What ADSL speeds do BT regard as normal

  anchor 13:00 05 Jun 2005

I have just done a BT ADSL speed test from BT.

click here

However, I noted their comment:

BT would regard the speed ranges shown below as normal service:

For 250kbps End Users speeds between 50 - 250kbps.
For 500kbps End Users speeds between 100 - 500kbps.
For 1000kbps End Users speeds between 200 - 1000kbps.
For 2000kbps End Users speeds between 400 - 2000kbps.

BT may regard the lower limit as normal, but most of us would be appalled.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 13:27 05 Jun 2005

It is always clearly stated that speed is dependant on contention ratio and number of users on the lines so it will be up and down like a fiddler's elbow.

I am appalled at world hunger but internet speed is not really a matter for any emotion whatsoever.


  powerless 13:28 05 Jun 2005

Contention Ratio?

  powerless 13:31 05 Jun 2005


  anchor 13:36 05 Jun 2005

GANDALF: we are all appalled by world hunger, but that has nothing to do with paying money for a fast service that turns out to be slow. Your disinterest in this must be a delight to BT.

Powerless: this will explain contention ratio:

click here

  CurlyWhirly 13:38 05 Jun 2005

I always use click here and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page it gives you typical download speeds which are more realistic speeds in my opinion!
The speeds you quoted sound abysmal to me.

  powerless 13:41 05 Jun 2005

I know what contention ratio is, that was my answer.

I think it's in your contract isn't, that service is dependant upon number of users?

  Djohn 18:36 05 Jun 2005

The link you have given is the wholesale test site and the most reliable one to check from. Same one that BT will ask you to use but logged onto them and not your ISP. Simply because it is logged with them and bypasses your ISP.

From that test link you can establish your speed as obtainable over the internet, using other testers will go through your ISP, so its a useful guide to determine if your ISP or BT line is causing the problem.

If you can get a satisfactory result at your BT link but a poor one through your ISP then you know who is at fault. If the BT test is poor, remember its logged by BT, then they will use this info to test your line.

What a lot of us fail to take into account is the contention ratio. There are 2 but this is not made clear on most sites or ISP home pages. BT exchange for home use is 50/1 but then when you get onto your ISP network, most of them apply a contention as well of anything from 20/1 to 50/1.

Plusnet do this, they say they have a contention of 30/1 for home users and this leads one to believe they are offering a better service than BT or other ISP's. Not true. My ISP [Zen] has no contention whatsoever on their network,[Look at their home page, it guarantees no contention] only the standard 50/1 at the BT exchange. click here

I've just spent the last two weeks going through this with BT themselves doing a line check with my router logged onto their [BT's] site every night from midnight to noon the following day for a period of 7 nights.

They eventually found a slight fault that increased my actual downloads on a 100 Mb test file, [I have a 2Mb service] from a low of 198 - 210 kbps , to 240kbps rock steady speed. quite a difference, especially the stable part of the download and I expect to receive a good result when I'm paying top prices for the service.

A lot of trouble for me to go through? It depends on what your speeds are, if they are reasonably consistant, then no. My speed on first upgrading to 2MB would vary from a high of 2600kbps to a low of 200 kbps with many different results in between, most round the 700 mark and not even up to 1MB service, a large amount by anyones standards. I now have a stable download at any time of day or night of 240kbps equal to mid to high 1900's in a speed test, very satisfactory and Im well pleased with this.

  Forum Editor 19:31 05 Jun 2005


Contention ratio is the answer in almost all cases of reported 'speed', and to be honest nobody could possibly run an ADSL service based on downstream speed guarantees.

The nature of ADSL, coupled to the inconsistency of the line quality from area to area (and street to street) means that it's quite impossible to maintain a consistently fast service to each subscriber. I have been using the BT broadband service since it was introduced - I was one of the first 10,000 subscribers - and I have yet to see two days with identical downstream rates. Upstream is slightly more consistent, but most of us are not too worried about that.

The fact that connection speeds will vary is made crystal-clear by BT before you sign up for the service, and there's little they (BT) can do about it without completely replacing the UK's current (largely) copper wire telecoms network with fibre.

  Djohn 19:59 05 Jun 2005

Sorry FE, I didn't mean to imply that one will always get the exact same speed with a download. As in my last paragraph I say my speed test will vary in the 1900 range. I can do several consecutive test and see 1920 - 1929 - 1949 - 1989 with the very odd one here and there just slightly below or above this speed.

There are many things to take into account as you know when testing your download speeds and internet traffic, time of day, sever connected to and quality of line are just a few of many.

What I was trying to put across, is that connected to a test site downloading a 100 mb file should remain steady and constant if everything is working in your favour, the speed may and most likely will vary depending on time of day.

Many people forget, or are not aware that their ISP can and does also apply a contention to their own network. Some ISP's do not, and let BT manage it at the exchange.

If BT is allowing a 50/1 contention, then your speed will vary on how many other people are on-line downloading at the same time as yourself, but some users on that same contention will see better speeds because their ISP is not also placing a contention on their network.

Others will suffer a drop in speed far more than they expect because their ISP just happens to have a high amount of users downloading at the same time from the same server.

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