You need to be sure that both upline and downline speeds
are within tolerances - typically 150 kbps upline and 400 kbps downline are
the minimums above which you may have difficulty getting the ISP to accept
that there is a problem. You will need to log at least three speed test
results, taken at different times of the day and ideally different days of the
week. These may be run from sites such as:
Java to be installed
Java to be installed
http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest - requires
Shockwave) to be
Your own ISP's website, e.g.
PlusNet old or PlusNet
If your ISP's line is delivered by BT Wholesale (as opposed to an
LLU provider) you can use their speed tester by visiting
Java to be installed); a
good explanation for beginners is available
here. To exonerate your ISP from being culpable, disconnect your
router/modem from their system and connect to speedtester@speedtest_domain
with a password of welcome before running this test.
You can find out
the speed you can expect at your master socket by checking with
Make sure your router is connected to the master socket
rather than an extension. If the computer is not co-located then use
Ethernet cable to take the signal to the computer. Phone extension
cables and wireless will cause significant loss of speed.
Distance from the exchange
The most crucial factor to affect what speed you’re capable
of getting is the distance of the cable between your router (including
any extension cables) and the BT exchange - the shorter the distance, the
faster your broadband can be. This applies only to broadband via a
standard phone line (ADSL broadband) and not to cable broadband.
BT estimates only 78% of its lines can support broadband
rates of up to 4Mbps or higher, and only people living close to an exchange
may actually be able to get speeds of up to 8Mbps.
Speed will also be affected by the number of people sharing
the same connection to the exchange as you, and also the number of people
sharing the same connection at the ISP's facility. It’s often set at
50:1 but some providers (and ‘business packages’) offer lower ratios, giving
Time of day
This is linked to the contention ratio. More people tend to
be online between 6pm and 11pm (peak times for many ISPs), which means speeds
may be slower at these times.
The quality of your modem router and cables
Any wire between your master socket and your router must be
high quality. Telephone extension cables contain a high aluminium
content and this allows
cross talk which degrades a broadband signal.
The number of computers in your house that are sharing
the internet connection
The capacity of the website and webpage you’re looking
If lots of people try to access the same website or webpage
at the same time it will take longer to download the page or a page from the