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Desperate post before switching ISP

beapayne
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 25-02-2009

Desperate post before switching ISP

Hi Plusnet,
I have been using your service for about a year and a half and I have had speed problems regularly which generally have been more or less resolved but it has never worked like it did at the beginning of the first month of my contract.
Every time the issue is solved it takes only a week or 2 to start running slow again.
I have a long history of raised tickets to resolve those problems and I have always been advised to carry out the same tests again and again, micro filters, firewall, antivirus, anti spyware, speed tests, master socket, different routers, different computers, up to the point where I became an “expert” on carrying out those tests.
I have even tried to increase my download allowance in case this was an issue but it didn’t make a difference.
Only once was it mentioned to me that it would be beneficial to call a BT engineer to test the phone line physically as apparently there was something wrong but it never got to that point because the speed increased substantially after raising the ticket, which makes me think that there is something that was fixed each time but it hasn’t solved the problem definitively.
I live in Deanshanger and I believe my exchange is in Stony Stratford a few miles away, I am aware that the distance to the exchange can be an issue but what I can’t understand is that it just gets worse to the point where nowadays I can’t even watch videos on youtube, browse 2 different websites at the same time, open any website with “heavy” content such as flash presentations. If I want to do this I have to leave my pc downloading the content and once it’s been downloaded carry on watching.
I have installed a network traffic monitor and the speed that I get when browsing the web or using P2P software during the night is 30kb/s in both cases, it’s like someone has put the handbrake on to my connection! 
During the last few months it's getting ridiculously slow as it shows on the screenshot I have taken today from the BT speed test.
I have thought about switching ISP but honestly I am not sure if this would solve the problem and despite all those issues I still think Plusnet offers a good service, consequently I really want to get to the bottom of this issue before switching!
Thanks for reading my moaning post.  Smiley
38 REPLIES
ctech500
Grafter
Posts: 255
Registered: 06-08-2007

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

have you checked your router stats
beapayne
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 25-02-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Hi ctech500,

I think I did at some point as requested but I'm not sure what values they were looking for.
Please see attached if it helps.

dieselglider
Grafter
Posts: 78
Registered: 27-11-2007

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

If you re-sync now, it should connect at a hell of a faster speed, and hopefully the IP profile will have risen by the morning to give you back the faster speeds.
However, there's something badly wrong for it to have sync'd so slow in the first place, and if it's happening regularly...
beapayne
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 25-02-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

How do I re-sync? powering the router off and back on?
Is there is something badly wrong, shouldn't the ISP have noticed it? (due to my ignorance maybe this is a stupid question)
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Quote from: beapayne
How do I re-sync? powering the router off and back on?

Powering off, then on will do the trick. I've seen people recommend that you wait 10 secs before powering on again.
Mike
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
beapayne
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 25-02-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Hi Mike,
Just done it but still the same. Although the router stats now shows different values! (see attached)
Any other suggestions?
beapayne
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 25-02-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

One more thing before going to sleep:
Just noticed after the re-sync, there is a peak in the speed of 250-300kb/s when I click on a link but it lasts a fraction of a second, it seems that it's trying to get the correct speed but somehow it's being stopped by something?
Catch you all tomorrow.
Thanks for your replies.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Quote from: beapayne
Is there is something badly wrong, shouldn't the ISP have noticed it? (due to my ignorance maybe this is a stupid question)

I don't think I've seen a case of any ISP recognising a bad line speed without being prompted - I'm not sure it could be done with the current infrastructure.
If you look in the forum where this post is, there is a "sticky" post titled "Got a speed fault? Please read this first!", which points to this article: http://community.plus.net/blog/2007/07/02/broadband-speed-faults-how-to-diagnose/.
Unfortunately, that article points to the BT speedtester as a first diagnostic tool, which isn't proving terribly reliable at the moment. Some more explanation can be found at http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/lowSNR.htm which gives both a good explanation, and some tips about what to do next.
In your case, the router statistics point to the current cause of the problems: That your "downlink sync speed" (labelled Rate (Kbps)" on the screenshot) is very low at 160kbps - which means that there is (or has been) some kind of problem on the line between your modem and the BT exchange - and you'd have the same problem no matter which ISP you were with.
However, the value for the "Downstream SNR Margin" is currently quite high (at 28.3). The SNR is "Signal to Noise Ratio", and the high figure probably is why @dieselglider suggested performing a re-sync. After the re-sync, you should get a higher sync speed, and a lower margin. Unfortunately, you won't see any immediate benefit because BT's exchange will have noted the earlier line speed of 160, and then placed a slightly lower soft limit on your line (called your IP Profile). Even when your line speed improves, BT can take a while (up to 3 days) to upgrade the IP profile.
What caused the drop in line speed? Possibly some kind of interference on the line - perhaps inside your house, or perhaps externally - or perhaps something was plugged into a phone socket without a microfilter. Whatever it was had gone by the time you posted the statistics. The aim now would be to restore your line speed while keeping a stable SNR value.
Right now, your best diagnostic tool are those router statistics (especially the Downstream speed and SNR margin values), and not the BT speedtester.
I believe the first step that people will recommend will be to try plugging the router into the test socket (as mentioned on the Kitz site above), and reporting the statistics that you get from doing that.
Mike
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,100
Thanks: 437
Fixes: 21
Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

You're saving me a lot of typing Mike. But from the latest screen shot the sync has gone to 1888 and the snrm to 14.7 much better.
@beapayne
On the top left of that screen shot, there is a button marked 'Reboot'. This you can use instead of a powerdown, but be careful don't do it flipantly and certainly no more that about 5 times in an hour. Wait until daylight tomorrow, probably around mid-dayish when noise levels are generally better, then do a re-boot. This should see a further improvement in sync speed, that will result in an improved profile and subsequeent throughput speeds. Don't waste your time with the BT speedtester at this point, your router ADSL stats are far more informative.
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,100
Thanks: 437
Fixes: 21
Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Meant to add to the last post, there is no point in considering switching ISP because of these problems, you will only take the problems with you. You either have an intermittent line problem or some other intermittent problem we should be able to help you diagnose. However, as it's intermittent you may need some patience.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,465
Thanks: 814
Fixes: 52
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

The router stats after restarting the router (re-sync) show a sync speed of 1888kbps which if maintained will lead to your IP Profile (idealised throughput limit) increasing from 135 to 1500kbps. The way ADSLmax works it could take 12 to 24 hours for the BT system to give you that and pass the figure onto Plusnet. Until it does any speedtest you do will show no change and it is a waste of time doing any.
From the SNR margin immediately after re-sync it looks like your target SNR Margin is 15dB; the standard value is 6dB and the kit at the exchange must have raised the value to try to reduce errors on your line and eliminate frequent disconnections due to noise. From the attenuation it appears your line length is just over 4km so the best sync speed you would get is about 3000kbps with an IP Profile of 2500kbps. However clearly your line is noisy. You must have checked this before but does the sync speed change if you connect through a filter into the test socket behind the face plate on your master socket?
The reason you see a transient burst of speed when you click a link is probably the effect of using up the first buffer full - after that the effect of the profile kicks in to prevent packets being dropped which (believe it or not) could give you even slower speeds.
David
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Quote from: beapayne
Just done it but still the same. Although the router stats now shows different values! (see attached)

The changes in the values are quite instructive.
The speed has increased to 1888, with the SNR margin dropping to just under 15db.
On a stable line, the BT exchange equipment will try to set the speed while targetting an SNR margin value of 6db. If the line proves unstable over time, it can automatically increase this target to 9db, 12db or even 15db. As you've just done a re-sync, it appears that your particular line is targetting 15db - and that in turn implies that the BT equipment considers your connection to be very unstable.
If you can get your connection to stay connected in a stable way, then the speeds should recover - but for now it's stability that we need to focus on.
I see Chris beat me to it, but he's right - it looks to be an intermittent problem, and probably requires some experimentation and patience to sort out.
First questions will be: Is your router plugged into the master socket, and do you have any wiring to any extensions? The first thing to try to discount is a problem with your internal wiring, so it's best to try to plug your router into the master socket, and to do so without any of the extension wiring present. Modern BT Master sockets allow you to do this by removing the bottom half of the faceplate, revealing a separate socket (known as the test socket). Let us know if you have a socket like this. Oh - and remember to keep the cable between the router & the socket as short as possible.
Another thing to check early on is to try an alternative router, if you can borrow one, and get the statistics out of that. We can compare with the screenshots you sent earlier to see if they match up reasonably.
Mike
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Quote from: WWWombat
First questions will be: Is your router plugged into the master socket, and do you have any wiring to any extensions? The first thing to try to discount is a problem with your internal wiring,

DEFINITELY!
There are some very specific indications in those stats that the problem is most likely due to a fault in your own wiring.
You should try again in the Test Socket (not just the master) and report back.
beapayne
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 25-02-2009

Re: Desperate post before switching ISP

Hi all. Many thanks for your replies, I will plug the router to the test socket tomorrow and upload the screen shot of the router stats.
Sorry for the late reply but I'm struggling with the sleep as my 10-day old daughter is not very keen on letting us rest!
Cheers.