Broadband speeds can vary depending on a variety of factors - but if you are unhappy with the speed you are receiving there is something you can do about it. This article will guide you through broadband speed; covering the most common questions that arise around the topic.
A good broadband speed starts from 11Mbps for a standard broadband connection, although faster speeds range between 11-50Mbps, these are usually Superfast Broadband packages. Ultrafast broadband can reach up to speeds of 100Mbps or more.
How is broadband speed measured?
Broadband speed has its own unique measuring system which consists of Megabits per second (Mbps) and kilobits per second (Kbps). You’ll often see these abbreviations in relation to your broadband packages. They can be broken down into the following:
1 Kbps = 1,000 bits per second
1 Mbps = 1,000,000 bits per second
1 Gbps = 1,000,000,000 bits per second
These measurements are based on how fast data is being transferred online, so actions such as visiting a website or sending an email. This data that is sent and received between one point and another within a network is known as bandwidth and is expressed as (bps). The higher the bits per second, the faster your broadband speed is. So to put this into perspective, to download 1MB in one second you’d need a connection of 8Mbps.
The best speed for you depends on several factors
Where you live, how you use the internet, and how many people are in your household all play a part in determining what speed is best for your household. This also applies to business broadband.
For 1-2 people, a good internet speed would be between 10-11Mbps. This is a standard, unlimited broadband connection for general internet use. It is suitable for occasional video streaming together, online banking and activities such as social media usage on different devices. It is not suitable for any online gaming such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Network.
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For 3-4 people a good speed would range from 38-100Mbps. These speeds are generally available as part of Superfast fibre packages. As a general consideration- the more people in your household, the more devices you’re likely to use. So if you use streaming services on separate devices, and you spend 2-4 hours per day online then this would be a good option for your household. This speed range is not suitable for activities that download and upload a large amount of data such as gaming or streaming 24/7. It is also not advisable to choose this package if you want to download bittorrents.
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How accurate are broadband speeds?
How fast is my internet?
What affects my broadband speed?
- The distance from your house to the telephone exchange. If you have a standard ADSL broadband connection, then the distance you are from your local telephone exchange could play a part in lagging speeds. The further away you are, the weaker the connection. This does not apply to fibre broadband packages, so if this is an issue for you, consider upgrading.
- The time of day you are online. There are peak times for internet usage, during the evening there is a surge of use and internet speeds are boosted because of this. However, if too many people try to log in at once, some providers divide bandwidth to each customer which means you might not get the exact speed you are paying for during this time. Even the best internet connections are affected because of this.
- The number of people in your home using the internet at the same time. If you have a large household and each individual has multiple devices and you all use them at the same time - you may experience slower speeds. This is because your connection is shared between all these devices. If this becomes a regular issue then consider upgrading.
- Type of connection you have. The infrastructure of your broadband connection plays a big part in affecting your speed. Standard (ADSL) connections travel through copper wires into the home, which is a lot slower than fibre, which travels faster through fibre optic cables most of the way.
- The browser you use. If you are using an older version of your browser, it could be slowing you down. Make sure to check your browser, update it and see if there are any differences in load time.
- Other devices interfering. Household electrical devices such as TVs, dimmer switches, monitors and any devices which emit wireless signals can interfere with your router's signal. Make sure to place your router far away from any electrical devices and preferably on a high shelf to limit this.
- Unprotected router. An open router means anyone could log in and use your internet, which is a security risk and will slow your usage down. Ensure your connection is secured with a strong password.
- An outdated router. If you have regular interference and disconnections when using your internet, then it might be time to update your router. Talk to your provider to arrange this.