Understanding the contention ratio of your internet package is a very important factor in understanding what the actual product you choose and purchase is. Often times what you pay for is very different from what you actually receive! Have you ever noticed the internet speeds you get are very different than the speeds promised in your package?

What is Contention Ratio?

Contention ratio is a key metric that measures the maximum number of internet users that can concurrently share fixed broadband on that line.
See illustration on your right or bottom.

contention ratio

How can it affect your internet product?

It’s all very well that a company, let’s call it XYZ sells you a fibre internet product that promises 100 MBps, which sounds phenomenal! However, XYZ has a very heavily contended network that has to cater to a large number of clients all using that network, so that 100 MBps you’re supposed to get is going to slow down REALLY quickly.

Why is this you may ask? Well, give you the rundown on contention ratios to give you a better understanding of the process, allowing you to make more informed decisions about what packages you purchase and what providers you opt for.

The sad reality is many South African ISPs generally oversell bandwidth. The ratio of how they oversell their services is referred to as a contention ratio. For example, the contention ratio of most other ISP’s business products is set at 10:1. This basically means for every 1 MBps they sell, it is shared between 9 other Businesses/users, 10 including yourself.

If that doesn’t make sense, then look at it like this. You don’t go to a restaurant, pay for your dinner, then have to share that dinner with 9 other people. Sometimes even worse! Imagine having to share your dinner with the entire restaurant; you’d be lucky to get a chip out of a deal like that. But this is essentially what happens with ISPs. No wonder you’re not getting the speeds you pay for!

This effectively means that if you buy a 100 MBps Business Fibre product at a 10:1 contention ratio, ONLY 10 MBps is actually yours. The rest is an oversell, promising MBps that they can’t actually give you. XYZ is only guaranteeing you 10 MBps of that is yours, the rest is shared between other businesses that use the same kind of connection as you do.

The lower the contention ratio = Higher Internet Speed

At DAVO we understand that high contention ratios are really frustrating, and therefore keep our contention ratios as low as possible; if you pay for a service, you deserve that full service, not the leftovers.

All our products like fibre to the home and wireless internet generally, run at their realistic ratio of maximum 1:3, but in general 1:1. This ensures that you get the full speed you need for your business to operate as smooth as possible at all times. You won’t have to share your dinner with hundreds of other diners so to speak and can enjoy it to your leisure.

High contention ratios might not be a concern to your business right now, and that’s fair enough considering all the intricacies involved in running a business. But remember that with most future services  moving to the cloud and other online services, a high-speed internet will be absolutely necessary to keep up with your demands.

And if most of your business is done online, you’ll find you can’t afford to have a slow internet connection. It causes one problem after another, a domino effect that results in poor business productivity and a poor work environment.

Choosing a provider with a low contention ratio offering on their products has never been more critical to the smooth running of your business. And with a connection speed, you can rely on to deliver, it’s one less thing you have to worry about in the daily operation of your business.