Broadband Guide

The Internet is a must-have connection in our lives these days, and whether you like it or not, it’s a fortress accessible only via Wi-Fi, broadband, or mobile data – in other words, an internet plan.

With our new-found dependence on the Internet comes a plethora of internet plans for you to choose from. The problem is choosing the right internet plan for you. But before you can do that, you’ll need to know more about internet plans, first. We’ll start with broadbands.

The definition of broadband:

Broadband is the successor of the dial-up internet connection, with the fond nickname of “always on”, as your computer gets connected to the Internet the moment it’s switched on.

Types of broadband:

There are five types of broadband, namely ADSL, fibre optic, cable, satellite, and mobile broadband.

– ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line)

ADSL is faster than a voiceband modem, and it’s usually routed over a telephone company’s data network until it reaches an IP (Internet Protocol) network. Unlike dial-up connections, you’re still able to make and receive phone calls while you’re still online.

– Fibre optic

Fibre optic broadband is the new ‘-est’ in Malaysia’s arsenal, and these hair-thin fibre-fitted cables are rapidly being installed around the country. With it, you’re no longer bogged down by the distance limits of a telephone network, unlike with ADSL. Fibre optic broadbands deliver consistent, extremely fast speeds, for a price.

– Cable

Cable broadband also utilises fibre optic cables; the difference lies in the last mile connection, in which cable uses electrical signals, whereas fibre optic uses light.

– Satellite

Satellite broadband is for places where cable and ADSL are unuseable, usually in rural areas. As its name implies, it gets you Internet access from a satellite to a dish installed at your home. However, it is rather finicky and subject to weather conditions.

– Mobile

Mobile broadband, not to be confused with your phone’s mobile data plan, uses the mobile phone network to enable connectivity to the Internet via a data card or a USB dongle. It’s ideal for those constantly on the move. Remember to check out the network coverage in your area before you purchase one!

How to choose a broadband:

– Coverage

It’s best to check if the particular broadband you’ve been eyeing can be used in your area before you buy it, especially if you’re staying outside urban hubs and if the broadband internet provider is new. Basically, if you’re staying outside Kuala Lumpur, check to see if a broadband works in your place first.

– Data usage

Most broadband internet plans come with a data cap, which is a limit on the amount of data you can use per billing cycle. Once exceeded, either your data might be throttled (in other words, become very, very slow), your Internet accessibility might be cut off entirely, or you might be charged pretty exorbitant rates for continued usage. Know your estimated data usage and pick a plan that can cover it. If you’re worried, though, there’s an option for unlimited data packages you can choose.

– Type of user

Light Internet user

If you’re the type to use your plan only occasionally because you can often find Wi-Fi, and then only to browse websites, check your emails, and sometimes Facebook, you’re a light Internet user, and you can afford to choose a plan with low data allowance.

Moderate Internet user

If you go online every day, but usually only to browse websites, Facebook, and the watch the occasional video or download a file, you’re a moderate Internet user. You can still go for capped broadband plans, and since you’re using some data-guzzling services (videos and downloads), you might want to consider Web  speed, too.

Heavy Internet user

Streaming and gaming are the two big keywords here. If you do either or both often, opt for a plan with a large amount of data and decent web speed; otherwise, you’ll be swearing non-stop when your video or online game hiccups all the time.

– Speed

Internet connection speed is measured in kbps (kilobits per second) and Mbps (megabits per second), and 1000kbps equals 1Mbps. The higher the value, the faster your Internet – but do you have a need for speed? Speed is only of essence if you like streaming videos, playing online games, or downloading large files. Otherwise, you needn’t fork out extra cash for it.

– Fees and dues

It’s not just your usage fee you have to pay; you’ll also have to pay for installation and the router (although this might be offered free in the contract). Then there are penalty fees for late payment, exceeded data limit, early cancellation of your contract, and provider switching. Take note of them so that you won’t need to give your Internet provider free money.

Separate vs bundled plans:

You can purchase the broadband Internet plan as a stand-alone, but nowadays the choice of getting several services together in a bundle is becoming increasingly common. You could, for example, get Astro if you top up a token sum, IPTV service, or a cordless phone plus free call minutes to fixed land lines. Of course, all these bells and whistles don’t come free even if they say they do, so consider the necessity of those add-ons when considering broadband plans.

Any Further Questions?

If you’d like to know more about broadbands, head over to our broadband FAQ right here for more information.

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