How to make the most of BT Infinity or fibre optic home broadband?

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So you have new BT Infinity or its on its way but can you make the most of it?

What is BT Infinity?

in a nut shell its BT’s name for fibre optic internet, standard broadband uses electrical pulses to transmit data fibre optic uses light pulses and the speed if light is one of the fastest measures known to man.

Are there any limitations with normal installation?

The Simple answer is yes, and that’s the main reason for this article. if your not technically minded or new to computers then this article may be too much to take in in on go I will start easy and then progress to “techy” speak.

Before we start

Its important to know that when your talking internet speeds and data transfer speeds (network traffic) that this is measured in bits per second and not bytes per second (1 byte is = to 8 bits) (its very wrong but  for ease of maths i often round this up to 10 to make the sums easier and then knock a bit off after, but i have been doing this along time! )


Not many of use have tech, computers, PC’s Macs, laptops or other devices such at tablets and iphones that are more than 10 years old indeed some of these devices were only thoughts in our heads.

10 or more years ago all of our internet connectivity was done via cable at the  LAN speed (local area network) of 10  somewhere around 2002 traditional home broadband as we know it was rolled out and our equipment started to change to the new faster 100 LAN speed. all computers were backward compatible and this was known as 10/100 LAN. Although it came into use way back in 1999 10/100/1000 (Gigabit LAN) was not commercially adopted for end users until about 2010. Since then large computer companies and big corporations  are installing and using 100 megabit LAN connections (that’s 100×1000 x your home use also known as MASSIVE)

Now you know the history and 3 main sizes 10 / 100 / 1000 we can go onto naming 10 isn’t really used any more and doesn’t have a regularly used name 100 is commonly refereed to as Ethernet and 1000 should be refereed to as Gigabit but is technically still ethernet. For the purposes of this article i will from here refer to 100 as ethernet and 1000 as gigabit. Additionally there is also wireless in 3 different main common sorts wireless b  11mbps,  wireless G 54mbps, and wireless N (up to 300mbps) though in reality normally 125mbps. Wireless B is again old tech and hardly ever used.

Apologies for the above dull descriptions and techy boringness.

Every day users (small home)

For your every day user of home internet in the small home (up to 3 people) if you take the 15-40 something age group most of these people will have at least 1 device that connects to the internet and in most cases have access to or own a second device, whether it be a phone and a PC or laptop or tablet/iPad. Most home routers or BT home hubs (unless you have bought a high speed one) run at a wireless speed of 54mbps (megabits per second not MB megabytes) its a common belief that every device that connects to these routers at 54mbps each when actually its far from the truth 54 mbps is the total output of the router so if you wirelessly connect 2 devices they would have 27mbps each, thus the more devices you connect wirelessly the slower the speed on each device until it becomes UN-usable.  On top of wireless each router is equipped with 4 ethernet ports on the back each one of these is capable of 100 LAN even if the are all connected and even if the wireless is in use.

Every day users (medium home)

This would describe your typical family of 4 -5 with the same description as above only with this case there might be a few more devices sharing that 54mbps roughly divided 5 devices into 54mbps =11mbps per device which takes us back to 2005 speeds!

Every day users ( large home)

This would be your tech savy family of 4 or more with multiple devices each, laptop or ipad each plus the usual smart phone plus a games console or 2 and maybe a new smart tv with internet connection plus the old family PC work horse that no one ever uses but is always left on, you can clearly see with all this devices sharing just 54mbps wirelessly things just grind to a very slow halt….. but don’t fear BT INFINITY IS HERE TO SAVE THE DAY! or is it?

Yes its true that the average home broadband speed is ok for 1 user a family all hooked up at once will soon slow everything down to a half so Upgrade to BT infinity or fibre optic which ever you prefer to call it and you incoming speed will have plenty of juice to keep everyone up to speed.

Now here’s where it starts to get tricky…..

I said above that the BT home hub only goes up to 54mbps when in actual fact the Bt home hub 3 will run at speeds of up to 150mbps great i hear you cry what’s all the fuss about, well it seems that even the greatest of us tech minded still can not force the home hub into permanently broad casting at this speed it seems to default to the 54mbps range or lower.

So back to the original question how can we make the most of BT Infinity or fibre optic home broadband?

I mentioned before that the Bt home hub 3 has 4 Ethernet ports on the back this is strictly true but if you look carefully at port number 4 you will see that it is in fact a Gigabit port  so if you are going to hard wire a cable to your pc or laptop from your hub then this is the port to use as its 10 x faster than the other 3.

What if I have more than 1 device that I want to connect at gigabit speeds?

well there’s a simple answer to this and it can be solved in 1 of 2 ways

  1. Replace the BT home hub with a 3rd party router the offers more gigabit connections
  2.  Add a network splitter (gigabit switch) this is like a junction box for ethernet cables allowing anything connected to it to run at gigabit speeds (1000) you can buy these in 5, 8, 16 ,24, 48 port options though for most home the 8 port or 16 port is sufficient.

I though cables were a thing of the past?

well yes and no, you don’t need them but if you want super fast everything every where then cables will always be faster for now until new technology is invented. Even on BT’s own website they mention this.

So what next?

If you didn’t understand any of that and want to know more then call me on 07599 279 796.

If you did understand all of that and want to take advantage of any type of upgrade I’m happy to discuss your requirements and provide suggestions for improved networking.

Mobile PC Repairs is a network specialist and capable of running almost any network configuration fro the home or small business users and is a qualified Cisco systems engineer level 2.

I mainly use cat 5(internal) or Cat 5 e (external) cables when doing installs but I’m happy to do cable runs of cat 6 if required.

the only difference between cat 5 and cat 6 is that  cat 6 has extra shielding for interference from other cables running along side they will both perform at the same speeds and cable run lengths.

installing surface boxes or switches (splitters) is also available, the more computers and gadgets you can connect wired the better leaving more space on the wireless network for the devices that need the mobility.