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What broadband speed do I need?

what broadband speed do I need

Most of us are now completely dependent on a reliable and fast internet connection whether it is at home, work or out and about. But how do you decide what internet speed is right for you? 

You would think the answer would be really straightforward, however there are lots of factors that need to be taken into account. Don’t worry though, we can take you through the different variables and it should make things much clearer for you.

What is internet speed?

First, to understand what speeds you require, you need to understand a bit more about the internet and what speeds are. 

Did you know your internet has two speeds? If not, don’t worry too much, many people don’t. Internet speeds are made up of uploads and downloads. You probably recognise those terms but what do they actually mean?

Download speed is how fast information is transferred from the internet to your computer. If your download speed is low it will affect your ability to receive files and data. 

Upload speed is how fast information is transferred from your computer to the internet. If your upload speed is low it will affect your ability to send files.

Your current internet speed

Often you’ll find that the speeds you actually receive can be less than you are paying for which can be incredibly frustrating. You may also find that the speeds you are receiving aren’t adequate for your usage. 

Do you know what your current upload and download speeds are? If not you can check for free here: http://exanetworks.speedtestcustom.com/

You should check these speeds against your contract with your ISP. It will usually state the average Mbps you are paying for.

Considering what speeds you need

When thinking about what speeds you need, you should consider how your organisation uses the internet and what you use it for.

Here’s a list of everything you need to do:

  1. Review your current services.
  2. Check the speeds you actually receive against what you are currently paying for.
  3. Work out the number of internet users on your connection and what activities they use the internet for (Emails, Web browsing, Cloud-based services, Video calling, VoIP, Data backups)
  4. Decide if the speeds you receive are sufficient to carry out your daily tasks or if you experience any issues with slow speeds.
  5. Look into what connections are available in your area. 

So as you can see the answer depends on a lot of things, but ultimately the more users and data intensive activities, the higher the speeds you will require. The good news is by grouping workplaces we can be a little bit more specific than that and provide you with some guidelines that should help.

Retail (shops or salons)

If you are a small retailer you probably don’t use the internet for much other than taking card payments. If that’s the case then there is no point paying for a connection you won’t use. Connectivity offering 20Mbps download and 2.5Mbps upload should be sufficient for the task.

Small organisation (Small office or primary school)

If you only use the internet for sending emails, web browsing and small uploads and downloads then again you don’t need a superfast connection although you might want something with a bit more oomph. A connection offering 40 to 80Mbps download 10 to 20Mbps upload should meet your requirements.

Hospitality and Leisure (Bars, restaurants, pubs, hotels)

When it comes to hospitality and leisure it’s a bit more complicated as you are probably offering wifi to customers and guests as well as using your connection for many work-related programmes and tools. The speeds you will need will entirely depend on the services you offer, however a minimum of 100Mbps download is probably a must in this situation. Uploads will also need a boost, but anything above 30Mbps will be beneficial.

Large organisation (Large office, venue or secondary school)

It’s to be expected that if you’re a much larger organisation then you’ll require higher speeds to handle data intensive tasks. When it comes to VoIP, video conferencing and cloud-based services, synchronous connections, where upload and download speeds are the same, are a much better option. 

This is where it gets super exciting because if you’re looking for a superfast connection the possibilities are almost endless. At this end of the market connections are much more flexible because they are private. That’s right, your connection won’t be shared with others, which allows you to scale up your capacity and speeds when you require and then reduce them again when the requirement has ceased. Making it perfect for organisations carrying out data backups or hospitality venues hosting a conference for a couple of days.

If this all sounds familiar to you then a connection upwards of 1Gbps is what you will need. As this is a synchronous connection you will receive 1Gbps upload and download speeds and with these connections you can even scale upto 10Gbps or more if required.

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Is DarkLight connectivity best suited to you?

Dark fibre is perfect if you are looking for a potentially limitless, ultrafast connection with complete flexibility and control.

If you fully rely on the internet, a dark fibre connection could be the best option for you.

Is Leased Line connectivity best suited to you?

Leased Lines are best suited to you if you have high bandwidth requirements and need a reliable, uncontended service.

It is ideal for you if you regularly carry out large uploads and downloads, use cloud based services and a VoIP telephone system as well as video conferencing, for everyday communication.

Is GPON connectivity best suited to you?

GPON is a great choice for you if you need gigabit speeds but don’t need them to be symmetrical. It is becoming more widely available across the UK but may not be immediately available to you yet.

Is Rural Fibre connectivity best suited to you?

If you want to make the move to full fibre, but are based in a rural area, this option is for you.

Is FTTP connectivity best suited to you?

If you have a number of users who use cloud-based applications to upload and download data on a daily basis, but don’t transfer large amounts of data, FTTP might be your best option.

Is Gfast connectivity best suited to you?

If your line cannot support a minimum of 100Mbps, this connection is not for you. Gfast must meet the speed as a minimum. 

If your line meets this need, and you’re looking for an ultrafast, consistent and reliable connection without the hassle and upheaval of construction work – this could be a good fit.

It’s worth noting that Gfast is a stop gap to FTTP, and is not a technology that is likely to be around for a long time.

Is FTTC connectivity best suited to you?

If you need more bandwidth but don’t really need a guaranteed speed, FTTC could be for you. It is widely available throughout the UK, making it suitable as a main connection. As this connection provides higher speeds than ADSL, it is also a good option for a back up to a leased line.

As with ADSL, once the PSTN is turned off in 2025/26, FTTC will become virtually obsolete and at the very least you will require FTTP to remain connected.



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Is DSL connectivity best suited to you?

DSL connections offer very limited bandwidth so it might be right for you if you typically use the internet for less data-intensive tasks. If you’re sending emails, browsing the web, downloading very small files and working with small amounts of data – you should be fine with DSL.

It is worth noting connections based on copper wire, like DSL, will be switched off in the UK by Openreach, with a phased approach due to begin at the end of 2025. If you don’t have a fibre connection at the moment, you’ll need to upgrade this as well as move to a VoIP telephone system.

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