BT Broadband - Contention Ratio

Published 13/07/2005 16:38   |    Updated 16/03/2009 17:22
What is the contention ratio for BT Broadband?

The contention ratio for BT Broadband is 48:1.


A contention ratio refers to how many other subscribers share the network connection between you and your local telephone exchange. Contention is a feature of ADSL broadband that allows for efficient and effective network management.


Most broadband access services share a single connection path between many customers. A contention ratio of 48:1 means that up to 48 customers are sharing the same connection. When usage is light, contention does not pose a problem. However, the quality of the connection may deteriorate if numerous customers happen to use the connection at the same time.

For example, if all 48 users are using a 3Mb (3072kbps) broadband service at the same time, your access speed is reduced to about 64kbps. In reality, this rarely if ever occurs and is unlikely to significantly impact on your Internet use, but you should be aware that peak usage times can seem slower because of network congestion.

As not everyone is constantly uploading or downloading from the Internet but starting, stopping, reading content etc. it means that an Internet connection can be efficiently shared amongst many people. This is a contention ratio.

The download speeds you get on BT Broadband will vary depending on the volume of traffic being carried on the network at the time you are logged on.

If a large number of people are sharing the available bandwidth with you, the contention ratio (or ratio to which the available bandwidth is shared between users) is higher and as a result your connection will be slower. Less traffic means lower contention ratios and faster network speeds.

Remember if you are not getting the speed you expect it can be due to the contention ratio but is also more likely due to a number of other factors. These include the capacity of the website you are accessing, the performance of your computer and local network, the quality and length of your telephone line from the local telephone exchange.

If a website that has a low capacity for a high volume of traffic suddenly receives a surge in visitors this can cause the website to run slowly or even to crash completely.


See also: What can I do to resolve a slow or intermittent broadband connection?



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