Shared Internet Explained

Shared Internet Explained

Contention Ratios.

A shared Internet package usually means a bandwidth pool has been reserved for x number of subscribers. Think of a cake – a cake that is 12 Megabits Per Second (12Mbps) in size. This cake is to be shared with four cake eaters (subscribers). Thus we can describe this as a contention ratio of 4:1. The individual subscriber should expect:

  • Their slice of the cake can never be less than a minimum 3 Mbps
  • The speed of the individual’s Internet is variable above the minimum
  • The maximum speed achievable is 12Mbps.

So far, so good. But what happens when some of the four subscribers aren’t using their minimum slice of the cake? Unused portions get divided and shared amongst subscribers who are using from the bandwidth pool.  With this in mind, the subscriber can further expect their average speed to always exceed the minimum. Why is that, you may ask? Because most kinds of Internet traffic are 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 enhances the contention ratio and, in turn, the shared experience by offering a split balance between business hours (6 am-6 pm) and non-business hours (6 pm-6 am + weekends), maximizing the available burst – which means more cake for when you most need it!

Is this how your Internet package behaves? If not, there may be 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 do. However, here at OPQ, we believe our customers cannot be too well informed. So, OPQ customers log in to their account dashboard to review all aspects of their account, including their current and historical usage statistics.







Screenshot of business user’s typical usage chart (example shown – 6Mbps shared package) *

In the screenshot above, we can see that usage looks very typical. 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 website, application, download, game, etc. Troubleshooting issues becomes much easier with a clear view and understanding of your package and usage.

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, which definitely warrants 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 following example shows a Home Basic (3Mbps shared)* package being used.

It’s clear to see the problem here. To a trained eye, this looks like torrent traffic maxing out the connection.

Knowing what you should expect from your connection, you can quickly check your Customer Dashboard to ensure you are getting what you pay for.

We hope this article has been helpful and informative. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

* The example packages used above have either been discontinued or upgraded. Browse our online catalogue for up to date product information.



    1. OPQsysAdmin

      Good day,

      Apologies for the delay.

      Some aspects of an ADSL connection are beyond the control of OPQ, contention ratios and downtime on the telephone line for example.

      Arguably, this make wireless connections more reliable. Infrastructure is wholly owned, service delivery more flexible and support/response times greatly improved.

      As might be expected the costs reflect the superior service.

      Please call 397 3945 for more information.

    1. OPQsysAdmin

      Good day,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      Contention ratios on OPQ’s wireless network are not dependent on area.

      You may view any of our products on line and learn the contention ratio by clicking either the “Shared” link or the question mark as shown on the below example.

      Screenshot example

      We hope this helps.

  1. ignatius Nkwe

    HI,I am interested in the package of Home classic professionals. So it means I have to pay the P1000.00 with the P321.00 installment. And the 1000pula will be refunded?

Please leave us a message


This package requires a once-off installation of

P1,200.00 excl. VAT

Want to spread the cost? Select options from the

'Installation Fee' menu.

*N.B. An 8% handling charge is added for spreading set-up

costs over 2 months, and 10% for the 3-month option.

This is a shared package.

Contention ratio sharing: 4:1

More information about Contention Ratios

Looking for dedicated, unshared connections? Contact us to discuss your needs.