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Broadband Speeds Explained

Explaining the limitations of traditional broadband

SIGNUP ONLINE

Why Can't It Be Faster?

Explaining the technology and how to achieve the best possible speeds

So that our customers can understand what to expect from their broadband connection in terms of speed, and to explain simple steps to improve your speeds, we have devised the following guide.

Firstly, we should make it clear what we mean by broadband speeds. The speed at which you access website pages or files from the Internet is known as your download speed. The speed at which you send files (eg sending an email or uploading pictures to a website such as Facebook) is your upload speed. Typically the download speed will be typically faster than the upload speed especially as the majority of applications require this to be the case.


We currently offer several speed profiles:

  1. Home ADSL Max up to 8Mbps downstream (up to 448k upstream)
  2. Business ADSL Max up to 8Mbps downstream (up to 832k upstream)
  3. Home ADSL 2+ up to 24Mbps downstream (up to 448k upstream)
  4. Business ADSL 2+ up to 24Mbps downstream (up to 1.3Mbps upstream)
  5. Business Annex M ADSL 2+ up to 16Mbps Downstream (up to 2.5Mbps upstream)
  6. Home Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) up to 40Mbps (up to 2Mb upstream)
  7. Business Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) up to 40Mbps (up to 10Mb upstream)
  8. Business Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) up to 80Mbps (up to 20Mb upstream)
  9. LLU ADSL 2+ up to 24Mbps downstream
  10. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) up to 80Mbps (up to 20Mb upstream)
  11. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) up to 330Mbps (up to 30Mb upstream)

For many years we have solely operate with the ADSL Max up to 8Mbps profile, as have most ISP's. This operates through our BT Wholesale central pipes on what BT refer to as the 20CN (CN = Century Network) platform. Since March 2010 we started to offer ADSL2+ connections, which are capable of speeds up to 24Mbps, through the BT Wholesale 21CN platform. 21CN is being rolled out across all local exchanges and is designed to replace aging equipment within local exchanges for both voice and data services.

For businesses that demand the very highest upload speeds, and don't yet have access to our fibre solutions, the Annex M products sacrifice ultimate download performance for an increase in the upload speeds. This is idea for mult-site solutions, or where home workers may need to connect in and download files.

The very latest solution we can deliver is our fibre to cabinet products which deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps. The speeds are achieved by removing part of the traditional copper circuits and replacing them with fibre. The remaining part of the circuit is still delivered over copper which will be the ultimate factor in the achievable speed. The next step up from FTTC is Fibre to the Premises which removes all copper cables from the equation and allows your premises, if you are in an enabled area, to receive up to 100Mbps!

Aside from the BT Wholesale based solutions we also offer a product from Cable & Wireless Wholesale, which operates outside of the BT Network. Their solution works from around 1000+ exchanges whereby their have installed their own equipment. This process is unknown as local loop unbundling (LLU) and allows us access to cheaper bandwidth costs. The result is an unmetered solution free from fair usage policies.

If you were to order one of our ADSL packages, and the exchange was capable of supporting you on 21CN, then this is what you would be placed on. This applies to new orders and migrations. It is both in your interest and ours that you are placed on this latest technology from BT.

Our ADSL Availability Checker will allow you to access this information. The checker will show you:

  • The available products within your exchange (eg BT 20CN, BT 21CN, Annex M, FTTC, FTTP, C&W)
  • Confirmation of the predicted ADSL Max speed
  • Confirmation of your ADSL 2+ speed (as long as the exchange is capable of delivering ADSL 2+ services)
  • Confirmation of the predicted FTTC and FTTP speeds
  • Confirmation of the exchange you are connected to
  • The post code that BT Wholesale associate with your phone line (some times this can differ from the Royal Mail)

The checker can use either your phone number or post code. You will find that the phone number method is more accurate.

There are lots of factors that can impact on the speed of your broadband connection:

  • The length of your phone line from the BT local exchange
  • The quality and age of internal and external wiring
  • The quality and length of internal wiring from the master socket to your router (shorter the better)
  • Quality of your ADSL filter / splitter
  • Connecting to the router wirelessly as opposed to connecting with an RJ45 cable
  • The age of your router and computer equipment
  • Weather conditions (eg affecting the external wiring and connections to your premises)
  • Non-ADSL equipment including seasonal decorations (eg Christmas tree lights)

Should you wish to raise a slow broadband fault with us, we will want to run through various steps to ensure that some of these issues that are within your control are ruled out.

There are various simple steps which may help:

  • Ensure you leave your router powered up and connected at all times. When you constantly connect / re-connect a router sometimes it can have an adverse effect on the speeds achieved.
  • If you are connecting wirelessly, try using an RJ45 cable. Sometimes wireless signals can suffer from interference.
  • If you are using a wireless connection ensure that you have security enabled. It is quite possible that other users may be connected to your signal if left unsecured.
  • Replace your router if it old, especially if you wish to gain the most from ADSL 2+ connections. Alternatively ensure that you have the very latest firmware for your existing router.
  • Don't connect your router using long extension cables. Ensure that they are kept as short as possible, such as using the supplied cables with your router (approx 1 meter).
  • Ensure you are connect to the master phone socket, not a slave socket. The master socket is typically located nearest to the front door. Using slave sockets which feed from the master can have the same effect as a long extension cable.

Services provisioned on exchanges which are enabled to support 20CN up to 8Mbps will have download speeds no higher than 7,150Kbps.

Fluctuation in broadband line speed is expected to occur within the first 10 days of service whilst your line speed trains to the maximum it can reliably support. The profile is then set by BT's equipment within the exchange. It is important that you leave your router powered up and connected throughout this training period to get the most from it.

Services provisioned on exchanges which are enabled to support up to 24Mbps will have download speeds no higher than 21,000Kbps.

Fluctuation in broadband line speed is expected to occur within the first 10 days of service whilst your line speed trains to the maximum it can reliably support. The profile is then set by BT's equipment within the exchange. It is important that you leave your router powered up and connected throughout this training period to get the most from it.

In much the same way the ADSL speeds fluctuate during the training period so too can the fibre products. It's important that the Openreach modem is left powered up and connected at all times in order for you to receive the quickest and most reliable connections your line can support.

As you are connected directly to the exchange via fibre you should find that the likelihood of interference on the line should be limited compared to copper. Speed fluctuations are likely to be down to demand for bandwidth on your connection, capacity at the exchange, or capacity on our network.

Some of the following points may be considered obvious, but they are important to note:

  • ADSL and Fibre broadband is not supplied with any form of warranty. It may take BT Wholesale more than 24 hours to fix some problems.
  • For those operating mission critical applications it is always recommended that you consider a backup Internet connection or a more resilient solution with a service level agreement, such as a leased line.
  • ADSL and Fibre is a contended service. As such latency and pings times can vary. We cannot make any guarantees regarding the speeds achieved.
  • Please do not make requests for part refunds, good will gestures, or free services in the event of less than desirable performances. We are unable to offer these. We will always ensure that any faults are dealt with quickly and efficiently, but sometimes we have to rely on our partners such as BT Wholesale which can delay matters.
  • The quality and speed of your broadband will be affected by your line. If you suffer from poor quality calls, crackles or any form of interference these are issues you must take up with your line rental supplier. They are outside of our influence and should be treated as voice affecting faults. Once addressed you may find that the broadband faults are also fixed.
  • No matter how tedious some of the questions we ask you may seem when fault fixing, we only ask for information that will assist in getting a quicker fix to your problem. Sadly BT Wholesale haven't developed any magical tools to fix problems within minutes, so the first step will be to fact find in order to discover the best way forward.

Should you have any questions about the points raised on this page, or for further information about our broadband packages, then please do not hesitate to contact us either via email on solutions@cix.uk or phone on 03300 538 548.