Broadband Contention

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What is contention and how does it affect my internet connection?

Posted on 11 March 2022 by Beaming Support

Contention in relation to a network is best described as ‘competition’. Within a home or office this could be several devices competing on the same connection. Too many devices on a network can result in poorer download and upload speeds.

Contention can also apply to your broadband connection. The contention ratio is determined by how many customers the ISP shares across common infrastructure, for example those using the same backhaul cable at the local exchange. At peak times your connection quality can drop even with minimal or no other devices connected within your property. If your internet connection is poor, despite your ISP offering good speeds, it could be the result of a high contention ratio.


What is contention ratio?

Contention ratio describes the number of devices in comparison to the number of networks or cables providing connection. 3 devices connected to one WiFi router would have a contention ratio of 3:1 or 50 broadband users relying on the same cabling to the exchange would have a ratio of 50:1.


How can I get the best contention ratio? 

The ideal ratio for peak performance is 1:1 or an ‘uncontended’ connection.

An uncontended connection offers peak performance and can be achieved with a fibre leased line. Leased lines aren’t always possible for every business but you can opt for an ISP with low contention rates, like Beaming.

If changing providers isn’t an option right now, aim to keep the number of devices on your network as low as possible.

For more information on what could be affecting your connection see our knowledge base guides:

Or to enquire now about installing a connectivity with low contention, use the form below:

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