The vast majority of broadband internet connections in use around the UK today are still run over traditional copper wire based BT telephone lines via Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line ( ADSL , ADSL2+ ) technology (see our 'Broadband ISP Technology' page for details), which offers download speeds of up to 24Mbps (Megabits per second). This kind of internet access is generally very affordable and often quite fast but it doesn't always work as intended.Article Index:
In fact ADSL performance can suffer due to a whole range of issues that include, but are not limited to, ISP congestion, poor home wiring, distance from the local telephone exchange (shorter lines = faster connections, anything over 6.5Km is usually slow) and interference from other electrical devices in the vicinity.
As a result we’ve constructed this simple tips guide that's aimed at helping you to get the most out of your broadband line. This article is partly designed as a troubleshooting tutorial, yet it mostly provides a list of the most popular broadband ADSL tips and tweaks. Please feel free to suggest any that we may have missed.
Remember, there is no miracle cure to improve the speed of a physical ADSL line beyond its existing limitations, although removing some common roadblocks can have a significant impact upon your connection speeds and service stability.
*This article does not apply to wireless, satellite, Virgin Media cable customers or those with FTTC/FTTH or FTTP fibre optic broadband connections*
The speed you get from your ISP often depends on a number of primary factors (mentioned above). Hence the chances of you actually receiving your ISPs advertised performance (e.g. up to 24Mbps) is fairly remote, unless you live right next door to your exchange and have perfect home wiring.
To get a better idea of what your line can cope with we’d recommend putting your phone number into our 'Broadband Coverage Checker' first. Viewing the output for 'ADSL MAX' in the results (near the top) should give you a rough indication of expected line speed. Be aware that those with an unbundled or cable line will only be able to use the unreliable postcode check (i.e. because the number might not exist in BT's database).
Be careful with the prediction though as it’s usually too high and can be extremely variable between different providers; It's not uncommon for your real-world connection to be around 20%-30% slower than the estimate. In addition, if you already have a faulty broadband line then the checker might only reflect your current connections performance and not what the line itself could actually be capable of (that's just how BT's system works).