Broadband Terms and Glossary

Although we do our best to keep Broadband Compare as jargon-free as possible, sometimes it’s unavoidable in a technical industry.

If you’re confused about what something means, hopefully this will clarify things and if you are still confused don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0508 2COMPARE (0508 226672). Or use our online chat to help you understand broadband.


Refers to “third generation” mobile internet. 3G technology has been around longer so if offers better coverage than 4G, but it is slower. 


Is “fourth generation” mobile internet. It is much faster than 3G with superior mobile connection speeds that are on par with ADSL and some fibre home broadband service. Coverage is more limited than 4G, and older tablets or smartphones may not be compatible. 


Widely available broadband, delivered through copper telephone wires - read more here


Spyware is a malicious program that can steal your personal information without your permission or knowledge.  It can alter your programs and settings and slow your computer down. Some internet service providers include anti-spyware in their broadband plans, or it could be included in an anti-virus program. 

Anti-virus software

Anti-virus software can protect your computer by preventing and removing malicious software (or malware), such as viruses or Trojans. It is essential to ensure you are protected as malware can intercept your personal information and damage your computer. Some internet service providers include free anti-virus software with their broadband deals. Or, you can choose to pay for anti-virus software, which often has additional features. 


The amount of data that can be transferred to and from your broadband, usually measured per second in Mbps. For example, we might say that “streaming high definition videos uses a lot of bandwidth” which means that a lot of your broadband capacity will go toward streaming the video and other activities may be slower. 


A term to describe a high speed internet connection.  

Broadband Checker

A tool used to find the broadband connection available at your address - visit our Broadband Checker

Broadband Speed

Broadband speed is usually the first thing you will check when comparing broadband plans. Broadband speed refers to how quickly data is transferred on your broadband connection. Broadband speed is measured in kilobits per second (Kbps or Kb), megabits per second (Mbps or Mb) or gigabits per second (Gbps or Gb). For most residential broadband plans the download speed will faster downloading than for uploading. 

Bundled Broadband Plan

Some service providers offer bundled broadband plans. This is where you have the option to sign up more than one service at the same time. For example you can bundle your broadband, electricity and gas. This means you have the convenience of only dealing with one provider for several services.   


A small file that’s sent to your computer to store information about a website you visit or a link you click

Copper Broadband

Copper broadband is New Zealand’s legacy broadband network which provides and ADSL or VDSL connection. It uses existing copper phone lines to provide a phone to deliver broadband to your home. 


This is a common term used to describe content that you may upload or download to your computer or phone. This could include videos, music, emails or web pages. 

Data Allowance

This is the amount of content that you an upload or download on your broadband plan during a billing cycle. This is usually measured in GB or MB.  You can also choose an unlimited broadband plan, which means that you can upload or download as much data as you want. 

Dial up internet

This is the technology that was used to provide internet before broadband technology was rolled out. It uses a modem that dials the internet service provider on a regular telephone line. By modern standards it is very slow, but it is still used in areas of the world where broadband is not available. 


Transfer data from one device onto another, often via the internet. Downloading doesn’t just happen when you request to download a file, it also happens when you are browsing the internet, for example to open a webpage or email, watch a video or any general browsing.  

Download limit

Your broadband plan may have a download limit, which caps the amount of data you can download from the internet over a specific amount of time. 

Download speed

How quickly data will be transferred onto your device from the internet, the higher the download speed the better.

Early Termination Fee

A one off charge to allow you to break your minimum commitment on a broadband contract - read more here.


Early Termination Fee - read more here.


External Termination Point – the ‘box’ on your property which connects your house to the fibre broadband network in the street


Where all the broadband and phone connections in a local area meet

Family filter

Family Filter is a parental control tool internet providers offer to block the unwanted content, such as pornographic, offensive and malicious websites from being displayed to children. ISPs use intelligent firewalls to keep your kids safe from the not so great corners of the web. Read more here 


Ultrafast broadband, the best broadband technology and the newest and quickest.  Far faster than ADSL, VDSL or Mobile broadband connection types - read more here. 

Gigabit (Gb / Gbps)

Gigabit describes the speed at which data travels across your internet connection. It is often written as Gbps or gigabits per second. 

Gigabit broadband

A gigabit broadband service offers speeds of 1Gb or more, which is incredibly fast.  This is the best connection available on the fibre network.  In practical terms, due to network overheads, the service you get from your broadband provider should achieve peak download speeds above 900Mbps.


A hotspot is an area where you can wirelessly connect to the internet using a local area network. You might need a security password for access. Some hotspots, for example in a cafe or airport, may charge a fee. 

IP Address

Stands for Internet Protocol address. It is a string of numbers which act as an identifier for every device connected to the internet. You might need your IP address information when talking to a support desk or helpline or if you are setting up new equipment. What is my IP address? 


Stands for Internet Service Provider. This is the company responsible for providing your internet connection, and who will bill you for your internet. Broadband Compare allows you to compare plans from 134 of New Zealand’s ISPs.

Kilobit (Kb/Kbps)

Kilobit describe the speed at which data travels across your internet connection. It is commonly used to measure dial-up internet speeds and is typically used to measure slower broadband connections. It is often written as Kbps or kilobits per second.


Stands for Local Area Network. It describes a network that covers a limited area like your home or office. LANs usually use either Wi-Fi or network cables.


Your landline is your home or office telephone number. You can choose a broadband plan that includes a landline . But you don’t have to have a landline to have a broadband connection, so you may prefer to do away with a landline and have your cell phone as your main phone.  


Latency refers to the reaction speed of your network connection. It is measured as the time it takes to send data and receive a reply, measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower the number the better. Latency is most important for serious online gamers and issues with latency can mean the difference between winning and losing. Read more here

Megabit (Mb)

A unit of measurement for the transfer of digital information - i.e. Megabits per second (Mbps)

Mobile broadband

This is a high speed internet connection which is access via the mobile network, as opposed to fixed lines. This was first available through 3G, or third generation mobile networks, followed by 4G which provides greater speed. 


A device that converts data sent over a telephone line, allowing you to use the internet

Pay As You Go

A prepaid alternative to paying for your internet service through a monthly bill. 


A routers is usually, but not always, built into your modem. It is responsible for connection to the internet and providing a network through your home. A broadband router may also be called a hub. 


The faster your connection speed, the faster data moves through it. Which means you can do more in a shorter space of time with a faster connection speed. . Broadband speed is measured in kilobits per second (Kbps or Kb), megabits per second (Mbps or Mb) or gigabits per second (Gbps or Gb).

Static IP

A static IP address is an address that is permanently assigned to you by your ISP. If you are just browsing the Internet for normal purposes, you will probably just get by with a dynamic IP address, which is the ‘standard’ issue. Learn more about Static IP addresses 


Using data while it downloads - for example with video services like iPlayer


This is the transfer of data from your computer or other device. For example when you post photos to a social network, send wmails or publish a video on Youtube. If you have a plan with a data limit it is affected by both download and upload traffic. 

Upload speed

How quickly you can send data from your computer over the internet

Unlimited Plans

Unlimited plans are ones where you can upload and download as much data as you want (subject to fair usage). Compare unlimited broadband plans


Stands for ultra-fast broadband, also called fibre broadband. The UFB network is currently rolling out across New Zealand and replaces the copper network that provides ADSL and VDSL broadband connections. It is the best broadband technology and the newest and quickest.  It is much faster than ADSL, VDSL or Mobile broadband connection types


The next generation Very Fast Broadband that is possible to deliver on the traditional copper telecom network - read more here

Wireless Broadband

Wireless broadband uses the 4G mobile network to connect to a modem at your house. Wireless broadband can only be used in areas with a strong 4G signal, so it isn’t available everywhere. It can be a good option in areas that don’t have good copper or fibre broadband service, for example in rural areas. 


Allows gadgets to connect to the internet wirelessly.


Need to know something else?  Our friendly Customer Service team are ready to answer any questions you have to find the perfect broadband plan. Call us on 0508 2COMPARE (0508 226672) or contact us for more infomation. 

Check out the Wikipedia page on Internet in New Zealand




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