What Affects My Broadband Internet Speed?

in Internet

When shopping around for a broadband internet service provider you'll notice that providers advertise their internet speeds. Internet speed is the speed at which data can go through your connection and into your computer, so the faster your speed, the more quickly you'll be able to download and open web pages. Of course, faster speeds are more expensive, and the choice of speeds is pretty wide ranging. Companies such as AOL offer up to 8 Mb, whilst mid-level providers like BE internet get speeds of around 14 Mb, and high end companies like BT and Virgin Media offer speeds of up to 76 Mb using fibre optic cables.

However, in reality, you will rarely receive the internet speed that is advertised.

The advertised speeds are the maximum speed that the connection is capable of under ideal conditions. Realistically, you will receive far less than the maximum speed. So what effects the speed of your broadband connection and why don't you get those maximum speeds?


The biggest reason that you're not getting maximum speeds is completely beyond your control. The closer you are to a telephone exchange, the faster your connection will be. There is absolutely nothing that you can do about this (unless you're willing to move house to be closer to the exchange), but it is the major factor in slow connection speeds.


Contention means how much of the internet connection is being used. If the telephone exchange is being used by many people, or if one user is a heavy downloader, you may find that your internet speeds slow down. The only thing that you can do about this is to choose your service provider carefully. Different providers deal with contention in different ways. Some companies put a limit on the number of users that can share an exchange. Other providers prioritise customers depending on the package they buy, so those with bigger and more expensive packages will get priority usage over those with cheaper deals.

Multiple Users...

Depending on how many devices you have connected to the internet in your home you might find that your service slows down. With broadband this isn't as big an effect as it is with other internet systems, but there is still some effect. The best thing that you can do is to make sure that you don't have so many devices connected, and to ensure that devices that aren't currently being used are unplugged and not sucking away your bandwidth.


Just like with road traffic there are peak times for internet usage. In the UK the internet “rush hour” is between six and eleven in the evening on week days. During these times your broadband connection may slow down. If at all possible avoid using the internet for data intensive tasks such as TV streaming during these times.


Viruses, malware and spyware on your computer can strongly influence how fast your internet connection is. Always make sure that you have decent antivirus software running to prevent this from happening.






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Sam Jones has 110 articles online

Sam Jones had troubleshoot his BE Internet connection recently because it was slowing to an unacceptable snail’s pace too often.


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What Affects My Broadband Internet Speed?

This article was published on 2013/03/18