Many people find the world of internet technology confusing because they do not understand all the technology. They hear about things like, usage caps and megabits but they simply do not know what those terms mean to them. There are many packages on offer but that is only half the story; choosing the correct hardware is just as important.
Hardware is the actual physical components of a computer, mouse, monitor, keyboard etc. With the introduction of broadband many new components became necessary. You need to know what they are, how they work and how to choose the most sensible models. This guide will teach you all you need to know in this field.
The modem plays a core role in allowing you to connect to the internet. The word “modem” actually stands for “modulator – demodulator”. Modern, wireless modems, discussed elsewhere in this guide, converts digital data into radio signals and vice versa.
Modems were already available in the 1960’s. They were used to connect computers to terminals by using the ordinary telephone lines. However, at that stage they were only used in a very limited sense and they only became popular in the 1970’s, when bulletin board systems became all the rage. This was the early days of what is now known as instant messaging.
Until 1983 modems boasted speeds of only 300bps (bits per second). At that stage models that could transmit at speeds of 1200bps but improvements were continually made until, by 1998, speeds of up to 56 kbps (Kilobits per seconds) could be attained. Up until this time all modems used a system called frequency shift keying to transmit and receive data over a telephone line. The technology was improved to the point where a system called phase-shift keying became available but the final limit of this technology was 56Kbps.
It was in 1998 that ADSL modems saw the light and they boasted speeds of up to 8Mbps (Megabits per second). Just think, this was a jump from 56 000 bits per second to 800 000 000 bits per second! A vast improvement!
You will need a wireless router and adaptor, but there are other components that will allow you to take maximum advantage from your internet connection. Here are a few points to consider:
We hope that you are now more confident in choosing your broadband hardware. Don’t forget that you can use our Broadband Comparison tool to evaluate the various packages on offer. You should also look at our broadband guides to learn more about every other aspect of this technology.