Speaking for the Byron Shire, but generally true of everywhere (apart from Cable connections and the NBN – I wish!) we have available 3 main types of broadband coming into the home or business: ADSL, Satellite and Wireless.
Do not confuse Wireless to the premises with a Wireless network inside the premises! You can create a Wireless Network inside your home or business which sends your internet connection wirelessly all over the building no matter what type of broadband you have.
The best type if you can get it is ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) as it isn’t affected by weather and allows the fastest and easiest connections. In some non-metropolitan areas like here in the Shire, it isn’t available and then you need to fall back on either wireless or satellite, but always try for ADSL first. ADSL is marketed with 2 influences on the price: speed in Kbs (Kilobytes per second) and download quantity in GBs (gigabytes) per month. Speeds start at 1,500Kbs but over 5Kbs is preferrable. In some areas of the Shire ADSL 2 is becoming available with speeds up to 20,000Kbs.
As all these speeds are relative, to give some perspective the government’s Broadband initiative to construct a fast country-wide service will have speeds 100 times faster than our current 1,500Kbs! But it’s going to take at least 8 years…unless you live in the Tallowood Ridge suburb off Left Bank Raod, Mullumubimby which has full NBN. Lucky buggers.
Next factor is how much data you can download per month and here its a matter of what you do online, or what you would do if you had a fast internet service. Visiting regular websites and checking email doesn’t use a huge amount of data unless the websites are to look at video clips like YouTube or to watch movie trailers. Using Skype to talk to relatives and friends overseas also uses some particularly if you have the video switched on as most people do.
But there’s a lot of competition so look around and visit this website called Whirlpool which is a very good independent assessment of ISPs (Internet Service Providers).
Generally all the deals include a 12 or 24 month contract committing you to the deal and include a ADSL modem, preferrably a wireless router modem so you can have a wireless network inside your home which is handy if you have one or more laptops and iPads, iPhones in the house or want to position your desktop machine somewhere that doesn’t have easy access to a phone line for the modem to connect to. With a wireless network it can be placed anywhere in the house, unless you live in a mansion!
If You Can’t Get ADSL or you want a wireless system so you can take your laptop and connect anywhere that you travel to that has a mobile phone network. (ADSL is limited to the address that it is connected to : it cannot me moved around and changing addresses takes about a week).
Then you need a Wireless USB Modem which comes as part of the deal that you agree to with either Telstra, Optus or one of the others. Telstra has the best coverage but not the best deals. Optus and the others like Dodo have better deals than Telstra but mostly use Optus’s network which isn’t as good as Telstra. If the carrier you are looking at uses the Vodaphone network forget about it round here!
In my experience USB mobile modems don’t offer the same speed as ADSL but many people use them as an extra for when they are travelling.
If you want broadband in your house or business but can’t get ADSL then the next option is wireless, via one of two companies: Linknet and WWires both of whom offer wireless broadband from their transmitters on places like St Helena hill above Byron and assorted other positions. They cover a lot of the ground for people with no ADSL access.
These systems have a satellite type dish on the building with a router inside which can usually offer a wireless network inside as well, just like regualr ADSL. They cost a lot more to set up and install but assessment is free so they will come out to your house and check line-of-sight to their transmitter. Linknet are a long established local firm and their deals seem to be the better.
The absolute last chance saloon of broadband is Satellite, to and from one up there in the sky — a real satellite! This is expensive, difficult to set up and unreliable so please avoid unless absolutely necessary, ie you have tried everything else. You get this via the Bigpond website.
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