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"Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

mehfoos
Hooked
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎21-04-2020

"Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

I live in post code DL2. The maximum guaranteed speed was 0.8 Mbps!
While I do occasionally get 2Mbps, this severely affected the ability to work at home as many applications require using corporate VPN, which when added to my poor connectivity, makes things unmanageably slow with constant drop of VPN. I noticed that streaming videos from YouTube works better than expected but file synchronization, like OneDrive is terrible: web browser becomes unusable during a file upload.

When will we ever move to 21st century speeds in my area and what can I possibly do about it?
12 REPLIES 12
Baldrick1
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Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

I assume that you have tried the BTw adslchecker to see if you can get fibre?

Alternatively have you checked mobile coverage. Mobile data is not expensive if you shop around.

mehfoos
Hooked
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎21-04-2020

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

Hi Baldrick1,

Yes, only to learn that my area is not served with fibre. I also applied for community fibre information pack, but realised it's too expensive to fund individually and takes quite a bit of time. This, despite living in a council tax band A region.

I have tried three Sims. Three offered a great package but I had to cancel because their coverage didn't match claims on their online map. I currently use O2/Giffgaff for tethering but speeds have been lower than usual (downloads are okay but ping and jitter is bad so I can't use it for telecons), so I guess I'm not the only one to work from home.
Finally, I have an EE work sim card, which I recently found is decent when oriented and located in specific spots in the residence, where I get 3 bars (>-100dB RSRP, if that helps, as I think there are no standards for the bars).
Unfortunately, it's difficult to charge the phone in those spots, but I'm coping for now.

I'm just as surprised and shocked as the neighbouring woman who the BT openreach technician quoted, "How is it that Osama Bin Laden can broadcast videos from a cave when I can't get a decent paid connection in a developed country like Britain?!"
Baldrick1
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Posts: 6,034
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Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

@mehfoos 

It'll cost a little bit but have you considered a MiFi Unit Such as a Huawei E5577. The are effectively Mobile Routers and importantly you can fix an external antennae on to them.  They work well without but a high gain directional antennae on an outer windowsill pointed towards a mobile mast might make all the difference. Search for 4G antennae, just look at the connectors specification and check that they are compatible.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Huawei-Low-cost-Super-Fast-Portable-Hotspot/dp/B011YM0OXU?th=1

 

mehfoos
Hooked
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎21-04-2020

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

Hey thanks for the suggestion.
From the pictures in the link, I can't see a port for an antenna, but given the situation I'm in, I think I'll do that.
Do you happen to know if I can cancel my broadband without incurring a fee? Happy to pay for a month's use but it's been pointless spend of money for 12 months.
Baldrick1
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 6,034
Thanks: 2,670
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Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

@mehfoos 

In fact the E5577 has two tiny TS9 connectors. I wouldn't hold out much hope about cancelling as the phone still works. But if Mifi works then if you don't ask you won't get.

mehfoos
Hooked
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎21-04-2020

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

I've put an order in for B535.
Called Plusnet, but was basically told they can reimburse the cost bar the like rental but that came out to just a few pounds. Apparently openreach is a "different company", and so there's nothing they can do to reimburse like rentals. Tried making the point that ultimately BT plc is the top level owner, but that didn't fly. Oh well, I'll have one fast and one slow connection. Not the end of the world in terms of wasting money, but find it hard to buy that there's nothing that can be done about line rentals.
Thanks for the help. I'll leave this open, but you've provided a great workaround.
bbpn
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Registered: ‎31-08-2019

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

Connection becoming unusable during an upload suggests that it's an outbound traffic congestion problem - the upload uses up the available upstream bandwidth and upload packets continue to arrive faster than they're sent out resulting in a long queue of mostly upload packets, other traffic (e.g. web page request) at the tail of the queue would have to wait, that causes latency (web pages taking ages to load).

There're things you can do to improve your existing connection. You could shape the traffic so that different traffic flows are separated from each other and are served in a fair way, you'd need a router that could do this (https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/traffic-shaping/sqm), both Hub One and Hub Zero can run OpenWrt, but you'd need a separate modem for Hub Zero and possibly a separate AP too (might be better to buy HubOne or BT HomeHub 5A with OpenWrt preinstalled from Ebay to save you some hassle). That alone should give you noticeable improvement, you could optimize it further by prioritizing certain traffic over others.

Baldrick1
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Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

@bbpn

I hear you but this line has MGALS of 0.8 Mbps so regardless of how much money is thrown at it you are fighting simple physics, so any improvement will be a compromise probably resulting in a mediocre improvement

bbpn
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Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading


@Baldrick1 wrote:

@bbpn

I hear you but this line has MGALS of 0.8 Mbps so regardless of how much money is thrown at it you are fighting simple physics, so any improvement will be a compromise probably resulting in a mediocre improvement


I know software cannot turn a 0.8 Mbps line into a 0.81 Mbps line, my advice is about how to make existing line as usable as possible since the comment below seems to suggest that the line could still be usable to some extent when not uploading.


@mehfoos wrote:
web browser becomes unusable during a file upload.
Baldrick1
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Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

@bbpn 

do agree with you. If @mehfoos  has a Hub Zero then these are renowned for buffer bloat problems.

My question is whether spending money on a better hub if the improvement will only be 'usable' is worth it. I have a reasonable O2 sidnal and get 10Mbps both up and down with MiFi throgh a Giffgaff SIM 

bbpn
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Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

The way I see it is that, if @mehfoos already has a Hub One, flashing it with OpenWrt would only cost around £3 (to buy a USB-TTL adapter), alternatively a Hub One with OpenWrt preinstalled would cost around £20. The cost seems acceptable to me when comparing with the recurring cost of the Plusnet broadband. Also the router could be used to improve broadband services from other providers (e.g. mobile broadband), and/or to load balance Plusnet broadband and mobile broadband.

Moderator's note by Dick (Strat): Full quote of preceding post removed as per Forum rules.

mehfoos
Hooked
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Registered: ‎21-04-2020

Re: "Broadband" slow in general, and unstable when uploading

Thank you both for your suggestions. The router software modification is something I would have enthusiastically tried had the potential entitlement been greater or if the mobile broadband option didn't get me anywhere.

However, after playing around with the position of the Huawei B535 for a few hours, I found a spot where EE gives 3-4 bars. I guess it's Cat 7, and compared to the <2Mbps, this made a huge difference (Some speed tests gave >30Mbps download and around 7 Mbps upload).
That's good enough to mask my disappointment with broadband infrastructure in this country and terrible coordination in BT plc on refund policies, at least temporarily!

Thank you both for the suggestions and healthy discussions!