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Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Ever since I've been with Plusnet (+1 year I think) my download speeds have varied from a 'normal high' of just over 5MBs down to 1 or 2 MBs at certain times of the day, coupled with disconnections for about 10-30 seconds mainly late afternoon and evenings. These have been reported before (maybe a year ago) but despite efforts by Plusnet via this forum that problem has never gone away so I've learned to live with it. In recent weeks however these inconsistent speeds and disconnection problems seem to be getting worse and more frequent. Last night after about 6pm I couldn't even get speeds of 1MBs to the extent that the system was practically useless and I gave up using it. 
About one hour ago I was getting 2.38MBs - not great but useable. A few minutes ago it's down to 0.75MBs (see below) - hence this message.

The router is on 24x7. I am a confident user of IT and have a reasonable user-technical knowledge but not where it comes to Broadband and routers and I'm loathe to get into another series of 'try this', 'test that' routines again but could someone at Plusnet please have a look at the stats for the last week or so and let me know what the disconnections have been like and any reason for such inconsistent speeds? Thanks.
Gary
17 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,027
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

In addition posting the information requested here would help http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,96155.0.html
gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

BT Speedtest below. As for router stats (it's a Zyxel 660) - as mentioned, this is a mystery to me. I can log-in to it but have never been able to identify where the required data is stored. However, I'll have another go this morning and will add to the post if I can find what is required. So for now the BT stuff (run a few minutes ago):
1. Best Effort Test:  -provides background information.
Download  Speed
3.59 Mbps
 
0 Mbps 7.15 Mbps
Max Achievable Speed
Download speedachieved during the test was - 3.59 Mbps
For your connection, the acceptable range of speeds is 2 Mbps-7.15 Mbps.
IP Profile for your line is - 5.87 Mbps
2. Upstream Test:  -provides background information.
Upload Speed
0.49 Mbps
 
0 Mbps 0.83 Mbps
Max Achievable Speed
Upload speed achieved during the test was - 0.49Mbps
Additional Information:
Upstream Rate IP profile on your line is - 0.83 Mbps
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,027
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Yes, thanks for that, just read it. Managed to get the following from the router:
Clicking on 'upstream noise margin' gave:
noise margin upstream: 6 db
output power downstream: 12 db
attenuation upstream: 24 db
Clicking on 'downstream noise margin' gave:
noise margin downstream: 10 db
output power upstream: 19 db
attenuation downstream: 35 db
I think the only other thing required is sync speed? But as yet I haven't found that, will keeping looking though. Thanks
Plusnet Alumni (retired) chrispurvey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 5,369
Fixes: 1
Registered: 13-07-2012

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Hi gary396,
I've checked your connection and you should be seeing speeds of 5.8MB/s ish.
Are you connecting wired or wireless?
gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Hi Chris,
Wireless. Most useage is on a desktop PC (with wireless) but I also at times use a laptop, netbook and iPad with the same results / problems.
Gary
Plusnet Alumni (retired) chrispurvey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 5,369
Fixes: 1
Registered: 13-07-2012

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

I'd suggest either trying a wired connection on one of your devices or try changing the wireless channel you are using via your router's interface.
You'll need to login to your router to do this, if you're unsure how to do this please let me know the make and model of your router and I'll help you along.
Also a program called <a href="http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider/">inSSIDer</a> will help you locate which channel is best to use.
gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Thanks. Will try both approaches this afternoon and update with results.
gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

So far this is what I have done - directly connected a laptop direct to the router, i.e. so that if I lose connection on the wireless desktop I can check if I still have it on the laptop AND similarly compare speeds. I've also downloaded inSSIDer s/w as suggested which indicates as follows:
The Zyxel router is the only one displayed (I'm not sure if it would pick up neighbours wifi signals but they would tend to be rare / infrequent users if at all in some cases). The channel is set to 6 which is one of those suggested I believe and there are no overlaps, i.e. no other routers shown. The RSSI certainly seems to have an effect on broadband speed. Most of the time it's around -68 to -70 dBm and the BB speed is then around 2MBs sometimes 3MBs.
But I noticed at one point when I was watching a short video on the s/w the video paused and when I checked the the RSSI it was at -80 and the BB speed struggled to get to 1MBs. Conversely the RSSI has occasionally been down to -60 which coincided with BB speeds of 4, sometimes 5MBs.
Watching the RSSI it's been moving between -60 and -70 in the 10 minutes or so since I started typing this and testing BB speeds.
Don't know if this helps?
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,833
Thanks: 117
Fixes: 24
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Two separate speeds.  There is the the speed of your BB internet connection.  And there is the speed of the wireless connection between your laptop and your router.  Which ever is the slower will limit the speed you measure in tests or the speed you get when downloading.  Your computer should tell you the speed of your wireless connection to the router (although this is becoming increasingly well-hidden).
If you want to test the speed of your broadband connection, make a wired connection to your router.  This connection should work at at least 100Mbps so faster than any broadband supplied by Plusnet.     
gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Second attempt at typing this - I tried to submit it a few minutes ago but just got an IE message - 'trying to diagnose connection problems'. Router seemed okay when I looked a few seconds later.
Anyway, RRSI monitoring done for a number of hours - see samples attached. Varies between -60 and -80 which seems a bit 'peaky' to me but not sure if this is normal? BB speeds similarly variable anywhere from less than 1 MBs, mainly in the 2-3 region with the odd 4-5MBs. Haven't noticed any disconnects but I don't know if Plusnet can check? This is all on the wireless PC which is about 2 metres away from the router (in a hall, with a glass door in between).
During this time I've had a laptop connected directly into the router and have run about 10/12 speedtests on that - all in the 4 to 5MBs region. So I guess that is telling me something about the stability (or lack of) my wireless connection is it not?
Can't do much more this evening but will try to check for any disconnects if I can.
Plusnet Alumni (retired) chrispurvey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 5,369
Fixes: 1
Registered: 13-07-2012

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Hi,
I've posted a log of your recent connectivity;
<img src="http://ccgi.psmith12.plus.com/visradius/generated/image13557373832695.png"/>
It looks like any disconnections that are happening are in the evening, is that the same time that you are experiencing the slower speeds? Is there any other devices on in the evening that aren't on in the day?
gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Thanks Chris. The pattern of disconnects, i.e. mainly evenings, seems to mirror what was happening a year ago. I think it's just more noticeable to us at this time of year as we may spend more evening time on the internet whereas during summer time / lighter nights we would tend to be out and about etc. Coversely I suppose it could be other environmental factors affecting the connection that are more prevalent this time of year, I don't know?
There are no devices on here in the evenings that aren't on during the day. For example, central heating is on most daytimes (as needed and certainly last week), TV / Sat again during the day at times. I can't think of anything 'evening specific' within the house.
Regarding slow speeds - these aren't limited to the daytime. They happen at all times. For example, 0803 hours yesterday - 1.9MBs, 0843 this morning - 2.56MBs, in the 10 min since 1157 today I ran a few tests and was getting +5MBs (the RSSI was around -60 to -63). Since 1206 however the RSSI dropped towards -70 and briefly about -73 and I got speeds of 1.52MBs and 1.91MBs. So the lower speeds do seem to coincide with the wireless RSSI going down towards -70 and even near -80 on occasions.
I don't know why those RSSI values occur - it's currently very erratic between -60 and -70. I'm about 2metres away from the router, nothing in the house is operating other than a radio and one ceiling light both of which have been one for an hour or two.
I will try and make a direct connection instead of the wireless in the next couple of days (but I might have to use a phone line extension to get the router near enough).
gary396
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 31-10-2011

Re: Inconsistent speeds and disconnects

Further bit of information if it helps:
This afternoon I've been running my desktop (normal way of working) with a laptop alongside it. Both wireless (again as normal) - the laptop has an internal card. However, the desktop only has a Zyxel USB wireless adapter 'dongle' plugged into one of the USB sockets on the front of the PC and I was begining to think that this may be part of the problem. This adapter came with the router.
Running the inSSIDer s/w on both machines I noted that the RSSI figures on the laptop are a lot lower than the desktop. Laptop - fairly constant at -43dBm (although it's been a bit more irregular in the last 20 minutes or so varying between -40 to -50 at one point. Desktop as reported before - -60 down to -70 and occasionally below that to -80 (and currently all over the place - since about 1510 hours (i.e. approaching the evening).
So I thought that the desktop / USB adapter configuration might not allow for a decent RSSI figure and thereby be causing slow speeds but the speeds on the laptop are fairly inconsistent as well - mainly in the region of 3MBs, the odd 4 or 5, but also a 0.72 and a 1.38MBs. So similarly variable but generally higher than the desktop.
Don't know if any of this means anything?