Why can’t I get faster internet?

Why can't I get faster internet

A question we are often asked at Sound Networks is why can’t I get a faster internet connection? Well, the simplest answer is geography. But that doesn’t cast much more light on the issue at hand for most people. The speed of your internet depends on many factors and it’s important to understand what kind of connection you have in the first place before we can go any further. Some of (but not all of) the most common types of internet connection currently are…..

  • ADSL Max – also known as 20cn. An older type of copper based internet connection which uses your telephone line. An adaptive service reaching a max speed of 7.15 Mbit/s downstream.
  • ADSL2+ – also known as 21cn. Also an older, but slightly faster type of copper based internet connection which uses your telephone line, max speed 24 Mbit/s downstream.
  • VDSL/FTCC (Fibre To The Cabinet) – getting faster. Still uses your copper phone line in to your building, but the nearest green street cabinet which you are connected to will have fibre running to it from the local telephone exchange. Theoretically only the ‘last mile’ of the connection to your house is copper based. Not always a mile, but the longer this connection – the slower your ultimate speed will be.
  • Fibre Broadband/FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) The fastest of all the above with speeds of 150 Mbit/s downstream and above not uncommon. With this connection you will have a fibre connection all the way in to your home to your router or cable modem. Most commonly provided by your cable TV provider in conjunction with a TV and telephone package.

So with the first of these three, as a general rule of thumb, the farther you are from the street cabinet and it’s ultimate distance from the local exchange, the poorer your connection will be. This loss of performance can also be contributed to by poor quality or degraded copper in this last section. If your connected cabinet is too far from the exchange it may not be possible for it to be fibre connected. You may find that you live very close to the exchange but cannot receive anything faster than ADSL2+, in this case it may be that you are directly connected to the exchange and your connection has currently missed out on being included in a fibre upgrade. If you have a fibre broadband connection…..well, your probably not currently experiencing internet performance issues or even reading this blog!

For business, there are a multitude of other types of fast internet connection types available – let’s talk about that another time.

Paul Cox – IT Director Sound Networks

How to backup internet connections

backup internet connections

Most of us now use the internet throughout the course of our working days, and we expect it to be there 24/7/365. But when it’s not, it can cause us no end of trouble, and at this point, it’s when it finally hits home for most of us how reliant we have all become. Many business now simply cannot function with no internet connection leading to a loss of productivity and consequently profit.

Believe it or not, unless specified otherwise, most broadband circuits (ADSL, VDSL, FTCC) come with BT Standard Care as the fault repair level – and this is regardless of who your ISP is. What this means is that should there be a fault on the circuit, there is a 40 clock hour, target repair clear time from BT, with no penalty if this time is exceeded. This could be potentially very disruptive or even disastrous for your business. There’s got to be a better way surely?

Imagine if you had a second backup internet connection, ready and waiting so that if your primary goes off, you can switch to the backup ADSL or VDSL line. It’s a great way to reduce the damage that your business could suffer through a long term internet outage. Most people immediately presume this could be expensive – you would be surprised at just how cheap it can be! And when you see the cost as an insurance policy it’s a cheap one, plus something that one day you will be very glad you invested in.

Sound Networks can assist with your backup internet connections.

Paul Cox – IT Director Sound Networks

Internet problems?


Internet “going slow”? Video stuttering? Connection dropping out? Then read on….

Most of you will use a wireless connection to connect to the internet, so it is important to understand the difference between the wireless connection and the actual connection to the internet. In most cases you’ll have a wireless router. This will manage the internet connection – it will hold the credentials required to logon to your subscribed service and allow internet access. Once the router is online you can then connect to the router wirelessly or via a cable. So in theory you could have a great wireless or wired connection to the router, but if the connection to the outside world is poor or down, you’ll get patchy or no internet. Similarly your router could have a great connection to the internet, but if the wireless signal linking you to the router is poor or drops off, you cannot take advantage of it.

When fault finding always used a cabled connection if possible – this rules out the plethora of potential wireless related connection issues (covered in a previous blog).

-Firstly always power cycle the router – turn off for a few minutes and give the device a rest. This will flush out the session with your internet provider and restart the router software. It’s usually on 24/7 so deserves a rest now and again! Once powered on for a few minutes check in the manual that the correct lights are illuminated on the router. If not, see below.

-Call your internet provider – they’ll be able to check all looks ok at their end and run line tests. They will also be able to inform you of any status updates regarding known line issues with BT or maintenance which may affect the connection.

-Try another internet browser. Browser settings can become corrupt so make sure you install an alternative before you get problems; Chrome or Firefox for example. If you can try another computer this will rule out software issues with your operating system. The Microsoft and Apple support sites have articles to troubleshoot software related connection problems.

-Ensure you are connected directly into the master BT socket with no extensions in place.

-Disconnect anything else connected to the same phone line as it may be interfering (Sky Box, fax machine, additional phones etc).

-Swap the micro filter which sits between your router phone cable and the BT socket. Unlikely to be faulty but it’s cheap and easy to change.

-Run one of the many free online speed tests with no other internet devices connected. Run several tests at different times – this information is useful when speaking to your provider. A slower stable connection is better than a fast unreliable one – the provider can re-train the connection to run at a more stable speed, suited to the quality of the phone line.

-If things are still not going well then try another router. Your provider may send you one if they think it’ll help or you can buy one yourself if you are happy to program it with the correct details.

-In rare cases the phone line will be the cause. Your provider may suggest that a BT engineer visit you to test and fix the line. If it is found that your connecting equipment is at fault, there may be a charge which you’ll be informed of prior to a booking. If the problem resides outside of the property they will fix free of charge.

-If your provider ultimately proves unhelpful then move to another one. This may not fix the issue per se but they may help you get to the root cause of the problem.

This list is by no means comprehensive but a good place to start. The problem may just go away, but don’t be afraid to pester your provider to resolve connection or speed issues. With our ever increasing dependency on an internet connection it’s only fair you get what you pay for!

Mark Warburton