Broadband Speeds Explained

Note: This page refers to MyWave services.

What speed should I be getting?

The answer to this is as close to the advertised “up to” speed as is possible, given the technological limitations of your individual broadband line. For example, let’s say you have a MyWave 20M package but your radio link only supports 14M, then you will get a maximum of 14M.

Why would my line support a certain speed, but another line support a different speed?

For MyWave lines, radio interference, link quality issues or distance from the local transmitter can cause a limitation in the speed you can receive.

If I can’t ever get the “up to” package speed, what can you do for me?

If you have a fault on your line, we will investigate it for you, once you raise a support ticket with us. Our network engineers will do centralised testing and depending on the results of the testing, may elect to make some changes on your line, including a possible service call. If it is determined that due to physical link issues, for example interference on a radio link, that your line cannot support any higher rate, you will be offered the option of remaining on your current package or downgrading to a lower package.

Why does the speed of my broadband vary?

Many factors can make the speed vary from time to time:

  • Busy periods on the internet (at internet exchanges and big hosting sites)
  • Sources of interference coming on at particular times, e.g. evenings when interfering equipment is active
  • The performance of your computer, e.g. RAM, hard disk
  • Background applications running, e.g. anti-virus software, viruses, Bittorrent, etc.
  • Wifi interference in your home can cause a bottleneck even though the actual broadband is working properly. (Testing speed over wifi is not accurate – you should test speeds using an ethernet cable)

Broadband Usage Explained

What do you mean by “usage” and “quota”?

When you carry out any online activity, like browsing web pages, using web/cloud apps, sending and receiving emails, using a VPN, etc) this transfers data across your broadband line. This data is termed “usage”. Depending on your broadband package (and therefore amount you pay per month relative to other customers), your package will include a certain quota of usage that you can reasonably be allowed to use before we take measures to curtail your usage for the benefit of others on the network.

What services do Nova Broadband operate usage and quota policies for?

MyWave broadband services.

Are Nova Broadband packages unlimited data or not?

We are very clear on this and operate no hidden fair usage policy. You can transfer as much data as you like without a hard limit on the data itself. If you transfer more than your quota, your service will be slowed down to make way for other users, until midnight. At that point, your speed is restored and your quota reset for the next day. You can still download an unlimited amount of data at the lower speed and at no point will you be charged more per GB for data usage or will you be disconnected due to data usage. You should also be aware that some other operators in the Irish marketplace are promoting “unlimited data” but limit you to e.g. 300GB per month.

Why do you need to impose quotas at all?

Our broadband network is used by many users and like all networks, various different parts of the network, like wireless transmission equipment, routers, fibre links, etc. have a finite capacity. Therefore it is only fair that light users do not pay heavily to subsidise heavy users. In order to share capacity out fairly and to keep prices reasonable, quotas are used.

I know of another wireless provider that doesn’t have any quotas!

Our experience tells us that ISPs that don’t do any traffic management or quota type system tend to suffer more from congestion, peak time slow downs and packet loss. Our “secret sauce”  has been carefully tuned over the years to give the best user experience possible. Part of this “recipe” is the way we deliver traffic over the network and we know that it is highly successful and well-received by our users. If you wish to verify this through an independent source, please see our reviews on versus those of some of the other providers. As long as you chose the correct package for your usage, you will enjoy higher quality as a tradeoff. And remember – we never charge for excess usage and allow customers to switch package at any time without penalty or contract extension.

Traffic Management Policy

What is traffic management?

Traffic management is the practice of prioritising certain types of traffic over others and delaying less interactive traffic in order to maintain speed and capacity for interactive (time-sensitive) traffic. This means that during busy periods, long downloads may get reduced priority on the network than, say, VOIP phone calls, or gaming traffic. The reason we need to do this is to ensure interactive applications work well.

Why do you do it and why not turn it off?

Imagine if all of the traffic lights in a city were switched off – while you could argue that an individual journey would face no red lights, in reality there would be chaos and everything would grind to a halt. If we didn’t do traffic management for instance, there would be no QOS (Quality of Service) to protect VOIP calls and they would suffer breakups or not work at all. Similarly, gamers would get booted out of every game due to high ping times. These are just two examples. Traffic management facilitates an orderly flow of traffic on the network and maintains the best overall experience for users.

What services do you use traffic management on?

We manage traffic on MyWave broadband services. We do not manage traffic on corporate bandwidth products as these use committed bandwidths and we leave it up to our corporate customers’ IT departments to do their own QOS.

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