Archive for the ‘M’ Category

Mobile Broadband

October 18, 2008

Mobile broadband uses mobile phone networks to access the internet. This means users are not restricted to home or work broadband, or the coverage of their wireless network – they can get online anywhere, as long as they are within the coverage of the relevant mobile phone network.

Mobile broadband is relatively easy to set up – in many cases when you sign up for a mobile broadband package you receive a USB modem or dongle. Simply plug this in and go online.

Broadband speeds tend to be slower than for fixed line broadband (between 1 and 3Mbps) though Vodafone is offering speeds of up to 7.2Mbps on their Turbo network.

USers can sign up to contracts, or some mobile broadband providers allow usage and access to be bought by the day.

Mobile broadband providers in the UK include 02, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Orange, Three and  T-Mobile.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

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Instant Messaging – IM

August 14, 2007

Instant messaging, often shortened to IM, involves the sending of messages in real time between people who are online simultaneously. It differs from email messaging where messages are sent and can be downloaded and read at a later date.

IM also benefits from having fewer steps to go through to send a message, so it works well as an instant conversation. IM services often include other features such as the ability to send files and documents, and to view the person you are speaking to using a webcam and microphone.

A downside to IM is that users may need to be on the same IM service in order to communicate (although that is starting to change).

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Mp3- MPEG 1 Audio Layer 3

July 5, 2007

Mp3 stands for MPEG 1 Audio Layer 3, a technology with which audio files are digitally compressed to reduce them to a fraction of their original size – making them small enough to be easily downloadable with a broadband service.

A feature of Mp3 is that sound quality is not affected by compression and the technology is therefore particularly useful for music files.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Mac Compatible Broadband

June 18, 2007

Most UK broadband packages are Apple Mac-compatible. However not every provider offers the same level of support to someone using Mac-friendly broadband hardware as they do to pc users.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Micro Filter / Splitter

June 17, 2007

A microfilter, or splitter, is a device which splits the BT phone line in two – and acts as a barrier so the phone line can carry high speed data from an ADSL broadband service, and slower voice calls, without the two different frequencies conflicting. Without the microfilter splitting the line this conflict would prevent a user making voice calls via their phone line at the same time as being online.

The microfilter is plugged into the phone socket – it in turn has two sockets, one for the computer or router and one for the phone (or fax).

Anyone with broadband over a BT line (basically, any ADSL broadband service delivered via a phone line – it doesn’t have to actually be a broadband service bought by you from BT) must have a microfilter on all sockets for the phone line that carries the broadband package.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Modem

April 14, 2007

A modem is essential to send requests from your pc along your telephone line to your ISP or internet provider, and to receive them back again. A request could be your click on a link to a webpage you want to view.

There are several types of modem available. Most broadband providers will include a basic ADSL or cable modem with your broadband package. Some also offer wireless modems.

You can often provide your own modem but you should check your ISP’s website to ensure it is compatible with their broadband package.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Migration Authorisation Code – MAC

April 2, 2007

The MAC (sometimes known, tautologically, as the Mac Code) is a code you request from your (non-cable) broadband provider when you want to switch to another non-cable broadband provider. The new provider then co-ordinates the switchover, keeping the time you spend offline to a minimum. It is always advisable to try this route as if you simply cancel your broadband connection then sign up to a new one you may have days or weeks in between with no broadband at all.

The MAC was previously voluntary and not all applicable broadband providers signed up to it. This meant some customers found it difficult or impossible to obtain a MAC from their existing supplier, which meant they either had to cancel completely and set up from scratch with a new provider or stay with the current provider – often on a slow and/or expensive broadband package.

Earlier this year a new condition came into force, introduced by industry regulator Ofcom. All broadband providers will now have to use MACs where applicable, and they have to give customers a MAC within five days of such a request. ISPs are not allowed to charge anything for switching (though even after a switch they can still pursue a previous customer for contractual rights).

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Meg – Mb – Megabit

April 2, 2007

Megabit, Mb and Meg (the term often used in speech) refer to the same thing. There are 1024 kilobits (or kb) in 1 megabit. Download speeds for broadband are usually given in megabits for broadband packages of 1 Meg and above (the exception is for 512k broadband packages which tend to be referred to as just that, rather than “half a meg”). The download speed is per second, so a broadband speed of 1Mb is 1Mb per second. Megabit download speeds are always prefaced with “up to” – the given speed is the theoretical maximum download speed, as many factors affect download speed.

Don’t confuse this download speed (per second), or the transfer rate, with the download allowance (which refers to an amount of data, not a transfer rate).

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer