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Broadband Speeds

A cross-party group of MPs have found that the way broadband speed are advertised is misleading and should be changed.  Broadband speeds are often advertised as being ‘up to’ certain speeds.  For a lot of locations the speeds are nowhere near the top speeds.

When we talk about internet speed we are really talking about bandwidth.  This is how much data can be sent and received by a computer and is measures in bits per second.  A bit is a binary digit, usually represented as a 0 or 1, that is the smallest value of computer information.   Often we talk about Megabits per second (Mbps) which is 1,000,000 bits per second.  Depending on your business you might need anywhere from 2Mbps – 10Gbps.

There are a number of factors out of your control when it comes to broadband speeds. One of the biggest factors is the distance between your office and the closest exchange.  Also, it is a contended service, so if there are a lot of users sharing the connection at the same time then performance will suffer.

There are a number of speed test tools that you can use to check what service you are getting.  This is likely to vary depending on the time of day so it’s worth doing a few tests.  If you are not getting the speeds you expect you should contact your ISP.

This highlights a problem for small businesses: it can be difficult to make important and sometimes complex tech decisions when there is a lack of clear information.  It also raises an important question of what sort of connection suits you.  At Burstfire, part of the service is to offer our expertise to help clarify these and create solutions appropriate for your business.  A previous blog has discussed the pros and cons of leased lines versus a broadband service, you may want to check it out.

Tips for improving your broadband Speeds

Use a wired connection

I know wires can often get in the way, and that Wi-Fi is a convenient way to connect to the internet, but a wired connection will be faster and more stable than Wi-Fi

Your router

Your router is the piece of kit that directs traffic to your devices.  Not all routers offer great performance so upgrading can make a huge difference to the speed. If you are using Wi-Fi the positioning of your router, and the distance you are away from it will affect the speed.

Secure your network

Make sure that no one is using your network that shouldn’t be.  This can be both a security risk and lead to performance issues.