If you find yourself without access to decent broadband speeds – what are the potential alternative options?
4G broadband with an antenna
4G broadband can provide superfast download speed of 30Mbps to some areas. Your chosen provider should be able to advise what speeds you should expect.
If you find you struggle to get a 4G signal inside your home, you might benefit from a compatible external antenna to your property. The antenna will pick up an outdoor 4G signal and feed it straight to your router. You can then connect your devices wirelessly to the router.
It’s considered good for browsing, gaming, streaming and uploading.
Unlimited data packages are not available, and the package costs increase depending on the amount of data required.
- Superfast broadband speeds may be available – the speeds available to your property would need to be confirmed by a provider as they can vary.
- A 4G external antenna, which is usually small, should be much more effective at picking up a 4G signal than a mobile phone.
- This is thought to be a good option as long as you have a good outdoor 4G signal.
- There are currently no unlimited data packages available, but there are some reasonably priced plans available with relatively decent data volumes.
- 4G is generally considered to be faster and more reliable than satellite broadband.
Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)
FWA can provide superfast download speeds of 30Mbps. The exact speeds received depend on many factors, but the distance of your property to the mast and the number of obstructions are the two key elements. For this reason, providers will not usually guarantee service until a site visit has taken place.
The provider would install a router and mobile antenna, which is usually small, onto the side of your property.
It’s considered to be good for online browsing, gaming, streaming and file transfers. Some operators offer unlimited packages (subject to an acceptable usage policy) which means you don’t need to worry about data limits.
Whilst there isn’t extensive coverage in County Durham it appears to be growing. You can check if FWA is available to your property and find out more about the service by contacting these providers:
- Superfast broadband speeds may be available through Fixed Wireless Access – this would need to be confirmed by a provider as speeds can vary.
- Unlimited data packages are available from some providers which means you don’t need to worry about data limits.
- Services are not widely accessible, and you will need to check if coverage is available to your property with each provider.
Satellite broadband provides a connection that uses satellite signals to send and receive data. The main advantage is that it can be provided virtually anywhere in the world, as long as you have a clear line of sight to the south generally.
To get satellite broadband, a provider will need to install a satellite dish to your property, rather like you would for satellite television.
You’ll also need a modem installed inside your house, with wires connecting it to the satellite dish, and usually a wireless router as well.
An installation should only take a few hours and be no more disruptive than a satellite TV fitting.
Although the package costs are comparable to standard (ADSL) or fibre-based broadband packages, you’re not really getting like for like as satellite broadband usually has a limited data allowance. Unlimited satellite packages are available but can be extremely costly.
A common complaint is the lag satellite broadband tends to have, known as latency. This is due to the time it takes the signal to get to and from the satellite. This might not affect general internet use, but it can cause problems for gamers who play in real time as they could find it makes games unplayable.
- Satellite broadband is an option for decent internet speeds and may be the only option currently for some rural locations.
- It can be expensive, both in terms of the monthly package charges and installation fees.
- The latency tends to be high, making it unsuitable for some types of internet activity such as online gaming.