The broadband technology known as ADSL2+ delivers a fast "always on" connection through your home telephone line. Learn more about it here...
Since ADSL broadband first arrived in the UK several years ago, prices have dropped and speeds have increased from as little as 512Kb to as much as 24Mb.
What is ADSL2+?
In simple terms, ADSL2+ is a "second generation" broadband technology that offers faster connections than were previously possible. It is theoretically capable of offering download speeds as high as 24Mb, though the actual speeds we receive can vary depending on lots of factors.
A few years ago, BT (www.BT.com) upgraded a large number of UK exchanges to ADSL2+, allowing it to offer its own customers faster downloads, as well as making higher speeds available for smaller providers that use BT's network to deliver their own broadband services.
A large number of other providers, including BE Broadband (www.BeThere.co.uk), O2 (www.O2.co.uk), Sky (www.Sky.com) and TalkTalk (www.TalkTalk.co.uk) also offer similar speeds, and they're all continually upgrading their technology.
How ADSL2 works
ADSL, or, to use its full name, "Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line", is simply the technical term to describe the technology used for most UK broadband connections.
It uses copper telephone wires to connect you to the internet, much in the same way as older "dial-up" connections - but speeds are far greater and the connection is "always on" meaning it doesn't tie up your phone line and prevent you making calls. The connections are described as "asymmetric" because download speeds are different from upload speeds, for example, you might be receiving a top download speed of 20Mb but an upload speed of just 2.5Mb.
Initially, ADSL broadband allowed users to connect to the internet at speeds of up to 8Mb, but further development of ADSL2 and ADSL2+ paved the way for the faster speeds that are available today.
ADSL2+ boosting broadband speeds
Copper wire broadband has come a long way since dial-up, and ADSL2+ connections offer potential speeds of up to 24Mb. There is a wide range of providers offering ADSL2 and ADSL2+ packages, including BE Broadband (www.Bethere.co.uk), TalkTalk (www.Talktalk.co.uk) and O2 (www.O2.co.uk).
While advertised speeds vary between packages and providers, the technology is currently limited to delivering download speeds no faster than 24Mb.
However, as with all broadband products, a number of factors, including your distance from the nearest exchange and network congestion, so you shouldn't expect to be getting the top speed all the time. In fact, most ADSL households will rarely get anywhere near.
Alternatives to ADSL2+
Virgin Media's fibre optic broadband comes with advertised speeds of up to 30Mb, 50Mb, 100Mb and even higher in some areas. More recently, other UK providers - including Sky and BT - have begun rolling out their own fibre technology, making "superfast" broadband more widely available.
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