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What is fibre internet and what happened to dial-up?

what is fibre internet and what happened to dial-up

Let’s explore the history leading up to fibre internet?

When exploring the question of what is fibre internet let’s start by exploring dial-up? Yikes, who would want to! Back in the day, when internet first started, dial-up was it, and it was mind blowing. People went nuts for dial-up to connect to the internet, and then they went nuts waiting for it to connect.

Now we have fibre internet, and people go nuts for fibre because it’s so fast. Then they go nuts because it seems to be expensive. But what makes fibre internet lightning-fast and seemingly expensive?

Allow us to shed some light on the subject and bring you up to speed.

A trip back in time, to 1979.

What is fibre internet
A trip back in time.

Let’s browse back over time. In 1979, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis created a dial-up predecessor to connect to the internet called USENET. USENET was UNIX based and used a dial-up connection to transfer data through telephone modems.

Dial-up internet has existed since the 1980s, Pipex in the UK and Sprint in the USA commercialised dial-up in 1992. During the 90s, demand for dial-up began to decline after the introduction of broadband internet.

Dial-up uses the facilities of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to establish a connection to an internet service provider (ISP). This connection is established by dialling a telephone number on a conventional telephone line. The connections use modems to decode audio signals into data sent to a router or computer and encode signals from the latter two devices to send to another modem.

Multi-tasking was not possible with dial-up.

With dial-up, you could not connect to the internet and make a voice call simultaneously. When dialled up to the internet, speeds reached a pinnacle of 56Kbps (kilobits per second) limiting multi-tasking capabilities. Let’s put that into perspective.

Your minimum speed with fibre is now 50Mbps (megabits per second) and 56Kbps is 0.056Mbps which means it was much slower, nearly 1000 times slower! A web page that is 1Mb in size will take roughly two and a half minutes to load with a dial-up connection. With fibre internet, it should take a maximum of 2 seconds.

Do you see the light yet? Keep reading.

Simultaneously connecting to a phone and the internet was not possible.

The ground-breaking discovery of broadband internet.

Broadband internet was a ground-breaking innovation in internet speed. Internet service providers leveraged the same cable infrastructure used for TV connection to your home to offer faster internet speeds to their customers.

The disadvantage with broadband internet is that cable is shared amongst multiple homeowners within an area. This sharing means the bandwidth is divided amongst the other homes causing slow internet speeds during ‘peak’ hours.

The discovery of broadband internet.

Internet goes digital.

DSL, which means digital subscriber line, is used to access broadband data over the internet. This internet type uses a DSL modem and standard telephone line to carry data from one computer to the next. The benefit of DSL is that it carries voice and data over the same telephone lines simultaneously, which means you can browse and make telephone calls together.

DSL is not as fast as cable, but it is cheaper than cable. Ah, “cheaper!” – a word we all understand. With DSL, you don’t share bandwidth with other homeowners in your area, as each home has a dedicated connection.

Internet goes digital with DSL.

The different types of DSL internet.

  1. ADSL represents an asymmetric digital subscriber line and means download speeds are considerably faster than upload speeds. ADSL is used mainly in homes.
  2. SDSL stands for symmetric digital subscriber line and means download and upload speeds are the same. SDSL is more suitable in a business setting.
  3. VDSL means a very high bit-rate digital subscriber line. VDSL is the fastest form of DSL, which runs on copper wire. It is made to travel over short distances. For longer distances, VDSL can use fibre optic cable, which is 3x faster than ADSL.

Fibre internet explanation.

Fibre internet is currently the fastest internet speed available today, with download and upload speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

Unlike VDSL that uses a copper cable to send data via electricity and can be affected by electromagnetic interference, our hero fibre sends data with light. Yes, with light! 

This light is transmitted through a fibre optic cable, a thin glass cable. It travels three times faster and over considerably longer distances, without interference compared to copper cable. Fibre cable is therefore expensive to manufacture and install. It is why it is not so readily available in remote or rural areas.

What is fibre internet
Fibre travels by light.

Fibre to your home.

This internet gets delivered to your home using fibre optic cable, either from an underground or above-ground power supply. The optic cable runs directly into your house and is called Fibre to the Home (FTTH). 

Your FNO (fibre network operator) installs a fibre termination box, known as a CPE, in a location of your choice as long as it is near a plug point. WiFi routers get plugged into the CPE. After deciding where to position the CPE, the best route to lay the cable gets mapped out. 

Once the cable has been laid, it is connected to your wall box and inside the CPE. When the FX light on the CEP is active, it’s an indicator that your internet is ready. Lastly, select your need for speed by contacting your preferred ISP. They will install your WiFi router and connect you to blazing fast internet.

 

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Slow internet speed at home and tips on how to improve it.

slow internet speed at home and how to improve it

Introduction.

Do you ever feel frustrated by slow fibre internet speed at home? It happens, and the most important question, after running a fibre internet speed test, is why this is happening (and no, it doesn’t only happen to you).

There are a few reasons you can experience slow fibre internet speed at home. Your ISP (hopefully that’s us!) is, more often than not, NOT the cause.

In this blog, we will look at WiFi routers and their role in slow fibre internet speed. We will also provide some valuable tips and tools to throttle your frustration and improve slow internet speed at home.

Slow internet speed at home and tips on how to improve it.
Frustrated by slow internet?

WiFi routers. Functionality and positioning.

First, let’s understand what the internet is. Internet is the interconnectivity of computers and servers by wires all around the globe. This includes those impressive fibre cables laid in the sea.

These cables are connected to your home and then to a modem (modulator-demodulator). The modem is the device in your home connected to the internet. You can join a device directly to your modem and be connected to the internet. Still, then, you wouldn’t be able to connect multiple devices simultaneously. That’s what the WiFi router is for. 

WiFi stands for wireless fidelity and is the same thing as saying ‘local area network’ (LAN). WiFi signals or waves are given off from the router to your devices, connecting them all to the internet simultaneously. These signals or waves are what is known as bandwidth

Slow internet speed and WiFi Routers
This is a WiFi router 🙂

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth, which is often mistaken for fibre internet speed, is the volume of information that all devices are trying to send over an internet connection in a particular space of time.

Now bandwidth, or lack thereof, can cause poor internet connection and can be, more often than not, the culprit for slow internet speed at home.

Slow internet speed and bandwidth
The more devices the more bandwidth.

Bandwidth and chocolate milkshake.

Imagine a chocolate milkshake, yum! The glass is the router, and the milkshake is the bandwidth. You begin drinking that milkshake through a straw on your own, heaven. But then another person starts drinking through a straw from the same glass and then another and another. 

You not going to get as much milkshake as you would like, right? You can’t complain to the service provider that there wasn’t enough milkshake in the glass to go around or that the glass wasn’t big enough, or that you couldn’t drink fast enough. You would need to either get a more enormous milkshake or stop sharing.

It’s the same with bandwidth. The more devices you add to the WiFi router, the more the bandwidth is shared among those devices, and the slower the internet speed.

Sharing bandwidth
The more bandwidth shared, the slower the internet speed.

Tips and tools to improve fibre internet speed?

The RocketNet probe app is a good starting point.

First, if you have fibre internet, you can run a connectivity test with the Rocketnet Probe app, free to download for iOS and Android. Contact our technical team who will be available to walk you through the process and make some excellent suggestions along the way.

Be honest with yourself.

When choosing a home fibre internet package, you need to be honest with yourself. 

Make a list of what you are going to need the internet for. Are you going to be downloading or uploading large files? Downloading apps, doing some online gaming (the biggest user of bandwidth)? And, are you going to be doing this across multiple devices at the same time? 

If yes, you need a fibre internet package and a WiFi router to suit your needs.

Position your WiFi router correctly.

How a router is positioned can have an effect on fibre internet connectivity. If a router is placed at one end of the house and you are trying to connect on the other end, you may experience connectivity issues.

WiFi Router
Position your router correctly to get the most out of it.

If the signal needs to pass through any walls and doors to get to a device, connectivity issues may result. Also, other appliances in your home, such as telephones or microwaves (while in operation), may interfere with the WiFi signal.

Some other router positioning tips:

  • Place the antennas so that they stand straight up.
  • Position your router off of the floor.
  • If you decide to place your router on a desk, make sure it is not a metal desk. 
  • To cover a large area with a wireless signal, you can purchase a wireless repeater or range extender.
  • A wired network connection is still the most reliable for faster speeds and no interference problems.

Age matters.

If you still running an old WiFi router of three or four years old. It may be time for an upgrade.

Mesh Network.

Using a mesh network can significantly increase the speed and consistency of internet connectivity.

A mesh network is a system of WiFi devices or ‘touch points’ positioned throughout your home. These touchpoints distribute the WiFi signal more evenly throughout a home and improve the load that bandwidth can carry. Before upgrading to a faster fibre internet package, consider a mesh network system first.

WiFi Mesh Network
Use a mesh network for stronger coverage.

Internet of things.

The internet of things (IoT) refers to any device used in a home that connects to the internet and shares data. For homeowners turning their pads into smart homes by adding smart doorbells, lights or security cameras, you may experience slower fibre internet. 

These devices can connect to the internet via the WiFi router but use a ton of bandwidth. Smart TV’s use a lot of bandwidth, especially the latest in high resolution. 

Suppose you still running some older IoT like laptops with slow processing speed. In that case, you may experience slower internet connectivity even with the newest WiFi router. Power these devices down and only use them when really necessary.

internet of things
Internet of Things.

Conclusion.

Let’s land this plane. The most common cause of slow internet speed can be your router and how it is set up. We at RocketNet would be delighted to assist you in making sure you are getting the best internet experience possible!

Contact Us Now!

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Working from home, a most excellent guide.

working from home a great guide

A guide to working from home can be helpful to navigate through your daily routine. Each individual is unique, and you will need to adopt that which works best for you in your environment. Working from home, for me, is a mindset. You may want to gravitate toward creature comforts. Let’s dive right into a most excellent guide for working from home!

1. Capitalise on extra time banked working from home.

You are no doubt over the moon about not having to deal with the traffic every morning with your life flashing before your eyes every time you change lanes. While we feel that this precious time in traffic is wasted, it can now be capitalised on by getting an early start to your day when working from home.

Don’t allow the comfort of your pillow to keep you from getting up early. Put on a pot of coffee ahead of the daily office routine, throw on some clothes that you usually wear for a professional working day and tackle those tasks from the get-go. When you feel you need a break, then chow your breakfast whilst working through your inbox.

Working from home, a most excellent guide.
Have breakfast while checking email.

2. Plan the day before and hit sixes all day long.

Speaking of tasks, make sure that you are planning your routine the day before. It doesn’t help to capitalise on that extra time at home and then spending the better half of your morning planning your day. You will find yourself on the back foot more often than AB De Villiers hooking a short one for six with that approach. So, if you want to hit sixes all day long while working from home, have a plan and stick to it.

Working from home plan the day before.
Plan and score big.

3. Use the right tools available online.

Ever seen a lumberjack cutting down a tree with a nail file? In today’s digital economy, there is an array of helpful, affordable and sometimes free tools that are the right tools for your newly discovered work life at home.

We have listed some of our favourite and most trusted tools used here at RocketNet:

  • Microsoft Teams – great for video calls, online collaboration with file sharing and storage, application integration and calendar management
  • Dropbox – an excellent file hosting service that offers transfer of large files, cloud storage, and file synchronisation
  • 1-Password – you can store your passwords, software licenses and other sensitive information with one master password
  • RocketNet Fibre – hey, it’s our blog, but seriously we offer unshaped, uncapped and non-throttled fibre internet
Working from home right tools to use.
Use the right online tools.

4. Use the appropriate fibre internet speed and router set up.

Moving your work into a home office may be frustrating if you don’t have suitable fibre internet speed. The fibre internet used at the office will have a different set-up to what you have at home. Download and upload speeds may be worlds apart depending on the package you purchased from your ISP. The router set up at the office may also be very different from what you have when working from home. The type of router you currently have may be causing speed frustrations.

Use the appropriate fibre internet speed and router set up.
Router set up is important for speed.

We have a few of our own tools that can help you.

RocketNet probe app.

If you are experiencing that pull-out-you-hair slow internet speed that you didn’t before, download the RokcketNet probe app onto your phone. Open the app, lay your phone next to your router, and the app will run a diagnostics test identifying where the issue may be. It may be that your router cannot deliver enough bandwidth for your needs or that you have overloaded your router by connecting too many devices

Support Team.

Our WhatsApp support team are fantastic and ready to help. They are available to chat anytime from Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 20:00.

5. Set aside some ‘connect-with-the-outside-world-time’.

Human interaction is super essential for your sanity. You don’t want to emerge from working at home into the ‘real world’ looking as though you escaped from some asylum and are searching for your next victim. Get out to purchase a coffee, take that menacing dog for a walk or, at best, sit down at that coffee shop to continue working for a while.

Set aside some 'connect-with-the-outside-world-time'.
You need to get out and connect!

6. Use distractions to your advantage.

It’s incredible how many people suddenly develop attention deficit disorder (ADD) when they start working from home. Instead of allowing distractions to pull you away from work, use them to your advantage. For example, if you are a gamer, give yourself 30-minutes of game time as a reward for completing a certain number of tasks. If you enjoy a neat and tidy home, stick the washing on and use the washing machine as a timer to get some work done before the next load.

Use distractions to your advantage.
Use distractions to your advantage.

7. Have space dedicated to work.

Make a space just for your work at home and hang a sign on the door that reads ‘work only’ and includes some trading hours. You need to switch off, so you don’t end up in the WA (workaholics anonymous). Creating that separate space helps with the mind game and with healthy boundaries, especially when your neighbour wants to come over for ‘tea and a quick chat’ now that you are ‘free’.

Have space dedicated to work.
Set up a dedicated workspace.

8. Just before closing.

Working from home can be liberating, fun and comfortable. It has been proven that it can increase productivity and improve work-life integration as well as employee satisfaction.

It requires a sharper focus and more assertive discipline not to be distracted by all your creature comforts. Have a plan, find a routine, keep focused and enjoy working from home.