A really simple guide to decent broadband and how to improve your download speeds

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    The best and worst broadband speeds across the UK have been revealed by a new study, with the bottom three all found in Scotland.

    The Which? research found the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands and Highland local authorities all averaged the lowest speeds.

    Ryedale in Yorkshire and Purbeck in Dorset also made up the bottom five.

    But how do you how check your broadband service or choose which package to get at home?

    Newsbeat asked Alan Blake, a broadband and wi-fi specialist at GBR Networks.

    Orkney

    Image caption It’s looks so pretty but you probably won’t want to work from home in the Orkney Islands

    What broadband deals should people be looking for?

    It’s all about cost and speed.

    The perfect equation is lowest cost for highest speed but do try to look for deals that offer lower installation and activation costs.

    Also, some ISPs offer bundles whereby you receive discounted broadband if you also subscribe to TV and telephone packages.

    2017 loading sign

    There are other considerations like usage – make sure you are not capped and have an unlimited usage bundle and also check the contract length.

    People are really confused by speeds. What should people be looking for?

    Speeds are an indicator of how much data can be transferred per second and measured in Megabits Per second (Mbps).

    The higher the “Mbps” number the more data you can download and the faster your internet connection is.

    Fibre optic cable shown on a rural road in the UK

    Data files are typically referred to as a unit of measurement in Megabytes (MB) and 1 MB is equal to 8 Megabits (mb). Many confuse the two and use them interchangeably.

    The minimum download speed proposed under the government’s Universal Service Obligation is 10Mbps.

    A good website to check your internet speed is at Which? Broadband Test or at Speed Test.

    If you want to be more accurate with your broadband speed test, make sure your computer or laptop is cabled so you don’t include the wi-fi speed into your broadband speed test.

    Does it matter if lots of people are using broadband at the same time as you?

    Yes, concurrent users on shared broadband will directly impact speed and performance as bandwidth becomes saturated.

    Typically this happens during peak periods, on Friday night when lots of people are watching Netflix.

    Broadband/cable fibre cabinets

    Image caption This is what a local telephone and broadband exchange looks like if you were wondering

    If you’re further away from the exchange, things like latency and noise will increase – which means less speed and performance.

    If you’re a gamer or watch a lot of Netflix, do you need better broadband?

    Yes, you need to have a really fast high-speed broadband.

    Robin Wright as Claire Underwood and Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood

    Image caption Go for the best broadband if you want to watch House of Cards without buffering

    Video streaming files are getting bigger to pack in more definition like 4K and online gaming files are getting bigger to pack in more graphics and data to improve your gaming and viewing experience.

    Faster speeds also prevent buffering.

    Netflix recommends 3mb for SD quality shows, 5mb for HD and 25mb for 4K.

    Does using cables help speeds?

    I say wire if you can, wireless if you can’t.

    If you have good wi-fi coverage in your home and are using the latest technology, ie your router is less than two years old, then for most things, you don’t need to cable.

    Fibre optic cables

    Image caption This is what fibre optic cables look like when they’re being laid

    But if you like gaming, make sure you cable your PS4/Xbox directly to your broadband router to get the best gaming performance and speeds.

    If you want to stream HD TV or game then you need more speed.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/articles/40416967

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