A shared Internet package usually means a pool of bandwidth has been reserved for the use of x subscribers. Think of a cake – a cake that is 4 Megabits (4Mb). This cake is to be shared with 8 cake eaters (subscribers). Thus we can describe this as a contention ratio of 8:1. The individual subscriber should expect:
- Their slice of the cake can never be less than a minimum 0.5 Mbps (512 Kbps)
- The speed of the individuals Internet is variable above minimum
- The maximum speed achievable is 4Mbps.
So far so good. But what happens when some of the 8 subscribers aren’t using their minimum slice of cake? Unused slices get divided up and shared amongst those subscribers who are using from the pool of bandwidth. With this in mind, the individual subscriber can further expect that their average speed will always exceed the minimum. Why is that you may ask? Because most kinds of Internet traffic is not a constant stream of data. Think of a web page; you click, the page loads and you sit and read. Bandwidth wise, this is a short spike. Once you have downloaded that email, no more bandwidth is required to read it. So generally bandwidth usage is bursty and spiky.
OPQ enhance the contention ratio and in turn the shared experience by offering a split ratio between business hours (6am-6pm) and non business hours (6pm-6am + weekends), maximising the available burst – which means more cake for when you most need it!
Is this how your Internet package behaves? If not there maybe something amiss somewhere. Check with your provider what your contention ratio should be.
How can you tell you are getting what you pay for? OPQ cannot comment on what other providers in Botswana do. However, here at OPQ we believe our customers cannot be too well informed. OPQ customers log in to their account dashboard, where they can review all aspects of their account including their current and historical usage statistics.
Screenshot of business user’s normal usage chart (example shown – 6Mbps shared package).
In the screenshot above, we can see that usage looks very normal. If you are viewing your usage chart and it looks similar but you are experiencing slow speeds, the slowdown may only be affecting a specific application, download, game etc. With a clear view and understanding of your package and usage, troubleshooting issues becomes much easier.
The following examples show what appear to be problematic usage situations:
In this example we can see two potential issues. Between the 14:00 and 16:00 mark, there are breaks in the connection, definitely warranting investigation. The second issue is this user is maxing out the connection after midnight, where the flatline is. Maybe it’s time for an upgrade? Or is there something unknown on a device eating all the cake? Usage shown here is from a 6Mbps shared business package.
This next example shows a Home Basic (3Mbps shared) package being used.
It’s clear to see the problem here. To a trained eye this looks very much like torrent traffic maxing out the connection.
Knowing what you should expect from your connection, you can quickly check your Customer Dashboard to make sure you really are getting what you pay for.
We hope this article has been helpful and informative. OPQ welcomes comments and suggestions.