Predicting Internet Speeds is not a Science say Spirent

Following Ofcom’s announcement yesterday that the way broadband speeds are advertised are to be regulated under a voluntary code, independent telecoms testing company Spirent Communications warns the inherent weakness of copper wire-based delivery will continue to make predicting internet connection speeds a difficult process.

David Hill, Spirent’s VP for Europe comments: “This is going to continue to be a difficult area. The fact of the matter is that all copper-based technologies – be it ADSL which currently powers most broadband access across Britain currently or next generation ADSL2+ and VDSL which are already in place across some parts of Europe – slow down the further they get from the exchange. This makes it difficult to say for certain what speed a customer will get because those nearer the exchange will always enjoy higher speeds than consumers living further away.

Cable providers which use fibre-optic based technology are in a stronger position since speeds are consistent throughout the network so, all other things being equal, consumers do invariably get what they pay for. However this is in short supply in the UK which means that for the time being copper will prevail. This will continue to limit the ability of the ISP to be in a position to accurately state exactly what speeds all its customers will achieve because it will vary. Interesting developments could come in the form of two new wireless technologies known as WiMAX and LTE which could mean we get very high speeds of around 50 mbps. However even then, speed will vary according to distance from the mobile mast.”

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