Vodafone, though big in the world of mobile, is still quite new to broadband. It's aiming to gain users quickly by selling some of the cheapest fibre broadband deals on the market. But does cheap mean it's not as good?
|Average download speed||35Mbps & 63Mbps|
|Average upload speed||10Mbps & 20Mbps|
|Prices from||£23 per month|
With greater and greater demand for speed, Vodafone has decided to no longer offer standard broadband, instead choosing to focus on fibre. With two speeds averaging 35Mbps and 63Mbps on offer, which one is best for you?
With this fibre package, you'll get an average speed of 35Mbps download (10Mbps upload). This is on a par with deals from most other providers.
This speed would suit a home of four or five people of internet-using age. If you're a couple, with a couple of kids old enough to use the internet, social media, stream Netflix on their tablets, play games and so on, this speed will suit. You may, however, start hitting the ceiling of that speed if one or more people in your home likes to stream in 4K, or download video games.
You might have seen that Virgin Media is offering a whopping 350Mbps at its top end. Vodafone's top speed averages just 63Mbps, which sounds rather puny, but is in line with the top speeds of most other providers.
63Mbps (with a 20Mbps upload speed) is best suited to homes full of folk who like to do a lot of stuff online and don't do most of that stuff together. If you're streaming Amazon Prime in the living room and you're all watching it, you're likely taking up less than 10Mbps. If you're all off in separate bits of the house doing this and that, watching stuff on different screens at the same time, you'll need this top speed.
Every provider has its own way of getting new customers. Vodafone tends to switch between discounts and some sort of free gift. A smart speaker, a set of posh headphones or other gadget. To see what deals it has on now, see below.
Vodafone Superfast 2 Fibre Broadband
Vodafone Superfast 1 Fibre Broadband
We could get techy here, but you wouldn't like us very much after that. Instead, we'll explore what some of those jumbled letters and numbers mean in the real world. The router is of the 802.11ac standard. All that means is it's capable of sending the highest possible speeds over wi-fi.
It also works on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band. This is a useful feature, as the 2.4Ghz band is the one most home broadband routers use to send and receive wifi signals. Problem is, it's getting awfully crowded, meaning you may suffer slow speeds due to other nearby routers owned by your neighbours. That’s where the 5Ghz band comes in handy.
The Vodafone fibre router also offers something called 'beamforming technology'. What this does is allow you to ask the router to make an extra-special effort to contact a device. Say your bath is at the other end of the house from your router, and you want to read from your tablet, but your wi-fi signal doesn't quite reach. This will focus the signal to the device. Handy.
All in all, Vodafone's router – which unlike the Virgin Hub, Sky Q Hub and whatnot doesn't have a name – is a very good bit of kit.
Installation of Vodafone broadband takes around two weeks. There are two ways it works, depending on whether you have a home phone line or not.
If you need a brand new phone line installed, an engineer will be in touch to discuss the best way to get the line into your home. It may take several hours.
If you have an active phone line the process is a bit simpler. You'll be sent a Vodafone router and given a clear idea of how and when to plug it in.
Here at Cable.co.uk we conduct studies among customers of the UK's various broadband providers, and guess who made it into fourth place? Yep, it was Vodafone. Now before you come back with something like 'Fourth place, that's not even a bronze medal', you should know that was out of around 20 providers.
When you think that this was Vodafone's first full year as a broadband provider, to beat some of the biggest in the business is a great feat. Vodafone's broadband customers are very happy indeed.
Vodafone can't match Virgin Media for speed. It can't beat Sky for TV. Vodafone doesn't offer any kind of TV service. But that's not the point. Vodafone broadband is cheap. It offers a great service that's good enough for all, but at a price that is in many cases cheaper than rivals. Do we like Vodafone broadband? Yes, we do.
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