Finding the fastest broadband service is, unfortunately, not simply a matter checking on the service providers’ website and looking for the fastest download speeds advertised since the advertised ‘up to’ speeds are very rarely achieved.
One of the biggest factors affecting how close you are likely to get to the advertised speed when looking for the fastest broadband connection is usually a geographic one. The distance you live from the phone exchange can have a significant influence on how fast your broadband connection will be.
Fast Broadband – What else affects broadband speed?
- Type of technology used. broadband is provided over a number of types of technology (fibre optic broadband and ADSL2 are usually faster then ADSL ) mobile broadband
- Interference or noise’ on the phone line
- Type of hardware such as your computer, modem and wireless router can influence speeds
- Contention ratio which describes the maximum number of people able to share the line providing your connection (the lower the better). Most providers offer a contention ratio of 50:1 (up to 50 people sharing one line) though a number of providers including UK Online and Be provide lower contention ratios.
- Time of day with speeds slowing down at peak times like early evening when more people are online.
Unfortunately it is difficult to influence most of these other than the type of hardware you use (for example your computer and modem or router) and of course the broadband provider you chose.
Broadband speeds explained:
- Download speed: Broadband providers usually advertise their download speeds which are measured in Megabits per second (Mbs). Download speed is a measure of how fast your broadband connection can download information from the internet (such as files, web pages, music and video)
- Upload speed is usually much slower than download speed and isn’t always advertised as prominently as download speeds. Upload speed is a measure of fast your broadband connection can upload information from the internet and is important for activities such as online games and VoIP calls which need to upload information at a fast speed.
- If you are not sure of your current broadband speed run a broadband speed check.
Which provider has the fastest broadband speeds?
There are a number of ways to find out which is the fastest broadband and it will differ from one area to another. The easiest way is to check the actual broadband speeds achieved by customers which we’ve monitored by testing over 100,000 broadband connections. If you live a long distance from your phone exchange (the provider you are thinking of using should be able to tell you this), it is likely that you will achieve the fastest speeds with fibre optic broadband if it is available in your area.
Who needs a fast broadband provider:
Not everyone needs super fast broadband speeds, if you only plan on using your broadband connection to surf the web and send emails most of the cheaper broadband packages should be more than adequate. Fast broadband is important for people who need to transfer information over the internet quickly, this includes online gamers, and those wanting to download music or watch videos online amongst other activities.
What does the future hold for broadband speeds?
Broadband speeds have been steadily increasing as providers upgrade infrastructure and develop new technologies such as ADSL2+. At present one restriction for most broadband providers is the old copper wire telephone network used for ADSL and ADSL2 broadband connections. It is likely that speeds will continue to rise as new technologies are introduced.
One such development may be the provision of broadband through the sewerage network where broadband cables could be routed to provide almost every home in the country with broadband speeds of up to 100Mbs. These sort of speeds are already available in Japan which tops the list of countries for the fastest broadband (Britain is 24th).