Deception of 'up to' broadband speeds exposed

Ofcom reveals true download speeds

The average downstream broadband speed received by consumers is just 3.6Mbit/s, according to data released today from the most accurate UK internet access survey ever published.

Ofcom’s new hardware-based broadband monitoring system found that despite the fact more than 60 per cent are subscribed to “up to” 8Mbit/s packages, on average the top speed ever achieved was only 4.3Mbit/s.

One in five receives less than 2Mbit/s. It’s thought that the government’s forthcoming Carter review will recommend a requirement that the communications industry offers at least 2Mbit/s to all part of the country. Ofcom said today that on average, urban internet users’ connections are 15 per cent faster than those of their rural counterparts.

Across the UK connections were slowest between 5pm and 6pm on Sundays, when network load is highest.

The data was produced in partnership with the ISP industry analyst house Samknows, which deployed special speed reporting kit to about 1,500 homes. Until now, virtually all measures of broadband performance available to consumers have come from flawed web-based test software.

The survey is part of a bid by Ofcom to improve consumer confidence in internet providers by encouraging transparency. A voluntary code of practice, which came into force in December, requires signatory ISPs to provide an estimate of the real top speed potential subscribers can expect to receive (based on factors such as the distance of their home from the local exchange) as well as the “up to” headline maximum.

The monitoring network showed that on average, consumers get 45 per cent of the advertised headline speed.

Speed gripes were the most common cause of dissatisfaction in market research carried out for Ofcom alongside the technical survey. Only two thirds were satisfied by how their internet connection performed while watching web video, for example.

The full survey report is here (pdf). ®

Original Post: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/08/ofcom_speed_survey/

Windows Vista Slow Network Problems

Maybe you have already encountered the strange behaviour that it takes much longer to copy large files in Windows Vista than in Windows XP. You thought that the change from XP to Vista would at least be not a disadvantage speed wise but Vista somehow seems to have a problem copying large files. This happens especially with mapped drives but it could also be that you witness network disconnects.

The problem is caused by a new feature called Auto Tuning which is by default enabled in Microsoft Windows Vista. What Auto Tuning does is that it reacts on changes in the network by tuning the receive windows size. The solution would be of course to disable Auto Tuning in Vista. Some users reported that disabling Auto Tuning had a positive effect on their ability to connect to services such as Windows Live Messenger which did not work before.

To disable Auto Tuning and speed up the copy process and avoid timeouts and disconnects do the following:

Open a command prompt and type the following: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

once you receive the ok, restart to activate and you should notice a difference.

if for any strange reason you would like to re-activate it use the code below.

To turn it on again: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal