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Supporting Customers on Long Lines

tstaddon
Rising Star
Posts: 151
Thanks: 23
Registered: 01-08-2007

Supporting Customers on Long Lines

Hi,
I was toying with the idea of getting the free router with my PN account but I've been hearing some frankly astonishing reports regarding the Billion Bipac routers, on long lines.
I know it's anecdotal, but someone in my village got one, and they're telling me they're synching at 2mb. Despite being over 5.5km from the exchange.
I googled, and turned up some discussions which seem to bear this out:
http://forum.kitz.co.uk/index.php?topic=1875.0
The combination of this and an Interstitial Plate would probably do a lot more for me, than having a standard off-the-shelf router, until / if BT allow sub-loop unbundling.
Got me thinking; is there any specific entity within PlusNet which deals specifically with long line customers, customers in TPON areas and the like?
Because in fairness the long line customer experience of ADSL is rather different to the people who, for arguments' sake, moan about their 7200k connection dropping to 6968k when the street lights come on...
12 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

I'm not so sure having read that thread. It appears that the Billion router is overriding the default (higher than 6dB) SNRM imposed by BT on a "variably flaky" line.
Now you can do that in various ways with other routers - DMT tool or modified firmware for example.
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,027
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

This is the origin of the report http://bbs.adslguide.org.uk/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=technical&Number=3327359&page=0&view=&sb=&o=&fpa... and I would be very wary about it until we find out how to raise the default noise margin using the CLI command
tstaddon
Rising Star
Posts: 151
Thanks: 23
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

All fair points, but with line stats like these from my RTA1310 (BCM6338 chipset):
Rate (Kbps):  640 down,  448 up
SNR Margin (dB):  6.1 down,  5.0 up 
Attenuation (dB):  63.5 down,  31.5 up
I really do need the best possible modem/router I can get for long line support, and one which will sit in nicely with my Buffalo WHR-HP-G54.
The RTA1310 drops out at least twice a day - but when I got it, it totally wiped the floor with the 3com ADSL router I had at the time in handling the long line.
If it's still performing as well as it did when I got it, and the disconnects are due to the line, then I cannot possibly countenance getting a router that isn't at least as good (if not substantially better) as it was when I first got it.
Like I said, someone in the same village as me is getting WAY better stats than mine, with a Billion router; while I can't assume the only variable is the router the fact is that they're getting over 1mb, stable, with a line that can't possibly be more than 150m nearer to the exchange (which is over 5km away) and our lines are connected to the same cabinet.
I have a filtered faceplate, they don't. The BT engineer who checked the line when we moved in, sorted out our bell wire; to my knowledge they haven't done that.
I've ripped out unnecessary extensions, they haven't.
About the only thing I can't resolve, which works to their advantage, is I have a lamp post literally right next to where the line comes into the house. But that was replaced last year and causes a lot less interference than the previous lamp post did.
If you were in my position, what would you be thinking?
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

I'd be thinking 2 things:
1. With that attenuation it should be faster, say 1.5 to 2mbps, so what is wrong?
2. What's my neighbour's attenuation etc. in comparison?
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

1. It will be the SNR that is limiting the speed possible as that is the important figure with ADSL Max. As 640Kbs is the best it can achieve at 6dB it won't go any quicker unless you can improve the SNR on the line, which is very difficult, especially on longer lines.
tstaddon
Rising Star
Posts: 151
Thanks: 23
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

Well, what an odd day it's been...
I went to a boot fair this morning and there was a guy flogging two ADSL routers - one of which happened to be a Bipac 5200g. He said he preferred the BT Home Hub and that was the reason for sale.
Not being one to pass up an opportunity I bought the Billion - for a tenner.
Here are the line stats:
ADSL Firmware Version  : FwVer:3.6.0.0_A_TC3085 HwVer:T14.F7_1.0 
  Line State  : Showtime 
  Modulation  : G.DMT 
  Annex Mode  : ANNEX_A 
 
    Downstream  Upstream   
  SNR Margin  : 7.0  8.0  db
  Line Attenuation  : 63.5  31.5  db
  Data Rate  : 1024  448  kbps
Anecdotally things do feel like they're a bit faster as well.
So, time will tell.
tstaddon
Rising Star
Posts: 151
Thanks: 23
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

Approaching 10 hours online with no disconnects!
Lucy
Grafter
Posts: 47
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

I was rather skeptical, but it works!
I'm 4.9km away from the exchange, but the line is good quality. Even though the BT database claims I'd be lucky to get 1000kbs, the normal sync speed was above 6000kbs after the upgrade to Max, with Att 47db and daytime SNR around 6 db. One very lucky day I even saw a 7100kbs connection for a few hours.
Unfortunately, after several disconnections during storms earlier in the year, BT imposed the SNR curse. Target SNR was fixed at 12db and I've been struggling to reach 5000 ever since. The problem is that there is interference from a power line nearby and there's a brief loss of sync most evenings at a certain time, possibly when the people in the village switch something on or off all at the same time.
After reading this thread, I ordered a Bipac 5200g. Tested it yesterday evening. Sync speed with the usual router (Netgear DG384v.3) was 4600kbs, Att 47db, SNR 11db. After switching to the Bipac 5200, it shot up to 6700kbs and the SNR went down to around 5db, Att went slightly up to 49db. In the several hours it was on, there was no loss of synch at all and hardly any errors.
The bad news is, the Bipac driver is not fully compatable with XP SP3  Roll eyes I couldn't connect it until after going back to the DG384 and googling for the reason and a workaround: IP address and DNS have to be set manually in the network connection. Still haven't been able to make the WLAN work, so I'm back on the DG384 to avoid tripping on long cables.
Bipac will issue a new driver soon. Until then, if you're using this router, don't upgrade to XP SP3!
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 18,214
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Registered: 11-01-2008

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

Quote from: Possum
Bipac will issue a new driver soon. Until then, if you're using this router, don't upgrade to XP SP3!

Looking at the spec it's a router with a web interface so you would either connect wirelessly or via ethernet - why does this not work with SP3?

Customer / Moderator / If it helped click the thumb / If it fixed it click 'This fixed my problem'

Lucy
Grafter
Posts: 47
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

This is Billion's explanation (in Taiwanese English):
There is a software compatibility problem of Billion BiPAC 5200 series (that is loaded with
specific firmware version, see below) occurred in the past weeks. After end-users upgrade
Microsoft Windows XP SP3 (Service Pack 3) release on their PC or Notebook, it will cause
BiPAC 5200 series crashed and rebooted constantly. 

After detail analysis, we found that Windows XP SP3 sent out the DHCP packet with the
Option 43 data (include Microsoft’s ‘Vendor Specific Information’), but Windows XP SP2 sent
out the DHCP packet without the Option 43 data. However, the Option 43 data is not
compatible with Billion’s original definition, so it will cause this problem. The affected firmware
versions of BiPAC 5200 series are 2.9.8.x and 2.11.0.x~2.11.33.x. There is no impact to BiPAC
5200 series if the firmware is 2.10.x.x. Please check Appendix A for checking your current
firmware version.

Microsoft released Windows XP SP3 on May 6, 2008, and provided it on their web site only for
manual downloading. So there are not many end-users to report this problem to us in this
stage. However, Microsoft plans to upgrade all end-users' PC to Windows XP SP3
automatically in June 2008. The affected scope will be expanded.

Not sure what it all means, but when I first tried to set up the router, it just wouldn't establish a connection at all. The connection went live only after following their workaround instructions (setting IP address & DNS manually).
MickKi
Grafter
Posts: 543
Registered: 30-09-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

The performance of this router sounds rather impressive!  I've read somewhere that the BT 2WIRE 1800/2700HG routers were better at holding good sync speeds on long/noisy lines and was being tempted to give one of them a try.  That's until 2WIRE support advised me that to upgrade the firmware to make the 2WIRE 1800HG ADSL2+ compatible I needed to have a BT internet account - updates for these routers are apparently controlled by the ISP, although there's info around the Internet for using different firmware to manually flash the 2WIRE 2700HG models.  Cry
Meanwhile, this guy swears by his Thomson Speedtouch 585v6 for stopping his line dropping every evening.
Anyway, from what I understand achieving optimum performance with your exchange boils down to having a modem/router with a chipset which is best matching the chipset at the exchange.  Firmware upgrades at either end change things around of course - so this is a bit of a moving beast.  Any idea what works best with my DSLAM chipset which is a STMicro Alcatel?  I have always been using a Netgear DG834, but have had no experience with other modems.
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Supporting Customers on Long Lines

I am on the end of a long line as well, and after doing some reading it seems the Speedtouch 585 and the 2wire/BT 2700HGV come consistently recommended. My Netgear DG834G was syncing at best at about 1200kbps with 63dB attenuation and 12dB noise margin, but with lots of disconnections and subsequent slow speeds (down to 130kbps!).
Everybody says the Speedtouch is good but needs a lot of tweaking, and that the 2wire can't be tweaked as much but works very nearly as well out of the box. So I got an unlocked 2wire 2700HGV via our favourite auction site for about £35. The interface is a bit weird, but I have worked it out (I think) and it is syncing at a reported 1440kbps with a 14dB noise margin, and has done so for a week with no disconnections. If it stays stable I shall ask to get the margin lowered a bit - who knows, I might be able to get a 1.5Mb profile out of it!