The Truth About Broadband Speeds

Without understanding the way ADSL service works, many consumers may be disappointed at the actual speeds they receive once connected to a broadband service. While many Australian providers offer theoretical speeds of up to 24,000 kbps on an ADSL2+ connection, it is highly unlikely that any subscriber would reach this theoretical maximum speed. By reading the fine print you will discover that actual speeds vary depending on a number of factors, including the distance from the exchange, the quality of the copper line and the infrastructure on the phone line. It is important to understand that the speeds listed and advertised on many plans are the theoretical maximum speed; the actual service received will not be as high.

Where available, ADSL2+ offers the fastest speeds available through a home phone line. Theoretical speeds reach up to 24,000 kbps, generally with 50% of subscribers achieving speeds in excess of 10,000 kbps. TPG claims that that 20% of its ADSL2+ customers receive speeds above 20,000 kbps, 50% above 15,000 kbps and 70% above 10,000 kbps. This also implies that 30% of ADSL2+ customers receive less than 10,000kbps. Speeds will always vary between subscribers as equipment, cabling and network configuration all affect the actual speeds received. Uploads speeds decay less than download speeds and you should be able to receive close to the maximum possible upload speed within 2km from the exchange.

ADSL speeds range from 256 kbps to 8000 kbps. A fast ADSL connection is available in most areas but is also subject to our distance from the exchange, phone line infrastructure and equipment. Most providers offer a fast 8000 kbps connection for a higher cost. You can test your current internet speed online to see what you current connection is offering. Because of the quality of the copper line coming into your house, the actual speed you will get from any provider who uses Telstra infrastructure will be fairly similar.

Cable broadband connections offer speeds up to 30,000kbps. The actual speed received will depend on the plan subscribed to as well as the network traffic while connected. Because cable connections share bandwidth between subscribers in a locality, if many of your neighbours access the internet simultaneously, the speed will decrease.

Mobile Broadband connections speeds also depend on a number of factors, including the mobile coverage in your area, the plan subscribed to and interference form external sources. As with a mobile phone, network congestion can slow speeds as can interference from walls or structures between the device and the mobile tower.

Your hardware can also affect broadband speeds as older computer systems or modems can have difficulty keeping up with the speeds associated with an ADSL2+ connection. Within the home, the more computers connected to the internet connection will reduce speed for all users. On a wireless network for example, speed is shared between connected computers.

If you feel you are not getting the speed you are paying for, you should first call your internet service provider to troubleshoot any issues that may affect the broadband signal. There are several checks they can perform to evaluate the quality of your service, including any incompatible hardware or software that may affect connection speed.

Ultimately, if you are not getting what you paid for, it may be time to switch internet service providers. You can compare ADSL, ADSL2+, Naked DSL and Mobile broadband plans from the major Australian internet service providers at Compare Broadband.