Broadband and What You Need to Know About It

The typical broadband user will, in most cases, assume the advertised broadband speed is the speed that is reaching their device. That is rarely the case. Broadband speed is a function of different factors. Things inside and outside the home can have a significant impact on speed and reliability. Speed has always been the primary focus of service providers marketing It is the metric that most consumers can relate to. This article will focus on providing the typical broadband with the basics of broadband that they need to know.

What factors control the speed of my broadband?

Wireless devices

In the case of wireless devices placement of the wireless route,r and its distance from connecting devices, plays a significant role in determining the speed. The closer a device is to the router, the better Internet reception it will get. Obstructions, such as walls and furniture also hinder the signal.

Signal interference

The phenomenon of interference of frequencies emitted by different wireless devices affects the speed of broadband. Move devices away from your router and change frequency when possible. Baby monitors, wireless boiler thermostats and Digital radio are notable offenders.

Interference from electrical devices

Electrical devices can influence the reliability and strength of signals. If the line keeps dropping it could be that electronic devices near the router are having an impact


Microfilters are devices that stop the interference of analogue and digital devices when they are being used together. Microfilters are necessary for digital broadband systems to perform adequately.

Keep your machine up to date

Upgrade to more modern computers and laptops, as older versions are likely to be unable to cope with the next generation speeds provided by broadband these days.

Keep in mind you are not the only one

Remember that as the number of users increases, the volume of data through the network increases. Thus the average speed will be distributed to more users and there will be a decrease in speed per user. This is especially true during peak hours, when networks are clogged up with an overwhelming number of Internet users.

Your location

The distance between the telephone exchange and your residence is also important, as the strength and speed of the services being provided decreases with increase in distance. If you have fibre optic cable then this “distance factor” doe not come into play.

The Internet Service Provider, the customer and the speed
The Internet comprises numerous networks out of which your Internet service provider is allocated a particular chunk. It may be that the network that you have been directed to happens to be full with users, so there will be considerable decrease in the speed that is being provided. It may be time for your ISP to upgrade the exchange and cables.

Administration of online traffic

Traffic management is the control of online traffic by Internet service providers, to keep a check and balance on the speed disseminated to various customers. By this action users who tend to have a heavy Internet usage lifestyle are given lowered bandwidth so that their usage does not negatively impact others on the same network. This is to ensure that all subscribers get decent broadband services, and that services do not fall over during busy times.

Most Internet service providers ensure that their services are reliable by administering efficient online traffic management policies. Plusnet broadband do this very well. Some others are criticised for the impact their traffic management has on average users.

Different types of activites are influenced by the speed and reliability of the broadband connection in different degrees. Light internet users will normally be less fussed by the speed of their connections as the activities they do are pretty quick and low data consumption.

For example, in the case of emails, a delay of a few seconds will not be of much worry. But in applications such as online gaming, which require stable broadband speed, a seconds delay will be noticeable and frustrating. It is a priority of the service providers that their bandwidth is provided to the applications that require it the most. They tend to categorise distribution of bandwidth according to the applications that are most affected by the broadband performance.

Most offer priority in a tiered manner. Below is a simplified summary of what most do:

Top priority: Gaming, Streaming, Voip
Second priority: Browsing and Email
Bottom priority: Peer to Peer activites.

Running a speed test

To correctly measure the actual speed that is being received on your broadband services it is necessary to conduct a speed test.

Speed tests upload data to a server
They then upload data to the server
They then present the upload, download and latency speeds on the screen

It is a good idea to test through a wired and wireless connection to ascertain the disparity in speed. In this way you can identify if any problems are line and set up problems, or wireless problems. This can signal the types of interventions that should be made.

What is the difference between download and upload speeds?

Downloads are any activity that takes information from the web. This could be opening web pages, streaming a movie or receiving emails. Internet Service Providers make it a point to offer great download speeds to users, so that they can download files from the Internet fast. Most activities involve more downloading than uploading.

Uploads involve sending information from your device. This couple be uploading photos, sending emails or FTP uploads. Upload speed is better on business packages than residential broadband. We are doing more uploading these days, especially to the cloud, and upload speeds will no doubt be improving over the coming year.

Look for value for money

When we make purchases we should always be looking for value for money; broadband is no different. Value is a function of the benefits we receive. Therefore, make sure that you get a package that is appropriate to your internet usage profile.

Internet speed was not a big issue for Sam Jones; however he regularly uses a speed test on his system just to make sure everything was working as it should. He shopped around for a great deal using uSwitch and other price comparison sites as he loved to grab a bargain.


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