There are two types of broadband connections available, fixed (flowing into your home through a telephone line) and mobile (picked up as a signal in designated 'hotspot' locations). 'Fixed' broadband involves ADSL, fibre optic, or cable connections (those which pass into your home though a fixed power line). Mobile broadband on the other hand usually relies on a GPRS or 3G connection, the same connection used by your mobile phone.
Cable, ADSL, and Fibre Optic Broadband
These types of connection use a fixed underground cable to hook up your residence to an internet connection. The connection is made either through a cable modem or cable TV box (cable), supplied by the internet service provider. The modem will then connect to your computer using either a USB or network connection. If you wanted to share the connection with other computers you would then need a cable router. The benefit of this type of broadband is a more constant speed with your internet connection, and is good for faster consistent connections.
The most common type of broadband is ADSL, which runs through an existing phone line using a microfilter. You would use an ADSL modem, connected to your computer by USB or network cable, or a wireless ADSL router. Either of which would be supplied by the internet service provider. ADSL broadband doesn’t reach the same speeds as cable broadband but supports up to 24mbs on ADSL2+ which is more than enough for pretty much any type of internet usage.
This type of connection uses the mobile phone network to bring you broadband internet, and consists of a USB modem that connects easily to your computer. This can be great for people who are on the go because of its portability, can be used for most internet usage such as internet browsing, e-mailing and small downloads. The disadvantages of mobile broadband is the network coverage, it doesn’t cover the whole of the UK. The speeds are slower than fixed line broadband into your house and it also comes with download usage limits. Going over the download usage limit can result in expensive costs.