Broadband News

Peak and off peak performance at the largest UK broadband providers in September 2018

October is racing by but there is still time to publish the analysis of broadband speed tests where people ran our full suite of tests, i.e. single download to mirror most video streaming activity and then multiple downloads from one location to reflect the raw performance of a connection. To see how your connection compares to the averages listed here simply run our speed test.

Off-Peak Tests Results September 2018
Off-Peak defined as midnight to 5.59pm
Median Average
Providertbbx1 Streaming Test
(1 download)
Multiple Download Test
(8 downloads)
% difference
between
download tests
Upload SpeedQuality
Lower is Better
Grade A = Best
Latency
BT 31 Mbps 36.6 Mbps -15.3% 7.5 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 37ms
EE 15.8 Mbps 18.2 Mbps -13.2% 3 Mbps 0.8 Grade B 51ms
Plusnet 23.7 Mbps 26.5 Mbps -10.6% 5.0 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 43ms
Sky 17.4 Mbps 23.3 Mbps -25.3% 4.8 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 45ms
TalkTalk 16.8 Mbps 20.9 Mbps -19.6% 3.7 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 48ms
Virgin Media 50.6 Mbps 82.7 Mbps -38.8% 7.7 Mbps 0.9 Grade B 37ms
Vodafone Home Broadband 27.1 Mbps 31.9 Mbps -15% 6.5 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 44ms
Zen Internet 30.8 Mbps 36.9 Mbps -16.5% 9.0 Mbps 0.3 Grade A 40ms

The quality score is looking at how stable the download speed is during the multiple download test. The observant will notice that we have moved from using six downloads to eight downloads, which in theory should give the speed test an even bigger slice of the bandwidth pie if there is congestion during a test, though looking at the figures this has made little difference.

Update 12:40pm Adding a link to the chart that shows explains the difference between the quality scoring column. The short verbal explanation is that a Grade A speed test has a less variable main download speed test compared to a Grade B.

Peak Tests Results September 2018
Peak time defined as 6pm to 11:59pm
Median Average
Providertbbx1 Streaming Test
(1 download)
Multiple Download Test
(8 downloads)
% difference
between download tests
Upload SpeedQuality
Lower is Better
Grade A = Best
Latency
BT 30.2 Mbps 33 Mbps -8.5% 6.5 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 38ms
EE 11.8 Mbps 13.5 Mbps -12.6%

2.7 Mbps

1.0 Grade B 51ms
Plusnet 23.8 Mbps 28.5 Mbps -16.5% 5.3 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 43ms
Sky 17 Mbps 23.5 Mbps -27.7% 4.7 Mbps 0.6 Grade A

48ms

TalkTalk 15.9 Mbps 18.7 Mbps -15% 3.2 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 52ms
Virgin Media 44.6 Mbps 77.3 Mbps -42.3% 6.3 Mbps 1.0 Grade B

38ms

Vodafone Home Broadband 18.2 Mbps 30.8 Mbps -40.9% 6.9 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 40ms
Zen Internet 30.8 Mbps 36.9 Mbps -16.5% 9.0 Mbps 0.3 Grade A 40ms

There are some speed tests that may show higher speeds for individuals compared to our tester, there are three reasons for this (1) some are showing a mean average speed as the result, so burst activity can skew the figure shown (2) some report a figure more representative of the burst speed (3) downloading from diverse locations. The diverse locations is something we do not do because it makes direct comparisons between two tests on different dates and can result in those located 'close' to download locations seeing higher speeds compared to more generic downloading from the Internet.

The monthly trend of Virgin Media having the largest dip in performance between the two download tests is starting to be challenged by Vodafone Home Broadband and its VDSL2/FTTC services. We know the reason for the big dip in the Vodafone speeds is not the line technology because there are numerous other providers which use the same technology and don't have such a large peak time dip in performance. With Vodafone now ramping up to deliver its first 1 million homes passed by FTTH the question for those signing up will be how much of the backhaul network is common between the VDSL2/FTTC services and the new FTTH network, though with a 100 Mbps service even a 50% dip in streaming performance at peak times would most likely not be noticed.

For those trying to improve their streaming video performance the best advice is to ditch Wi-Fi if at all possible and run Ethernet cable from your broadband router to the streaming device. If you must use Wi-Fi split the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands by giving them a different name and teach your Smart TV only about the 5 GHz credentials to ensure it does not swap between the two bands randomly and the 5 GHz band should be less congested.

Comments

Would have to say that my BB connection is well below average but it is one of the better ones in the small village miles away from the 20CN exchange.

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/_assets/speedtest/button/1540203966551384455.png

  • 21again
  • about 1 month ago

Im not sure i fully understand the quality score and what makes the difference between scoring an "A" and a "B".

At first i thought it was as stated "% difference between download tests" which would make sense. BUT that can not be right as in both charts EE is far from the worse in that percentage but scores a "B".

I then thought Latency may be also be a factor but again in the second chart (PEAK TIME) EE scores better than Talk Talk both in terms of Latency and the % difference between download tests. But despite that EE gets a "B" grade and Talk Talk gets an "A" grade???

  • Antony1
  • about 1 month ago

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/faq/broadband-speed-test#360

Goes through the grading system. Added the link to the item, guess every time we mention it now we will need to add the link.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

Would have to say virgin media are having a bad time being effected by over subscription and the hub 3 that doesn't seem to be able to hold its settings lucky to get more than 4 days without speed being cut.cannot see how virgin get the scores advertised.

  • chippy419
  • about 1 month ago

@Andrew Thank you for trying to explain to me, i personally still do not understand but that is obviously down to my lack of comprehension on what is actually being calculated to provide the grade.

  • Antony1
  • about 1 month ago

A good grade A test
https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/1540226175717471455
Connection hits its maximum speed quickly and holds it

A grade E test
https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/1540220493259629655
Connection never really settles at a maximum

Another grade E
https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/1540220458581164055
Took ages to get going, and then a burst settling down, likely user experiences web pages that seem to pause for a while on clicking

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

Which Virgin media BB Package!
Very misleading
and you don't point out that the different browsers produce different results so as per muy usual I take your results as being not that accurate.

  • 1Gopher
  • about 1 month ago

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