Broadband News

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

Our monthly analysis of how the single download test that is a key part of the speed test we run on thinkbroadband is ready for everyone to see now. The testing of a single download during a speed test is a very good way of detecting any problems with a broadband connection, from poor Wi-Fi reception through to an ISP that has too many users doing too much for the size of the core network.

Off-Peak Tests Results October 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 31.4 Mbps 35.8 Mbps -12.3% 7.0 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 37ms
EE 15.9 Mbps 17.7 Mbps -10.2% 3.3 Mbps 0.9 Grade B 44ms
Plusnet 29.2 Mbps 32.3 Mbps -9.6% 6.1 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 39ms
Sky 18.6 Mbps 24.5 Mbps -24.1% 4.8 Mbps 0.7 Grade A 46ms
TalkTalk 17.6 Mbps 22.5 Mbps -21.8% 4.4 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 49ms
Virgin Media 48.7 Mbps 81.3 Mbps -40.1% 7.4 Mbps 1.0 Grade B 36ms
Vodafone Home Broadband 24.3 Mbps 33.5 Mbps -27.5% 6.6 Mbps 0.3 Grade A 38ms
Zen Internet 35.8 Mbps 37.4 Mbps -4.3% 9.3 Mbps 0.3 Grade A 33ms

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.

Peak Tests Results October 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 32.3 Mbps 36 Mbps -10.3% 7.9 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 38ms
EE 15.0 Mbps 17.9 Mbps -16.2%

3.3 Mbps

1.1 Grade B 47ms
Plusnet 23.1 Mbps 27.5 Mbps -16% 5.5 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 42ms
Sky 18.2 Mbps 24.8 Mbps -26.6% 4.9 Mbps 0.6 Grade A

44ms

TalkTalk 14.5 Mbps 18.1 Mbps -19.9% 3.5 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 49ms
Virgin Media 48.7 Mbps 81.3 Mbps -40.1% 7.4 Mbps 1.0 Grade B

37ms

Vodafone Home Broadband 18.5 Mbps 38.9 Mbps -49.3% 8.1 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 38ms
Zen Internet 32.2 Mbps 36.6 Mbps -12.0% 9.4 Mbps 0.3 Grade A 36ms

There are a few hints and tips to share on the data in the two tables:

  • We don't split out the various technologies so this means that reason in raw Mega bits per second that EE is slower than BT for example is because EE has more customers still on ADSL/ADSL2+ services.
  • The key comparison to make is how big is the drop off in speed between the two download tests, around 10% is normal, though the daytime figure of 4.3% shows what can be achieved.
  • A single download should mirror many the performance of many video streaming services. 

Vodafone Home Broadband appears to have taken over the crown for bottom of the table for performance during the evening and during the day is similar in performance terms to Sky and TalkTalk. Some examples of the type of speed test we see from people testing their services on Vodafone follow:

  • VDSL2 80/20 service in Yorkshire and Humber region 13.9 Mbps single, 50.5 Mbps multiple download, 16.2 Mbps upload
  • VDSL2 80/20 service in West Midlands 53.8 Mbps single, 57.3 Mbps multiple, 15.7 Mbps upload. Interesting as the single download eventually does match the multiple download speeds
  • VDSL2 40/10 service in West Yorkshire 29.1 Mbps single, 38.9 Mbps multiple, 4.9 Mbps upload.
  • VDSL2 40/10 service in Scotland 10.5 Mbps single, 32.4 Mbps multiple 4.5 Mbps upload
  • VDSL2 80/20 service in South East 37.2 Mbps single, 36.8 Mbps multiple, 12.1 Mbps upload. Single versus multiple ratio is almost perfect but downloads overall look low compared to the upload speed.
  • VDSL2 40/10 service in South East 10.5 Mbps single, 10.5 Mbps multiple, 9.3 Mbps upload. Upload suggests reasonable distance from VDSL2 cabinet but downloads are very low in comparison.
  • VDSL2 40/10 service in South East 11.7 Mbps single, 17.3 Mbps multiple, 3.9 Mbps upload.

Comments

Purple text on a dark grey background for the Quality score is very hard to read - I had to highlight it with the mouse to see what it was.

  • Jaggies
  • 23 days ago

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