22 Mbps coming soon nationally

One of the biggest problems facing VPN users wanting to access the company network across a broadband connection is the relatively slow uplink speeds available.

Most ADSL circuits in the UK take an asymmetric approach to the maximum speed available meaning that, even if your BT line is capable of supporting 2 Mbps downstream, the upstream speed is usually limited to around 256 Kbps.

With VPNs and their data overheads, not to mention the push-pull effect of using an encrypted data tunnel, this makes the effective upstream data pathway a lot slower, typically around the 80 to 100 Kbps mark.

UK Online wants to change all of that, as it's just announced plans to roll out its ADSL 2+ service - up to 22 Mbps downstream and 784 Kbps upstream - nationally.

The service is dependent on UK Online installing its kit in BT's exchanges around the UK, but Sky has just acquired UK Online's parent company, Easynet, so money looks like being no object for the ISP.

Whilst you'll need to be within a quarter of mile of your BT exchange to achieve 22 Mbps downstream, the upstream line requirements are a lot less stringent, with UK Online talking about distances of three quarters of a mile or more before upstream speeds start to attenuate.

784 Kbps is around three times faster than the current ADSL standard, so even with a VPN client running, users can look forward to a considerable speed improvement.

Being the grubby contractor that I am, I don't have access to a company VPN, but I do use GoToMyPC to access my office PC when away from my desk.

GoToMyPC is a great service, but its encryption/tunnelling technology is pretty poor in terms of recovering from bad packets. This only makes the service just about tolerable across broadband, but I have a feeling that the upstream speeds available on ADSL 2+ will really make it fly...