Broadband - Contention Rates

  georgemac 08:40 12 Mar 2004

We will hopefully be getting broadband in our village this year and I have been studying the various broadband packages, and I hope to put details on our campaign website.

If I understand it right, most affordable packages offer a contention rate of 50-1, which means that theroetically your 512kbs 10 x faster than dialup connection could be shared by 50 people at the same time, which would result in a slower (4 x slower?) connection than 45 kbs dialup?

I realise for this to happen everyone sharing the connection would have to be online and downloading at the same time, which is not likely, but I would imagine it may be likely than 10 people could be online at the same time?

I will advise people on the site to look at the adslguide website speed ratings, as I guess this is the only way to check the speed of connections provided by the suppliers?

Any advice appreciated

  GANDALF <|:-)> 08:48 12 Mar 2004

Broadband does not necessarily speed up surfing by a huge amount and downloads of around 60kbs are around the norm for 512k. Speed rating sites are little better than useless as the speed varies greatly during the day. These sites should be only taken with a pinch of salt. All BB(apart from cable) comes through BT, irrespective of the name of the ISP, so the choice of ISP is somewhat academic. It is unusual for contention rates to peak but if they do there will be little that anyone can do.


  Gemma 09:26 12 Mar 2004

Without knowing the demographics of your local area and the details of the bandwidth of the exchange, it is just a guessing game. Exchanges themselves are contention systems for voice as the total number of users generally exceeds the switching capacity. The same applies to mobile phones, trains and saloon bars!

As an ADSL broadband user at home for the last two years with a 50:1 512K from Pipex, I have not experienced any problems that could be ascribed to contention. This is in a well off London suburb where every house seems to have at least one PC and about 20% have two phone lines.

Should demand and usage rise to the point where bandwidth becomes a problem, BT (talking ADSL) will add capacity to meet the demand. Using current technology most users on the local loop could be offered 2Mbps and the fibre backbone systems in place were designed for the boom that never happened and have shed loads of capacity.

The ADSL broadband offerings, as far as the local loop are concerned, are identical branding of the BT wholesale service. To distinguish one from another you have to look at price, service and the capacity of the ISP's servers and network - the last being the thing you don't see in the advertising.

  byfordr 09:39 12 Mar 2004

I've got 2mb 50:1 connection with click here never noticed any appreciable slow down (ever when downloading from several browser) The 20:1 connection was double the price so I didn't bother, I'm more than happy with the speeds I'm getting. In theory it could be a problem. In practise it hasn't been.


  Chegs ® 09:56 12 Mar 2004

I had a 512 50:1 connection with Pipex,it worked great for just over a month,then I was getting "Unable to connect" messages,totally crap speeds(only between 2:00am and 5:00am was it close to the speeds I was paying)the rest of any 24 hour period,it was 10kbs/s tops.This was unacceptable to me,especially as I had upgraded from ISDN which often gave me better speeds than the ADSL! When I moved house,I also changed ISP(as Pipex had stated my probs were caused by the "high takeup of their offerings" and then ignored my further requests)My new ISP has never had any downtime in over 6 months usage,rarely suffers any slowdowns(except on PCA;-) but PCA are looking into each prob they encounter)and when I had a problem(caused by Nero's InCd)my ISP were straight onto it,offering advice and alerting BT who got an engineer to test my connection.The new ISP is slightly more expensive than others,but not if you take into account my 20:1 contention/unlimited storage on their server/domain name,etc that is included.

  ardvarc 11:19 12 Mar 2004

I am with Metronet 512K PAYG with contention ratio 50:1 and no complaints about the connection or speed day or night so far. Also for just over £8 per year you can have a PoP3 mailbox account ([email protected]) that can be configured easily to send and receive in Outlook Express and AVG 7 Pro. I am on the statuary 3 month trial and costs about £14 per month depending on how much you download. I don't think I will be changing.

  blanco 17:27 12 Mar 2004

So we meet on this site!
I'v been with Pipex dsl for just about a couple of years now and have had no real problems with download speeds.
I suppose if you're unlucky enough to live in cluster of peer to peer activists who are downloading for most of the day, there will be problems. Hence the fact that some ISPs are putting download limits in place.
The real variation comes from the server you're downloading from, much as it does with dial up. Most things, including Windows updates and AVG updates go like the clappers.
On the other hand, whenever I need to download something from MSI (my motherboard and graphics card)in Taiwan, I am lucky to get twice the dial up speed.
On the odd occasion I now use my BT dial up, it's a real pain. It's a great boon and with a telephone line that is free to use all the time, great value for money.
I hope to be able to welcome you to the club very soon.

  pj123 17:36 12 Mar 2004

I am on NTL Cable Broadband at 600kbs and am told the rate is 20:1. Having checked around my local area I cannot find anyone else on the system. So no wonder my download rate (around 79 to 80kbs) is very fast.

  Mister Splendid 17:38 12 Mar 2004

The point that always seems to be missed in respect of contention rates is that it is not your 512Kbps or 1Mbps etc that is contended at 50:1. Infact it is the bandwidth, or pipes, made available by BT at your exchange that is contended. Typically this will be 2Mbps at 50:1, or maybe up-to 7Mbps if there are a lot of subscribers using higher bandwidth connections.

  georgemac 18:51 12 Mar 2004

tahnks for that info - I did wonder if that would be the case but was unsure.

I am a bit miffed/confused at seeing posters say download rates would only be 60 - 70 kbs - is this compared to the 40 kbs available with dial-up or only twice as fast?

I have never had the option to try broadband.

  blanco 19:36 12 Mar 2004

Following my earlier post, I have just done a test from a server in Holland and it gives me a download speed of 456Kbps (57 KBytes/sec) and upload of 214Kbps (267 KBytes/sec)
I felt lucky if I got 40Kbps on dial up so I find the 10 times faster claim, generally pretty fair.

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