We’ve all been there. Thudding our heads off the desk as the screen reads buffering…buffering…
Are you being squeezed?
It is common browsing knowledge that many ISPs cap your broadband speed between peak usage hours. Check your current contract for your ISP’s traffic management policy to see if broadband capping is part of that. If you regularly encounter speed capping between the hours of 6pm and midnight, then it could be time to jump ship to another ISP who won’t squeeze your speed. Sky is currently one of the only providers with affordable broadband offers that won’t ever cap your connection, no matter how many people are online, no matter what time of day or night you log on. So shop around as not all broadband products are the same, and you genuinely can find a better service elsewhere.
What’s your usage?
Make sure you know what your monthly usage limit is too, if you have one. If you exceed this, your ISP will usually cap your speed as a form of punishment, rather than charge you for using extra – which is nice of them, but still annoying. Use an online tool like NetMeter to monitor your actual monthly usage. If it’s more than your current broadband package allows, it could be time to look for a deal that gives you more access, or unlimited access.
Do you know your speeds?
Check your download/upload speed using a broadband speed test online. It could be that you’re actually achieving the highest possible speeds available on your line, as the further you are from your nearest telephone exchange, the slower your speed is likely to be. If you don’t trust the online test results, you can measure your speed manually too – download a file of 3MB or more that’s hosted by your ISP, and time it with a stopwatch. Check the file’s properties to find out its precise size in bytes, divide that by the download time, and multiply by ten to get an estimate of your megabit download speed.
If you’re regularly experiencing speeds of 50% or lower than the top speeds you’ve been promised by your ISP, you can use a traceroute tool to get to the root of the problem. Software like VisualRoute and AutoNOC Trace-3D traces the route taken by data on its way to your computer and if your ISP’s router is on the slow side, it’ll highlight this. If this is where the problem lies, just get in touch with your ISP and ask for a repair to fix the issue.
This article was produced in association with Sky