What is Contention Ratio?
Broadband contention ratio refers to the number of households sharing the data capacity of a single provider’s line.
How Broadband Contention Ratio Works
Most homes use an FTTC internet connection, which means a fibre line is run from the exchange to your local street cabinet (the green boxes you’ve likely seen technicians working on).
It’s at these cabinets that the internet connection gets divided up to the local residents. The more lines they install out from the cabinet, the higher the contention ratio.
For example, if a line is divided up among 30 homes, it will have a contention ratio of 30:1. This simply stands for 30 users on 1 line.
These lines are very powerful, and so sharing with 29 other households is rarely a problem for general internet use. It’s only when people try to use them for more data intensive purposes that they run into issues.
Contention Ratio Matters Most For Businesses
Businesses running on broadband with a high contention ratio experience frequent periods of time where the internet runs slow. This is because there are so many other people transferring data through the same network.
As a result of this, productivity reduces and the company runs the risk of an over-ambitious employee transferring what should be secured data over another unsecured connection.
This is why it’s important for businesses to understand the contention ratio and find out the realistic speeds they can expect before signing any agreement.
As a business grows, they’ll usually demand much more than their contended broadband will allow. When this happens, most companies will upgrade to an uncontended connection such as microwave internet which has a contention ratio of 1:1.
Another way businesses improve the performance of their highly contended internet connection is by bonding it with another line.
This could be an additional line on the same FTTC or FTTP network (giving them a larger percentage of the connection) or a completely separate connections such as 4G, FWA, ADSL etc.
The advantage of bonding with a different type of internet connection is that you gain more resilience. Bonding FTTP with 4G, for example, would allow you to use the 4G connection during an outage of your FTTP connection and vice-a-versa. This is a benefit you would not get with 2 bonded FTTP connections.
Bonding Uncontended Networks
Companies with larger internet consumption that are unable to run without internet will often opt for a bonded solution that utilises 2 or more separate uncontended solutions.
Products like MultiConnect+ will often bond microwave internet with a fibre leased line to create a connection that’s guaranteed to stay on and stay fast, 24/7.
Does Your Business Need Better Internet?
If you would like help improving the internet connection at your business, get in touch with our team today by clicking on the button below to request a call back.
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