How to improve your broadband speed: Sharedband
I have finally found a viable way of increasing our bandwidth in ‘Rural’ Suffolk. To say I am thrilled is an understatement.
BT defends its poor service provision by claiming we live in a rural area although there is nothing rural about where we live – we are 5 minutes from a huge Tesco which is the neighbour to BT’s Adastral Park. (we can see the blinking light on top of the BT Martlesham Antenna from our front garden)
We don’t really get more than a download speed of 1 MB/s from an ADSL line (sometimes half that at busy, contended times). A few months back I ordered an additional two broadband lines and ended up letting my wife use one line, me the other, and we ran or VOIP telephone service on the third, desperate, huh? Broadband is a funny thing and although all three services were with BT Business Broadband, all coming down the same line and entering the house in the same place terminated in three identical brand new junction boxes, we get three different line speeds from the services. Slowest sometimes runs at 512 and the fastest sometimes touches the 1.5 mb/s with the middle one rambling between the two.
On a recent visit by a BT engineer he apologetically offered no improvement to the speeds but he did say that we should try a technology that bonds the three lines. All he could remember is that the technology came out of BT Martlesham development centre. After googling a lot – I found the company – SharedBand. Its the best kept secret, hard to find and not marketed actively but I’m told its a word of mouth thing.
I sent a question through their contact form and received a call within 5 minutes which impressed me. What I liked about what I heard was that
- You can bond as many lines as you like and the eventual speed you get out of the bond is purely an aggregation of the download and uploads speeds respectively. So I guessed I’d get around a 3 mb/s service with an upload of just short of a 1mb/s
- The setup charge isn’t a material investment – £50 once-off plus a new Netgear router (£49 each) running sharedband firmware for each line you want to bond.
- Ongoing monthly charges are £20 per line and you only have to commit to 3 months ( obviously the line and broadband rental is a distinct separate charge with your service provider)
Before making a decision, I evaluated the alternatives:
1) To stay with my three unbonded lines. Downside is that we couldn’t share the bandwidth- meaning we weren’t able to watch youtube videos and *never* could stream BBC iplayer.
2) To go with a Satellite solution – costly and where we might get a decent download speed the upload speed would still be awful (got to wait a few years for symmetric satellite technology to become affordable)
3) Leased line – BT quoted a £25,000 installation fee and £1k a month – ok we’d get massive up and down speeds but its not even worth contemplating cost-wise
Therefore, we made a decision quickly – placing the order on Thursday evening. – the Sharedband service was up and running at 10am on Tuesday morning and its absolutely changed the mood around here!
The routers weren’t quite plug ‘n play (as something needed tweaking) but my support call to Sharedband was dealt with brilliantly and the service was up and running 15 minutes later.
Its now been running nearly a week and its as stable as the underlying adsl services. I can confirm that the eventual service speed you get from Sharedband is indeed simply an aggregation of the individual lines’ up and download speeds. Life changing. Highly recommended.