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Why Test the Speed of Your Broadband Connection?

By Tony Smith Subscribe to RSS | December 29th 2011 | Views:

Most of the time, consumers get what they pay for when they subscribe to a service. In most industries, the service provider will accurately describe the service that is on offer and the user will make an informed decision about whether or not they wish to subscribe for that service.

This is not always the case in the telecommunications industry. Riddled with obfuscation at every turn, the telecoms industry has provided consumers with no end of headaches when trying to discern what is actually on offer from service providers.

One area in which broadband providers have received considerable bad press is the way in which their broadband services are advertised. Many complaints centre on one of the following two major areas: broadband speeds and usage allowances. The way that service providers are currently allowed to advertise usage allowances means that many users have no idea of the limits that are imposed on their connections. "Unlimited" tends to counterintuitively mean the opposite and to make matters worse, it prevents users from knowing the restrictions of their accounts.

Broadband speeds are no better, and broadband providers are currently able to advertise their services according to the maximum achievable speed on the service. Speeds of "up to" 10Mbps do not necessarily mean that 10Mbps is realistic or even possible on your connection - these figures are often calculated on the basis of uncontended service speeds which in reality are never accessible to the end user, who is always likely to be sharing bandwidth with other internet users.

Contention ratios, i.e. the number of other users that are fighting for the same bandwidth, vary from provider to provider, service to service, area to area and time to time. Although fibre optic broadband services are affected by contention, they generally offer speeds closer to that of the advertised maximum than ADSL broadband services. Users of ADSL services regularly experience speeds of less than half of the advertised maximum, making it difficult for consumers to make an informed decision about which provider and service to subscribe to.

For this reason, using a speed testing tool can enable a broadband connection user to determine the actual speed offered by their provider. Many users will find that "up to" 10Mbps ADSL connections will actually deliver a connection speed closer to 6Mbps, whilst "up to" 10Mbps fibre optic connections are more likely to deliver speeds of 9-10Mbps.

Tony Smith - About Author:
For users who want to perform a broadband speed test, there are a number of useful resources available online. Advertisers often mislead consumers about broadband speeds so it is important to check your connection speed regularly.

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