A Guide to Broadband Contention Ratio

Aug 7, 2023

Broadband contention ratio plays an important role in our internet speed and connection. But what is it?

We’ve written this broadband contention guide in order to help you understand how you can leverage a better internet connection by understanding what it is and how you can get the better of it!

What is a Contention Ratio?

When it comes to broadband, a contention ratio refers to the number of users who share the same bandwidth on a singular internet connection. This is usually displayed in the form of a ratio (think 20:1, 50:1 etc).

This is how internet service providers (ISP’s) allocate their resource and manage their services.

Typically, the lower the number of users on a connection, the better the internet experience will before all users.

If it is busier, then more users are sharing the same amount of bandwidth and that will slow things down.

This is also what we mean by ‘peak hours’. During ‘peak hours’, more users will be on the internet, which means the broadband contention ratio will be higher.

This is why your speeds are affected during those times.

What is a Good Broadband Contention Ratio?

A good contention ratio is one that allows for a seamless internet connection for all users on the same connection. These will vary depending on the type of connection you are on (more about that later).

A ratio of 20:1 or lower is generally considered a good broadband contention ratio. If it is higher, than you may experience a slower/frustrating internet experience.

For business users or those with higher internet demands (think streamers, gamers etc.) then a ratio of 10:1 should be your aim.

How are Internet Speeds Affected by Contention Ratios?

Internet speeds can be affected by contention ratios.

If more users share the same bandwidth amount (one line can only have a certain amount of bandwidth), then the capacity is divided by those users. The available bandwidth gets shared between each user on the line.

If there are more users, it means you get a thinner slice of the proverbial pie.

On the other hand, if there are less users sharing the same bandwidth, then you’ll experience a much better, smoother internet connection.

Is there an FTTP Contention Ratio?

Fibre to the Premises (or FTTP) is a type of broadband technology that only uses fibre optic cables from the exchange to your property. This allows for much faster internet speeds and more reliability.

In the context of contention ratios, FTTP or full fibre broadband isn’t applied the same way. Each property gets its own fibre optic line.

This fibre optic cable can transmit data a lot faster than copper cables (as it uses light to transfer data instead of electromagnetic pulses) and therefore cope with a higher demand of data.

Because each property receives its own fibre line, it means that not only are you receiving a stronger type of broadband (fibre optic over copper), it means that you are only sharing the bandwidth with those in your house hold.

If you have minimal devices within your home, you’ll notice a much smoother experience on a stronger connection.

Broadband Contention Ratio

We hope this broadband contention guide has been useful in helping you understand more about the topic. If you think that your contention ratio is too high, be sure to see if we can serve you your own fibre optic line into your home.

As an FTTP network builder, we can ensure you receive the best internet connection possible whilst our ISP partners will provide you with a great broadband package.

Check the your FTTP availability today in your area to see if you can receive an full fibre connection!