/ broadband

Is a broadband speed checker trustworthy?

The Guardian wrote about the best ways to test broadband speed, but missed out the trustworthiness of the humble speed check. If you're shopping around for a new broadband provider and want to trust the information you're reading, it's worth knowing a few facts about how broadband speeds are estimated.

  • Why are they only estimates? Aren't they accurate?
  • Why can nobody tell me an exact speed?
  • Find out why changing broadband provider due to a slow speed is often a terrible mistake!

Why can no broadband speed estimate be correct?

It's simply because we're dealing with real world elements. Be weary of taking a speed promise on face value, they should be described as estimates because that's all they can be. The reasons a broadband speed estimate cannot be 100% accurate include:

  • Copper Wire (which rusts!)

This is inevitable, cooper wire will corrode over time, sure it may take a long time but it's a factor. But did you know Openreach will fix this for free under wear and tear? Combine this with dampness and an old phone socket, your broadband speed check estimate will likely be very out of whack.

  • Distance between you and where your internet connection links to the internet.

Physics. Slower 'ADSL' type connections because they run over copper wire are more prone to noise, more specifically cross talk. It's impossible for your provider to truly know the level of this interference until you are connected.

  • Old data; the records held about your line simply may not be up to date
How trustworthy are the broadband speed checker services?

Usually, when people are checking their broadband speed it's either

  1. After making a switch to another broadband provider due to dissatisfaction over speed and/or price.
  • You want to check what speeds you could be getting, and you're unsure if you can trust what the new provider is offering you

Why changing broadband provider due to a slow speed is a terrible mistake

Often, it's a terrible mistake to change your broadband supplier if it's purely down to speed issues. Here's why.

Understand there's usually no point in switching your broadband provider if there's a line fault- too many customers switch broadband providers due to a line fault. Know that when you switch, for most providers the connection between you and the telephone exchange will run over the exact same infrastructure. What you can do instead is get support in diagnosing the cause. This will save you the hassle of switching, only to find there's a fault on the line which no amount of switching provider would have helped.

Openreach will, in good time, (and often for free) resolve issues with their infrastructure. You can't contact them directly, you must do this through your broadband supplier. As Ex BT telephone engineer Geoff Grove points out, "Your telephone line fault will be fixed free if the problem is just down to normal wear and tear". It may require a lot of patience, but convincing your current supplier (aka Service Provider) to involve Openreach may improve your service.

Make sure you do genuinely perform your own tests, and connecting things correctly otherwise Openreach would charge for wasted time, and your provider would pass this on. For our own customers at Karma Computing this means helping you connect to the right socket to 'boost' your broadband speed- there's no black magic here it's just how you should correctly connect to the internet.

BT Openreach own the external network and maintain your telephone line wiring from the exchange, up to and including your BT Master Socket or NTE5. You pay line rental to your Service Provider (e.g. Karma Computing) who are obliged to arrange for Openreach to maintain your telephone line if it goes wrong.

How to gauge what your broadband speed could be

Here are some trustworthy sources to check what your broadband speed could be.

Is broadband speed checker trustworthy?
Openreach provide a trustworthy tool called dslchecker to get an estimation of your speed, and isn't obliged to inflate the speed and can arguably be more trusted. Furthermore, Kitz Forum provide an even more comprehensive [trustworthy broadband speed checker tool](http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/broadbandchecker.php) which collates information from several sources

These broadband tools allow you to work out:

  • Your possible broadband speed (estimate)

  • Your nearest telephone exchange

    • Broadband (even broadband without a phone line)
      must travel via your local telephone exchange
    • This is especially important if you're getting ADSL broadband, because your speed is greatly impacted by the distance to the exchange
  • Estimated possible speed for ADSL Broadband

  • Estimated possible speed for Fibre Broadband

Hope that helps clear the mud on whether a broadband speed estimate can be accurate and trustworthy. Karma Computing is an open internet provider, give us a call if you're looking for an honest broadband provider with excellent support. We've started the Best Broadband Providers Project to give you an idea of what we're like.