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F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

francoise-hardy
Grafter
Posts: 94
Registered: 30-07-2007

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

Hi fellow f9 users. I have had a ticket raised (and closed by f9!) about an intermittent loss of internet.(Page cannot be displayed, router menu says 'disconnected')
Advice from someone at work suggests I may have a poor (intermittent ??) signal path outside my premises. The theory is that as path loss varies due to the fault, my connection speed is 're-negotiated' to a more suitable speed. During this process, I get the 'cannot find server'. Then, it starts working again.
NOW, tonight, using the f9 speed test, I have the following speed test results logged between the times of 2202 and 2210.
1216, 1421, 1886, 1802, 1669, 1085, 1906, 1926.
To me, this seems quite a variation. NOTHING else was running on the pc during these tests.
I am currently using a loan router/modem, same model as my original, I have changed filters, and there is nobody else at home to touch a phone or breathe on a phone socket! Still the same problem. Sometimes once or twice an evening, sometimes twice in 15 minutes. I am no pc expert, but work in communications/electronics customer service workshop, so appreciate importance of checking all connections. As the fault randomly occurs when I am sitting at keyboard browsing, rest of house unoccupied, I do not think the problem is on my premises. No, I am not downloading either. Besides, it happens mainly in the evening, especially at what I would assume are 'peak' times. f9 suggestion is to get bt to investigate and charge me £60+ IF THEY FIND NO FAULT as I would expect. At ALL times during fault condition the sync light remains on, but data goes out. F9 say this is because no data is present! (pretty obvious really!) Also, there is no guarantee of a service! This whole issue is really driving me nuts!
I have asked bt to check my phone after suggesting there might be an intermittent audible crackle (like other f9 users have tried). I was told the line was ok, and if I wanted to have further investigation I would be liable for a £60+ charge if (when) no fault is found.
Personally and from conversations with fellow users, it experts and an ex-bt engineer I am sure the problem is somewhere in the bt/f9 network, but am banging my head against a wall to convince f9 of this.
A whoosh test gave a loss of -39db, belkin say -42db is the max for 2meg on my router (can't remember if up or downstream, it was the greater loss of the streams though). 3db seems a narrow margin. I am 1.5km straight line from exchange in town.
So, are the speed test results relevant?
Anyone any ideas as to what problem is please?
Thanks, robinh
9 REPLIES
Trebor
Grafter
Posts: 96
Registered: 30-07-2007

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

I had a the same problem, it turned out to be a ADSL filter was faulty, not the one which my router was connected to but one with just a phone on.

Its a process of elimination unplugging each one till you find the one that cause the fault.

I called Customer services and was promised a new one in the post , its never as it was supplied a few weeks before by Force 9, its never turned up to date Cry
N/A

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

Hi robinh,

There are a number of common connection problems that are seen time and time again with ADSL.

1) Stale ADSL sessions, this is easy to detect or diagnose as the classic symptoms are "power light & sync light on" on your router or modem but no data can travel across the connection. To cure this you need to take the system & connection down for 30mins minimum (40mins is fine) power everything off then after the down time re-power the computer and reconnect this forces the BT line card at the phone exchange to reset and so you get a fresh ADSL session and clean conection.

2) Line noise, this is usually responsible for alot of dropped conections or loss of sync and router logs normally or commonly show the drop by changes in speeds detected. Sometimes BT can adjust the line quality and thus the amount of noise on line and thus help prevent any further dropped connections. This is called tweaking the gain on your line,this happened to me and my ADSL has been stable ever since it was done by a BT engineer. Usually a whoosh test will confirm the levels of noise as a problem or not.

3) Physical distance from the BT exchange and limits for ADSL, if you live in a location that puts you close to or on the physical limits for ADSL technology then getting a good quality service can be problematical. Usually what this means is that you might only get 512K instead of a full 2Megs, this is usually found out by tests and so things like line noise are relevenat here too.

Ivan
francoise-hardy
Grafter
Posts: 94
Registered: 30-07-2007

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

Thanks for replies. Well, I have replaced filters one at a time - no different.
Ivan, (1 first) Would a stale adsl session occur several times whilst actively browsing?
Looking in router system page, it will say 'no connection'. Clicking 'connect' usually resolves issue in a few seconds, sometimes 2 or 3 tries are needed. Things are then ok until next 'loss of data'.
(3)1.5km as the crow flies, in town. Hardly a great distance??
(2)A whoosh test was done, -39db loss. (Max for 2meg on my router is -42)Don't remember if s/n was quoted. After this and my continued complaint, I was warned if bt did a test and it was nff, I would have to foot the bill! This I stated was unacceptable because of nature of intermittent fault. F9 solution was to close my ticket! How about THAT for customer service!
So, who 'tweaks the gain', who pays. How do I get this done?
Any advice appreciated.
Thanks to you both.
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F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

Hi robinh,

OK I accept what your saying about the loss of connection, if thats what its actually saying then this sounds more like random dropped connections and YES! line noise could cause this. Tweaking the gain is something that only BT can do for you, its done by a BT engineer, its done on their side of the system. I wasnt charged anything for that too be done and unless BT have changed their policy I think its done for free. It can be done over the phone or once a BT engineer is contacted they run various line tests and then the BT engineer phoned me to tell me what he found and told me he had tweaked the gain and in doing this, this helps reduce line noise and thus the dropped connections.

**Dropped connections would make more sense as you can get this any time of the day or night. But its causes vary though, from anything like a kink in the cabling/copper pairs, to the sheer amount of general internet traffic at that time of day. You can understand that if the problem is a noisy line the first place to look would be the filters on your BT master socket but if you have replaced the filters and the problem persists then its noise on the line else where and NOT the filters IMO.

**Getting BT to run some further diagnotics for you is problematic as when I had my problem I just phoned up BT and got put through to their DSL faults team. Now however they have changed that, the moment they know your ISP is F9 PN they will automatically say go back to them with your fault.

The fault has to be passed back from F9 to BT so its more round the houses now, as BT will only directly service their own ISP customers (i.e. BT Openworld & BT Yahoo ISP customers) all other ISP customers have to go via their own ISP i.e. F9. The second aspect is that this takes longer too.

**OK Distances here shouldnt be an issue, but bear in mind that sometimes cables from a house to the BT exchange go all round the houses in reality and NOT as the crow flies so it is possible for 1 house to go straight to the exchange and a second house next door too go to another exchange or even the same one but by a totally different route/path and these kinds of things can make a difference too.

Ivan
francoise-hardy
Grafter
Posts: 94
Registered: 30-07-2007

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

Ivan, I wish to extend my greatest thanks to you for your time in assisting myself & fellow f9 users! Your info on this (and other forum subjects) that I have viewed is really appreciated. F9 customer services could do with you! Perhaps not though, you would have to change! Anyway, with MY job in customer services (on aeronautical communications), I realise that maybe, sometimes, customers can cause problems. BUT, my own investigations my end and searches for information (in this forum and elsewhere) CONVINCE me the problem is outside my premises and jurisdiction. It is intersesting what you say about bt 'looking after their own'. I would have thought that f9/plusnet account was of some value to bt. But, I am getting so disheartened with the total lack of ability for f9 to investigate and solve my problem, I may go elsewhere around March 6th, my contract renewal date. Looking around the forums, customer service ability appears to be the main complaint. I would be sorry to leave, as when working as it should, I would recommend to anyone. BUT, I can only put up with so much disruption. I am so that uncertain these days when sending text online that I copy all text to clipboard before sending, just in case I have lost my connection. Yes, it has happened during the time I have been (slowly) typing. What is it, once bitten, twice shy?!
Oh well, my latest ticket reply today says something like 'Unfortunately our testing tool has not been able to return a verdict on your fault condition. We will retest shortly. '
Perhaps they need a new and better testing tool? Hazel twigs are not very accurate in February!! Perhaps bt ought to buy them out?
Best wishes, robinh
francoise-hardy
Grafter
Posts: 94
Registered: 30-07-2007

Further...

I have been notified by f9 that further tests appear to show a problem?

xDSL Status Check Analysis
OK.

Circuit Information
Circuit In Sync
Upstream xDSL Link Info
Loop Loss 24 dB
Cell Count 1181884264
Downstream xDSL Link Info
Loop Loss 40 dB
Cell Count 557277983 Determine Algorithm Branch Analysis
Continue to copper line test.

Copper Line Test Analysis
Test OK.
The line tests have completed and have highlighted a possible issue.

The noise level on your line is showing as being 40dB.

As a comparison, these are the BT limits for different speeds:-

2MB - Less than 43dB
1MB - Less than 60dB
Greater than 60dB is what is termed as a 'Long Line' which means that the line runs a long distance from your exchange to your premises, and can affect the connection so over 60dB BT can provide a 512k connection but this can still have problems.

Due to the high/borderline to limit value on your line it may well be this that is causing the problem.

We can escalate this further as an ADSL fault, but if BT confirm that the only problem is this high noise level then they can reduce the speed of your broadband connection or in some instances can completely remove it, due to it not being able to reliably supply the broadband service.
Also if BT confirm that the noise level should not be an issue and there are no further issues, they can charge you for a failed fault test which starts at £46.00 +VAT. Doing the above tests should rule out anything at your end causing the fault, reducing the risk of you being charged.


So does this mean if BT decide a bad result is in their opinion a good result, they can extort cash from me?!
Interestingly, my intermittent problems started about December 2005 and are ongoing. The exchange is abou 1 mile away by cable, and my neighbour does not have broadband problems.If I were to pay bt and the fault persisted, could I claim a refund? Or, could they keep charging ad infinitum?
Any opinions??
In appreciation, robinh
francoise-hardy
Grafter
Posts: 94
Registered: 30-07-2007

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

SORRY, in above, I clicked post message too soon!
The underlined bit I was asking if this means I can be denied a broadband connection if BT so wish?
robinh
N/A

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

Hi robinh,

After reading your posting in my opinion BT are saying 1) your on the border line for noise levels on your line. Yes! noise is a real and extremely common issue on broadband connections. 2) What they (BT) appear to be saying is that the only way they might be able to resolve this noise issue is by running some diagnostic tests.

a) if your lucky and the tests are positive or pass they might go one of two ways **if the line IS noisy they might be able to tweak the line settings & reduce the noise & thus provide some form of BB but it might only be 1Meg or 512K NOT a fully 2meg. Or **if its extreme NOT be able to provide any level of service at all.

**If the tests results come back as a failure then only only then they might charge you the cost of the tests.

Ivan
francoise-hardy
Grafter
Posts: 94
Registered: 30-07-2007

F9 Speed Tests, What do they mean?

Hi Ivan, sorry for delay in replying. I have replied to f9 ticket asking them to hang on whilst I choose which way to go with this. Unfortunately my local advisors is currently away.
Thanks again, robinh