The Voneus guide to busting broadband jargon

The Voneus guide to busting broadband jargon

Broadband terminology can be incredibly hard to understand so we’ve made it easy for you.

Broadband jargon can feel like a foreign language and unless you’re looking to emulate Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons there is only so much of it you need to know.

With that in mind, we’ve made it our mission to translate the key bits of broadband terminology into plain English so you feel better informed before searching for a new broadband deal.

So, if you want to know the difference between ‘FTTP’ and ‘FWA’, your ‘bits’ from your ‘bytes’ and why ‘Wi-Fi’ might not be what you thought it was, this Voneus guide should help unravel the alphabet spaghetti of broadband jargon for you.


A is for… 


An Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), more sensibly referred to as standard broadband, uses copper telephone lines to deliver internet speeds of up to 24Mbps. It’s the natural successor to dial-up that rudely interrupted telephone calls with beeping and scratching sounds. Expect to see ADSL gradually phased out as the reach of fibre technology grows.


B is for…


The capacity of a connection or the maximum amount of internet that can be squeezed down the line at any one time. You’ll usually see this referred to in broadband jargon terms as bits per second (bps) and it matters because the greater the bandwidth the faster your data should travel.


The overarching name for most always-on internet technologies available today. ADSL, cable, fibre, full fibre and wireless all come under the broadband banner. Not to be confused with Wi-Fi… which we’ll come onto later.


C is for…

Cable broadband 

Broadband delivered by… cable… but there’s more to it than that. Specifically, we’re talking about the coaxial cables favoured by providers like Virgin Media who run their own network. 


Some broadband deals come with a data limit that can restrict speeds or determine how much you’re permitted to use. It’s also known as capping and exceeding the limit may mean paying an excess charge. Broadband jargon worth knowing when comparing providers. 


D is for… 

Download speeds 

How quickly your broadband connection grabs information from the internet. The bigger the download speed the faster websites will load and you’ll access music, games, TV shows, movies and more. When hunting for broadband deals providers will often advertise an ‘average speed’.

Dial-up internet 

Flashback to ‘free trial’ AOL CDs. Dial-up connected to the internet through a telephone landline often interrupting family calls in the process. Once connected, you could look forward to heady 56 Kbps download speeds – game-changing at the time but around 300 times slower than standard broadband today. 


E is for…


Looking like a slightly oversized phone cable, an Ethernet lead is a way of hardwiring a connection between your broadband router and a device – a computer, TV or speaker for example. The benefits? In most cases, it’s faster and more stable than wireless Wi-Fi.


F is for…

Fair usage policy

Broadband providers want to ensure customers get fair and consistent access to their advertised broadband speeds, so they reserve the right to slow down the connection of regular heavy users who hog the line by consistently downloading large files. Play nice and everyone gets their fair share.    

Fibre broadband 

Bountiful supplies of broadband delivered down fibre optic cables for the fastest speeds. Fibre optic cables transmit signals as light through glass ensuring data transfer is rapid, but be warned, not all fibre connections are the same…

FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet)

Some broadband providers will profess to offer a full fibre broadband service when they are in fact only offering FTTC, or fibre-to-the-cabinet. This is where fibre optic cables only reach the green boxes you see on the street before copper cables take over to connect to your property. Not only is this very different to full fibre broadband it also vastly compromises connection speeds. 

FTTP (fibre-to-the-premise)

At Voneus we offer a full fibre FTTP service. That means uninterrupted broadband delivered directly to your home for the very fastest speeds currently available. It’s the most reliable type of broadband and isn’t compromised by copper!

Fixed wireless access (FWA)

Alongside our full fibre service, we also offer superfast fixed wireless access broadband with speeds of up to 50Mbps. This has the benefit of reaching rural areas that fibre cables currently can’t by providing a wireless connection between two fixed points, and is often faster than old ADSL copper wires.


G is for… 

Gigabit (Gbps)

A 1 Gbps (gigabits per second) broadband speed is just about the gold standard right now and means you’ll be downloading 4K movies in seconds. In broadband terminology, it relates to the transfer speed of data as opposed to the size of what you’re downloading.

Gigabyte (GB)

A gigabyte is a unit of data measurement. Gird your loins for a quick maths lesson: There are 1000 bytes in a kilobyte (KB), 1000 kilobytes in a megabyte (MB), and 1000 megabytes in a gigabyte (GB). A two-hour 4K Hollywood blockbuster is approximately 30GB in size. 


H is for…  


The term hotspot can have negative connotations, but not in this case. It’s simply a location where the public has access to the internet with Wi-Fi. Devices connected to the internet can also act as a hotspot for others to use once the owner gives permission – like sharing the personal hotspot on a smartphone, for example.  


See ‘router’ below.


I is for… 


Admittedly a bit of a nerd alert description in broadband jargon terms, but if we’re being specific the internet is a network of connected computers the world wide web works on, as well as what emails and files travel across.


This stands for internet service provider, which is, well… us! Voneus is one of the largest rural broadband internet service providers covering numerous counties across England and Wales. We’ve gone from being industry specialists in wireless broadband to building ultrafast fibre-optic networks in hard-to-reach areas.


J is for… 


Geeky broadband terminology can seem like a different language out to deliberately confuse you. At Voneus, our aim is to get rid of jargon and always say it as it is.


K is for… 

Kilobits (Kbps)

Scroll up to see what we said for gigabits and apply that on a much slower scale. A Kbps connection was usually seen on dial-up internet and those dark days are mostly behind us.

Kilobyte (KB)

We’ll refer you to the maths lesson above for gigabytes – nobody wants to go through that again.


L is for… 


On occasion you might hear someone refer to low-latency or high-latency to describe the network connection speed and whether you might be encountering a delay in transmitting data. The lower the latency the faster everything will work and thankfully most cabled broadband connections fall into that bracket. Having little to no delay in data transfer is important for online gaming, where you want to stay up with the action, and video calls, so conversations always stay in sync. 


M is for… 

Megabit (Mbps)

See entries for ‘gigabits’ and ‘kilobits’, and megabits sit somewhere in the middle. Most broadband connection speeds currently run at a Mbps rate whether that’s in the low conservative tens or ultrafast high hundreds like our latest full fibre packages.  

Megabyte (MB)

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but back to the maths equation under the entry for gigabytes. As a rough guide, a music album download is about 100 to 400MB depending on the format.

Mobile broadband 

High-speed internet access on a mobile network rather than a fixed line like fibre.


This can be confusing broadband jargon because a modem is often muddled up with a router. Put simply, a modem connects you to the outside world, while a router connects everything within your home to that network. We combine both in the same box free of charge.


O is for…  


The UK regulator for all things communications and that includes broadband. Ofcom’s mission is to ensure providers such as us play with a straight bat and to improve services for consumers – so we have a common goal when it comes to supercharging rural connectivity.   


R is for…


A router connects the devices in your home to the internet. That could be anything from smart home products like a security camera or thermostat to a laptop or TV. It’s called a router because it routes internet traffic so everything stays connected, but some providers may refer to it as a hub. 


S is for…  

Satellite broadband 

Hitting headlines due to Elon Musk’s forthcoming SpaceX Starlink service, satellite broadband sends data between a dish attached to a property and a satellite in orbit. It tends to be a bit of a last resort when no other connection is possible. It’s also expensive, limited, and suffers from latency.    

Standard broadband 

See ‘ADSL’ above.

Superfast broadband 

Generally refers to internet connection speeds of up to 100Mbps. Voneus wireless packages are superfast. 

Symmetrical broadband speeds

You will often see broadband deals with an ‘average speed’ advertised but this tends to be for downloads only. We advertise a ‘symmetrical speed’ which is what you can typically expect for downloads and uploads. That’s broadband terminology worth knowing when you realise how crucial upload speeds can be for things like stable video calls.


U is for… 

Ultrafast broadband 

Typically we’re talking about broadband speeds of at least 100Mbps. At Voneus we offer packages of 250Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps – and that’s to some of the most difficult-to-reach, remote parts of England and Wales.

Upload speeds 

The speed at which information goes from your computer to the internet. It’s the opposite of downloads but equally important when it comes to everything from making video calls to sending emails. It’s one reason why we offer symmetrical speeds, so you can see we take traffic flow seriously on both sides.


V is for… 


Did we tell you we’re revolutionising rural broadband? Well, it’s not the only thing that sets us apart as a provider. We’re innovators, we’re problem solvers, and we work closely with communities to design the best broadband solution for that area. As a customer, you’ll get free installation, a free router, and no activation fee. We also offer a no price rise guarantee, meaning we’ll never increase the cost to you mid-contract.


W is for… 


No, it’s not the same as broadband, the internet or your router. Wi-Fi is the technology that allows devices to connect to the internet and communicate with each other in a set area.

That’s all folks, but if there’s something you’re unsure about when it comes to broadband jargon you can always call us on 0333 880 4141 or email

Published 09/05/23