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Monitoring broadband performance

11 Jun
2010

Monitoring broadband performance

Author: GTI Computers
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It’s one of the ‘hot topics’ surrounding broadband services – are you receiving the speed and performance you’ve paid for?

A lot of the time the advertised connection speed isn’t achieved – understandably so when you know how broadband works. It is, after all, a maximum performance speed, not a guarantee that that’s what you’re going to get.

Most broadband is channelled through copper or fibre optic connections that are grouped together along a street, with branches off to individual houses or businesses. Everyone in that area is sharing the same ‘pipe’ onto the internet; this is known as ‘contention’, and it has a huge effect on how quick your connection is.

Internet ‘traffic’ is exactly like vehicle traffic – if the roads are clear, you speed along; if everyone is out in their car you slow down, and sometimes grind to a halt altogether. It doesn’t matter that you’ve got a sports car with a top speed of 120mph – when there’s traffic on the road with you, you’re not going to be able to achieve that top speed, or anything like it.

So it is with broadband – if you’re the only person in the area who’s on line you’ll get close to the maximum performance you’ve paid for. If all your neighbours are online too – it’s rush hour in your virtual street and things are going to be slower.

A sluggish connection when you’re surfing at home is frustrating enough. When you’re at work and trying to perform time-critical functions via the internet, an under-performing broadband connection can cause a huge lack of productivity and can even stand in the way of your business.

These days pretty much every business needs their internet connection to be reliable – but for some it is crucial that their broadband is both fast and stable.

Where the investment is called for, you can have your own ‘road’ installed! Uncontended, single-user lines are available – of course it costs a good deal more than a standard connection, but if your business is reliant on speedy web access, it can be an invaluable investment.

So how can you balance performance and cost?

There are a number of ways to improve the speed and reliability of your broadband without going to major expense. For instance, installing two separate lines from different sources, and then ‘bonding’ them together through an intelligent router that measures the performance of the lines, and balances the data stream to achieve the fastest speed possible.

That also improves your ‘resilience’, as if one of the connections fails for some reason, you still have the other line available to you.

Finding the best solution to suit your needs and your budget is something GTI is very good at – we understand the many different types of system available, what they can do and what they cost.

Of course, getting the right system in place is essential, but monitoring the performance, and identifying potential problems is the ongoing part of the job. GTI can help you with that too – we currently remotely managed 157 broadband connections for our clients, and we often identify and remedy connection problems before the client has even noticed them themselves.

We do this by means of software that constantly ‘pings’ the different connections, and then displays a continually-updating graph showing the response time.

Our broadband monitoring software gives us real-time information about what your connection is like. We can identify any problems, and reveiw

Our broadband monitoring software gives us real-time information about what your connection is like. We can identify any problems, and review the performance over a period of time to ensure you're getting value for money.

A fast response shows the line is operating swiftly, a slower response means it’s busy, no response at all immediately alerts us to a problem – and we can get right on it to ensure your performance is as smooth as possible. Sometimes a problem takes a little longer to sort out, but it’s always reassuring to our clients when they call us up to report an issue, and we’re able to tell them that we’re already in touch with the provider and working on a solution.

Don’t you love it when you get a ‘can-do’ problem solver on the case? That’s what we strive to be!

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