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Connection woes

kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Connection woes

Like many on here my once rock solid connection of approx 74/18 for 1yr+ has gone downhill, though in my case it's not G.INP related.
I wanted to post here as after the last two times going through Plusnet I'm not really feeling up to a third! Being told (in a very polite manner of course) that I should be grateful for what I'm getting as it's "within acceptable limits" is bad enough, then you also have condescending Openreach engineers to deal with once they do raise a fault.
Anyways. The last engineer was okay actually and he gave me a Huawei modem as he said some people prefer them, though I have an ECI cab afaik (just across the road from me so very short distance). Around a month after the engineer reset the line it all went to pot again so I ended up unlocking it and have been checking stats daily. Unfortunately network stats and what's considered, good, bad or normal confuses me at the best of times so I thought I'd post some stats from today and see what people think.
See attached images.
Most obvious to me is the huge drop in upstream connection and what appears to be very high levels of errors.
I'm currently on a 61.34 downstream IP Profile and attaining approx 58/7 with 25ms ping on speedtest.net
Sadly I don't have any modem stats from when my connection was good.
15 REPLIES
jafreer
Rising Star
Posts: 832
Thanks: 49
Registered: 13-10-2012

Re: Connection woes

I am no expert but you have a high level of interleaving on the line, which I think is the DLM (Dynamic Line Management) response to the large number of errors on your line.
That depth of interleaving is likely limiting your speeds somewhat, and also making your pings (latency) higher.
I would say the first thing you want to do is try and reduce the high number of errors on the line. One way to do it is to monitor the number of FEC (corrections) as they happen. I had a similar issue and only when I monitored the live graph of corrections (I used DSL Stats), I eventually correlated the issue to the use of powerline networking adapters. When I removed them, the errors dropped substantially. This discovery happened to coincide with me putting a Huawei modem on my line, thus activating G.Inp, so I can't tell how much of the benefit I saw was eliminating the huge number of errors, versus the activation of G.Inp.
What I can say is that if you eliminate the errors, DLM should reduce interleaving, which will increase your speeds and improve your latency (by how much I am not sure).
When you have the FEC graph, you can see whether the errors coincide with anything. Are the errors consistent all day, do they come in spikes, do they coincide with switching something on or off etc.
It requires a little investigation, but is worth it in the end.
It is also worth looking at the routing of your wiring to your modem. If your modem is plugged directly into the master socket, you could consider using a twisted pair RJ11 to RJ11 cable for improved noise immunity. If you have your modem extension wired to another room from the master socket, does it use twisted pair cable? Was it a VDSL extension kit fitted by an engineer? Did it just use existing extension wiring that was already there, etc.
There is lots to look at, but I would start with monitoring the errors and see if there is any pattern. Some people suggest switching as much stuff in the house off and see if the errors reduce (not saying switch off your fridge or freezer etc, but you get the idea).
It is entirely possible that the source of errors is outside your control (external to your property), but you can try and confirm that first.
Best of luck.
kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Re: Connection woes

Quote from: jafreer
I would say the first thing you want to do is try and reduce the high number of errors on the line. One way to do it is to monitor the number of FEC (corrections) as they happen. I had a similar issue and only when I monitored the live graph of corrections (I used DSL Stats), I eventually correlated the issue to the use of powerline networking adapters. When I removed them, the errors dropped substantially. This discovery happened to coincide with me putting a Huawei modem on my line, thus activating G.Inp, so I can't tell how much of the benefit I saw was eliminating the huge number of errors, versus the activation of G.Inp.

Thanks for the suggestion. You've actually reminded me that I was suspecting a usb charger and battery charger that use a plug socket above where the rj11 cable runs, but I gradually forgot about it after the last engineer visit. Now I can see the stats I'll definitely investigate. I have noticed that the errors seem to just appear all of a sudden, rather than gradually increase, so maybe it is related to when a certain device is turned on.
Quote from: jafreer
It is also worth looking at the routing of your wiring to your modem. If your modem is plugged directly into the master socket, you could consider using a twisted pair RJ11 to RJ11 cable for improved noise immunity. If you have your modem extension wired to another room from the master socket, does it use twisted pair cable? Was it a VDSL extension kit fitted by an engineer? Did it just use existing extension wiring that was already there, etc.

The modem is connected via a twisted pair RJ11 to an existing extension that the original installation engineer turned into a 'data only' extension. AFAIK it just uses regular wiring. I know that's not ideal, but all 3 engineers that have been out (including the one who did the initial install) have said it's fine. The 2nd engineer wasn't thrilled with the setup (and left me a VDSL extension kit) but he tested it and then compared with the VDSL extension and said it was working just as well.
I'll look at using the VDSL extension kit as a test depending how I get on, but I'm always reluctant to chop and change the hardware side of things because of the DLM voodoo that goes on.
deathtrap
Grafter
Posts: 1,063
Thanks: 4
Registered: 23-04-2013

Re: Connection woes

From the stats posted it looks like the OP is connected to a ECI cab, so no G.inp available as yet,  Something isn't right, with those stats  a sync of 80/20  shouldn't be a problem  strange how the us is less than 50% than what is should be  DLM has really screwed things up IMO
jafreer
Rising Star
Posts: 832
Thanks: 49
Registered: 13-10-2012

Re: Connection woes

@kanedaa - Yes, I would concentrate on locating the source of (noise) errors before changing any wiring around.
Whilst twisted pairs are better than flat cable, it doesn't mean that flat cable won't work as well. It all depends on the cause of your errors. Twisted pair has better noise immunity but if your existing cable is not really picking up noise anyway, it may be perfectly adequate, it all depends on where the noise is being injected.
That is why the testing is so important. It sounds like you already have a decent modem cable (twisted pair), so that is good.
I am assuming that if the installer turned an existing extension into a 'data only' extension, then you have a master socket elsewhere that has the filter built in? This is good because you want the filter to be attached to the line as close to the incoming line as possible. That way all your extensions are filtered right off the bat. With the exception of course of the unfiltered extension feeding your modem.
Last resort is wiring changes. Is your master socket the latest MK3 (with filter built in)? You definitely want the filter at the master socket, but I assume you have this already, thought it worth mentioning though. (In other words, you don't have any separate microfilters on any equipment).
kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Re: Connection woes

Yeah the extension is directly wired to the master socket which was upgraded to the FTTC version when it was all originally installed. The latest engineer upgraded it to a Mk3 in February.
Some initial testing results shows FEC errors spike when certain devices/appliances are turned on. USB charger gave a very minor spike of around 200, battery charger around 400, boiler turning on to heat water saw it spike at 4000. After the initial spike however it goes right back down to 0.
jafreer
Rising Star
Posts: 832
Thanks: 49
Registered: 13-10-2012

Re: Connection woes

The images you posted show a really large number of errors, so if you are only seeing small numbers of errors here and there, it suggests they may be coming in large bursts. You will probably have to monitor for longer to catch them.
kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Re: Connection woes

I've had DSL Stats running since my last post and so far in terms of FEC errors it's just the same spikes I reported. For the most part they're infrequent and usually very low (<500), but occasionally they're higher (4000 max) and more frequent. From what I can tell it's all related to various appliances being turned on, the boiler kicking in is the culprit for the larger spikes from what I can tell.
I'm assuming all that is relatively normal though? Depending how things go I intend to wire up the VDSL extension kit and see if that either eliminates or lowers these spikes, but that's going to wait until I've seen more data.
In the most recent 24hr period downstream FEC = 19554 and upstream FEC = 3990. Things are obviously on the up as my connection resynced at around 5am this morning to 77694/19999. My IP profile is still stuck at 61.34 though so the only improvement I'm seeing so far is upstream.
Around the time it resynced the FEC errors went up considerably for a brief period, but seem to have calmed down now. However I'm seeing a lot more upstream spikes, whereas previously it was 95% downstream. So if that continues I won't be surprised to see it resync lower again.
If any Plusnet employees are reading a line check would be appreciated for added info.
kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Re: Connection woes

Angry
May have just spotted a potential culprit.
Plugged in a laptop to charge and boom, FEC error counts in the millions and not just a spike. Unplugged and tried again to be sure (2nd spike in the first attached pic).
In the last 15min period FEC errors = 2607933 (Down) and 454454 (Up), plus CRCs and 8 errored seconds.
It took a good 5-7 days for my connection to sync higher again, and 15 mins for it to go back down - which it did  Cry
The laptop charger is likely the culprit, as it's a 3rd-party cheap copy. It's been in use since Jan 2014 which is a little odd as my connection was good until Aug 2014 when I had an engineer out following a similar drop in speed. He reset the connection and it was fine again until Jan 2015 which is the point when I had started having ongoing problems.
IF it is just this particular charger causing the problems then I would have to guess that the laptop is being powered/charged far more often in the past few months as the battery isn't lasting.
I'll continue monitoring. I think I know someone with an official toshiba charger that I can try, which should be interesting.
jafreer
Rising Star
Posts: 832
Thanks: 49
Registered: 13-10-2012

Re: Connection woes

Good detective work there kanedaa! The problem with DLM is that it can take a long time to find out if you have removed the culprit. DLM can be slow to make changes after improvements have been made.
One thing is for sure, if that power supply was causing that many errors, it will definitely help your connection by not using it.
I have a feeling that might solve your issue, but you can never tell if there is more than one issue. You are off to a good start though.
Keep the modem connected, don't power cycle or disconnect it, let DLM do its thing (whatever that thing is), and you will soon know if the problem is solved.
I would still keep an eye on the error count just to see if it remains much lower now.
kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Re: Connection woes

Yep, I'm leaving DSL Stats running for now as it's very useful.
Quicker than I expected, the modem re-synced again overnight and is now at a full 80/20 (79999/20000).
IP Profile down slightly at 60.05 but that will hopefully increase after a few days stability.
At full 80/20 sync I'm seeing much the same behaviour in terms of downstream FEC errors - small spikes when certain appliances are used. The upstream seems to be less stable at full sync, with small (<4) CRC spikes and the odd ES. Not sure how that will play out but for now I'm just leaving as is.
Bald_Eagle1
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 24-06-2011

Re: Connection woes

Your QLN graphs do show a significant improvement in 'noise' levels.

Do note though, that QLN & Hlog data is only acquired/updated when a connection trains up from cold (modem powered on or rebooted) or from a resync.

The Bits with SNR HIgh Res graphs will show snapshot in time differences in Bitloading/SNR levels regardless of a resync or not.
Also, the Ongoing stats graphs from HG612 Modem Stats would paint a picture of how things change over long periods of time (see attached from my connection - G.INP was activated via the Huawei cabinet DSLAM 23rd March).

You are indeed connected to an ECI DSLAM, so G.INP isn't yet relevant, other than to possibly have a default (workaround) Interleaving & delay setting applied.

It might be interesting to see your graphs since the latest resync when full sync speeds were restored.
FWIW, you can force a BT IP Profile update by disconnecting/reconnecting the ROUTER (not the modem).
Doing it this way will not cause DLM to think your connection is unstable as the MODEM will remain in sync.


kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Re: Connection woes

Quote from: Bald_Eagle1
Also, the Ongoing stats graphs from HG612 Modem Stats would paint a picture of how things change over long periods of time (see attached from my connection - G.INP was activated via the Huawei cabinet DSLAM 23rd March).
You are indeed connected to an ECI DSLAM, so G.INP isn't yet relevant, other than to possibly have a default (workaround) Interleaving & delay setting applied.
It might be interesting to see your graphs since the latest resync when full sync speeds were restored.
FWIW, you can force a BT IP Profile update by disconnecting/reconnecting the ROUTER (not the modem).
Doing it this way will not cause DLM to think your connection is unstable as the MODEM will remain in sync.

Thanks for the info. I'll have to set HG612 Modem Stats on my main PC as I've just been running it manually so far on a laptop (lots of trojans etc in virus tests, but I'm sure they're just false positives). I've attached a recent snapshot.
I've disconnected/reconnected the router as suggested and that's put the BT IP Profile up to 77.43. Just need to wait for Plusnet to catch up.
Bald_Eagle1
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 24-06-2011

Re: Connection woes

Quote from: kanedaa
Thanks for the info. I'll have to set HG612 Modem Stats on my main PC as I've just been running it manually so far on a laptop (lots of trojans etc in virus tests, but I'm sure they're just false positives). I've attached a recent snapshot.

They will be false positives (as far as my programs go).
It's a real P.I.T.A. that some anti-virus programs see them as trojans or whatever. I can assure you they are not.

Quote
I've disconnected/reconnected the router as suggested and that's put the BT IP Profile up to 77.43. Just need to wait for Plusnet to catch up.


The good news is that whatever was causing high noise levels seems to have gone away.
The bad news is that you are left with quite a high DS interleaving depth of 1419 & no doubt the INP & delay stats (as shown in the Plink log) will be quite high.

Apparently, some trials are due to commence, which may lead to a resolution of the G.INP issues currently being experienced by ECI equipment (DSLAMS and modems).

kanedaa
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 20-04-2015

Re: Connection woes

Thanks for the reassurance over HG612 Modem Stats. I've had it running since yesterday and will keep it going.
Looking at your graphs it seems that G.INP has been a positive addition so hopefully when they get the bugs ironed out on the hardware side it'll benefit everyone.
In other news, Plusnet's line speed for me has moved up to match BT - both are 77.43.
I also had another modem re-sync overnight which has seen interleaving turned off. There's also a small decrease in the max attainable downstream, and an even smaller decrease in the downstream sync. It's still 80/20 though so with interleaving off it's effectively back to maximum.
Speedtests are good so fingers crossed.