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Confused by the terms used in connection with broadband and it's packages then read on..

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. This is the term for the technology that uses the copper wires we use to carry voice conversations to carry data at high speeds. The data is transfered at a higher frequency then used for voice calls. Eelectronics are used to cope with the electrical noise on the line and to ensure that there is no interference between the voice and data sharing the wire. The high frequency used to send the signal degrades over distance. Therefore in order for a reliable service to be provided 512K ADSL services have a maximum range of 6km. The faster the service the shorter the distance. The 2MB services have a range of 3.5km.

Anti Virus - Software designed to keep you computer free from viruses. Regular updates allows you to do system scans and scan incoming and outgoing emails. Norton,McAfee and AVG have great products. Another required piece of software.

Contention Ratio - This is the maximum number of users, with the same type of connection, who could be sharing the avaliable bandwidth between your local exchange and your ISP. For example a contention ratio set to 50:1 means that 49 other customers could potentially be sharing the same 512 kbps link giving each user 1/50th of the avaliable bandwidth. This is a worst case scenario and the quality of service received would only be affected if all users were using all their available bandwidth at exactly the same time.

Down Stream Speed - How quickly information will down load from the internet to your computer. This can be webpages,emails or video. The speed is measured in KBPS.

Fair Play Usage - Although many ISP say they give unlimited downloads to their top packages, many have a fair play usage policy attached to them. This usually means you can't download lots at peak hours etc or your speed is limited if you download too much. Make sure you check the fine print of the ISP's terms and conditions.

Firewall - This is either a software or hardware barrier between your computer or network and the internet. The usual option is to use a software firewall as it is a lot cheaper and easier to configure. Windows XP SP2 now provides a firewall as standard and you can get good products from Norton and Zonelabs as well. It can be set up to allow certain programs to access the internet and stop people from accessing your computer from outside. An essential piece of software.

KBPS - Kilo bytes per second. The industry standard measure of data speed.

Micro-filters - Micro-filters ensure that your digital broadband signals do not interfere with ordinary voice signals, allowing you to talk on the phone while simultaneously using broadband. A micro-filter is required for every phone socket that is in use, including the one connected to your broadband modem; otherwise you may experience interference on your voice calls.

MAC Code - Migrations Authority Code issued by your current ISP. This code is used to authenticate the migration request from your current ISP to your new ISP and makes migration between them much simpler and quicker.