Internet Connection Information

What is Each Internet Connection Type?

This page offers general information on internet connection performance, some issues that affect your specific performance, and some tips to improving your current Internet service.   The word "Broadband" is often used for internet connections.

Internet Connection Speeds

These are the most common internet speeds on offer in New Zealand:

Technology and Performance as at October 2015
Technology Stated Speed DOWN/UP TrueNet Observations
ADSL1:Rural broadband DOWN up to 7Mbps
UP 128kbps 
6.3Mbps, average 5Mb/s
13kb/s
ADSL2+: Urban Broadband DOWN up to 24Mbps
UP 1Mbps
up to 21Mbps average 10Mb/s
0.8Mb/s
VDSL: More efficient (faster)broadband DOWN up to 100Mbps
UP 70Mbps
up to 80Mbps Average 35Mb/s
up to 25Mbps
Cable 100:  Only Vodafone, Wellington and Auckland  DOWN 100Mbps
UP10Mbps
up to 130Mbps
10Mbps
Fibre: Available where UFB has been installed. There are a lot of different speeds available, with prices increasing in relation to the speed being offered.

Products offered:

30/10 Mb/s
50/20
100/20
100/50
100/100
200/50
200/200
1000/500

Speeds up to 50Mb/s are almost always as advertised

Speeds above 50Mb/s often not achieved.  However some ISPs offer advertised speeds based on their delivery of a higher speed, eg they offer 100Mb/s but deliver 10Mb/s to ensure 100 is always available.

Fixed Mobile or 4G this is where you are supplied with a modem/router that provides all your broadband needs using a SIM card inside the modem to link you to the closest cell-tower. Up to 60/60Mb/s 20/20 Mb/s on average
Satellite: Available everywhere.  Limited ISPs offer this. 10Mb/s download and 5Mb/s upload Consistent variation by time of day, but advertised speeds reached off-peak.
RBI wireless: Rural Broadband -This service is new and TrueNet is still reviewing it,  Rural report Better than 5Mbps
Better than 500kps
6-14Mbps
2.5-5Mbps

 

These speeds are the best speed achieved on our best connection, your connection may not achieve these speeds for many reasons discussed below.  However, a connection may deliver a best speed at 5am in the morning, but during peak hours of 6pm to 11pm, your speed may reduce - usually due to congestion somewhere in your ISPs network.  It is this factor TrueNet focusses on in any of our monthly reports where we discuss the Time of Day (ToD) performance. 

The Best ISPs have almost the same speed on average for all our probes at 5am as well as at 8pm.

Chart 1: March 2016 - unweighted download speed distribution of Panelists

 

Chart 1 above demonstrates the distribution of each technology by counting the number of connections with each median speed.   

  • Cable and Fibre both have many connections close to 100Mb/s with another fibre group at 30Mb/s.  
  • VDSL is spread from 10 to 55Mb/s with the best one at 84Mb/s - note: some panelists have VDSL to get a better upload speed but get ADSL download speeds.  
  • ADSL is grouped between 2 and 18Mb/s but this is biased a little low because we have double the proportion of Rural panelists than there are in the population to ensure sufficient for reporting purposes.  Rural panelists often get ADSL1 only.
Chart 2: Octpber 2015 - unweighted upload speed distribution

Chart 2 provides a good illustration of the distribution of upload connection speeds, by counting the number of panelists with a median upload speed corresponding to each Speed Range.

  • Cable has two upload speeds, 2Mb/s and 10Mb/s, these are clearly shown, with the percentages demonstrating our split of panelists by Speed
  • Fibre has many speeds, but our selection of panelists dictates the count with many on 30/10, and 100/20 with a smaller number of 100/100 and 100/50.  30% of our panelists have 10-20 and 30% have 20-30, it is most likely that the first group include the 30/10 products and the second group are 100/20 products, we try to have about the same numbers of each.
  • VDSL upload is based on the fastest your line will allow, and due to the technology most connections are very close to 10Mb/s, with a few outliers with less than 10 - often panelists asking for VDSL to improve their rural upload speeds where they have poor speeds in both directions.
  • ADSL is in two camps, those on Chorus exchange equipment (DSLAMs) get about 0.8Mb/s or less and those on unbundled local loop with their ISPs DSLAM getting about 1.2Mb/s.  (eg Vodafone's Red network)

 

Broadband over your telephone line explained

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a technology that enables Broadband over a typical telephone line. It does this using a mathematical sharing technique for signals over a large number of modems, it has various names for the peak speeds available, ADSL1 ADSL2+ and VDSL - for more info use Google.

The maximum possible speeds can only be achieved if there is no electrical interference, your connections are in good order or your Wifi is close and up to date.

Interference

This comes from many sources including for example (the worst);

  • The length of the copper pair.  The distance to your nearest exchange (or cabinet) has a significant impact as shown on our results.
  • Capacity constraints, which show up as lost packets, usually slowing webpage downloads more than file downloads.
  • Other DSL lines in the same cable. Most cables have 25-50 pairs and with New Zealand's 60% penetration that means most cables have 30 other pairs with DSL - this can cause lots of interference and potentially loss of speed, but DSL is designed to overcome this automatically with time.
  • Different diameters (guage) of the copper wires in the sections of the cable. Chorus' cable laid since the late 70's are usually the same guage, but the most extreme of this is in your house - the connection between your modem wires and the outside wires, especially if you use an extension or a remote jack-point.
  • The use of Interleaving, which is common in New Zealand. Interleaving sends each DSL signal twice, hence halving the speed possible.  Interleaving is useful for long lines (>2-3km) or other poor connections (long extension leads at home) to enhance stability. Many ISPs have it off by default, but it can also be turned off on request with most ISP's.
  • The distance the file has to travel, because the speed of light over fibre is capable of slowing a connection if there are many transmitted packets in both directions to accomplish a file transfer.  This is a relatively minor impact until it becomes International.
  • Latency, this is the time taken for a packet of information to return from the far end, it is especially important for websites being downloaded from Europe.
  • When downloading from any other source (say stuff.co.nz or say youtube.com), the download speed is limited by the upload speed. Hence if a website is overloaded or the links to it are overloaded in either direction, your speed will decrease.

The above are not all the issues but, from our data, are the most important issues. If you want to improve your speed, follow this sequence, in order of maximum impact;

  1. Ensure your home network does not have extensions before the splitter.
  2. Check your splitters are installed correctly, modem to the data side only, phone to the phone side.  A splitter is absolutely necessary for a phone.
  3. Ask your ISP if you need Interleaving and if the answers No, then get them to turn it off.
  4. Purchase a higher speed connection, you may want to consider VDSL, or if it is available Fibre, both improve upload and download speeds
  5. Check your modem/router is able to achieve the speed you are expecting. Your modem will have to be ADSL2+ capable to get higher than ADSL1 and VDSL to get VDSL. 
  6. Only test on Ethernet cable connected computers - Wifi can often slow a connection if interference is within the house.
  7. Make sure your connection to the router is on the correct port
  8. Ensure your wifi is the latest version possible, it should be type n or ac.  Double reach wifi is available also.
  9. Instal a second wifi if necessary, it can be ethernet fed over the in-house power lines for a $100 pair of ethernet-over-power connectors.
  10. Choose an ISP that is consistently in the top few ISP in our regular reports, we have a page that shows this here.

Fibre and Cable Broadband explained

Advertised speeds may be available with these technologies when downloading from the core network, but only if all planets align. The actual speed from the ISP is dependent on local congestion, overheads and backhaul congestion;

  1. Each area (often a street or suburb) has a single service (Fibre or Cable), and the speed being sold is the total speed available for all subscribers in that area, hence if someone else uses the line at the same time, then the speed can be slower to allow usage by other users.  With Fibre the speed is unlimited from your home to the exchange where it meets the OLT, which is a device to share capacity across many fibres, often up to 64 connections.
  2. Fibre & Cable are both able to be delivered at the advertised speed.  Some Local Fibre Companies (wholesalers) still sell to ISPs a sub-standard service that cannot reach the advertised speed, ask your ISP.
  3. The capacity up and down the country is limited, and congestion may impact on your ability to get a top speed. This depends on the supplier, who may or may not have sufficient capacity for most of the time.  TrueNet has already started seeing this congestion on Fibre with some ISPs, a sudden market change could cause severe congestion, just like Cable.  Cable congestion suddenly developed when NetFlix was offered, but after a very large investment, Vodafone resolved this problem on 2nd October 2015.

Satellite explained

There are two satellite wholesalers, each offering services on different satellites, speeds depend on the height of the satellite above the horizon, weather and ISP settings.  Satellites are a very long way away, so it takes time for a signal to got to the satellite and return, this is called Latency which has little impact on speed but can be destructive on website downloads.  Only ISP selection and ISP settings can improve performance.  Smart technology that reduces the overheads of packets during the satellite hop improves website performance to that of ADSL.

  • Satellites are a shared resource, so traffic is high in busy periods, using the service outside the busy period usually proves a reliable service.
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