ADSL, Cable and contention ratios.

  slimzippy 17:17 14 Jan 2003
  slimzippy 17:17 14 Jan 2003

I currently have PlusNet ADSL and the service I’ve received has been appalling. Download speeds of 3kb/s and ping times of 800ms between the hours of 3pm and midnight. Outside of these times it’s fine. They say there is no problem with the service, it’s just the contention ratio. Would this still be the case if I switched ISP? Can somebody suggest a good ISP? I’m also thinking of 1Mb cable from ntl, what contention ratios can I expect on cable? Am I still going to have to resort to a dial up in the evenings?


  cherria 17:21 14 Jan 2003

If you switch ISP, you'll probably be using the same BT line and so have the same contention issues 1:50 is the norm.

On cable you should have a lower contention ratio and you will be using a different line so it will not be the same people you will be contending with so your new batch of line sharers may have different habits.

  Thin White Duke 17:22 14 Jan 2003


I cannot comment on cable as cable is not available down 'our terrace'.

But i have been with Pipexs' ADSL service for around a year now.
I always connect at 576k no matter what time of the day and d/l speeds are always between 40-50kbs.

Between the hours of 3pm and midnight would be when i use it most too and if i had d/l speeds of 3kbs i would definately not be happy either.

If you pop on over to click here you will be able to chat to other PlusNet users.

  Peanut001 17:30 14 Jan 2003

I am with and i have been having problems with a dropped line than i did with dialup, i have kept getting onto them and they said the same old rubbish of check cables etc until eventally they put bt onto it and they admitted there was a fault which is not completly sorted but i am on a different line and alot less noise with better speeds.

I do not believe that the contention ratios are for bt they are for the ISP as some offer 20:1 altho i could be wrong.

  jazzypop 17:33 14 Jan 2003

BT's domestic ADSL service has a contention ratio of 50:1. There is nothing the ISPs (re-sellers) can do about this. BT run the wire / enable the wire to the local exchange. They will ensure that no more than 50 people use the same 'loop'. The ISP has no control over this part of it.

BT do not (in fact, cannot) care which ISP you are with, or anyone else in that group, until the accounts dept starts the billing process.

I believe the original intention of 'unbundling' was to allow ISPs to install their own equipment in exchanges, but I am not aware of any that has done so yet, partly due to the cost of the rental charges from BT.

NTL's domestic service (at all three speeds) is offered at a contention ratio of 20:1 - so whether you have the 128, 600 or 1000Kb/s service, you should get the same quality of service, just 'capped' at the speed that you pay for.

  Peanut001 17:40 14 Jan 2003

Personally i would go with cable as it is a far better line and set up for data traffic as that is what it was designed for where as bt set up theres for voice in the stone age and managed to 'squeeze' data at a higher mhz.
also cable is almost unlimited in line speed whereas adsl has a max of 8mb and showing no signs of even increasing to 1mb whereas ntl are already there and hinting at higher speeds in the shirt future

  powerless 17:41 14 Jan 2003

What about a fault on the line?

  snooker 18:00 14 Jan 2003

I'm with Pipex which is fast and seems dependable.
They are certainly helpfull when phoned.

The only problem I have is noise on the BT part of the line. For this reason only,given the choice I would probably go with cable.

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