Ever since Internet became popular among Irish consumers in the early noughties, there’s been an increasingly large demand for faster and more reliable Internet access the length and breadth of the nation.
The slow and cumbersome dial-up connection gradually went out of fashion as the years progressed and was eventually replaced by an always-on, high-speed Internet access referred to as broadband; something we’ve since become accustomed to not being able to live without; like oxygen, only much more vital to survival on a weekend at your nan’s house in Monasterevin.
Types of Broadband
Households and businesses in Ireland will typically use one of four most common types of broadband Internet connection:
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
Delivered through regular telephone lines, DSL is the most common type of broadband internet connection. The main advantage is high availability and easy installation. In most cases, users can be setup with Internet access within 48 hours.
The biggest downside is possibly limited connection speed. While some services may reach up to 100 Mbit/s, most are limited by a distance from the exchange and sometimes even by the cables themselves.
If you live in an area with a cable TV access, chances are that your operator provides a bundle with broadband Internet access. Cable is typically much faster when compared to DSL, at speeds often exceeding 100 Mbit/s for upload and download.
Unfortunately, cable’s availability decreases the farther you are from a major city or town centre, but don’t let that stop you from shopping around with a few reliable national and local service providers to ascertain exactly what’s on offer.
Satellite broadband access often used for connecting places that would otherwise be cut off from other, faster types of Internet access.
The speed of satellite broadband can often exceed 10 Mbit/s; however, this greatly depends on weather conditions and time of the day.
Wireless broadband combines advantages of all previously described solutions into a single package. Users can enjoy speeds that are comparable to those of DSL or cable connection with the added benefit of not being fixed to a specific place.
Wireless broadband Internet access can cover a very large area and give customers the benefit of increased mobility.
Broadband availability in Ireland
DSL broadband connection is available for 99% of Irish households. Essentially, every place that has a regular telephone connection can be easily set up for DSL Internet access.
One thing to keep in mind is that the maximum speed is limited by the distance from the exchange and the quality of the infrastructure itself.
Cable broadband Internet access requires a relatively expensive infrastructure to be first put in place. This limits its availability to more densely populated urban areas.
Broadband speeds in Ireland
The speed of broadband internet connection in Ireland varies greatly from provider to provider. For example, eir now offer speeds of up to 1000 Mbit/s to over one million people across Ireland with their new eir Extreme rollout.
Other providers typically offer speed of up to 100 Mbit/s for cable connection and up to 10 Mbit/s for DSL connection.
Mobile broadband in Ireland
Current mobile coverage in Ireland exceeds 99%. Despite this high number, some areas still rely on outdated technology that doesn’t nearly approach what 4G mobile broadband has to offer. The availability depends on individual mobile broadband providers, distance from the transmission infrastructure, and natural obstructions that stand in the way of the signal.
Most providers here in Ireland offer speeds up to 10 Mbit/s, and they continually strive to improve the quality of their service.
If your particular area isn’t covered with mobile broadband Internet access, chances are that it will be in the next year or two as the government has pledged to invest heavily in ensuring universal, minimum speed broadband is accessible nationwide.
Conduct your own research
Do you suffer the unbearable pain of a terrible internet connection? Interested in learning more about how best value in an increasingly competitive market? Feel free to drop us a comment below and we’ll put it to our panel of in-house whizz’s to discuss the merits of choosing one ISP over the other.
The main factors to consider are of course, location, budget and usage requirements; a large Dublin business has vastly different broadband requirements than your typical Donegal farmer’ wife, for example, so it really is a case of horses for courses when it comes to broadband in Ireland!