Broadband Terms



Backhaul - The process of transmitting data from multiple remote points to a central telecommunications backbone (e.g. from multiple service providers or telephone exchanges to a major city or international Internet gateway). This portion of the network is sometimes also called the ‘middle mile’.


Bandwidth - The speed at which data is transmitted, usually expressed in terms of kilobits per second (Kbps), megabits per second (Mbps), or gigabits per second (Gbps).


Broadband - High-speed always-on Internet access (e.g., not dial-up).


Broadband Network - Has three interlocking components:


Cable Broadband - Pay Cable TV can also provide high speed broadband. These services are typically provided over fiber optics and coaxial cable.


Dial-up Internet Access - Connection to the Internet via a telephone line; very slow speeds of 19.2 Kbps to 56 Kbps.


DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) - Phone companies can provide high speed broadband between 256Kbps to 10Mbps, depending on distances.


Fiber to the Home (FTTH) - A method of communicating voice, video and data over fiber optic lines from the service provider to the customer’s home exclusively using fiber optic facilities. Data speeds over FTTH is currently possible at 1Gbps.


Modem - A device that allows computer information to be sent over a phone line, DSL, or cable. This device converts ethernet-based information into a format that allows it to be transmitted over the network medium.


Satellite Broadband - Data transmitted via a satellite to a receiving dish and into a premise to a computer.


Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) - set of standards for wireless local area networks. WiFi speeds are possible up to 100Mbps, at short distances less than a mile.


WiMax (Worldwide Interoperablity for Microwave Access) - Stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. It is a wireless technology that provides high-speed broadband connections over longer distances than WiFi, but usually not more than 10 miles.


Wireless Broadband - Generic term which also includes satellite, Wi-Fi, WiMAX and other technologies.

Node - A building on an internet network where three major things occur: (1)the fiber optic signals – which have a limited range – can be regenerated. There is special equipment that does this; (2) internet traffic can be distributed from the backbone to local areas in a town by bringing smaller cables into it to serve local customers, and (3) it provides a conditioned environment (air conditioning, uninterrupted power, security) for other service providers to locate their equipment to interconnect to our network.

Additional Information -

More detailed technical information on broadband technology can be obtained at the following sites:


You can also test your own current broadband speed by going to the FCC Broadband Speed Test Page:

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