Test Broadband Speed

Broadband speeds are not all the same. In most cases, the actual speed experienced by the consumer does not coincide with the speed as claimed by the internet service provider. Actually, the speed stated on the brochure defines the fastest that you can have. Most of the time, consumers do not get to experience this bandwidth (speed). This is because the actual internet speed that a consumer has is largely determined by several factors.

These factors include your distance from the internet tower that sends off the signal (the nearer you are, the faster your speed is) and the saturation (the more users there are, the slower your speed is). If you are curious to know about your actual bandwidth, you actually can check on some sites that offer speed testing for DSL and cable internet. Some of them are paid but many are for free.

Running the test is very simple and does not require any downloads. Most of the speed test portals have easy to understand graphical interface and doing the test basically starts with simply clicking on a button usually found below the speedometer image. The speed test may be completed in less than a minute and a result window will pop up right away giving you your actual bandwidth.

The most common issue that consumers encounter in utilizing the service comes with high restrictions set with the firewall. When the blocking option is set very high the firewall usually blocks the speed test site. When this happens, you may reset your firewall to allow the particular site.

How to Compare Broadband Offers

With so many UK providers offering multiple options, it can be really difficult to choose a broadband package that suits your requirements. Here are the main factors to consider when buying a home broadband solution.

Average Broadband Download Speed

Up until recently, broadband providers were able to just advertise their ‘Up to’ speed. However, recent regulation now means that they have to show the ‘Average speed’.

The average speed is defined as being the speed that at least 50% of customers get during peak time. The UK government communications regulator, Ofcom, defines peak time as being between the hour of 8pm – 10pm.

Despite the change, the actual speed that you will get will of course depend on a number of factors including:

  • The type of connection e.g. cable or fibre
  • How far your home is from the telephone exchange box
  • The area you live in
  • The time of day you are using the connection

Generally speaking, the faster the average speed, the more expensive the package will cost. Deciding on what speed you need is determined by what you are using it for.

If you just want to surf the internet and get the odd email then a standard broadband connection may suffice. On the other hand, if you are going to stream music and movies, play online gaming or have a family that uses multiple devices at the same time, then a much faster fibre connection is required.

You can always upgrade your broadband connection if you find it’s too slow but you may incur addition costs if you do this whilst in the middle of your contract period.

Type of Broadband Package

Broadband providers generally offer three types of package:

  1. Broadband only
  2. Broadband and phone
  3. Broadband and phone with TV

As you generally require a phone connection to have broadband, there are only a few that will offer broadband only. When you compare broadband, you’ll find that most packages will automatically include a Wi-Fi router, line rental and some kind of call rate package.

A number of suppliers will also offer a TV bundle on top of the broadband and phone connection. This TV package can vary greatly among providers but usually involves some or all of the following:

  • The supply of a box that can record multiple hours of TV
  • The ability for the box to rewind and pause live TV
  • The ability to watch Freeview channels
  • The option to subscribe to premium channels such as Sky Sports, BT Sport or movies
  • The ability to watch catch-up TV and On-Demand programmes

Broadband contract length

Once you sign up to a broadband package, you will have a cooling off period during which time you can cancel. However, if you decide you no longer want the package or wish to switch to a new provider, then you may incur penalty fee charges for cancelling early,

Therefore, it’s important to ensure you are satisfied with the length of the contract you are signing up to and the terms within that contract.

Generally speaking broadband providers offer the following contract options:

  • 12 Month Contract
  • 18 Month Contract
  • 24 Month Contract
  • No Contract

A no contract option is just that. You pay your fees month to month until you decide you don’t want it. However, a no contract option usually has increased per month cost compared to a longer contract period.

Broadband Set Up Cost

This is the up front cost that the provider charges you to set up the broadband connection and/or the cost of package and posting to get the equipment sent to your home.

Some providers do not charge any set up fee or will sometimes have offers to include the set up free of charge.

Monthly Cost

This is the ongoing monthly fee that you will be paying for your broadband connection.

After deciding all the factors above, you should narrow down your selection to a few packages that meet your requirements. You can then compare the additional features and benefits beyond the main selection criteria.

Extra things to consider are the cost of telephone calls, whether the package includes free weekend or evening calling, the channels available if you opt for a TV package, the functionality of the TV box and the parental controls offered with your broadband connection.

Mobile Broadband – Advantages and Disadvantages

Mobile broadband is a form of wireless internet connection. It is also known as mobile internet. There are devices which can simply be plugged into the computers for getting access to the internet. The most common devices used are mobile dongles, data cards and mobile phones. 3G laptops are also becoming popular. Mobile broadband is highly in demand because of its unique feature of providing internet on the go.

Mobile broadband utilizes 3G services. This in turn uses two technologies which are High Speed Download Packet Access and High Speed Upload Packet Access. This gives the user high downloading and uploading speeds. You just need to plug in the device into your laptop to avail high speed internet.

The advantages offered by it are many. These advantages are listed below.

Advantages

  • You can conveniently use internet while traveling in bus, train, etc. You can also have a 24/7 internet connection while you are on a vacation.
  • The devices are small and easy to carry. You can drop them into your pockets or handbags conveniently.
  • It has an inbuilt modem and it also doesn’t need separate electricity connection. It is a totally wire-less connection.
  • There is no need to get a telephone line. You can thus save the extra cost of the regular internet connection.
  • You can access internet in areas where there is no internet service provider.
  • The software is pre-installed in the modem and it installs the same into the computer when the modem is plugged.

There are also certain disadvantages which are listed as under.

Disadvantages

  • The speed is sometimes slower than other broadband connections.
  • There aren’t many providers to choose from.
  • It is costlier than the standard broadband connections.
  • It cannot take heavy loads and the download limit also proves to be a negative aspect.