Century IT blog

Broadband Options

March 8th, 2013

Office Broadband Connection Running Slow?

 

 

Is your existing broadband connection not meeting your expectations, are you are finding your internet slow, remote access to the office goes at a snail’s pace, emails taking an age to send or receive?

 

You could be suffering from an under performing ISP or broadband connection.

 

In the first instance, you should speak to your existing provider to see if anything can be done to improve your broadband connection or if indeed there is a technical fault that would explain the poor performance.

 

 

 

Options to Improve

 

1) Ensure Office Broadband is on your ISP’s Business Option or Tariff

Home broadband connections or free broadband connections especially ones that are included within your phone line rental are generally throttled in some manner and not suitable to for business use.

 

2) Check your router, is it old, out of date? not suitable for ADSL 2+ connections ?

Replace your router with a more modern one

 

3) Check to see if your office can get BT Infinity  or equivalent service from your existing ISP

 

4) Move Broadband suppliers to one that prioritises Business Broadband internet traffic over non business related traffic

 

5) Migrate from standard broadband connection to fibre connection

 

Upgrading your office internet connection could prove costly if you are either in contract with your existing provider or purchase a new internet connection which doesn’t really meet your business needs. If you are looking at changing providers or replacing your existing internet connection with a higher grade internet connection, please speak to us in the first instance for advice.

 

Century IT Services are based in Totton, Southampton. Hampshire and can help you with the installation or on going I.T support of your computer, server and network. We offer a broad range of I.T services covering, internet, email, anti-spam, anti-virus solutions, we are experts in virtually anything Microsoft Server based and have extensive troubleshooting skills.

 

If you have an ever growing list of I.T niggles or need a server, or network installed, you have come to the right place. You can contact us on Tel. 023 80 070101 or email us at sales@century-it.co.uk for a confidential, no obligation discussion of your requirements.

 

Digital Britain 3 Years on!

June 1st, 2012

 

Back in 2009, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown said digital technology was as important today as roads, bridges and trains were in the 20th Century.

 

The Digital Britain Interim Report which was produced by the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform states that “A successful Britain must be a Digital Britain.”

 

Also back in 2009, we gave our opinion on the topic of broadband speeds in our BLOG article titled Digital Britain – Broadband Speeds in Contention, now some 3 years on let’s review some of our observations and see how the business broadband market has changed.

 

Let’s review some of our observations and see how the business broadband market place has changed in the past 3 years

 

 

If some Internet Service Providers marketing material were to be read literally, we might somehow believe we were living in the ’21st Century’ and the broadband skyline was a bright and exciting world, unfortunately the real world is comparatively different.

 

Quite frequently in the press there always seems to be a lot of noise about advertised broadband speeds not being quite as advertised, and in practice the general complaint is these broadband speeds tend to be a lot slower than advertised.

 

Would you be surprised I were to tell you that it is our experience that these broadband speeds are never generally in favour of the consumer, more often, our experience is the broadband speed is in their determent.

 

The major broadband complaints we get from our business customers are:

 

  • Broadband isn’t quick enough

 

  • Broadband experience is of a transient nature (drops out, slows down, disconnects)

 

  • Broadband upload speed simply isn’t sufficient

 

  • Broadband throughput is throttled at the telephone exchange or at the ISP

 

  • Poor broadband connections or reliability are causing business financial loss

 

The above problems are not generally ISP specific and generally manifest themselves across a large geographic area i.e. a variety of different counties, telephone exchanges and internet service providers.

 

 

 

Let’s start this discussion by giving some facts from real world examples

 

Real World Example 1

Let’s first look at our office broadband, our ISP advertises business broadband speeds of up to 17mb download. Strangely our router ADSL sync speed is nearly at 21mb.

Our average broadband download speed is around 14mb.

A BT specific broadband speed check lists our broadband speed at up to 21mb, the BT speedtest diagnosis is that our broadband has 15.52mb download speed.

 

Real World Example 2

Another router on a different telephone exchange reports a 11.5mb router sync speed

Average download speed is around 8mb

A BT Specific speed test lists the broadband speed at up to 21mb, the BT speedtest diagnosis says that the broadband connection download speed as around 8.5mb

 

Real World Example 3

11.5mb router sync speed

BT service says that the connection is on a 21mb connection

Average download speed is around 8mb

BT Specific speed test lists the broadband download speed as around 8.5mb

 

 

 

I suspect many of ISPs will be reading this and will readily formulating their excuses to justify why broadband speeds are so transient and to be quite frank, we have heard them all before. Unless they have something new to tell us, don’t bother wasting your time trying to justify your position.

 

Our point is that broadband speeds shouldn’t be transient; at least for businesses it should be a steady, guaranteed service, anything else just stifles business innovation and growth.

 

 

Comparisions

 

Let’s try to draw comparisons with other utility based services to try to put things into perspective:-

 

T.V

In 2010 there has were nearly 10 million TV sets sold, yet there isn’t any reports of T.Vs not working as the broadcasting services have been oversold and a T.V signal could not be found?

And no I didn’t need to reboot my T.V a single time to watch BBC News Night!

 

Radio

In the past year there has been no reports of some radio stations not working, or not working at certain times of day, or slowing down if the whole neighbourhood has their radios turned on?

And no I didn’t need to reboot my radio a single time to listen to Dave Lee Travis!

 

Electricity

In 2010 there were around 81,000 new homes built, strangely there have been no reported problems with light bulbs only being able to get bright at certain times of the day, or ovens not getting hot enough (that i know of) due to lack of electricity.

And no, I didn’t suffer any intermittent light bulb outages or needed to keep a variety of manufacturers different light bulbs to test with.

 

Water

Let’s look at the water supply and the flow rate from your tap, does it stop or slow down at certain times of the day? Will your water supply only work with certain types of taps?

 

The above comparisons may be slightly humorous although there is a serious side to the above illustrations, if you pause for thought and give some consideration to what is being argued. In today’s technological age, is it too much to ask for a utility service to be supplied at a constant and consistent rate?

 

 

Is it too much to ask for a utility service to be supplied at a constant and consistent rate?

 

Summary

 

If you don’t get bogged down in all of the industry jargon, the simple fact is that broadband technology is not and has not kept up with demand.

 

The leaps in technology that occur in every other technology sector are not taking place in the broadband sector.

 

Our experience is broadband speeds haven’t increased (for the majority of the population) in any notable measure over the past 3 years.

 

Business broadband connections still are of a very transient nature.

 

From our experiences, could we be criticised in drawing the conclusion that broadband services in the U.K are being rationed?

 

 

What do we recommend

For the purpose of this article let’s concentrate on the business broadband market. As far as we are concerned, business broadband should have the following characteristics:-

 

  • Business broadband should not be transient

 

  • Business broadband should have considerably faster download and upload speeds (when compared to residential market)

 

  • Should have uncontended and unfettered traffic

 

  • Should not be asynchronous

 

 

Business Opportunity

 

 

ISP’s should be aware that businesses are as not as price sensitive as the residential consumer market place and businesses therefore would be more likely to pay more for a better broadband service, better reliability and a considerably faster broadband connection.

 

We believe that business broadband speeds should

 

  • Start at 50mbs

 

  • Should not be asynchronous in nature

 

  • Should not be contended

 

  • Should have a S.L.A by default (Service Level Agreement)

 

  • Should be un-throttled

 

  • There should be speed options for different types and sizes of businesses i.e. 50mb, 150mb, 300mb

 

For the right kind of ISP, with the right kind of vision of the future business broadband market place there probably is a huge, untapped business opportunity.

 

 

 

Sources

After reviewing some daily newspapers, the Mailonline and the Telegraph we were not surprised to review some recent articles on this topics

FSB

BERR

Number 10

Ofcom (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr11/)

 

 

 

Broadband Running Slow or Dropping Out?

March 5th, 2012

Broadband Troubleshooting

 

If you are struggling with your broadband performance or reliability you may be noticing that some or all of the following anomalies:

 

  • Broadband drops connection and reconnects
  • Broadband download speed terribly slow
  • Download speed is slower than upload speed
  • Broadband connection drops when you make a telephone call

 

Business Broadband, Network Support, Server Support, Computer Support,

 

If you are suffering from a combination of the symptoms above, we would advise you work through the following recommendations to troubleshoot your issue. Basically your broadband provider will get you to do these tests anyway before they investigate your issues.

 

1) Replace the Micro filter(s)

2) Test broadband with Router is plugged into BT Master Socket

3) If you have added any internal BT wiring in your office disconnect this to rule out any internal wiring faults

4) When you have a suspected broadband issue you can usually access the router from your computer/laptop to check to see how long the router has been online and whether the broadband is connected

5) Run the BT broadband diagnostics http://speedtester.bt.com (you will need java on your computer)

6) Plug in a normal analogue phone and listen to the dial tone – is it crackly / noisy line?

7) Try a replacement Router or Modem

 

I.T Support, Server Support, Network Support

The BT speedtester website diagnostics will need to be run at least 3 times although you can only use the website once every three hours.

Once you have completed the above speak to your ISP and report the fault. They can have a look at the diagnostics report and decide if there is a fault with either the ISP, BT Exchange, External wiring or internet to your building.

Please try all of the above before getting a BT engineer out, our experience is a BT engineer’s visit will cost you around £130 even if they do nothing and find a problem with your internal BT wiring or even a ‘no fault found’

 

Century IT Services – Getting IT Right

Providing Computer Support & Network Support to businesses in Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, Wiltshire, Sussex & Berkshire

 

How Fast Is My Broadband Connection

April 12th, 2011

Broadband Speed Problems?

slow broadband

 

Is your broadband running slow, or perhaps you dont really know what speed your broadband is running at, or if there is a fault and were  wondering what checks you can do yourself.

 

Your broadband speed will be dependant upon a number of factors, namely the distance from your local BT Exchange, the quality of cable from the exchange, the number of broadband users at your BT exchange, your internal telephone wiring within your building, other telephony devices within your building, faulty microfilters, throttling at the BT telephone exchange / ISP or any combination of these.

 

You can usually check your broadband connection speed by looking at your router connection information. You can compare the router information against these tests to Identify your actual Broadband SpeedMicrosoft Small Business Specialist

 

 

If your broadband speed is slower than you would normally expect you can try the following troubleshooting list:-

 

  • Ensure a microfilter is fitted on each telephone socket that is in use
  • Try your ADSL router in the BT master socket
  • Ensure your router firmware is up to date
  • Try unplugging other telephony devices on the broadband  telephone line

Microsoft Partner

 

By comparing the BT SpeedTester results with other Broadband speed test you can get an idea if your broadband is being throttled at the local BT Telephone Exchange or by the Internet Provider (ISP)

 

 

 

Century IT Services – Getting IT Right
Providing Computer Support & Network Support to businesses in Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, Wiltshire, Sussex & Berkshire

VoIP Jitter & Packet Loss

November 29th, 2010

3cx_certified_partner

 

One of the biggest design and installation mistakes we come across in many other 3CX VoIP installations is perhaps the intended sharing of a single business broadband connection with 3CX VoIP trunks and all of the other business internet activities e.g. Surfing, downloads, email, mobile and remote access etc.

 

Trying to ‘stuff’ everything down a single broadband connection is not a good idea, on a busy or saturated broadband connection, the first service to experience problems will typically be the VoIP Siptrunk Traffic, callers will begin to experience ‘Jitter’ (delays in the voice conversation by each party) and ‘packet loss’ (conversation drops out – parts of the conversation are not heard).

 

Most modern business broadband routers support a feature called QOS (Quality of Service) whereby VoIP traffic can be prioritised by the router. Basically what happens is that VoIP traffic is prioritised over other types of internet traffic i.e. Surfing & Email, basically internet traffic which does not require ‘real time’ communication over the broadband connection.

 

3cx voip telephone systems

This QOS feature does help ‘share’ a broadband connection relatively succesfully but in our experience there are times again when upon broadband saturation VoIP traffic will begin to suffer Jitter and Pack Loss.

 

If you are suffering from Jitter and Packet Loss the other consideration is your Internet Service Provider, would your ISP know if they have a system where they prioritise VoIP Traffic over their network and the Internet? If they don’t then it doesn’t really matter that you have the right equipment and configuration, VoIP traffic problems will occur further upstream.

 

 

 

What do we recommend?

 

  • We would advise against sharing a broadband connection, 3CX Sip traffic with other computer network systems & services

 

  • We would recommend you select an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who specialise in VoIP and can offer a prioritised VoIP traffic service

 

  • Look at what VoIP Codec you are using and perform a mathematical calculation against your available bandwidth

 

  • Why not use a 3CX recommended VoIP SIp Trunk provider who have a dedicated VoIP Service

 

  • Speak to us about a dedicated VoIP gateway to interface your existing BT phone lines, we have solutions for PSTN, ISDN2e, ISDN30 and mobile/gsm networks

 

 

3cx voip telephone systems

 

 

If you think you are suffering from a broadband / VoIP traffic capacity or bottleneck problem, in the first instance try this VoIP Tester

 

VoIP Tester – VoIP Tester

Why not give us a call to discuss how we can expertly support your 3CX VoIP Telephone System investment or make productivity improvement recommendations?

 

 

Century IT Services – Providing expert 3CX VoIP Telephone Installations & Support in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Surrey, Sussex, & Berkshire.

 

Digital Britain – Broadband Speeds In Contention

June 22nd, 2009

www worldwide web

ADSL Broadband speeds are in contention, both technically and literally. Since the arrival of ADSL in the majority of local BT telephone exchanges around April 2002 the speed of ADSL broadband has not really improved in the subsequent 7 years since.

 

 

 

In 2002 there was much excitement for those who were migrating from their ISDN 64K internet connections to ADSL. Back in 2002 broadband speeds began at the 2MB mark, but unfortunately a lot of people today in 2009 are only still only receiving between 2MB and 5MB download speeds, again upload speeds have also virtually remained unchanged at 400k if you are lucky.

 

 

It seems that ADSL technology has not really kept pace with other technological advances. The more seriously affected areas in the U.K are rural areas, with an even more limited connection speeds and supplier options. You will hear that broadband speed is dependant upon a number of different factors:-

 

slow broadband

  • Distance from local BT exchange

 

  • Quality of the connections

 

  • Faster speed with underground cooper wire, slower with cheaper underground aluminium wire

 

  • Contention ratio

 

  • ISP rating

 

 

 

Is the problem only going to become worse? The U.K government aims for 100% broadband penetration by 2012 with the current figure at about 65% with broadband internet access

 

 

But should it really matter? If we were talking about mobile phones, would we accept that with some suppliers or tariffs we were likely to get a sub-standard connection, or perhaps could only make quality telephone calls at optimum times of the day, I doubt anyone would call that acceptable. So why does a large proportion of U.K businesses accept a substandard ADSL broadband connection?

 

 

Is OFCOM doing enough to regulate, control and monitor ISPs? All other U.K service companies’ i.e. gas, electric and water are properly regulated and follow strict operating guidelines. As consumer we don’t generally experience problems with the supply of service from these other service or utility companies, so why should the broadband industry be any different?

 

 

Have we exhausted this current ADSL broadband technology? Has the issue become more to do with sharing the existing ADSL availability fairly amongst subscribers?

 

 

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown said digital technology was as important today as “roads, bridges and trains were in the 20th Century”.  The Digital Britain Interim Report which was produced by the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform states that “A successful Britain must be a Digital Britain.”

 

 

 

Gordon Brown – On the subject of Digital Britain & Broadband

 

 

  • The average speed of a broadband connection in the UK is 3.6Mbps (megabits per second) according to new research from regulator OFCOM.

 

  • On average, consumers receive 45% of the advertised headline speed and less than their phone lines can deliver.

Why is this? I think part of the problem has to do with the basic fact that ADSL is not a guaranteed service; it is a best endeavours service. The speeds are dependent upon a number of factors, distance from local BT exchange, quality of the connections, faster speed with underground cooper wire, slower with cheaper underground aluminium wire, contention ratio, ISP rating. It is not uncommon to receive different ADSL speeds between different ISPs but still using the same physical telephone wire.

 

 

The 8MB connection speeds the ISPs advertise are difficult to achieve. Century IT Services look after many small and medium sized businesses along the south coast and have yet to see a company with a reliable ADSL connection running at the maximum advertised speed of 8MB.

 

 

There are also many techniques to share network bandwidth efficiently and the principle behind them I am not sure many people would argue with. Basically the purpose of sharing bandwidth is to prioritise certain types of internet traffic (at busy or peak times) over other types. For example, video streaming might take a higher priority than say email downloads. Someone watching a program from BBC I Player will definitely notice if the video clip they are watching cuts out whereas if someone else is checking their email it doesn’t really matter if their email takes a few extra seconds to download. This traffic prioritisation can be a good thing, although the danger here is that it is not used to throttle internet traffic at busy times.

 

 

What if Moore’s law was true for ADSL broadband connections as well as computer processor technology, where might we be now?

 

 

Well Moore’s law refers to the history of computing hardware and Moore’s Law says that every 2 years, there will be a doubling in the number of transistors in a computer processor. This doubling in the number of transistors has made the massive increases in the performance and computing power of modern computers what it is today. Moore’s Law has actually kept true with technological developments for the last 40 years.

 

 

Well even by my conservative reckoning, if Moore’s Law applied to ADSL broadband, we could be enjoying a modest 16MB ADSL download connection speeds and 6MB upload speeds with perhaps businesses having ADSL connections several times faster than that. What has gone wrong why hasn’t broadband technology kept pace with other technological and computing advances?

 

 

Interestingly now, the Federation of Small Business have taken this subject up and are battling the government  on behalf of every small and medium sized business in the U.K. THE FSB says the government is “stuck in a time-warp over broadband speeds”

 

 

The FSB report warns the expected 2mbps by 2012 lacks ambition and shows the UK is in a time-warp. It also reports:

British Economy

 

  • Britain has the highest proportion of internet advertising of any developed economy

 

  • By 2012 £1 in every £5 of all new commerce in this country will be online

 

  • Around 60 per cent of small businesses want a minimum broadband speed of 8mbps

 

  • More than half of small businesses rely on the internet for up to 50 per cent of their annual turnover

 

  • Simple tasks such as emailing, marketing, buying and selling, are time-consuming because their broadband speeds are letting them down.

 

 

 

What I think ADSL users really want is something which presently seems unattainable is broadband with the following qualities:-

 

  • Reliable connection, no drop outs

 

  • Fast broadband exceeding the 8MB sound barrier

 

  • No Contention, traffic shaping or bandwidth throttling by the ISP

 

  • ISPs more heavily regulated by OFCOM to ensure the ISPs infrastructure matches the needs of its customers

 

 

I think the points above will be a good place to start to ensure the U.K remains competitive within the global workplace. Moving forward we need to be investing more into researching the broadband technology, pushing way beyond this theoretical 8MB sound barrier. If this can’t be done with the present ADSL technology, then we need to be researching and trialling the next generation of broadband technology.

 

 

If digital technology is to be as important today as “roads, bridges and trains were in the 20th Century we need to develop and invest in tomorrow’s technology today.

 

 

 

Useful Links

FSB Press Office

The Official Site of the Prime Minister’s Office

Department for Business Innovation & Skills

OFCOM – Voluntary Code of Practice for Broadband Speeds

Digital Britain The Final Report (Gordon Brown)

Small Firms Must Get The Broadband Speeds They Are Promised – Says FSB

 

Century IT Services – Getting IT Right
Providing Computer Support & Network Support to businesses in Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, Wiltshire, Sussex & Berkshire