TapBroadband Speed

This is not going to be a very scientific post being based on a sample of just one, but it may well be of relevance for other people who find that their broadband internet is not as quick as it should be. Before blaming the supplier and accepting their explanation about old infrastructure and distance from exchanges, take a look at what is on your side of the network. In particular look at your modem/router. Is it yellowing with age? If so, that may be the problem. I recently swapped out one that was six years old for a new one and it made a huge difference. I don’t think some early models are capable of supporting current network speeds.

If you look into the detailed status reports available on most models you may find that among the incomprehensible figures there are ones for inbound and outbound connection speeds. The one I was looking at reports only 2Mbps inbound. Changing it for a new model instantly made that jump to 8Mbps. And this was not just figures, the whole browsing experience became sprightly. The replacement wasn’t particularly sophisticated and cost just £55 in a retail shop (we were desperate); if yours comes as part of the contract you could try pestering them.

The same may also be true if you are on a cable network but there you have to convince your supplier because they provide the modem. When I look into this I will report what information is available and how I got on.

As a footnote I will also remark on how peculiar the router market is at the moment.

  • It is very difficult to by a router without wireless and if you can find one they are not a lot cheaper.
  • It is also very difficult to buy a router where the built in switch runs at gigabit speeds and virtually impossible if you want ADSL rather than cable. You may ask why you want that when the broadband is running between 8 and 20Mbps but it is needed for communication between devices internally—like network storage and video streamers. There are even some that boast 300Mbps wireless but only provide 100Mbps wired connections—daft!
  • Beware of wireless systems advertised as “Dual Band N.” The better ones are simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz but others are switch-able so you have one or the other. As you are almost bound to have some devices on the older standard (even if only guests) then the 5GHz option is wasted.
  • Finally, the decision on which one to buy in the exercise above was determined by a trivial factor; wall mount. For the sake of a couple of keyhole slots on the back, competitors were discarded. Even then it wasn’t advertised on the box, I had to get a salesman to open it up to see. Our location (for power and telephone connection) was in a busy narrow gangway so a shelf was not an option but even in better environments why should we have to give up valuable surface space to a utilitarian device like this.

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