What does contention ratio mean?

At Quantum Air Fibre we are proud to boast of our low contention ratios – but what exactly is a contention ratio and why is it best to be low?

There are a lot of moving parts that affect how fast the broadband connection to a premise is – what kind of router is being used, what service is available in your area, the time of day you go online. One of those moving parts is ‘contention ratio’.

Put plainly, contention ratio is the number of premises sharing the data capacity of an internet line. So, say your contention ratio is 25:1 that would mean that twenty-five premises – be that businesses or residential households – are all using the same one internet line. Therefore, the lower the contention ratio the lower the number of people sharing the bandwidth capability of a line. As the connection line can only deliver a set amount of bandwidth at any one given time, all the people using that line have to share the bandwidth it can deliver. So, the less people connected to a line the more bandwidth for those that are connected.

A low contention ratio = higher speeds.

Standard contention ratios used to be around 50:1 for home broadband, and 20:1 for business broadband – though BT says these figures are no longer completely accurate. However, Quantum Air Fibre can confidently state that the contention ratio of our internet lines – both wireand – all have much lower contention ratios than the big name providers.

So, contention ratio affects broadband speed?

Yes. When a contention ratio is high – lots of people are connected to the same line – broadband speeds can be lowered.

If an access line is capable of delivering 100 Mbps and has a contention ratio of 50:1 – 50 properties connected to it – if all those connected are using the line at the same time they will only get speeds of around 2 Mbps. This means that during peak times – predominantly in the evening when lots of people are sitting down to stream TV shows and flicking through social media on their phones – connections are prone to getting ‘laggy’ and those connected may be met with the dreaded buffering circle!

Fibre broadband has a higher bandwidth capacity

As fibre optic cables are able to deliver much faster speeds, than older copper telephone lines, there is more capacity to be shared out with all those connected to the line without them suffering from poor speeds. A full-fibre internet connection is required to access the fastest and most reliable broadband. Full-fibre connections are when then the fibre optic cable delivering the broadband is linked directly to the premise, this is known as Fibre to the Premises or FTTP.

By utilising this technology network speeds can be boosted to up to and over 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), therefore becoming a gigabit-capable connection. The UK Government has acknowledged both the importance of a reliable internet connection to be accessible by all residents and businesses as well as the current lack of infrastructure to deliver it to more remote, rural areas of the county through launching the Gigabit broadband Voucher Scheme

Working with the Project Gigabit Voucher Scheme, the Quantum engineers have started network planning for numerous remote communities within Lincolnshire. All new FTTP networks will be installed for FREE by the Quantum team as part of our mission to bring faster, more reliable broadband to communities and businesses across the county that are currently struggling to achieve suitable speeds