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Broadband speeds.

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There has been a lot of publicity recently about the low broadband speeds we all receive compared to the advertised rate by ISP's. BBC radio 4 has been inviting listeners to tell them what rate speed they actually receive. I decided to check mine through this web site. http://www.journaldunet.com/vitesse/ I am paying for 1 meg with Orange.fr and I actually receive between 300 - 400kbps. My question is if I decided to switch provider which I can do and pay less for 1 meg will the speed I receive be any different. Or does the speed you get not change with provider or the type of equipment they use? What apart from geographical distance from the telephone exchange effects broadband speeds.

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We are with Neuf, degroupage.  Pay for 8mb down and 800kb up (critial if you are VOIP), actually get 6.6mb down, 666kb up.  Our neighbours on Orange get 2mb on the same French Telecom line.  Even the French telecom engineer could not explain that.  Our other French neighbour had just changed from Neuf to SFR and regrets it as the speed/service is not so good.  So there appears to be other factors at play as Neuf/SFR use the same physical cables as French Telecom but have their own connection to these cables at the exchange (we lost our phone line for a few days when we changed over as Neuf disconnected from the FT exchange).  We are all the same approx distance from the exchange. The only down side is that if there is a problem with the line, FT put us at the bottom of the list when it comes to repairs.  Be warned however, that in our experience what another FAI (ISP) promises in their literature and what you actually get may be wildly different, even if they test the line.  It took us 6 months and threats of legal action to get Neuf to give us a service that actually works.


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Sorry Lehaut but I can assure you that 8mb/800kb in NOT critical for VOIP.

How do I know ?

I have 2mb/277kb and my VOIP works perfectly.

Speed testers are notoriously inconsistent and the one you give the link for seems to consistently under estimate my speed.

THIS one is quite good and faithfully relates to what I know I get because I have a separate software meter installed on my machine which I know is accurate.

Also, unlike most others, it asks you to specify your theoretical connection speed before testing and keeps a record from previous tests for later comparison.

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I have tried that link ErnieY but my firewall will not allow the results! After doing some more research it seems fairly general that nobody actually receives their advertised speeds. That applies equally in France, UK and Europe generally. I cannot imagine any other product that can advertise one thing and provide another and get away with it. I think this is one for the ECM to look at since the ISP's plainly are operating a price cartel in France at least.
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Hi Logan,

Try this speedtest link: http://www.speedtest.net/ they have sponsored servers all over Europe, as testers go their results are fairly accurate.

If you read the T&C of ALL ADSL suppliers they will never guarantee speed and consistancy of a connection.  There are too many factors that will affect your connection, distance from exchange, quality of cable to your property, quality of internal cable and equipment, time of day, number of customers online at the same time - on and on and on.

Sorry but there is no easy answer to your original question.


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When I decided to change to Neuf, I asked those living near me how they got on with the Phone side.  They said it was "OK".  When I actually got Neuf it was 4mb/164kbs.  It was totally impossible to use the Internet and the Phone at the same time.  When I revisited the neighbours, it turned out that their internet usage was very limited and rarely were they in the position of transmitting info and using the phone at the same time.  Having spent 6 month battling Neuf, I spent 20 mins with a tech bod who eventually admitted that for a service that could handle both sets of traffic (ie out going phone line and up loading data) then 300kbs was the minimum.  I am sure our house is no different to many others but with 4 people using the internet at the same time there is a lot of traffic being up loaded, sharing the same band width as the outgoing telephone line.  I was not alone with this problem as witnessed by the comments on the JustNeuf forum!

The info given to me by the tech bod and my understanding may be wrong, but the more upload capacity you can have, the better.  We had to physically disconnect the internet everytime anyone wanted to make a call before, even then the receipient had difficulties with the spech being cut.  Now its fine - but then we don't video call/use the second VOIP telephone line facility yet.  Neuf have already told us that they are increasing the upload speed, but will remain ADSL.  The only symetrical provider I know of is Nomotech who gave us 2mb/2mb, but their service left a lot to be desired.

But this is only based on my expereince, I am not an expert but always willing to listen!


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I would agree that if you are a heavy uploader you might have a few problems with VOIP on the lower bandwidths and if you do indeed have "4 people using the internet at the same time there is a lot of traffic being up loaded" it's not too surprising that VOIP might suffer.

I would still maintain though that for the majority of people here whose normal family group probably comprises 2 people and whose usage pattern will therefore likely be very different to yours, VOIP works perfectly well on a 2mb connection, or even less, so an unqualified statement "8mb down and 800kb up (critial if you are VOIP)" could be seen as rather misleading and overly critical.

The bandwith demands of VOIP are extremly variable and depend on several factors but are generally quite small. 

This small table illustrates the not insignificant effect that the use of different codecs (coder/decoder) and bit rates can have on the bandwidth however it is worth noting that in no case does it exceed 87.2kb which is about 25% of my own upload bandwith.

Codec       BR       NEB
 G.711     64 Kbps  87.2 Kbps
 G.729      8 Kbps  31.2 Kbps
 G.723.1  6.4 Kbps  21.9 Kbps
 G.723.1  5.3 Kbps  20.8 Kbps
 G.726     32 Kbps  55.2 Kbps
 G.726     24 Kbps  47.2 Kbps
 G.728     16 Kbps  31.5 Kbps
 iLBC      15 Kbps  27.7 Kbps
BR = Bit rate
NEB = Nominal Ethernet Bandwidth (one direction)

At the risk of entering geekdom, to further illustrate the degree of variation there is a calculator HERE from which it can be demonstrated that for a given upload bandwidth (325kbps in my case) the maximum number of VOIP channels possible using the different codecs can be between 4 and 20

Given this, and assuming no other demands on bandwidth, it can be seen that VOIP can be made to function satisfactorily even on very slow connections.

On some routers (don't ask me which) you may be able to use QoS (Quality of Service) to enhance VOIP. With this system a proportion of your bandwith is reserved exclusively for it which obviously has a major beneficial impact.


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Just to throw my hat in the ring - for what it's worth - I am using Orange 1meg - it's all we can get here as we are not near the exchange.

Using the link to Speedtest shows my download as 1049 kbs and upload at 136kbs. I have had this service for well over a year now, with no interruption to service.

I am using up to four computers on this system - three hard wired and one Wi-Fi laptop - admittedly not too much heavy downloading going on though.

We are also using VOIP via the Skype service.

At no time has the ADSL caused any problem with using the old 'analogue' phone. Our VOIP works very well and does not seem to be affected by our lowly bandwidth.


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I am not in France but thought it might be usefull to compare my UK connection.

I am on a BT landline with a BT broadband 1mb service. My ADSL modem is a speedtouch 510 and the connection speeds are 2653 Kb/s download and 275 Kb/s upload using both of ErnieY's testing links. I use VOIP with a TESCO internet phone adaptor (IPA1000) and it all works well.

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God luck to you. They may have upgraded your connection without saying anything.

When I was with them and our exchange got upgraded (finally) as I was only 600m from the exchange I got 2mb initially then the full 8mb so never got involved in anything so pedestrian - until now in France that is !

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