As broadband speeds get faster, we’re able to do much more online. However it’s not always easy to be certain you’re getting the speed you expected and paid for.
What is my broadband speed?
Your broadband speed represents the pace at which information passes through cables into your home and will govern how quickly you can browse the internet and whether you can do more complex operations such as watch videos or download a movie.
Typically most run of the mill broadband services will offer a speed fast enough to stream videos and browse the internet relatively quickly.
Mobile broadband providers, are suitable for people who do not have a phone line or who want to move around with their laptop. However, their mobile broadband speeds tend to be much lower, and your browsing experience will therefore be somewhat slower.
The fastest speeds on the market tend to be available with fibre optic broadband and this can be useful for people who work from home or game online.
However, fibre optic broadband is not available everywhere. If you want some installed check first of all with the provider to see if they cover your postcode.
What is the best broadband speed in my area?
Unfortunately, finding broadband is rarely a case of doing what it says on the tin. Speeds vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including where you are in the country.
For example, as mentioned before, some of the faster broadband services may not be available for your postcode.
To find out what speeds you can expect, you need to check the best broadband speeds by postcode and then choose from the packages and providers that cater for where you live. By searching the best broadband speeds by area you'll get an immediate idea of the maximum available speeds but this doesn't mean you'll actually get them. Other factors could mean that you're only able to get broadband speeds a fraction as fast as those advertised by a package.
One influential variable could be in the location of your computer. If you have a router in your living room, but want to use a computer on the second or third floor, the speed may be significantly slower upstairs than if you were in the room containing the router.
So, if you’ve purchased a package offering a speed of 10 mbps, you may be disappointed to find you’re only actually getting a fraction of that because of the location of your computer.
Similarly, the contention ratio (the maximum number of connections sharing your line) will also influence speed - if everyone in your area is online at the same time you could find your connection crawls.
You can test your broadband speed, by going online and finding a website which will allow you to conduct a broadband speed test. This will tell you how much data is actually coming into your computer and will be much more reliable.
Don’t forget upload speed
Last but not least, once you’ve done your broadband speed comparison you should also think about the best broadband upload speeds. This will be important if you want to send big files or make VoIP calls.
Equally, some companies place a limit on the amount of data you’re allowed to upload. If you exceed this limit you could find yourself being in for a significant extra charge or find your actual broadband speed being cut back.
To find out more and compare broadband speeds use our broadband speed comparison table.