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All about traffic prioritisation

Summary: How traffic prioritisation works.

Why do we manage traffic?

Our broadband service is provided over a shared network. Bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted) is shared between everybody who is connected to the network. This industry-wide method allows us to provide a reliable, high-speed service at an affordable price.

As customer numbers and usage grows, we have to increase the capacity of our network to make sure there's enough bandwidth for everyone. When the network is busy, it's easy for things to get out of control. Peer-to-peer, video streaming and large file downloads can flood the network quickly and use up the bandwidth. If this happens, it reduces the speed of web browsing, email, gaming and other types of web traffic. Traffic prioritisation prevents this from happening.

With traffic prioritisation we can do lots of clever things to make sure everyone gets a good, fair online experience. For example we can:

  • Make sure stuff that needs to be fast (like VoIP, VPN and gaming) is always prioritised - if these run slowly, they won't work properly
  • Protect your interactive activities like web-browsing and email from download traffic such as music downloads
  • Provide a service relative to the amount each customer pays in terms of usage allowances and experience
  • Flex the network in the event of unusual demands in traffic or disaster situations (e.g. a network failure)

How does it work?

Rate limits

We do not apply rate limits to any of our current residential or business products. Find out more about this in our Broadband speeds guide. We used rate limits with some of our older broadband products to make sure everyone gets a good online experience.

What happens when the network is really busy?

Sometimes our network is under extreme load (such as when there's a major network outage or a major news event). On these occasions we need to manage traffic more than we would like.

We have a number of configurations we can apply when the network is extremely busy, you can read more about these in our Abnormal load guide.

If you're having problems with your broadband speed

Please see our troubleshooting guides or watch our Broadband speed checks video to find out what to do next.

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