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Extension cables and broadband speed problems

kentmere
Dabbler
Posts: 15
Registered: 14-04-2007

Extension cables and broadband speed problems

I hope that the following will help others with similar problems.
Operating my router, for convenience, at the end of an extension cable that is hard-wired into the BT main box, I have been plagued with great variations in fairly poor download speeds, ranging from a low of 1.8 to a high of 3.1Mbps, largely because of line dropouts that, I came to realise, were being caused by some intermittent RF interference in our neighbourhood that any ‘aerial’ (eg,  the extension cable, radio and analog TV) was picking up. Connecting the router to the main BT socket got rid of this instability, and so all things pointed to the the extension cable picking up the interference and passing it on to the router, causing the line to drop. BT did the rest by constantly reducing the download speed to try to achieve a stable connection.  However, all is now resolved, the router is stable and syncing at 8550kbps with a download speed of 7Mbps.
First of all, I disconnected the bellwires (nos 3&4) from the extension cable connection in the BT box as recommended in
http://www.jarviser.co.uk/jarviser/bellwirenutshell.html
-(an excellent site, easy to follow). This immediately raised the sync speed to 5500kbps.
Secondly, I replaced the faceplate to the main BT box with a BT-approved  modified NTE5 faceplate that has an extended connection block at the rear that provides a dedicated adsl ‘line’ for connecting the bellwire-free extension wires (don’t forget to buy the longer screws as well!!) – See
http://www.clarity.it/telecoms/adsl_faceplate_mod.htm
This had an immediate effect, causing the router to sync at 7500kbps. The BT computer eventually caught up (10 days), and, after rebooting the router so that Plusnet caught up as well , (an unexpectedly necessary step), my download speed increased to 6.3Mbps. After a few days more, sync went up to 8550, and eventually the download speed increased further to about 7Mbps.
Kentmere
7 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 12,982
Thanks: 141
Fixes: 46
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Extension cables and broadband speed problems

Hi kentmere,
Great post, from a support point of view we always advise against using extension cables and always recommend wireless as a sensible alternative.
For anyone who does want to try and resolve some of the issues that kentmere has posted about here but isn't as technical the BT iPlate is a great alternative to eliminating some of the problems that unused internal wiring such as bell wires can cause.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,371
Thanks: 33
Registered: 07-03-2008

Re: Extension cables and broadband speed problems

Good posts. My house is nearly 30 years old and does not have a faceplate at all, just a plain outlet. However the BT cable actually come in overhead to the roof space above the garage. It used to have a lot of electronics on a board there to provide an awful filtered shared line facility. This was very unreliable, very often because the BT engineers did not know enough about it to fix problems without inserting more! This was removed when we had dedicated lines to each property. My question is should I get a BT faceplate fitted in the roof or at the site of the existing outlet. ?
I suspect that the latter would mean a fair length of internal wiring which, presumably, would tend to nullify the advantage of the faceplate. If I put it in the roof I think that I would have move my router up there to obtain most improvement. The thought of going wireless is too risky as an alternative when you hear of the problems it poses to so many posters unless I over-estimate them. My line performance has been very variable for the last year but has improved on its own recently, so that my Profile has risen to 2MBS and line speeds to nearly 3MBS. A rural site 2KM from exchange and all overhead lines probably limits things anyway. Any views ?Huh

Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Extension cables and broadband speed problems

[quote=colintivy]should I get a BT faceplate fitted in the roof or at the site of the existing outlet. ?
Put the filtered faceplate on the master socket, which should be the cable entry point into the house, so if that is in the attic then put it there.
Given a choice, I would NOT use a BT iPlate, as it only has one front panel socket, and therefore you will still need to add external splitter/filter to phones, faxes, etc that are plugged into the front.
I prefer (and use) the ADSLnation XTE-2005 http://www.adslnation.com/products/xte2005.php, which has two front panel sockets, one for your router, and another for all your phone devices (without additional filters), plus there are filtered connections on internal terminals for connecting your filtered phone extension wiring to, and there are an unfiltered pair of terminals if you really wanted separate extension wires to your ADSL device.
[quote=colintivy]If I put it in the roof I think that I would have move my router up there to obtain most improvement.
I did a lot of experimenting to get the best setup for my network, and predictably the very best result was achieved by plugging the router directly into the ADSLnation XTE-2005 ADSL socket, so while you are ordering your XTE-2005, you might as well get the shortest possible cable to go with it (50cm RJ11 Pro+ cable) http://www.adslnation.com/phpapps/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=121
[quote=colintivy]The thought of going wireless is too risky as an alternative when you hear of the problems it poses to so many posters unless I over-estimate them
If you use WPA encryption or above for wireless then you should be relatively safe, or the alternative would be to use "homeplug" devices to use your mains wiring as a 200MBps network, so you plug one device into your router, and another into the back of your PC and you have a high speed secure network without going wireless.  As an example see http://www.devolo.co.uk/consumer/7_dlan-200-aveasy_starter-kit_product-presentation_1.html?l=en
If you do all these things then you will have the best setup that it is practical to achieve, although I added a UPS  (uninterruptible mains power supply) for my router to eliminate the effects of power glitches that can knock back your sync rate.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 12,982
Thanks: 141
Fixes: 46
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Extension cables and broadband speed problems

Does anyone have any direct experience of using homeplugs?
I'm curious but I have heard that using them can effect the stability of the power supply to some more sensitive electrical devices.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
lunarjetman
Grafter
Posts: 59
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Extension cables and broadband speed problems

I use 'em all day, every day. Not experienced the effect you describe, but of course that may simply mean I don't have any sensitive electrical devices in my house.
My only complaint with homeplugs is how wide they tend to be. They take up much more space than a conventional plug, and therefore any adjacent plug sockets (on a 4-gang strip for example) are likely to be unusable.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,371
Thanks: 33
Registered: 07-03-2008

Re: Extension cables and broadband speed problems

Hi purleigh!!
What a comprehensive post!  You have been most helpful with such depth. I will look at the references you have given and act.I will make one point, due to the original multi-user set up there is not a master socket in the roof, only an old fashioned terminal block (roughly egg-shaped) with a pull-off cover at the cable entry. So I would have to wire in the faceplate, probably mounted in a conventional metal or plastic wall box to replicate what a proper master socket would be mounted on normally. What do you think?
I have mains handy up there so a supply to the router is no problem. Will have to think about a UPS when funds permit because short mains cuts are not unknown here. When I look at stats the line up times never extend beyond a few days. It need only to be a fairly small one with the drain from the router being not a lot.
Cheesy Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Extension cables and broadband speed problems

Quote
So I would have to wire in the faceplate, probably mounted in a conventional metal or plastic wall box to replicate what a proper master socket would be mounted on normally. What do you think?

If considering wiring it yourself (probably against BT regulations Wink), then you might as well get a proper NTE5 master socket (eBay £5 inc p&p) to fit the ADSLnation filter into,  and do a proper job  Grin