Why don’t you receive full download speeds: What is Contention Ratio?

 In Internet & WI-FI, Technology

Why don't you receive full download speeds: What is Contention Ratio? - LG NetworksWhat is Contention Ratio?


Contention ratio is a regulation that determines how our broadband service is shared accordingly amongst other users in the surrounding area, or connecting to the same exchange. Every home and business in Britain with ADSL or fibre optic broadband will be part of a contention ratio. This does not, however, mean that you’re paying for others to use your internet connection; it is a pre-determined standard from the provider to ensure that the total bandwidth available is shared correctly between other users.

Most ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) do not give up too much information on their contention ratios, consequently leading to people’s confusion when they fail to receive the full speeds they were expecting. The most common contention ratio for residents in the UK is 50:1. This means that from the “Up to 8mb” or “up to 24mb” service that your ISP may provide, there will potentially be another 49 people sharing that same connection.



Why don't you receive full download speeds: What is Contention Ratio? - LG NetworksDoes this affect business broadband?

Unfortunately, businesses are no exception to contention ratios but benefit from a slightly lower ratio at 20:1. Although on the surface this may seem to make a big difference, businesses tend to use a LOT more data than the average household, and have more users active at one time. This means that the speeds are still noticeably poor and unacceptable on the majority of services and situations.

Your ISP will always attempt to provide you with the maximum bandwidth, and when there is no competition between other users on your internet line, an increased download speed can be noticed.

There is no favouritism for specific users, meaning that at peak hours during the day, the connection has to be shared accordingly, resulting in internet speeds being significantly lower than usual. Although it is always shared accordingly, it is very rare that you will ever be sharing your service with the full amount of people on your contention ratio.

What are the options available?

Contention Ratios can often be a problem for businesses small and large alike, with the resulting outcome of having their workforce working at less than 100% efficiency costing time and money. Fortunately, there are alternative options available for businesses looking for a guaranteed 1:1 service, providing the full amount of bandwidth solely for that business.

See Fibre Optic Leased Lines & EFM for more about these private services

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