The Bone of Contention

Why is Broadband slower at night?



Ever wonder why your Broadband connection is slower at night? The reason for this is Contention ratio.

Contention ratio describes the number of users sharing one unit of data capacity at a given time.   The lower the contention ratio the higher the quality of service. A 50:1 contention ratio would mean that up to 50 broadband customers are sharing the same bandwidth at any one time.

The quality and speed of your broadband connection is dependent on the number of users online at any given time. Business broadband services will often have much lower contention ratios to give business users a more consistent quality of service.

The higher the contention ratio the cheaper the broadband package is likely to be – and additionally, different ISPs have different contention ratios. The contention ratio is an important factor involved in the quality and speed of your chosen broadband package.

The average contention ratio for a home user package is 50:1 and 20:1 for a business package. That means that at any one time home users may be sharing their internet access with up to 49 other users all sharing the same bandwidth.

If you are using a 1MB connection, then, and each of the other users sharing the access are using it at the same time, your connection speed could be reduced to as little as 0.02mb!

Fortunately, it’s unlikely that everyone uses the connection at the same time.

More people are however online between 6pm and midnight – that means less bandwidth per person and slower speeds.

With more people at home during peak times there is also likely to be more noise on the line as a result of people using electromagnetic equipment in their homes which may also slow down your broadband speeds.

There’s not much you can do about this as it’s a quirk of broadband technology which, unlike water or electricity, isn’t just ‘off’ or ‘on’.

However, this does highlight the importance of choosing an Internet Service Provider with a low contention ratio as the fewer people sharing the line, the more bandwidth you potentially have.  Why not talk to us at Reach Broadband because with contention ratio’s of 15:1 for residential customers and from as little as 10:1 to 5:1 for business customers, we’ve got one of the lowest contention ratios not just in the county but in the country! Contact us now: 059 6477011

Tablet guide

tablet for xmas

Ever thought about buying a tablet? This guide will show you which model fits best for you.

Tablets are very helpful for various purposes: you can read the news, read and write emails, watch videos, play games, browse the internet, just to mention a few.

There are two wide-spread operating systems that run on most tablets: Android and iOS. Android is Google’s mobile operating system while iOS was developed by Apple. Many tablet models from different manufacturers come with Android, iOS is exclusive in Apple’s iPad.

What is the difference?

It is not easy to tell the exact difference between Android tablets and the iPad. Both systems come with lots of apps that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store on Android or the AppStore on iOS.

The main difference is, that iOS is more user-friendly, while Android has more possibilities to be customised.

Which one is better for me?


If you want a tablet that is easy to handle at has many functions pre-installed and you are willing to spend a decent amount of money on it, you should go for an iPad. It is available in different capacities and with or without the possibility to insert a Nano-SIM card to connect to a Mobile network.

If the iPad Air, the current model of the iPad, is too large in your opinion, the iPad Mini is the thing for you. All models have a high resolution screen and all come with both front and rear cameras.


If you want to go have a highly-customisable tablet with a wide range of functions on it, or want to go deeper into technical details, an Android tablet is what you shout get. The advantage of Android is that you can not only choose between several models from one manufacturer. Instead, Android is an open system that every producer of tablets can use on his models. For example, Samsung, Asus or Google itself offer tablets with Android on it.

The quality of the hardware depends on the manufacturer and the model. You can choose between an extensive range of screen sizes, resolutions, cameras and more specifications.


There’s no such thing as a “better” system for tablets. You need to see for yourself which one fits your needs better.

Keep your laptop in good health

laptop health

During the course of our business at Reach Broadband we often speak with people who feel that their broadband is slow, however after asking them a series of questions,  we find that it’s not that their internet connection is slow, but their laptop or desktop computer are not as up to date as they should be. This will interfere with the computer’s processing capability and will slow down how your computer or laptop will connect to the internet.

Keeping your files in order, backing up your data, and updating Windows on a regular basis will keep your laptop in good health.  The following is a list that should help you to do this

Updating Windows

Windows – the operating system of your laptop – is constantly being updated, with additions to its software that can both prevent and fix known problems. It’s important to keep your copy of Windows up-to-date. To do this and set up automatic updates simply follow the steps below.

  1. On the Start screen, move your cursor to the top right and from the Charms menu click Settings, then click Change PC settings.
  2. Click Windows Update.
  3. Click Check for updates: if any updates are fund, message will appear telling you.
  4. Click Install updates.

Install updates automatically

By default in Windows, Windows updates will be made automatically. You can check this setting and turn on automatic updating in the Control Panel.

  1. Right-click the bottom-left corner of your screen and from the pop-up menu, click Control Panel.
  2. Click System and Security and then click Windows Update.
  3. Click Change settings.
  4. Make sure that the Install updates automatically (recommended) box is checked.
  5. Under the Recommended updates heading, make sure the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates box is checked. Then click OK.

Backing up data

It’s important to back up your files, such as photos and documents, so that if the hard drive fails or your laptop is stolen or damaged, you won’t lose everything.

Connect to an external hard drive

An external hard drive is an easy, cost-efficient way to back up your files, and it can be stored away from your laptop. You can use Windows  File History for this or to quickly back up specific files, do the following:

  1. Connect the hard drive to your laptop with the USB cable provided.
  2. The external hard drive will appear in a window on screen.
  3. Either drag and drop or copy and paste files and folders onto the external hard drive.
  4. To restore files, re-attach the hard drive and copy files back to your laptop’s hard drive.

Tip: DVD backups

It’s cheaper to back up onto blank DVDs, but they are prone to scratching so are less reliable than a hard drive.

Free up space on your hard disk

If you use a laptop frequently it can become clogged with information that shows it down. In Windows, you can remove any unnecessary files using Disk Cleanup.

  1. On the Start screen, move your cursor to the top-right and from the Charms menu click Search.
  2. Type Disk Cleanup into the search box and click the blue search icon.
  3. Click Disk Cleanup from the list of results.
  4. Disk Cleanup will run – working out how much space it can free up.
  5. In the Disk Cleanup window that appears, you can choose to clean up different types of files, such as temporary files. Click on an entry to see a description of the file. Click OK and then click Delete Files.

Automatically back up files

Windows  File History continuously backs up files in your libraries, Desktop, Favourites, and Contacts location, such as an external hard drive. Every time a change is made to a file, a copy of the file is stored – so over time, you can see a complete history of the changes that have been made. To turn on File History:

  1. Connect the external hard drive to your laptop with the USB cable provided.
  2. Right-click the bottom-left corner of your screen and from the pop-up menu, click Control Panel.
  3. Click System and Security and then click File History.
  4. Click Turn on. File History is now activated and hourly backups of your files will be made.
  5. To restore files, click Restore personal files and then choose the files you wish to restore.

Tweens, Teens, and Screens

internet safetyFor today’s tweens and teens, technology is part of the fabric of everyday life. They’re watching TV on lots of devices and using smartphones and tablets to maximum advantage — texting, researching, sharing, connecting — and generally causing lots of hand-wringing among parents who don’t know how much is too much.  Over the course of our work here at Reach Broadband we talk to a lot of parents who are always concerned about the level of internet use their kids are using and of course what content they are being subjected to.

This extensive use of the web by kids does bear some serious risk. Here’s some of our guidelines on how to keep your kids safe in the World Wide Web.

Agree on internet rules with your children

Agreeing on rules everybody is happy with is the best way to internet safety. Totally forbidding your children to go online is not the right way. Instead, show your kids which websites are safe for them to visit. Also, you might want to accompany your children on their first steps on the internet.

If you aren’t familiar with the web, ask you children to introduce you to it. They are often quite savvy with the internet as they’re growing up with it.

Be aware of what your children do on the internet

It can be useful to have an overview about what sites your kids visit regularly. Also, you should know if they have any online friends.

This doesn’t mean you can spy on your kids. Everything must be based on trust. If you spy on your children, they might hide their activity from you on purpose.

Agree with your children on always telling you instantly when they see something on the internet that makes them feel uncomfortable. In that case, don’t get mad at them or punish them, but talk with them about it. Otherwise they won’t tell you such things anymore.

Make your kids aware of potential dangers

It is essential that you teach your child not to blindly rely on any information they get from the web. They should never give out any personal information without thinking about it twice. Also, they can never be sure that their online friend’s identity is real.

If your kids want to meet an online friend, they should talk to you about it before. You should check the friend’s profile together with your children. If you decide to permit your children to meet someone they know from the internet, better accompany them on the first meeting.

Tell your children about the possible dangers of downloads. Younger children should never download anything without your permission.

Security settings on your computer

The security settings that your operating system and most browsers offer are a good way to protect your children and your computer.

Your kids should always use a restricted account (Standard account on Windows 8 or later) on the computer. Windows 8 even comes with a specific account type for children that offers even more protection.

Search engines, such as Google often offer a filter that hides inappropriate search results. It is recommended to turn this filter on the highest level for your children.

There are several web blockers available that can block the access to inappropriate websites. It someone attempts to visit such a website, a failure message appears or the browser asks for a password.