Broadband

DEFINITION of 'Broadband'

Broadband is a high-speed, high-capacity transmission medium that can carry signals from multiple independent network carriers. This is done on a single coaxial or fiber-optic cable by establishing different bandwidth channels. Broadband technology can support a wide range of frequencies; it is used to transmit data, voice and video over long distances simultaneously.

BREAKING DOWN 'Broadband'

The two defining characteristics of broadband are that it is high speed and on all of the time. Both of these characteristics distinguish broadband from the older dial-up connections. Not only was dial-up slower, but it was also not always on. When it was on, it often interfered with phone line usage. Broadband provides more flexibility in usage than dial-up, although, like dial-up, it serves to connect homes and businesses to the Internet, and to the global community of online users.

Capabilities of Broadband

Some government departments give precise definitions of broadband that include the minimum download and upload speeds, such as a certain number of megabits per second. The download, upload and media usage capabilities of broadband are much greater than dial-up, although the exact amount of these depends on the specific type of broadband in use as well as the user's location. The speed of broadband also makes online gaming and interactive services possible.

Types of Broadband

Types of broadband include digital subscriber lines (DSL), such as the asymmetrical digital subscriber line and symmetrical digital subscriber line; cable modems; fiber; wireless; and satellite. DSL provides broadband access through wireless transmissions. DSL connections are available at different speeds for businesses and homes. Broadband may also be available via cable modem, meaning users can access the Internet using the same cable service from their television cable providers without interfering with television usage.

Fiber can provide an exceptionally high speed of Internet transmission. It utilizes very thin transparent glass fibers to transmit information as light. Wireless broadband transmissions include both fixed and mobile. Fixed wireless provides limited range broadband access within a wireless local area network (WLAN), and it is often used in homes or businesses. Mobile telephone service providers may provide mobile access to broadband that enables a user to get onto the Internet wherever corresponding mobile signals are available. A type of mobile broadband service comes via satellites orbiting the earth. Satellite broadband can help with getting broadband access to individuals and businesses in more remote locations, although severe weather can disrupt service for some customers.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Net Neutrality

    The idea that all data on the internet should be treated equally ...
  2. ISP (Internet Service Provider)

    A company that provides consumers, businesses, and other Internet ...
  3. Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line ...

    A new technology that provides high transmission speeds for video ...
  4. Very Small Aperture Terminal - ...

    A type of two-way satellite that transmits both narrow and broadband ...
  5. Dial-Up Card Reader

    An electronic credit card machine that sends data through an ...
  6. Bandwidth

    The data transfer capacity of a network. It is measured in bits ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Google Fiber's Slow Growth no Reason to Worry (GOOGL)

    According to a recent report, Google Fiber growth figures have slowed down. Here are a couple of reasons why those numbers should not worry investors.
  2. Personal Finance

    Low-Income Households to Get Broadband Subsidy

    The FCC's recently approved broadband subsidy for low-income households should help many people get online. Not that everyone's in favor of it.
  3. Markets

    New FCC Rules to Protect Privacy

    The FCC’s proposed new rules for broadband companies will allow customers to decide whether an ISP can share their online data with outside parties.
  4. Insights

    Telecom and Cable Will Soon Be One (T, VOD)

    Understand the reasoning behind the trend of telecom and cable becoming one, such as the benefits of cross-selling, mobile streaming and business synergy.
  5. Markets

    How America's Slow Internet Hinders Netflix

    U.S. broadband Internet speeds rose 7.7% sequentially to an average of 15.3 Mbps in the first quarter, according to Akamai Technologies' (NASDAQ: AKAM) latest State of the Internet report. Fifteen ...
  6. Markets

    Time Warner Cable Tests "Skinny" Channel Bundle

    Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) recently started offering a "skinny" bundle of channels to new broadband customers in the Los Angeles area who sign up for its $40 per month 50 Mbps service. The ...
  7. Markets

    The Top 4 Telecommunications Penny Stocks for 2016 (ALSK, CBB)

    Discover four telecommunications penny stocks for your portfolio for 2016, including turnaround candidates and those with generous dividend yields.
  8. Markets

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Dish Network Stock (DISH)

    Get insight about the potential risks of investing in Dish Network stock, such as its lack of cross-selling ability as an independent pay-TV provider.
  9. Managing Wealth

    The Top 5 Large Cap Telecommunication Stocks for 2016

    Discover the top five large-cap telecommunications companies poised to grow in 2016. Learn how each company plans to grow over the next year.
  10. Markets

    Frontier Communications Continues Network Upgrades

    Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR) competes with giants. The company, which can count its cable and internet subscribers in the millions, still has a user base only a fraction the size of ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does government regulation impact the internet sector?

    Learn about the debate on how government regulation could affect the Internet sector and where Americans stand on Internet ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the long-term outlook of the telecommunications sector?

    Discover the long-term outlook of the telecommunications sector and the various factors contributing to its continued growth ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the biggest telecommunication companies in the world?

    Learn what the five largest companies in the telecommunications industry are, ranked by both total revenue figures and market ... Read Answer >>
  4. What portion of the telecommunications sector will benefit most from continued growth ...

    Learn what portion of the telecommunications sector will benefit most from continued growth in the use of cellphones, particularly ... Read Answer >>
  5. Which segments of the telecommunications sector have the toughest competition?

    Read about competition in the telecommunications sector and how the monopolies of old have crumbled around new technology ... Read Answer >>
  6. What portion of the global economy is comprised of the telecommunications sector?

    Explore the telecommunications industry in regard to worldwide growth, and learn what percentage of the global economy the ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Bond Ladder

    A portfolio of fixed-income securities in which each security has a significantly different maturity date. The purpose of ...
  2. Duration

    A measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. ...
  3. Dove

    An economic policy advisor who promotes monetary policies that involve the maintenance of low interest rates, believing that ...
  4. Cyclical Stock

    An equity security whose price is affected by ups and downs in the overall economy. Cyclical stocks typically relate to companies ...
  5. Front Running

    The unethical practice of a broker trading an equity based on information from the analyst department before his or her clients ...
  6. After-Hours Trading - AHT

    Trading after regular trading hours on the major exchanges. The increasing popularity of electronic communication networks ...
Trading Center