Understanding connectivity: terminology

The terminology around Connectivity can be tricky to decode. Here we break down the most frequently heard terms and explains what they mean.

  • 3G
    Deployed in 2010 3G refers to the Third Generation. The average download speed for 3G was 6.1Mbps with an upload speed of 1.6Mbps. 3G is closed to being completely phased out, 3G deals are no longer available and it is only the default if 4G /5G is not available in a location.
  • 4G
    First launched in 2012 4G (Fourth Generation) is five-seven times faster than 3G and can support many more users at once. With potential download speeds of up to 40Mbps, 4G now covers 99% of the UK.
  • 5G
    Deployment of 5G (Fifth generation network) started in the UK in 2019 but availability is location specific. 5G can support more devices and will offer much fast upload / download speeds than previous generations with low latency. It is being rolled out across the UK with the target of it being available across the majority of the UK by 2027
  • Copper cables
    Historically the telecoms network has relied on copper cables, which transmits data through electric pulses. However, these are being replaced by fibre which can transmit data at the speed of light. BT Openreach plans to have phased out copper completely by 2026. Not only is copper slower than fibre cables but they are also larger, less durable and cannot carry data over the same distances as fibre.
  • Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
    Improve mobile connectivity through a series of small antenna throughout a building that send and receive signal and so spread the coverage more evenly and provides more capacity to the users to avoid ‘drop calls’.
  • 3G
    Deployed in 2010 3G refers to the Third Generation. The average download speed for 3G was 6.1Mbps with an upload speed of 1.6Mbps. 3G is closed to being completely phased out, 3G deals are no longer available and it is only the default if 4G /5G is not available in a location.
  • 4G
    First launched in 2012 4G (Fourth Generation) is five-seven times faster than 3G and can support many more users at once. With potential download speeds of up to 40Mbps, 4G now covers 99% of the UK.
  • 5G
    Deployment of 5G (Fifth generation network) started in the UK in 2019 but availability is location specific. 5G can support more devices and will offer much fast upload / download speeds than previous generations with low latency. It is being rolled out across the UK with the target of it being available across the majority of the UK by 2027
  • Copper cables
    Historically the telecoms network has relied on copper cables, which transmits data through electric pulses. However, these are being replaced by fibre which can transmit data at the speed of light. BT Openreach plans to have phased out copper completely by 2026. Not only is copper slower than fibre cables but they are also larger, less durable and cannot carry data over the same distances as fibre.
  • Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
    Improve mobile connectivity through a series of small antenna throughout a building that send and receive signal and so spread the coverage more evenly and provides more capacity to the users to avoid ‘drop calls’.
  • The Electronics Communication Code (ECC)
    Is the legislation, which came into force in December 2017, which regulates the relationship between landlords and operators.
  • Fibre optic cables
    Are the fastest means of transferring data through cables and so are used in the rollout of gigabit broadband. The data moves at the speed of light and can travel greater distances, than current copper cables, without degradation whilst being more durable and more compact.
  • Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC)
    As fibre cables are rolled out to replace copper cables FTTC indicates that fibre has been installed to the local street cabinet but from there to the premises copper cables are used which will restrict the speed of connection available to users.
  • Fibre To The Premises (FTTP)
    Also known as full fibre. This means that fibre cables have been deployed to premises and so are likely to achieve much faster broadband speeds than a connection that relies on copper cables.
  • Gigabit
    Gigabit is the speed of connection per second – 1Gbps
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
    Is an organisation that offers services to access the internet
  • Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)
    Is an organisation that offers services to access wireless voice and data communications
  • Not-spot
    An area with little or no internet coverage
  • Wayleaves
    These are legal agreements between utility providers and landowners which grant access over or under land in order for the utility provider to install, maintain or replace their network infrastructure.
Contact

If you do not wish to receive further communications from us, please email [email protected]. More details on how to opt out can be seen in our Privacy Policy.

John Gravett

Managing Director

Head office

T +44 (0) 20 7647 7135
John Gravett