Selecting a business broadband package can seem simple, until you’re asked what speed you need. The answer we hear the most is ‘the faster, the better’ but do you actually understand what the speed means? In this guide, we are going to walk you through the definition of broadband speeds and how to pick the one suitable for you.

Broadband speed definition

Let’s start with what broadband speeds are.

Gone are the days of dial up internet, where we waited for what felt like hours for a connection to be made before being able to use it – and you couldn’t use the phone at the same time. With broadband, we are now connected within seconds and emails appear near enough instantaneous – phone calls can be made at the same time too. This is due to the evolution of internet speeds, and the way in which we access the internet.

There are 2 types of speeds which we primarily measure for broadband. Firstly, there is the upload speed. This is the speed in which we upload information to the internet from our PCs. For example, uploading videos to social media, or a new blog to your business website. With the recent increase in use of social media, and in particular video marketing, upload speeds are being considered a priority when looking for broadband providers.

The other type of broadband speed is the download rate. This is the rate in which we download information to our PC. For example, the streaming of music, or accessing webpages all requires the download of a set amount of information to the pc for us to view them. The increased use of the cloud for business systems require a business to have a suitable speed for instant access as and when it is needed, without worrying about downtime.

How are speeds measured?

Broadband speeds are measured in Mbps, which stands for Megabits per second. The higher the number of Mbps, the faster your ability to access the internet.

There are several factors which will impact the speed of your broadband, with many speeds not quite hitting the advertised amount. Factors that affect broadband speeds are:

Distance from the Exchange – Broadband connections through a phone line will be slower the further you are from the main exchange. The same is true with Fibre Broadband (FTTC) the further you are from the local Fibre Cabinet the slower the speed.

Quality of the cable – If the copper cable serving your building is old, goes through a number of joints or is damaged these will all slow down your broadband or make it work intermittently.

Exchange contention ratio – Exchanges will have a large number of connections, and the more it has the more dispersed the broadband connection will be amongst these connections. Many service providers use a maximum ratio, capping the number of connections per exchange rate to 50. There is also a difference between Business and Domestic connections with business customers getting preferential service.

Weather Conditions – similar to the impact the weather has on your tv, bad weather can have an impact on the speed of your internet.

Quality of equipment – speed is not only dictated by your service provider but the quality of the cabling on your site, your broadband access equipment (the router) and the equipment used within your business, such as the network switches, PC etc

How to determine which broadband speed you need

The speed of your broadband will have an impact on the amount you pay, so knowing what you need is important. To determine this, you need to ask yourself the following:

    • How many internal connections will be needed
    • What services will you be using on the broadband – Web hosting, VoIP, Extranet, Webinars
    • Will you be needing wireless or directly linked to routers
    • What sort of support will you need
    • Do you need a backup solution as well

Once you know the answers to this, get in touch with us and we can talk you through the broadband options for your business. Finding you the most suitable speed to keep your business online all day, every day.