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  • Writer's pictureKinect

Want some cake?

Sliced cake and contention
Photo by Ronmar Lacamiento from Pexels

We all love cake.

We always celebrate special events by sharing a piece of cake. A cake for your birthday, another for the new house, one for your wedding, but sometimes there isn't enough for everyone to have. What a dilemma!

Some people, expert cake cutters, know exactly how to cut a cake up that ensures that everyone gets a slice of that oven-baked delight! You probably know one, maybe you reading this are an expert cake cutter yourself?

Sometimes, if you're really lucky, you can have one huge slice or even a whole cake to yourself! Isn't that a treat?

Big Deal! What does cake have to do with wireless?

Well, just like cake, wireless networks are shared too. Different manufacturers and networks share wireless resources just like cake. The expert cake cutter term for sharing wireless resources is called contention. Every wireless technology experiences contention and they have their own way of controlling it.

If you're new to wireless technology, your probably wondering why contention is an important word. It's not a bad word, but then it's not entirely good either. Networks generally have contention ratio, which basically says how much bandwidth is available against how many users are using it.

You've probably come across it before, one-to-one (1:1), two-is-to-one(2:1), four-is-to-one (4:1), so on and so forth. Looks familiar?

Ok, so what's the deal?

Well, say your internet bandwidth was like a cake, a chocolate cake. Nice, thick vanilla frosting outside and a squishy, soft cocoa infusion inside. Wouldn't you want it all to yourself? Well, in wireless networking terms, having the cake all to yourself is equivalent to saying that you have a dedicated link; they normally call this one-to-one (1:1) contention ratio.

Now if you had to share it that same cake with four other people, that would mean the cake would have to be cut in quarters, right? The maths checks out so that would be called a four-is-to-one contention ratio (4:1).

So, if I had the cake all to myself?

So, purchasing a plan with contention will mean that you get to share the bandwidth with other users on the same plan as you. Getting a dedicated plan means that all the bandwidth you purchase get used entirely by you!

So, how does contention work anyway?

Plans with contention on wireless networks work as such; if you're the only user active at that time then you get to use all the bandwidth you're paying for. Remember, the cake is all yours (insert evil laugh here).

If another user comes online while you are also using it, you both then have to share the bandwidth. Depending on the contention ratio that you selected, the bandwidth can be halved (2:1) or split into quarters (4:1).

So again, you're paying for 1Mbps bandwidth with a contention ratio of 4:1, then when every one is online, you only get one-quarter of the bandwidth which is 256kbps, which is super slow for today's internet applications.

What about Kinect?

We provide plans at best-effort and dedicated service levels. Best-effort come with varying contention which depends on the number of users online. Best-effort plans come with a guaranteed bit-rate (GBR) which means that your speed will not drop below a certain threshold. Our lowest best-effort plan is 1Mbps for K850! If you're interested in how Kinect can help you get connected wirelessly, send an email to



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