February 2023

In the United Kingdom the average broadband speed is roughly 60 Mbps [ UK Home Broadband Performance – Ofcom ]. However as this average speed is dependant on the broadband infrastructure installed in any given location. Up until recently we only had access to a ADSL connection that could run at roughly 38 Mbps.

However, as full fibre broadband finally arrived in our town, and because the contract for our Internet connection was coming to an end. We thought that now would be the perfect time to review our options and see if we should upgrade to Full Fibre broadband.

Our current internet connection is provided by a subsidiary of British Telecom called Plusnet, so while we are only able to get 37 Mbps download and 7 Mbps upload, it has always been a very consistent service. However we suspect that this consistency relates to the fact we use our own hardware, rather than the hardware our Internet Service Provider gave us.

While not something typically done in the UK. We went to the trouble of fitting CAT 6E ethernet cable throughout our home, which is then supported with a WiFi 6 network. The WiFi 6 network is then used to supply internet to computers, IoT devices and smartphones. With our entertainment devices (TV’s, games consoles and media players), hardwired to our router. This is so that our router can then better manage the data traffic to our 38 Mbps internet connection. So while our current ADSL connection is not particularly fast, it does serve us well.

Why have Full Fibre Internet?

The main selling point of Gigabit Internet seems to be that faster is better, as it will allow multiple people to use an internet connection without seeing a drop or loss of quality in the services they are using. However in real world use most of our current technologies, do not need the speeds that Gigabit Internet offers.

So for example to stream a 4K video from Netflix requires 15 Mbps, while HD 1080p YouTube videos will use 5 Mbps. Video conferencing services like FaceTime and Skype will need between 1 to 4 Mbps, and a games console like the PlayStation 5 needs at least 3Mbps.

To put these numbers into perspective, in our household we can have two people watching two different 4K movies at the same time, while someone also uses YouTube or plays video games online… and yes the PS5 seems to work well, able to get a 22 ms ping rate.

So are there benefits?

Granted waiting for a system update to download, or having to wait hours for a game to download and install are major pains. However as these types of downloads are not done every day, and by using just a little time management, most downloads are not too inconvenient.

As to uploading, it would be nice to get videos posted to YouTube or Vimeo more quickly. However, as we also have to think of a title, create a thumbnail, write a description and time stamp our videos. By the time we have finished preparing the video, it’s usually finished uploading to YouTube anyway.

What did we do?

As you may have guessed we basically talked ourselves out of signing up for full fibre broadband. So as it stands we were able to haggle with our current Internet Service Provider and get a new 18 month fixed contract at half the price of our current ADSL connection. This is important as broadband prices are due to increase in the UK, as of April. So for now we will continue to use our existing 38 Mbps connection, but keep an eye on a Gigabit connection for the future.

Youtube advertising

Something very strange has been happening on YouTube. Over the last couple of months some creators have reported dramatic drops in views and revenue. So while we have not seen any drops in views, we have seen our revenue drop to half what it was.

While we suspect this might be due to advertisers cutting their budgets. This situation is a little demoralising, as we will now not be able to buy new, or replace the existing equipment we use to make videos. However, as long as the situation does not get any worse we should be able to continue to produce new content.

Website optimisation

On a more positive note, over the last few weeks we have been working to try and improve the performance of the website. So hopefully you might have noticed that load times are a little faster. While these speed improvements will be most noticeable from a desktop browser, there will also be a slight improvement for those browsing from their smartphone.

YouTube postings this month

As you should always properly power down any electronic devices. At the beginning of the month we will be looking at three ways that you can power down a Synology NAS. We will then release two videos relating to Linux Development Environment (LDE) that will demonstrate how you update or uninstall LDE.

If you ever decide to install a DNS server onto your home network, you will need a way to test that your server is able to correctly resolve DNS queries. So in the middle of the month we will demonstrate how from an Apple iPad, we can run a terminal command to perform a Forward and Reverse DNS Lookup.

Once again at the end of February, we will be releasing the next video in our beginners guide series, on how to set up a Synology NAS. So now that we have installed Disk Station Manager (DSM), before we can configure our NAS, we will need to create a place to store our data by making storage pools and volumes.

Website postings this month

Recently while trying to install Linux software onto a Chromebook using Flatpak, we encountered the error “no remote refs found similar to flathub“. So we thought it would be useful to start the month by posting how we fixed this problem.

Then because we recently had to fiddle around with a SkyQ router. We will be demonstrating how you access its advanced settings. Its also worth noting that if this video proves popular, we might make a video that reviews all of the advanced settings in this router.

As we recently posted for our site members the full video on how we made a DIY edition Framework laptop. Towards the end of this month, we will be releasing the video for everyone to see, but in episodic format. So the first two parts of the series will appear towards the end of February.

Finally before the end of the month. We will be releasing the latest video in our beginners guide on setting up a Synology NAS. As we recently ran through the theory regarding network shares, we are now ready to create our network shares. So for this episode we will be looking at creating folders on our NAS, which will then be used for our network shares.

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