The Broadband Stakeholder Group announced that their new transparency code will see major ISPs (internet service providers) provide more information about traffic management (or shaping as it is sometimes known) to allow users to easily compare provider’s practices.
For the first time, information will be provided in a common format to explain what traffic management techniques are used, when and with what impact for each broadband service currently marketed by the code’s signatories.
What is traffic shaping?
Currently, many ISPs vary the speed of broadband connections depending on the time of day or volume of traffic on their network. By reducing the speed for tasks they judge to be “non speed critical” such as downloading files or sending emails to ensure that other user’s services run smoothly.
How does it affect my internet services?
This can be acceptable if you are a casual home user, where you are happy to have the speed of your connection adjusted so other casual users can watch iPlayer or play computer games over the internet. However, for business users of internet technologies such as business VoIP, Exchange email or cloud computing, it can play havoc on your day-to-day working.
For example, a design agency needs to download and send a large series of high quality files, needed urgently for printing the following day. The clock hits 4pm. The kids are back from school. Suddenly the speed drops considerably and the large files are going to take hours instead of seconds. The designer tries to make a VoIP call to the client to explain, but the lack of bandwidth means the quality is poor.
We could find ourselves in a position whereby ISPs offer managed solutions, offering an exemption from shaping for websites and services that pay higher fees, giving priority to those willing to pay for it. For many years proponents of net neutrality, based on the principle ISPs should, as the BBC defines it, “treat all web traffic equally, regardless of content type or origin”, have fought to reject these ideas.
How can I avoid my business internet being shaped?
To help businesses avoid the problems that the designer above suffered, Gradwell provides a range of business-grade internet services, free from traffic shaping. Packages come with voice prioritisation, so business VoIP calls always get the bandwidth they need. Also, there is no contention on a Gradwell broadband line, so you are not sharing your connection with anyone else.
To see how your business can get “shape free” business broadband contact our sales team on 01225 800 808 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Image by Marcelo Graciolli)