What You Need To Know About Broadband Contention Ratio


Every home and business in this digital era needs a reliable, high-speed internet connection. When choosing a broadband connection, it is essential to consider a number of factors.


One of these factors is the contention ratio that affects the speed of your broadband connection. In simple words, we can say that contention is a competition. In a home or office, there are many devices competing for the same network. It can result in poor upload and download speed.


You may have already heard about contention in relation to a broadband connection, but you may not know how it can affect your internet connection.

Here in this article, we are going to describe everything you need to know about the contention ratio

What Is Broadband Contention Ratio?

Contention ratio is defined as how many people are sharing your internet connection and, therefore, bandwidth. Most business and traditional broadband services are shared. Whether it is a simple ADSL broadband, ultra fast FTTP, or superfast FTTC, all are shared, making them affordable.


By sharing the main connection in an industrial estate, a particular part of an area, or a building, internet service providers can use less infrastructure to provide more connections.


It is a reason why the speeds of broadband connections are written as “up to” a certain limit. If a lot of people are using the same connection at the same time, there will be congestion.


As a result, you will not get the maximum theoretical speed that you expect from your broadband. It is just like a busy road. If it is empty, you will easily reach your destination. However, there will be delays if there is a lot of traffic.


Unfortunately, there is no particular way to find the exact contention ratio in your internet connection, and it is information that your service provider does not advertise.

What Is A Good Contention Ratio?

The ideal contention ratio is 1:1 or an uncontended internet connection. But it is almost impossible with a broadband connection. With traditional broadband at home, you can expect a ratio of 50:1 which means 50 people are using the same connection.


While with business broadband, the average ratio is 20:1. As it is a shared connection, at peak times, there will be more traffic as the contention ratio increases, which ultimately drops your network speed.


Some providers are offering 1:1 contention, which means you do not need to share your broadband connection with anyone else. If your business is internet critical, you must consider uncontended internet connections such as leased lines to complete your day-to-day tasks efficiently.

Does Contention Ratio Affect Fibre Broadband?


Fibre broadband connections such as Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the premises (FTTP) are not as affected by the contention as ADSL broadbands do. It is because these connections have faster speeds and more capabilities to support more users at the same time.


Furthermore, internet service providers use traffic management to keep an eye on every connection and fix the problems within a short time.


Traffic management includes prioritising certain activities such as gaming or streaming over downloading a large file. If your internet speed lowers while you are watching TV, it will stop and buffer, causing a miserable experience.


However, with traffic management, you can continue watching TV even at peak usage times as it will limit downloading files and provides you with the required speed for a prioritised option.

How To Improve Contention Ratio

Although it is not possible to improve or change your broadband contention ratio unless you take drastic steps, such as paying for an uncontended connection, it can be highly expensive and is only used by large businesses that need a high-speed connection. 


However, if you feel that your broadband speed is too slow, it may be due to several reasons, some of which you can easily control to improve your broadband speed.

1. Distance From Local Exchange

All the broadband connections have the final stretch from the local street cabinet to your premises and are carried over copper cables. These cables are one of the reasons for the slow speed.


If your office or home is away from the local exchange, the long stretch of copper wire will result in a slow speed. The more the distance from the local exchange, the less will be the speed of your service.

2. Location of Your Router

It is a thing that you can easily fix. Ideally, your router should be placed at a higher place, off the floor, and at a place where no furniture can block its way. In addition, try to locate it centrally on your premises or at a place of home where you spend most of your time.


Things like fairy lights, baby monitors, and fish tanks should be placed away from the router because they can interfere with its signals.

3. Number Of Devices

Now it is not only your PC that is connected to the router. Most homes have tablets, mobile phones, laptops, game consoles, and many electronic devices that need to be connected to the internet. So, the more devices you have, the more speed you will need to run all the devices smoothly.    


The best way to improve contention is to research and find a provider that advertises its contention ratio. Another way is to get a fibre connection that supports more users and manages traffic in a better way.

How does Contention Affect Your Business?

Businesses are shifting towards cloud-based applications, and most of them are using them. Online software such as CRM or ERP has become essential for business functions.


Furthermore, businesses now started using IP-based communication to control calling costs. VoIP telephony also helps them make conference calls and connect to their teams in different parts of the world.


All cloud-based applications need a high-speed and reliable connection to perform efficiently. The issue of broadband contention or bandwidth restriction can affect your day-to-day tasks and reduce productivity.


A leased line, on the other hand, eliminates convention and boosts productivity. You should consider this connectivity solution over business broadband if you can afford it.

Alternatives to Broadband

For businesses relying heavily on cloud services for their daily operations, broadband contention can be a problem. It can affect the efficiency of their systems, so they must look for an alternative to broadband to avoid contention.


The contention is an inherent problem in broadband. However, a leased line is a dedicated connection that you do not need to share with other businesses with a contention ratio of 1:1.


It uses a fibre optic cable that provides ultrafast speed. You have exclusive use of the connection. A leased line does not only e; eliminate the contention issue and has security benefits. 


With an Ethernet connection, there can be issues with internal traffic at peak usage hours. The more the number of users on your premises, the more the speed of your connection is affected.


In addition, the leased line has its own traffic management to ensure that essential operations like VoIP and cloud get prioritised and run your business smoothly.

Final Words

Contending can impact you no matter what you do when using the internet, such as streaming, gaming or uploading files. It represents the number of people or households using the same broadband line. That is why the speed of your broadband slows down at peak times. If you are using a standard broadband connection at your workplace, it also affects your day-to-day operations. There is no particular way to find out the exact contention ratio. Therefore, you should go for fibre broadband or leased line connection to improve your broadband speed or get an uncontended internet connection.