumer that spends time peer-to-peer file sharing, you have to ensure that your network provider is appropriate for you. Similarly gaming activities are sometimes restricted and therefore if this is part of your daily routine even unlimited broadband packages may not be correct for you.
Sourcing the Best Broadband Deals on the Market for You
Of course, the most important consideration when it comes to sourcing broadband is finding out what you can get. ADSL broadband is available to 99% of the country but the level of connectivity offered really depends on how far you are from the telephone exchange because of the technology over which the internet passes.
Fibre optic broadband is available to around 50% or 60% on the country and therefore you will be lucky to be able to get it. The easiest way to find out whats available to you is to get on to a postcode checker service and plug in you post code. These services are available all over the internet and there are some good ones on uSwitch, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, and Cable.co.uk. Essentially, these services will give you a rundown of the exact connections available and may also list deals and criteria of offerings.
How to check local connections
One of the best choice available in the internet when you are searching for broadband deals is a tool whereby you plug in your post code and you see what connection speed other people are getting.
â€œHow can this be done?â€ you may be asking. Its simple really. There are many speed test sites, which are available for people to find out what connectivity levels theyre receiving. The speed test will tell them their upload, download, and latency speeds. These services often request that the user shares their test results. When these test results are shared, they become public information and therefore you can find out what the results were. This is a great way of seeing real world data of different internet service providers.
Theres a great service on uSwitch where you can plug in your postcode and see on a map ISPs in different areas in your locale and the speeds that they are achieving. Do bear in mind that some of these connections may be faulty and that maybe why people are checking them and some maybe connected wired, others wirelessly. However, this provides a really good indication of the types of speeds youll be likely to get with the different providers you are considering. And is a great way to develop your initial short list.
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