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Watchdog on xDSL Speeds

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OK, so you may have questions or concerns following the recent Watchdog programme on BBC1.

Whilst Watchdog put out a very informative and on the whole thought provoking and interesting article, we did notice a couple of inaccuracies in the report and we are hoping to clarify and correct these in this article.

1. xDSL Connections

During the report, it was mentioned that there are two types of connection to your house, the old copper wires and the new Fibre connections.

This is not strictly true.

To get a full and accurate picture we need to consider the connection from the local exchange to the street cabinet and then the connection from the street cabinet to your house or office.

In addition, we need to consider if the broadband is being delivered via a BT telephone line or a Virgin service.

The way the infrastructure works is as follows:

Currently the maximum speed of an ADSL service across traditional copper is up to 24mbps download and up to 5mbps upload but depends on the actual services available in your area – ie what the exchange has been set up for – as well as distance and quality of the line and equipment – both at the exchange, cabinet and the termination in the premises.

Traditional ADSL services are available as an option for the vast majority of us.

FTTC and Cable DSL services are offering speeds of between 100mbps and the newest 300mbps download and around 20mbps upload.

New street cabinets that will take fibre are being installed all over the country although the exchanges need to be modernised first.  Based on our customer base, 50% of customers have the ability for FTTC services.

Ultimately, FTTB (Fibre to the building) would be the fastest, but cost and availability in the area are the restricting factors.

When looking at DSL for our customers, we not only look at the maximum speeds that are available for the telephone number supplied but also the expected speeds.  These are not exact as they are based on distance from exchange, and presuming a good quality of cable link to the property.  Only after installation can we tell the quality of the line.  We can also look at and upgrade the termination box in the premises for the latest NTE specification.

An example is shown below.


B 1_table

 2. Wireless Speeds

There are no magic ways to increase speeds of the Internet connection and despite the implication that you can, what was actually being looked at during this program was wireless speeds around the property.  The signal strength and speed of the wireless is governed by the router as well as the environment.  Different routers have different wireless speeds available as well as different power aerials and they operate at different frequencies, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz – all having an impact on the ultimate speed of the network connection within the house and therefore also the speed of that device on the internet.

We can recommend the best for your situation within the budget you have available during a quick site survey as well as advising on some possible internal cabling for re-routing equipment if necessary or beneficial.

We can do this for existing properties as well as new and proposed buildings working with the builders and electricians to get the most cost effective and efficient service.

Regarding the environment, simple things like insulation on the back of plasterboard can break down the signal between rooms and in this instance, changing the router will make very little difference if any.  In these instances you are looking at connecting the wireless devices via repeaters – additional devices strategically located to extend the wireless signal.  They can connect back to the main router via an ethernet cable or via your mains electricity using special PowerLine adapters.

By optimising your internal network speeds it will also help to improve the speed that the devices operate at whilst connected to the internet.

We are very happy to discuss these options and work with our customers to optimise their connections whether existing or new and hopefully supplied by us.

Finally, it is also important to discuss VoIP (Voice over IP – or telephony over the internet) so that the correct service can be advised at the outset to give the best Quality Of Service.

As VoIP providers, this is a service that we are very happy to discuss.

If you have any questions about your broadband speak to the b1 team today.