With so many options and technical terms, finding the right broadband speed might leave you feeling a little confused. We know how important a strong, fast, and reliable internet connection is for your business, so we've compiled this guide to broadband speeds to help you choose the best Business Broadband.
If you're unsure how fast your internet connection is, a broadband speed test is an easy way to find out. Many broadband speed test providers are available (you can even test your broadband speed directly from Google Search by searching for "speed test"), but it's important to know that how you run the test will influence the results.
If you usually connect to the internet via WiFi, performing a broadband speed test using your WiFi connection makes sense. However, it's important to keep in mind that various factors can influence your broadband speed when connected via WiFi, including the following:
The distance from your WiFi router
The effectiveness of your WiFi router
The number of users currently connected to your WiFi router
Environmental factors such as walls and the layout of your workplace
While a Wifi speed test will give you a good indication of your broadband speed, it won't give you an accurate speed test. You may find that your actual broadband speeds are slightly faster than your WiFi speed test results.
If you connect to the internet via a wired connection (you need to connect a cable to your device to access the internet), you'll get a clearer idea of how fast your broadband is. Still, it's important to be aware that, as with a WiFi speed test, factors such as the following can influence your results:
The length and standard of cable between your device and your broadband router
The effectiveness of your broadband router
The number of users currently connected to your broadband router
A wired broadband connection will help you get more accurate broadband speed test results. However, as some factors can influence the results, you'll get a more accurate result from a router speed test.
A router speed test will provide the most accurate results, but running a test isn't as simple as a WiFi or wired broadband speed test. You'll need access to your router and understand how to navigate your settings to run a speed test.
This option is only for those who know what they're doing. If you don't feel comfortable running this test yourself and have concerns over your broadband speeds, you could ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to run the test. Most ISPs can run a broadband speed test for you, giving you more accurate broadband speed test results.
‘Broadband’ is short for ‘broad bandwidth’, and became widely available once the demand for faster internet exceeded what was capable through dial-up internet services.
Broadband speed, also known as bandwidth, measures how quickly data can be downloaded or uploaded within a single second. Broadband speed is measured in terms of megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps), with faster internet benefitting from a greater megabit per second figure. Once you exceed speeds of 1,000 Mbps, the measurement switches to Gbps because 1 Gbps equals 1,000 Mbps.
The term ‘broadband’ is short for ‘broad bandwidth’, which replaced older dial-up internet services as the demand for faster connection speeds increased. Many factors contribute to your broadband speed, such as the number of users connected to your network and how your connection is used. Your broadband speeds will decrease if multiple users are completing data-heavy tasks, such as uploading large files or using video conferencing. This temporary interruption to speed is known as lag, which users can reduce by avoiding intense use during peak times.
Your download speed is how quickly you receive data from the internet to your computer. It effectively covers any activity that requires receiving or downloading data.
Your upload speed refers to the time it takes to transfer data from your computer to the Internet. While you might not think you need a fast upload speed, faster upload speeds are essential if you need to upload large files, make video calls or use services such as VoIP.
Your download and upload speeds can impact your business, so you should consider both figures carefully when choosing a business broadband package. Generally, standard broadband will offer lower upload speeds than download speeds. However, dedicated full fibre (also known as FTTP) and leased lines usually provide symmetrical upload and download speeds.
You want your broadband connection to allow your business to run as efficiently as possible, so choosing the right internet speed is essential. The speed of your broadband connection will impact everything from your customer communications to employee productivity.
Typically, the more internet users you have, the faster broadband speed your business will require. For example, an office of two people may manage with a slower broadband speed than an office of twenty people. For example, a small business with a single employee only using the internet occasionally may find that a plan with just 75 Mbps is adequate. However, larger businesses with multiple employees using the internet and phone simultaneously would need a connection of at least 1 Gbps.
The following are examples of download speeds and the activities they're suitable for:
Up to 8 Mbps – Sometimes referred to as 'standard' broadband, this speed would support one or two users who only browse the internet and send occasional emails.
Up to 24 Mbps – Better suited to teams with less than five users using basic internet services and downloading smaller files (or larger files infrequently) and some business communications.
Up to 80 Mbps – Best for between five and ten users; this download speed supports frequent file sending, video streaming and regular POS transactions.
Up to 150 Mbps – This speed would be ideal for between ten and fifteen users needing regular access to cloud services, file uploads and video conferencing.
Up to 250 Mbps – Well suited to larger businesses of over 15 people who regularly stream videos and host conference calls and servers.
Up to 500 Mbps – Ideal for businesses with over 20 people constantly accessing cloud-based services, large file backups and multiple servers hosted.
Over 1 Gbps – This is the fastest connection available to your business, providing quick and reliable internet access.
If you already have a business broadband connection and feel you need a faster connection, you should run an internet speed test. This will help you determine the current upload and download speeds your business receives so that you can find and arrange a faster connection. The ideal speed for your business may have changed, especially if your business has expanded or you are using new technology.
At BusinessComparison, we are committed to helping businesses find the best deals that meet their broadband requirements. Our specialist broadband team will get to know your current and future business needs to find the service you require and match you to the ideal business broadband provider.
Broadband speeds can fluctuate for various reasons. Subsequently, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) advertise broadband speed as "up to" a certain amount, as that's what they're targetting. Most ISPs offer a minimum service level agreement (SLA) detailing the minimum speeds they will aim to provide you with. If they cannot provide these speeds, you may be able to end your contract early and move to a different plan or find an alternative ISP.
Mbps stands for megabits per second. It measures how many megabits you can transfer via your internet connection every second. Unless your broadband speed exceeds 1,000 Mbps (in which case, the unit of measurement for speed will be Gbps), this will be the unit of measurement for your broadband speed.
Gbps stands for gigabits per second. It measures how many gigabits you can transfer via your internet connection every second. Unless your broadband speed is slower than 1 Gbps (in which case, the unit of measurement for speed will be Mbps), this will be the unit of measurement for your broadband speed.
As of April 2023, the fastest internet speed available in the UK is 3 Gbps. The fastest broadband connection available in your area will depend on your location and how much you're willing to spend. If you have access to full fibre broadband (also known as FTTP), you should be able to access speed at around 1 Gbps or lower. Consider a leased line if fast, reliable internet is essential to your business.
Which is the best broadband in your area depends on your requirements. If your business needs a superfast, reliable connection, then the best broadband in your area will undoubtedly be the one that's the fastest. However, if your business requires an internet connection solely to run a card machine and send the occasional email, you might find the best broadband in your area far exceeds your needs.
Our business broadband team will take note of your requirements to ensure we don't just find you the best broadband in your area. We get you the package that best fulfils the needs of your business.
No, upload and download speeds are different.
Upload speed is the speed at which you can share data from your device to the internet. This can include video calls, uploading files and using other cloud-based services.
Download speed is the speed at which you receive data from the internet to your device. As well as downloading files, this can include receiving video calls, streaming content and browsing the internet.
Overlooking upload speeds is a common mistake businesses make when choosing a broadband provider. If your business relies on a fast upload speed, ensure you check these details when setting up your internet connection. The symmetrical speeds offered by a leased line may be your best option.
Symmetrical speed means that your upload and download speeds are the same. Typically, broadband upload speeds are higher than upload speeds, but with full fibre (also known as FTTP) and leased line connections, you can get symmetrical upload and download speeds.
The benefit of symmetrical speeds is faster upload speeds, which are ideal if you rely on video calls and frequently share large files.
Depending on how new it is and whether your needs have changed over time, your broadband router might be slowing you down, and it may be worth upgrading your broadband router.
If you're looking for a new broadband router, read our article on the '10 Best Small Business Broadband Routers' to help you choose.
If you want to switch broadband providers, you've come to the right place. Our specialist broadband team will work with you to ensure we find you the best deal to meet your needs.