Your Broadband

What to expect from your ISP.

Understand your broadband.


Firstly let's get the jargon out of the way.

Terms like;
Standard Broadband: is really "Copper gain technology" from the exchange, nothing really standard about it, it is distance dependent. In other words, the further you are from the exchange, 'Green street cabinet' or 'Telegraph Pole', the slower your connection is likely to be.

Superfast Broadband: again this is copper gain technology from the street cabinet, more throughput for most in urban areas, less in rural, but also distance dependent.

The term "superfast" is commonly used in relation to new technologies such as fibre-optic broadband to distinguish services from speeds previously achieved by ADSL. Ofcom currently defines 'superfast' as technologies capable of providing speeds equal to or greater than 30 Mbit/s.

Ultrafast Broadband is a direct fibre optic connection to your property.

Ultrafast ‘Full Fibre’ broadband or sometimes called Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) provides a fibre connection all the way from the telephone exchange to your premises. Unlike traditional Fibre Broadband (FTTC) which is a fibre connection from the telephone exchange to your local on-street cabinet, then a copper connection from the cabinet to your premises. FTTP is a 100% fibre connection offering lightning speeds and improved performance and stability of connection compared to FTTC or ADSL.

If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) support team are telling you that your line is fine, and everything is working as expected, you may need to do some homework about your service.

Understand what your maximum speed is

Standard broadband over telephone lines degrades in speed the further the line is from the telephone exchange (in cabling length). While most deals are advertised as, for example, 'up to 42Mb', most telephone lines will be rated to achieve slower connection speeds. Run a broadband speed test on your line. Ensure that the speed you're told to expect is actually higher than the speeds you're experiencing - it may be that you're already achieving the fastest speed your line can accept no matter if you live in a City or the Country.

Check your download allowance

Make sure your ISP hasn't capped your speed because you exceeded the limits of your monthly usage allowance or traffic management policy. Many ISPs now reduce your speed rather than charging you for exceeding your allowance. You should be emailed a warning if you exceed your usage allowance, however if you've simply exceeded the traffic management allowance (often in place at peak times) you won't be informed, your speed will simply drop for a fixed number of hours (or until the peak period ends). Your ISPs website should give you details of any traffic management policy in place and inform you of the effects of exceeding your usage allowance.

Standard broadband has previously always been described as 'up to 17Mbps'. However, with the introduction of the new Advertising Standards Agency ruling that broadband providers must only advertise speeds that are accessible by at least 50% of their customers, standard broadband is now, on average, advertised as 11Mbps – far closer to what most people can expect to receive.

Luke Albiges -

  Some Do's

Use microfilters

All extensions should be filtered.

microfilterMake sure all phones and faxes are connected via a microfilter. Microfilters prevent other devices connected to your telephone system from interfering with your broadband signal. Every device connected to the phone system should use a microfilter. If you still have problems, unplug all devices and gradually add each back until you identify which causes the problem. If you're using free microfilters supplied by your ISP or with your router, consider paying for more expensive microfilters with good user reviews - it's possible one or more of your filters is faulty or of poor quality.

Use your Master Socket

The strongest signal is at the Master socket.

Master SocketPlug your modem/router directly into the Master Socket. A Master Socket represents the first / main point inside your home or office for connecting to Openreach’s outside copper cable, which makes it the best socket for connecting with your broadband router. Most of the older type master sockets have a split across the front plate. The lower section of the plate can be unscrewed and inside is an engineer's test socket. If you remove the lower faceplate it will disconnect all the extension wiring in your property. You can then connect your modem/router using the test socket. If you get an increase in speed then your internal telephone wiring is causing interference that is lowering your speeds.

  Some Don't's

Don't use 'plug-in' extension cables.

Don't connect to your modem/router using an extension cable.

NetworkPoor quality extension cables are probably the number one cause of poor broadband speeds. Extension cables can massively increase interference on your line and cause broadband speeds to be lowered. The simplest way to solve the problem is to ditch the extension cable and connect the router directly to the Master phone socket and then use a long ethernet cable to connect your computer to the router (these can be purchased in any computer store and cost around £1 per metre), ethernet cables will not degrade the speed of your connection.

If you have to use an extension cable

Use a new, high quality cable and ensure you use the shortest cable possible - tangled and coiled telephone extension cables can cause interference. You can easily test if your extension cable is the problem - connect directly to the master socket, if this causes no improvement in connection speed, it's unlikely that the extension cable was the problem.

Noisy phone lines    Broadband speed problems    CAT5/6 data cable installations    Damaged cable repairs    Domestic and business phone line repairs    Cables installed to outbuildings, offices, etc.   Ethernet points for Sky Q    Ethernet points for SMART TV's    Phone socket relocation    Telephone sockets and faulty wiring    Ubiquiti UniFi® Wi-Fi solutions