About our network delivering the best broadband experience

We've built one of the most advanced ISP networks in the UK. Unlike some of our competitors, we own and manage our broadband platform too, investing heavily in our network capacity and dynamic traffic management systems. That's because we believe our customers deserve the best broadband experience possible.

Our network

Owning our network and having the backing of our parent company, BT, provides several key benefits for your business:

  • Greater flexibility - Having full control means reconfiguring the network, performing essential maintenance out of hours and reacting to problems is quick and easy - minimising the impact on you.
  • Extra capacity - We don't overload our broadband service. We closely monitor network capacity and usage patterns, planning for and making investment in both extra bandwidth and network resilience. So, whenever customer numbers and demand for bandwidth-heavy applications increase we're ready.
  • Scalability - We have a high-performance platform that's easily expanded to cope with additional throughput.

The diagram below shows how our datacentres are connected to the BT Openreach network to provide our service.

Network diagram

Providing the best broadband experience

Some providers operate a 'best effort' network. This 'one size fits all' approach treats all traffic equally and gives no guarantees to priority. The downside of this is that one bandwidth-intensive application can operate without problems - but to the detriment of other applications and users.

Here's how we deliver the best possible service:

QoS (Quality of Service) traffic management

We apply QoS traffic management on our network to provide a fair and quality service for all applications and customers. Traffic management has been given a bad reputation because it's wrongly believed that its sole purpose is to slow down users, or certain types of traffic. However, the way we use it actually enhances your online experience.

Our real-time traffic management systems don't stop or deliberately block particular applications. Instead, they make sure your most important, time-sensitive activities get the highest priority. (Importantly we only apply traffic management whenever we see contention on our network, not all the time).

We identify the type of activities on our network and apply priorities to them. This means we can decide to slow the lowest priority traffic first (the activity that'll work most effectively on lower bandwidth like downloads/Peer-to-Peer) so this doesn't affect a user's experience.

Because we know the speed of our customer's lines, we can tell when they're reaching their maximum capacity. We're then able to make intelligent decisions based on these priorities, protecting their experience.

e.g. You're running real-time applications like VoIP calls and video conferences when someone else in your office begins to run file transfers in the background. Thanks to traffic management, we can guarantee that your time-critical voice and video calls will be prioritised, so they'll run smoothly. (The background file transfers will be slowed, taking a little longer to complete).

Flexing our network under demand

When traffic volumes increase we can flex our network, to cope with normal daily peaks and troughs. However, it's also adaptable and resilient enough to handle unusual traffic demands, or even network failure.

We have 3 network settings, each one designed to cope with a different level of demand:

  • Normal daily operation
  • High demand (e.g. streaming of planned sporting or entertainment events)
  • Disaster situation (e.g. unexpected large scale network failure or a major news event)

The ability to flex to this extent gives us a great deal of agility - which gives our customers peace of mind. We can react to day-to-day demand, anticipate one-off high traffic events, plus handle critical situations as and when they happen, without impact to the quality of our service.

Find out about how our network copes under abnormal load

Offering unlimited broadband that's traffic managed

Most customers won't even notice that we apply traffic management on our network. That's because it just makes things work - and that's the point. As a business, that's what you'll want from an unlimited broadband service. You don't want the frustration of not being able to make your important video call with a client, because someone else in the office is making a large download or P2P transfer.

We think this sets us apart from the other providers. After all, what good is unlimited broadband if you can only use one application at once?

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