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Superslow broadband

Teazle
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Superslow broadband

We're constantly told that distance to our local exchange is the reason our broadband speeds are low but I cannot. Understand why they vary so much.
I live in a village in darkest Somerset. We are 2.4kms from the exchange, all copper and not a cat in Hells chance of getting fibre.
A friend lives two hundred metres away (further from the exchange) he gets actual speeds of near 6Mbps and, according to the BTwholesale site should get 2.5-6Mbps. Another friend lives 300 metres away (nearer to the exchange). According to BT she gets 7-8megs. Another friend lives nearly a kilometre away (away from the exchange. I.e  nearly 3.4kms as the crow flies). His speeds are in the 1.5-5Mbps range.
My speeds, and my immediate neighbours, according to BT, are 1-3.5Mbps. I have never achieved more than 1.8Mbps.(Currently far worse, often down to as little as 0.6meg. Plusnet are checking this, but it seems to be taking forever)
We don't seem to have a cabinet but I often see Openreach engineers with their heads stuck in a hole in the ground 50metres from my front door.
I realise that there may be something wrong with my line at the moment and I realise that it may be inside the house or outside. What I don't understand is why there are such wide variations within the village between users who are all connected to the same exchange. If distance to the exchange is the critical factor, surely we shouldn't be seeing these wide variations? Why do I seem to have drawn the short straw?
21 REPLIES
ian007jen
Rising Star
Posts: 392
Thanks: 4
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎06-09-2007

Re: Superslow broadband

Perhaps your phone line length in longer ie down the road then back up to you.
Post the info from http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,96155.0.html
By the way..BT checker has my little hamlet down as speed from 1 to 2 Mb....I synch at 7100 and have 6Mb throughput Smiley
Ian
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 6,138
Thanks: 595
Fixes: 231
Registered: ‎01-01-2012

Re: Superslow broadband

Hi there.
Sorry to hear that your speeds are slow. I can see you've called in regarding this and raised a fault through to our Faults team.
They'll get that investigated for you and they'll be in touch as soon as they know more.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Matthew Wheeler
 Plusnet Help Team
Teazle
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Re: Superslow broadband

Quote from: ian007jen
By the way..BT checker has my little hamlet down as speed from 1 to 2 Mb....I synch at 7100 and have 6Mb throughput Smiley
Ian

That's it. Rub it in. Smiley
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,683
Thanks: 666
Fixes: 167
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Superslow broadband

I've just had a quick look at this and am going to try a line reset before our faults team take a look. Your line looks stable (no drops for over 2 weeks) and I think we can get a quick increase for you.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,683
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Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Superslow broadband

Right, that's gone through. Can you log in to your router, disconnect, unplug the router from the phone line, plug it back in and then reconnect for me?
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
Teazle
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Re: Superslow broadband

Quote from: Matthew
Hi there.
Sorry to hear that your speeds are slow. I can see you've called in regarding this and raised a fault through to our Faults team.
They'll get that investigated for you and they'll be in touch as soon as they know more.


Mathew,
Thanks for that. I'm sorry though, perhaps I wasn't clear in my OP. My question was more about the relative speeds between my and my neighbours, and others in the village. (Yes I have a problem at the moment which your colleagues are looking into, but that was not what I was addressing.
We have never even had 2 meg speeds and all the speed estimates we have ever had for our lines have been at around that level. My question was about our consistent maximum speeds in the sub 2 meg range as compared with others in the village regularly achieving speeds three times greater than us. Whilst I take Ian007's point about the possibility of longer lines to our neck of the woods the difference is so great that I find it hard to believe. At the risk of exagerating (quite a lot!) it implies that our lines go off to orbit the earth before arriving back at our doorsteps.
For the sake of completeness I should add that this is not just a problem in my part of the village. We have about 170 homes in all; all on the same exchange. 60% of us are on Superslow sub 2 meg speeds. Others achieve speeds up to  7/8 meg. There doesn't appear to be any logic to the variation and the "distance to the exchange" explanation doesn't seem to give the full story. It does seem to be something in the infrastructure, but it is difficult to know what. All BT will do is repeat the "distance to exchange" mantra.

PS To rub salt into the wound my other half has just opened the post. She's handed me a letter from BT offering us speeds of up to 17Mb. Crazy
Teazle
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Re: Superslow broadband

Quote from: Chris
Right, that's gone through. Can you log in to your router, disconnect, unplug the router from the phone line, plug it back in and then reconnect for me?

Chris,
I think I've ended up with two consecutive threads going on!
I've disconnected and done all that. I rebooted the router as well for good measure.
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,683
Thanks: 666
Fixes: 167
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Superslow broadband

Myself and Matt looked at this at similar times, nothing to worry about.
Quote
PS To rub salt into the wound my other half has just opened the post. She's handed me a letter from BT offering us speeds of up to 17Mb.

Unfortunately that's just the headline speed, up to 17Mb is the way the product is advertised as a certain percentage of the overall customer base can reach that speed. As BT use exactly the same infrastructure as we do the speeds would be very very similar. The estimate they should give if you did start a sign up process with them should match the estimates at http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/
Quote
I've disconnected and done all that. I rebooted the router as well for good measure.

And what do you get on a speedtest now? Your line is connecting at 4192 now, which should mean you get 3-3.5Mb/s+ on a speedtest.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
Teazle
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Re: Superslow broadband

Quote from: Chris
[And what do you get on a speedtest now? Your line is connecting at 4192 now, which should mean you get 3-3.5Mb/s+ on a speedtest.

Thanks. That's certainly a step in the right direction. I've never seen speeds anywhere near that. even on estimates.
Unfortunately though, I've just done a test (and sent it to you) and that was well below 1meg.
As I said earlier in the thread, I recognize that at least part of the problem could be inside the house and I suspect that you are going to tell me to check things out internally. I've got to go out now so I'll have a look here later on this evening.
In the meanwhile thanks for your assistance.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 13,053
Thanks: 4,347
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Superslow broadband

Quote from: Teazle
For the sake of completeness I should add that this is not just a problem in my part of the village. We have about 170 homes in all; all on the same exchange. 60% of us are on Superslow sub 2 meg speeds. Others achieve speeds up to  7/8 meg. There doesn't appear to be any logic to the variation and the "distance to the exchange" explanation doesn't seem to give the full story. It does seem to be something in the infrastructure, but it is difficult to know what. All BT will do is repeat the "distance to exchange" mantra.

Hi Teazle,
I try to help answer your question with a bit more clarity / insight.
One has to be very careful when comparing speeds, as there is SYNCH speed (the only meaningful comparison) and DATA speed as reported by speed testers.
SYNCH speed is only influenced by the exchange equipment, the exchange line (e-side plus d-side), the phone line termination box, the internal wiring, the filter and the router.
The maximum DATA speed (known as the profile) will on 21CN services be 88.2% of the synch speed, on 20CN services it will be that for the band in which the synch speed falls - see http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/broadband_terminology.shtml#ipProfile
Thereafter actual data speed is impacted by the means by which the test PC is connected to the router (wired or WiFi), the absence of noise / interference on the line, exchange backhaul performance, PlusNet gateway performance, general internet performance and the performance of the target service.
So when comparing performance, one needs to be confident that like is being compared with like.
In the situation you describe, it could be the case that some parts of the village have better d-side circuits than others, some being copper (better) whilst others are aluminium (poorest), some longer shorter, underground or over ground.  Generally most line faults are found in the d-side and this it is usually the d-side which most degrades SYNCH speeds.
That said internal wiring can have a massive impact on synch speed.  I have seen reports on here of users moving their router from an extension socket to the master socket and seeing a change in synch speed from 2Mbps to 8Mbps.
It is for reasons such as this that all investigations into slow speed reports seek to look at synch speed, have modems moved to the master socket and all internal wiring disconnected before attempting to engage BT in investigating line "issues".
HTH,
Kevin
Teazle
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Re: Superslow broadband

Thanks for that Kevin.......though I must admit that I had to look up what "d-side" and "e-side" are!
We've been trying to look at this from the point of view of the whole village rather than just individual cases. We have therefore been using the BT wholesale speed data to check maximum speeds regardless of any problems associated with internal wiring problem in people's homes.......we've even got checks on numbers where we know the subscriber doesn't even have a computer. What this has shown is enormous variation within the village which we are struggling to understand.......from 0.5meg to 7meg within a 1km radius with no obvious reason I.e no point of high speed with decreasing speeds as you move away from the 7 meg hot spot.
We are looking at this because we've been told that we are not to be included in the BDUK Superfast rollout, and various meetings with BT and Openreach have just met with the "distance from exchange" mantra which clearly does not explain the differences within the village. In other words we are only being told part of the story.
I take your point about the difference between copper and aluminium. One villager had an engineer round a few weeks ago and he (the engineer) was complaining about having to use aluminium wire. He knew that copper would have been better.
For what it's worth, my own speeds have now improved somewhat. Plusnet have had a tinker with the line and I have had a tinker around the
house and my speeds have more than doubled. On the face of it a dramatic improvement but, in reality, it is still far short of what people 2 or 3 hundred yards away in either direction are getting. Mind you, there are others in the village who are even worse off.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 13,053
Thanks: 4,347
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Superslow broadband

Another factor to consider when looking for speed groupings is the cabinet to which individual lines are connected - see results from http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/btwchecker.htm
Also see http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/adslchecker.php which estimates the distance from the exchange.
If you are running a campaign, I would create a spread-sheet, which for each household lists
+ Phone number
+ Postcode
+ House number / name
+ Estimated speed from each of the above
+ Reported distance from the exchange
+ Reported cabinet
+ ISP
+ SYNCH Speed
+ SNRM
+ Attenuation
+ BT Speed test results
If inspection then finds clustering around post codes or cabinet, you have something tangible to discuss with BT.
If there is no clustering then you have grounds to challenge BT on the variable speeds being seen across the village - I would focus on the quality of the local d-side pairs.  One good point of reference test for anyone having BTOR out to investigate speed issues is to ask then to test the speed at the cabinet.  One can reasonably expect all e-sides to a cabinet to be delivering similar speeds - if they are not, then there is something wrong with the exchange equipment.
A couple of years back after much effort by PN to sort our my line, it was discovered that significantly less that the max 24Mbps was actually leaving the exchange on my line, thus getting a decent speed at the premises was being "knee-capped" within the exchange.
Teazle
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Re: Superslow broadband

Thanks for that Kevin.
Yes, we've already started a spreadsheet and so far have more than 50 checks, though we haven't gone into quite so much detail as you suggest. We're really at the stage of trying to identify what the problem is, but what we have done so far has been a real eye opener.
It's also interesting that on only one (I think) test was the cabinet reported. That was the fastest line in the village which was reported as being "Cabinet 1". I don't think any of the other tests said anything about cabinets. Incidently, there is some confusion locally about what constitutes a "cabinet"...we have a hole in the ground in the village which engineers peer into from time to time but no green cabinet. Most (possibly all) of the lines are taken to our homes by telegraph poles.
I think we may also need to find out how the lines come into the village. It's possible, (I imagine) that some lines come in via the most direct route and others go walkabout around the countryside before deigning to sluggishly come into the village.....but I just don't know if it works like that. For that matter, I don't know if Bt know either, or if they would be able to tell us who is on what entry route. Alternatively it may be that everyone is connected by lines on the same route and that all the infrastructure problems are within the village. It's all quite interesting but I feel that was are having to find out ourselves. BT seem to keep their cards very close to their chest......at a recent meeting with Openreach they claimed not to even be able to answer the question about cabinets!!!
Thanks for your input. It's helpful.
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,102
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Registered: ‎31-08-2007

Re: Superslow broadband

Quote from: Teazle
........... I rebooted the router as well for good measure.

Be careful, random rebooting of the modem/router can be very far from "good measure" and is especially true on longer rural lines.
Quote from: Townman
That said internal wiring can have a massive impact on synch speed.  I have seen reports on here of users moving their router from an extension socket to the master socket and seeing a change in synch speed from 2Mbps to 8Mbps.

Let's be clear here, if internal wiring is faulty or substandard, simply connecting at the master socket instead of an extension socket is NOT going to FIX a potential problem. The mere fact of disconnecting and resyncing can cause a marked increase in sync speed, as any previous disconnect caused by external issues may have resulted in a slow sync.
You can only make more conclusive checks buy connecting to the Test Socket and confirming all extension sockets are dead.
Other than that as mentioned by Kevin, which cabinet and the type of cable (copper/aluminium) end users are connected to can make a significant difference in addition to any potential line faults as well as their internal wiring.
Quote from: Teazle
We've been trying to look at this from the point of view of the whole village rather than just individual cases. We have therefore been using the BT wholesale speed data to check maximum speeds regardless of any problems associated with internal wiring problem in people's homes......

Sorry, big mistake. Whilst you may possibly see some "clustering" the variability is still likely to be excessive if internal wiring is a significant factor in an individual end users connection.
Whilst the kitz site is an excellent site and will provide a lot of technical information which might be beyond the understanding of a lot of end users and hence put people off conducting the necessary tests, I recommend you get your villagers to use https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html which is the direct BT Wholesale checker and should always return the cabinet information unless they are on a direct exchange line - another potential issue.
The routing of the lines will depend on whether they are overhead or underground. It's also worth being sure that everyone is actually on the same exchange!
Edit: you may also wish to include in your spread sheet whether customers are fed overhead or underground from both the Cabinet and the DP (local distribution point for a group of lines) usually a pole and will have a DP number on it and include that.