4G broadband is different

Broadband delivered over 4G does have its differences – as you'd expect from a technology which reaches properties that traditional networks simply can't.

But it's available in an ever-growing number of locations and it's deployable almost immediately, so there's no need to wait for fast broadband... if you don't want to!

Here's everything you need to know about what's different with a 4G Internet service. Just click on any topic below to learn more!

First off, unlike most terrestrial services, it's commercially impossible for 4G broadband to be a truly unlimited service. In terms of data, our range of 4G broadband monthly accounts each offers a fixed data allowance each month, which can be used for either downloading, uploading or any mix of the two.

So the service works in much the same way as a Pay As You Go mobile phone account with its fixed amount of monthly minutes… once you’ve used up the data allowance within your chosen monthly account type, your account’s blocked until either the next month, or until you buy a Data Bolt-On.

The good news is that, to make things as cost-effective as possible, data bolt-ons are available to buy in a range of sizes, so you can purchase exactly what you need and no more. You can find further information on Data Bolt-Ons by clicking here.

Please remember that a 4G broadband connection is going to be fast - and almost certainly a lot faster than you'll have been used to. So once connected to our 4G broadband service, you will have the ability to get through and consume much more data.

You definitely need to bear this in mind. Most of the reasons for the “my internet’s stopped working” calls that we get from new users is because they’ve reached their monthly data limit without realising it. This is why it’s really important for all users of a 4G broadband service to keep a close eye on their usage of data. To help with this, all of our monthly packages allow you to stay in full control of your 4G Internet account and your monthly data usage.

And if you ever do find you've used up your monthly data allowance, don't worry! It's really quick and easy to buy a Data Bolt-On in any given month.

Better yet, to make things as cost-effective and flexible as possible, Data Bolt-Ons are available in a range of sizes - so you only need to buy exactly what you need.

For more on Data Bolt-Ons including pricing and how to get them applied to your 4G broadband account, please click here.

It’s common for users used to a traditional unlimited internet service (however slow) to be blissfully unaware of how much data they’re actually consuming – these days, any connected device tends to move quite a lot of data in the background, a process which would go entirely unnoticed by the user, unless he/she went to the deliberate effort of looking for it.

Automatic Software Updates

Good examples of this are automatic software updates, which can happen very regularly and can consume what can be quite a large amount of download data, without the user necessarily knowing that it’s happening. Obviously from a security point of view, it's very important to keep operating systems and antivirus solutions up to date on all your connected devices. However, other programs and apps are almost certainly less important to keep updated, so you may wish not to update those, until you've got access to an unmetered internet connection (i.e. one without data limits).

Online Back-Up & Synchronisation

The same thing can happen with uploaded data for online back-up and synchronisation - Apple iPhones and iPads are often set to automatically back themselves up and sync to iCloud, Android smartphones and tablets are often set the same way and applications such as Microsoft's OneDrive, Google Drive and DropBox may well also auto-sync and upload data to the Internet without you realising. Again, although such features are useful, it may well be best for you to disable them until you've got access to an unmetered internet connection elsewhere.

Heavy Usage By Younger People

One of the most common causes of unexpectedly large or fast consumption of monthly data allowances in a domestic environment is heavy usage from children or young adults without your knowledge. These days, young people are the heaviest consumers of data and, although nobody would want to prevent them from accessing the internet, please make sure that you are aware of the online activities of anyone with access to your 4G broadband connection. On all too many occasions, an unexplained data consumption has turned out to be somebody streaming a few movies or spending hours watching Youtube videos or downloading the latest game onto their console, entirely without the account holder's knowledge.

On Demand TV & Movies

Another thing to watch out for is digital TV services like Sky+ HD or Sky Q when watching on demand series. For example, the default setting on Sky+ HD boxes is to automatically download the next episode in a series (if it's available) once you're nearing the end of watching the current one - this is something that you may not want to happen. You can turn this setting off in the Services - Options - Customise menu (just set Auto Download On Demand to OFF). Also be aware that other digital TV set-top boxes with recording or catch-up TV capabilities may also have an element of auto-downloading enabled.

Windows 10

And if you have Windows 10, you should be aware that its default setting allows it to act as an update server, potentially delivering updates to any other Windows 10 user online without even informing you. This is very definitely a setting you should change, because of the amount of data uploading that may be constantly occurring without your knowledge.

Don't worry - changing this setting will not stop you getting Windows 10 updates. You can find out how to do this on various websites, including this one.

Please note that 4G Internet takes no responsibility for the content of any external websites and that all external weblinks provided above are for information and convenience only.

There are a number of 3rd party applications available to download for free that will display greater detail on how much data each of your internet-based activities has used and when. So, if you're not sure how your monthly data allowance is getting used up, it may well be a good idea for you to consider downloading and installing one or more of these. Here's information on a couple of the more popular data monitoring programs - but bear in mind that these will only monitor data usage on the device on which you install them. There may well be other devices within your property using your 4G broadband connection which cannot be easily monitored - for example, digital TV and Sky boxes or games consoles.

For Desktop and Laptop PCs, take a look at Glasswire. This is a free and open-source bandwidth monitor written for Windows-based systems which displays what your internet connection is being used for. You can download the free version from here.

For iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, check out My Data Manager. This is again a very useful data monitoring application, available free from both iTunes (for iPhones and iPads) and the Google App Store (for Android phones and tablets). If these links don't work, My Data Manager's homepage can be found here.

Please note that 4G Internet takes no responsibility for the content of any external websites and that all external weblinks provided above are for information and convenience only.

You may experience a very slight apparent “slowness to respond” with any 4G broadband service - or latency, as it's technically called. This is something that is inevitable with any broadband delivery technology that isn't fully reliant on physical cabling and may in very rare cases take a little getting used to.

4G connectivity is improving all the time in terms of both speeds and responsiveness, but current latency levels (the time it takes the service to identify what internet resource you've asked for and respond) are around 50-60 milliseconds. This is about twice the latency level of a traditional terrestrial ADSL or fibre service.

However, this shouldn't affect anything you might want to do over the internet in any appreciable way - all online activities should work exactly as you would expect. It is just about feasible that, if you're an avid online gamer playing games where genuinely "split second" real-time feedback is preferable (such as Call Of Duty, for example), a 4G broadband connection might not be completely ideal, but any other internet-based activities (eg web-browsing, email, streaming TV, downloading movies etc) should perform perfectly well.

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