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Broadband Speed in NZ

Broadband Speed in NZ
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Broadband speed is one of the subjects that often comes up in conversation with people looking to compare broadband providers in New Zealand and there are a number of things to consider and bear in mind if you are looking for the fastest internet provider in NZ or if you just want to know what you’re getting will be enough for your needs.  One of the biggest considerations is the type of broadband connection that you are operating on and then there are a range of other factors that affect the speed of your broadband connection include:


Your broadband plan

Different NZ broadband providers mean a variety of different broadband plans which all have different broadband speeds.  These speeds can vary as a result of the different technology your broadband connection is provided through. So one of the first points on the way to connecting with the right broadband speed is to get the right broadband plan.  If you sign up for a 100Mbps fibre plan then in theory that is what you can get, likewise sign up with a 24Mbps ADSL2+ plan and that will be your maximum broadband speed.  One VERY important factor to note is that the broadband speed quoted on your plan by the ISP is the maximum broadband speed available and that means that the actual speed may vary depending on a variety of factors, some of which we have listed below:


ADSL or ADSL2+ Broadband

ADSL is used by most New Zealanders today.  ADSL stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. It uses copper telephone wires for transmitting digital information such as data, audio and video, at a high bandwidth.

Unlike dial-up, for ADSL you can make telephone calls and use the internet at the same time. ADSL is available in almost every urban region. ADSL2 is a newer form of ADSL that can deliver higher speeds than ADSL. 

Whether or not your broadband service will be delivered across ADSL or ADSL2 is dependent on your physical location. You cannot ‘choose’ between an ADSL and ADSL2 broadband plan.

The speed you get will depend on the length of the copper cable from your home to the network equipment. Shorter distances allow faster speeds.

ADSL2+ is the latest version of the ADSL Broadband standard and can provide speeds of up 24Mbps down and 1Mbps up.

Using ADSL2+, a Full Speed (FS) connection is the fastest speed available on your phone line. This could be up to 24Mbps down and 1000Kbps up on a FS/FS plan, or up to 24Mbps down and 128Kbps up on a FS/128kb plan, both when using an ADSL2+ compatible modem in an ADSL2+ enabled location. ADSL1 is up to 7.6Mbps down and 600kbps up. 

For more information on ADSL2+, whether it's available in your location, and how to make the most of this new technology check the available connection at your property address on Broadband Compare. 


VDSL Broadband

VDSL broadband is a newer technology that, like ADSL, uses your copper phone line, but delivers a faster connection speed.

VDSL was developed to support the high bandwidth requirements of High Definition TV (HDTV), media streaming, and VoIP connections.

As with ADSL, speed depends on the length of the copper cable from your home to the network equipment. Shorter distances allow faster speeds.

VDSL2 is a new development from the ADSL Broadband standard and can currently provide speeds of up 40Mbps down and 10Mbps up. For more information on VDSL2, whether it's available in your location, and how to make the most of this new technology check the available connection at your property address on Broadband Compare. 

Using VDSL2, a Full Speed (FS) VDSL2 connection is the fastest speed available on your phone line. This could be up to 40Mbps down and 10Mbps up on a FS/10Mb plan.

Check if you can get VDSL broadband here.


Cable Broadband

This type of broadband technology works over a hybrid cable installed into your home rather than telephone lines and can provide faster speeds than ADSL and VDSL. Cable supports the high bandwidth requirements of HDTV, media streaming and Voice over IP.

In New Zealand, Cable broadband is available in parts of Wellington and Christchurch.

Service Providers offer different packages at different speeds on cable.

Speed does not depend on the distance of your home from the network equipment.


Ultra Fast Broadband

This uses fibre-optic cable to deliver ‘ultra-fast broadband’ to New Zealand schools, businesses and homes.  The higher speed opens the opportunity for bandwidth intensive applications such as Ultra HDTV, Video conferencing, and multiple concurrent users.  With the data being transmitted using light, performance is largely unaffected by distance and interference.  A home that is 30km from the telephone exchange will get very similar speed as one located next door to the telephone exchange.  Service Providers offer different packages at different speeds on fibre. Speed does not depend on the distance of your home from the network equipment.

Check to see if Fibre is available to your premises on Broadband Compare

UFB brings Fibre Optic cable to the house to bring speeds that a copper cable cannot achieve. Download at speeds up to 200Mbps and Upload up to 50Mbps with our max speed plans. We also provide a more economical option with plans offering 30mbps Download and 10Mbps Upload speeds. To find out if Ultra Fast Broadband is available at your address click here to compare fibre broadband plans.

Using UFB, there are some areas in New Zealand such as Dunedin, the Chorus GigaTown, where you can have a fibre broadband plan that offers speeds of 1000/500 UFB as the fastest speed available. This will be up to 1000Mbps down and 500Mbps up on a 1000/500Mb plan.  Standard ‘entry level’ fibre broadband plans run at speeds of 100/30Mbps. 


Other factors that may affect your broadband speed.


Your computer

Your computer's set-up and operating system, especially RAM availability, will affect speed of the connection and usage.


Your Broadband Modem/Router, Filters & Phone Cable

Like all bits of technology, not all broadband modems & ADSL filters are the same, and some may not give as high quality connection as others. You can purchase a wide variety of different broadband routers online or receive a broadband router when you sign up to a new Broadband connection.  The broadband routers that many ISP’s provide for free are generally adequate for the connection they are supplying with the new router, however in some cases you will have the option to upgrade your router at the point of sign up.  If broadband speed is of critical importance it is worth reviewing the broadband routers on offer and reading independent reviews and gathering more information on their capabilities… after all, you wouldn’t put 91 in your Ferrari!

Loose wiring in telephone cables running from your modem to your telephone jack may cause your Broadband connection speed to degrade and additionally, if you have a long extension cable running from your Broadband modem to the telephone jack, this may also affect your connection.  If you are on a traditional copper line and have a number of devices plugged into your phone line (including your Broadband modem), this will affect the quality of your Broadband connection.


The Internet

It’s a big thing…this world wide web… and not all websites will offer the same speed of download, no matter how fast your connection is the site you’re visiting might not be that speedy.  As a very general rule, you should expect a New Zealand website to load a little faster than an international one.  Because the internet works by sending data through a chain of computers between you, your chosen broadband provider, and the website you want to reach, there may be limitations or congestion on any of the links between these points which may affect your speed when visiting a certain site.


Internet traffic

During busy periods you may experience slower speeds as more people are accessing the Internet. The network operator (Chorus across the bulk of New Zealand, but if you are on a fibre connection it may be one of the four local fibre companies including Chorus, Northpower Fibre, Enable and Ultrafast Fibre) will allocate a certain amount of bandwidth to your local exchange, which may mean, that at peak times, the maximum speed you can reach is limited because everyone on your exchange is using the same bandwidth at the same time. This is a limitation placed by the network owner at every exchange point.

Higher speed plans do get higher priority on bandwidth than lower speed plans, so that customers paying for a higher speed connection should still get higher speed than low-speed plans, even at peak times… but again, these speeds listed will be the maximum available speed and not a guarantee of performance.


Your location

The distance of your home or office from the exchange has a big impact on the maximum speed you will be able to obtain on your Broadband connection. As a general rule, the further you are from the exchange, the poorer the quality of the connection. Anything over 4-5km from the exchange may have a noticeable difference.


Other programs or users downloading on your connection

If you have a home or office network, and others are downloading or uploading, or if you are downloading on your own computer whilst trying to do other things, these activities may 'saturate' the bandwidth, slowing down your other downloads, e-mail or web browsing.


What to do if you think your speed is slower than expected

Compare broadband at your address with Broadband Compare of course! 

First of all, make sure that you are on the best available connection type at your address. 

In order of theoretical maximum speed from the lowest to the highest this would be:  ADSL, ADSL2+, VDSL, CABLE, FIBRE, GIGABIT FIBRE.

Compare available broadband connection types at your address here and then filter by speed requirements.



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