Archive for the ‘U’ Category

Dongle

October 18, 2008

Traditionally a dongle – which is a small piece of plug-in computer hardware – has been used as an authentication device which must be used before a full version of a piece of software can be run. This made it useful as an aid to revent software piracy.

Recently it has been increasingly used in relation to mobile broadband – as a small plug in USB device that allows access to mobile broadband via a mobile phone network.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
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Universal Search / Blended Search

October 29, 2007

Universal search has been developed by Google to allow users to search many types of web content and online media using only one search tool – and receive one set of search results.

Universal search integrates results from all types of search – for example of web pages, images, maps and directions, videos, news, books etc. Depending on the original search request, a list of contextual links may also appear, allowing the user to access deeper content immediately.

Other search engines have also developed their own forms of blended search.

There is more information of universal search on the Google Blog, along with examples of searches that illustrate the capabilities of universal search.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Usage Cap

August 30, 2007

A usage cap is a download limit.

Sometimes this means a publicised, package limit on the amount of data you can download over a given timespan (usually one month).

It can also be used in one-off circumstances – for example if particularly heavy users on unlimited broadband deals download so much data that it impacts other broadband users, the broadband provider may limit the downloads of only those heavy users with a usage cap.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Upstream / Downstream

July 5, 2007

Upstream is the direction of data traffic from your computer to the internet. Downstream is the direction of data coming from the internet to your computer.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
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USB – Universal Serial Bus

June 18, 2007

USB, or Universal Serial Bus, is a connection port between a computer (which in most cases has the USB port built in) and up to 127 USB-enabled devices, including keyboards, digital cameras and of course USB modems.

USB was developed as a standard by several leading companies and it has several benefits over alternatives such as serial ports and cards:

  • USB is very easy to use – you simply plug in your device and get started. You don’t have to switch the computer off when you want to add a device.
  • USB is fast with speeds of up to 12 meg.
  • Operating systems work well with USB, so installation is straightforward and your operating system should recognise the USB devide next tme you plug it in.

Many broadband providers will include a USB modem free with their broadband packages.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

URL – Uniform Resource Locator

June 18, 2007

A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is a standard used to identify an internet address – the URL enables your computer to find the webpages, documents, and files on the internet that you want to visit.

A URL is made up of several parts:

  • The protocol – On the web all webpage URLs start with http://, but other addresses may start with other protocols, such as ftp://
  • The domain name – this is the address of the computer where the files are held
  • The path to the file you want
  • The file name itself

Every URL is unique.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Unlimited Download Allowance

April 10, 2007

Broadband providers and ISPs often include unlimited downloads with a broadband package. If you and your family download large email attachments, film clips, lots of music and other data, an unlimited download allowance may be of use.

However unlimited downloads won’t be totally unlimited – broadband packages tend to include a fair use policy (sometimes known as an acceptable use policy) which puts (high) limits on how much you can download. Broadband providers say that these policies are needed as a few users are downloading so much data, so often that the broadband service for other users is disrupted.

Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Local Loop Unbundling – LLU

April 2, 2007

The Local Loop consists of the wires between exchanges and homes or businesses. Local Loop Unbundlers are ISPs who put their own equipment into or near to BT exchanges – they can then offer improved broadband services along the wires from the exchange to the socket in your home. Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) refers to this process.

As their equipment is more up to date than that already in the exchange, LLU operators can typically offer faster broadband speeds.

LLU providers have unbundled in stages and in some areas it has not been economical for an ISP to offer unblundled services.

Local loop unbundling increases competition and widens choice for many people – without it, broadband via a phone line would be limited to BT, or to broadband providers reselling bandwidth they have themselves bought from BT Wholesale.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer

Upload Speed

April 2, 2007

The upload speed is the speed per second that you can upload to the web. ADSL broadband packages have slower upload speeds than download speeds (this is the Asymmetric in Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, or ADSL).

Most people with residential broadband packages don’t need to upload much to the internet beyond photos, or small websites, so common upload speeds of 256kb are usually perfectly adequate. Faster home broadband packages do sometimes have faster upload speeds to, eg 448kb, sometimes 786kb, or even higher.

Business broadband packages are more robust so often have upload speeds of 448kb as standard.

By Sarah at UK Broadband Finder
Read my Broadband Glossary disclaimer