When it comes to Internet connectivity, it’s important to know the basics, so you can understand what you’re paying for and what you should be getting, but with so much jargon and so many acronyms used to describe Internet connectivity, different connections, and package options, it’s easy to get confused.
It’s okay, we’ve all been there, and we know you may not want to ask what everything means when it feels like you’re the only one who doesn’t understand.
The wonderful thing, or not so wonderful thing depending on who you ask, is that you’re not alone.
Whether you just want to understand your fibre contract a bit better, or you want to show off at your next quiz night, let’s break down some of the most common terms or phrases that you’ve probably heard but maybe never quite understood about Internet connectivity.
Here are 8 of the most commonly used Internet connectivity jargon terms explained:
1. Fibre to the home (FTTH)
Just as the name implies, FTTH is Internet access to your home that’s provided by fibre optic cables.
2. Fibre to the business or building (FTTB)
These are fibre offerings that are specifically set up to serve customers like businesses, office parks, or residential complexes.
When it comes to FTTB, a network that’s built on a symmetrical model uses a single central point within a building, from which dedicated fibre optic cables run to each office.
As a result, each customer has access to their own dedicated fibre line that is able to run at impressive speeds.
This refers to data transmission over a high-speed Internet connection that is much faster than old-school dial-up access.
Types of broadband connections include digital subscriber line (DSL) connections that use copper telephone lines, fibre connections that use glass fibre optic cables, satellite connections, and 5G.
Fibre optic broadband enables super-fast Internet speeds as data can travel through the cables literally at the speed of light.
4. Fibre optical network terminal (ONT)
This is the little device that connects the fibre cable outside your house to the fibre router inside your home or office space.
The ONT is responsible for converting signals from the fibre line into signals that can be read by your Internet router, which routes or sends your connection to different devices (like your phone or laptop).
Without a fibre ONT, you won’t be able to access the Internet.
5. Fibre network owner (FNO) vs Internet service provider (ISP)
An FNO owns, manages, and installs the fibre infrastructure that allows you to connect to the Internet, while your ISP manages your access to that Internet connection.
Sometimes when consumers can’t access the Internet, they get frustrated with their ISP, but the fault most often lies with the FNO.
6. Capped vs Uncapped
As the name implies, capped lines are restricted to a certain amount of data, while uncapped lines allow users the freedom to use more data.
So, if you have a capped 130-gigabyte per month line, then you will only have 130 gigabytes worth of data every month available to use while surfing the web. Once you’ve used that amount, you will be disconnected. Think of it as a prepaid account.
A unit of measurement that stands for megabytes per second.
It reflects how much data is transferred every second, and generally, the higher the number, the faster your Internet or the faster the speed at which your files are downloading.
This refers to the amount of information that your Internet connection can transfer at a given time. A high bandwidth typically means faster Internet, whereas low bandwidth means slow speeds and frustration.
The bandwidth you can access also depends on how many devices are using your connection – you might have high bandwidth, but if the whole family is trying to stream videos all at once, you’re only accessing part of it.
By Matthew Campbell, Head of SME and FTTH at SEACOM.