Switching broadband provider, any thoughts?

Neil McRae

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Jun 5, 2016
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Where do you live? PM me a phone number for the FTTP and I’ll take a look. But I can tell you for network performance and Wi-fi performance we **** all over Sky (not my stats). Oh and it’s Sky (and other CP ’s) who have chosen not to offer FTTP - although that will change in in the next 12-18 months I would expect.

Cheers
Neil


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Neil McRae

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Jun 5, 2016
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Are you saying Sky gave you a 2Mb/sec service? They usually don’t touch customers that low.


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JMP

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Aug 12, 2011
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Aye, that's all I had when moved here before FTTP installed. It stated 'up to 17MB' but in reality was 2MB at best because of how far I was from the cabinet.

OK, PM coming your way, cheers.
 

cyberkryten

Active Member
Jul 18, 2017
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Wiltshire
What is often totally misunderstood is what/who affects your internet speed. These are in order of importance and ease of fixing (hardest first):

a) The actual 'line speed'. In most cases, the last section of a line is provided by Openreach for non-cable connections. If you get 20Mb from one provider, changing provider will do nothing to change the line speed because that is unchanged - the copper between your house and the cabinet/exchange is the same. So BT FTTC and other provider FTTC will be pretty much the same speed.

If you can't get FTTC and are on an older ADSL2, then your speeds will be lower.

Each provider can do some minor things to tweak line speeds and some provider routers are better than others but if the link is slower than it should be for the length of copper between your house and the far-end you are not going to get major gains by switching provider, unless you can get someone to fix the line issues, which will have to be done via Openreach.

The line speed is the maximum you'll ever get and is constant from you to the cabinet (or exchange) at any given time. It may fluctuate as your router and the provider kit try to get stable link. Be aware that at this time of year, your line speeds are likely to take a hit from all the RF interference that comes from Christmas lights and water/cold weather affecting the physical cabling. Oh, and streetlights in some places. We can tell the time of year from line noise/attenuation graphs.

If you have cable, then its a whole different set of issues due to the way it is delivered and your line speed may actually vary, so you have to pick cable or copper. If you have FTTP then it should be better and as you have a full fibre connection, it should be clear of the interference issues and be a pretty much constant speed (assuming you've recovered from the install fees if you aren't in the middle of a major city)


b) Provider connection, congestion or poor backhaul. Changing provider can affect this, if you are getting major packet loss or issues with data transfer at speeds below the line speed. Some are better than others, provide better router etc. Mostly changing provider will help if you get peak-time issues (congestion) or the router is rubbish, though buying your own router is also an option if that's the issue.

You're probably also using your provider's DNS servers, which may be overloaded at times, so you can try using Google or Cloudflare DNS servers as that might speed things up.

Provider filtering/bandwidth limiting is less common now, but does happen for 'network protection' and avoiding excessive use, so worth asking if this happens.

A very common issue during school holidays is that your kids that constantly stream stuff and torrent things which then affects your connection, as they're using all the bandwidth! If everything gets better late evening (if you have young kids, after they're in bed) or morning through to lunchtime-ish (if you have teenagers when they're still in bed!) then parental controls may be needed.


c) Wifi connection speed. Routers/access points vary in effecitveness and how they cope with multiple connections and local interference. This can be far worse in housing estates and blocks of flats. Test anything on a fixed ethernet connection and if it is better then you have a Wifi issue. Changing provider in itself won't help, unless is is a router issue. Often moving the router can help more than changing provider. If you live in an old stone cottage with thick walls or a steel built structure or have a really large house then you may need to look at a mesh wifi solution to increase coverage. The further you are from the router, the slower your connection will get as the signal gets weaker.


As a final comment, the fancy gaming routers don't do a lot more than normal ones and the idea that a mega router can make a huge difference to gaming performance just isn't true. Router packet switching delay is so low it is undetectable in any decent router. NAT processing and firewall is so quick these days it just isn't an issue. At most you may save a few microseconds, which makes no real difference given the time taken to get packets across the internet to the gaming servers and it wasn't the reason that 8 year old killed you in Fortnite ;)
 

Neil McRae

Site Supporter
Jun 5, 2016
5,847
3,362
113
Surrey
What is often totally misunderstood is what/who affects your internet speed. These are in order of importance and ease of fixing (hardest first):

a) The actual 'line speed'. In most cases, the last section of a line is provided by Openreach for non-cable connections. If you get 20Mb from one provider, changing provider will do nothing to change the line speed because that is unchanged - the copper between your house and the cabinet/exchange is the same. So BT FTTC and other provider FTTC will be pretty much the same speed.

If you can't get FTTC and are on an older ADSL2, then your speeds will be lower.

Each provider can do some minor things to tweak line speeds and some provider routers are better than others but if the link is slower than it should be for the length of copper between your house and the far-end you are not going to get major gains by switching provider, unless you can get someone to fix the line issues, which will have to be done via Openreach.

The line speed is the maximum you'll ever get and is constant from you to the cabinet (or exchange) at any given time. It may fluctuate as your router and the provider kit try to get stable link. Be aware that at this time of year, your line speeds are likely to take a hit from all the RF interference that comes from Christmas lights and water/cold weather affecting the physical cabling. Oh, and streetlights in some places. We can tell the time of year from line noise/attenuation graphs.

If you have cable, then its a whole different set of issues due to the way it is delivered and your line speed may actually vary, so you have to pick cable or copper. If you have FTTP then it should be better and as you have a full fibre connection, it should be clear of the interference issues and be a pretty much constant speed (assuming you've recovered from the install fees if you aren't in the middle of a major city)


b) Provider connection, congestion or poor backhaul. Changing provider can affect this, if you are getting major packet loss or issues with data transfer at speeds below the line speed. Some are better than others, provide better router etc. Mostly changing provider will help if you get peak-time issues (congestion) or the router is rubbish, though buying your own router is also an option if that's the issue.

You're probably also using your provider's DNS servers, which may be overloaded at times, so you can try using Google or Cloudflare DNS servers as that might speed things up.

Provider filtering/bandwidth limiting is less common now, but does happen for 'network protection' and avoiding excessive use, so worth asking if this happens.

A very common issue during school holidays is that your kids that constantly stream stuff and torrent things which then affects your connection, as they're using all the bandwidth! If everything gets better late evening (if you have young kids, after they're in bed) or morning through to lunchtime-ish (if you have teenagers when they're still in bed!) then parental controls may be needed.


c) Wifi connection speed. Routers/access points vary in effecitveness and how they cope with multiple connections and local interference. This can be far worse in housing estates and blocks of flats. Test anything on a fixed ethernet connection and if it is better then you have a Wifi issue. Changing provider in itself won't help, unless is is a router issue. Often moving the router can help more than changing provider. If you live in an old stone cottage with thick walls or a steel built structure or have a really large house then you may need to look at a mesh wifi solution to increase coverage. The further you are from the router, the slower your connection will get as the signal gets weaker.


As a final comment, the fancy gaming routers don't do a lot more than normal ones and the idea that a mega router can make a huge difference to gaming performance just isn't true. Router packet switching delay is so low it is undetectable in any decent router. NAT processing and firewall is so quick these days it just isn't an issue. At most you may save a few microseconds, which makes no real difference given the time taken to get packets across the internet to the gaming servers and it wasn't the reason that 8 year old killed you in Fortnite ;)
So the access part of the above is certainly true but if you have a flakey line then insist that your provider takes it up with Openreach.

I strongly recommend only using your service providers DNS - a huge amount of local caching is dependant on DNS (and will be more so in the future) so you’ll slow things down if you use google and cloudflare are the dodgiest bunch on the planet and I’d strongly avoid them- they’d sell you your own grandmother.

On the router front I wouldn’t assume they are all the same because they aren’t - core thing is flows and how many of them you have
And how much memory your device has and it’s buffering methodology so all your various home automation nest hue etc etc all have an impact then all the direct user driven stuff as above - second to that is wireless design, antenna and the chipset you use spend an extra few quid on a decent chipset and antenna and it can make a world of difference to the performance esp with beam forming.

Cheers,
Neil.






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Cursaw

Active Member
Jul 18, 2016
183
55
28
Bradford/York
Depending on locality it may be worth looking at the suppliers using other technology, i had BT but unfortunately they could not offer above 1mb/s so after searching came across Boundless Networks (wireless) which offer a few packages.i achieve 50mb/s down and 20mb/s up which is fine for my usage, here is their coverage map http://www.boundlessnetworks.co.uk/coverage . its been a really good solution for me.

Drew
 
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carl lawrence

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Jul 31, 2011
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Sandbach
Have a BT hub 6 , well on my 4th one now ,it's ok for a few weeks and then we start having issues , there is normally 4 of us on the internet at the same time watching Netflix using iPads extra and of coarse one on the Xbox and phone so it's like 8 devices all going at once , so do I go for a duel band routor or a Tri -band routor and which model to go for .