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Is it better to use a BTO modem?

danludlow
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Is it better to use a BTO modem?

I am using the built in VDSL modem of my Asus DSL-AC68U Router, this gives me information that the BTO modem doesn't, it is also thought to run that bit faster. However, is it as stable as a BTO modem which is supposedly well matched to the cabinet port?
Looking at my router log I see disconnects, the latest being, oddly, this morning at 08:16, and one presumes BTO as looking online DLM seems to be applied in the small hours?
Last evening just before midnight, I noticed an increase down of about 10%, at the same time the down SNR had reduced closer to 6.0 Db. I had hopes.
Booting my PC this morning after 8:30 showed the same "fixed" speeds of the last 10 + days, and the SNR Down at 10 Db.
If I use the BTO modem, I lose my statistics, so I'd rather not revert back to it.
18 REPLIES
kitz
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Its hard to say, because all lines perform differently.  Some may perform better with the BTO modem while others may perform better with own routers.    It can also depend on which BTO modem.
My own line performs much better with BCM chipsets.  My line performs better using a HG612 BTO modem far better than the lantiq chipset based modem/routers (ECI/TPlink) despite being on an ECI cab.  However the router I currently use performs on my line much better than any of the BTO modems.  In fact its now the only modem/router that I have which allows me to sync at the full 80/20 and  a lilbit to spare.
Sometimes you just have to suck it and see what works best for you.  Generally speaking though I am a fan of the BCM routers.
kitz
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Quote
Asus DSL-AC68U Router,

Just noticed this - is your f/w up to date.  We've seen some issues with the AC68U with regards to stability.  AFAIK it should have been resolved with the latest f/w.
danludlow
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Thanks for your replies Kitz. Food for thought. My fw is up to date thanks for asking.
dnpark38
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Interesting the talk of statistics and using different combinations of modems and routers and even combined units and comparing the use of them.
Now I'm scared stiff of the BT DLM unit as to me if anything done it knows and reduces speed, people say it can go back up over time never seen that myself.  A bit like fuel prices quick to rise very slow to come down.
How do you go about swapping a modem or router over so as not to upset BT system?
EG you might put a better unit in upset the DLM and think that unit is not better.
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/button/1476198475230638155-mini.png
kitz
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Just to re-assure, the DLM does recover.  Ive been hit by the DLM twice and recovered fairly quickly both times. 
The first time I got hit was when testing a Lantiq based router.  It caused too many errors and I got Interleaved.  I put my BCM router back on and after one full day of stability (2 days after I got DLM'd) then the DLM removed it.
The second time, I had a line fault that was generating thousands of of CRC's.  First day DLM applied Interleaving, 2nd day it capped my speed, 3rd day it applied more INP, 4th day it capped speed further.  Then the fault was fixed it took about a week to recover as each step was slowly removed each day with interleaving coming off last.
Theres also a lot of examples on my forums whereby the DLM has been removed by itself.
If you wish to avoid DLM noticing you swapping routers, then just power down your router and leave it for at least 30min before attaching the new on to your line.  Doing it this way the DLM see's it as an unforced retrain and wont count it.
danludlow
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

@kitz Hi Kitz, Two Monday's back, I noticed that I'd been more or less CRC Down free all day, something like 43 CRC's, if I remember right (up is almost invariably CRC error free, but I do see the odd one now and again). During the small hours of that night, when the router is on, but only tablets and the Sky box switched on, and connected, I woke to find 53,000!
Are these Down CRC's more inclined to be from outside (cabinet, exchange, etc.) or could my equipment generate them? (faulty router or similar).
The last time we had an OR Engineer, there were a lot of errors recorded. I was using the BT supplied modem at the time, which I have since replaced with an Asus DSL-AC68U, which wasn't cheap, but I was given to understand was more reliable and perhaps gave faster speeds. The error fault was found to be created by the port I was connected to in the street Cabinet, under load (connected to a reel of cable) it produced errors, but unloaded was quiet. That followed losing our broadband signal for an hour a few nights previously in a thunder storm.
All of this makes me doubt our connection, a nagging feeling that doesn't go away. I don't think that take-up on our street cabinet has been high, and so wonder if a true picture has emerged or been noted by BTO? Certainly, the number of visits that I've had since getting FTTC ought to have been, and I expect I'm viewed as a liability! I'm reluctant to ask for another visit to add to the 5 or so in the last 6 months, because I don't think the solution has been determined or that it will be sorted easily. I suspect street cabling is in poor condition (line resistance suggest that I'm about 35% further from the cabinet than I am), and beyond this, I wonder about the condition of the cabinet card.
I guess I'm waiting for my broadband to go wrong, all the time, instead of assuming that it will just keep working.
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

@dnpark38
Doing a "graceful" Disconnect is usually the safest way of minimising the risk of DLM thinking you've had a drop in connection. Do it in daylight hours at least and hour after sunrise and ensure you can be off for an hour and still reconnect at least an hour before sunset.
So log into your Router and go to the PPP Interface and click Disconnect to drop your session to Plusnet.  Wait about a minute and then power off the Router. After about another minute power off the Modem. Leave it off for an hour (more if you wish) but power on again well in daylight hours.
Wait until sync is established and the lights stabilise, then power on the Router. When it's booted you may need to log in and go to the PPP Interface and click Connect to establish a new PPP session.
(If you happen to be using a Router without a Disconnect/Connect button, just pull the power plug on the Router and wait a couple of minutes before powering off the Modem).
Obviously if it's a combined modem/router there's only the one power off.
I would only do it once in a day and leave it at least a couple of days before doing another.
@danludlow
CRC errors occur when interference of one sort or another corrupts the data between the Cab DSLAM and your modem.  It can affect Downstream and/or Upstream and the source could be anywhere in the local vicinity including your own premises.
As a slight aside, Openreach are making changes and implementing G.INP which is being phased in at Cabs over a period of time. So you may notice/already had a resync (usually in the early hours) and may notice a change (reduction) in CRC errors.
Edit: spelling.
danludlow
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Thanks for your reply Anotherone. I have had reconnects in the small hours a couple of times. is there any way of knowing if my Cabinet has G.INP enabled? it can be enabled on my Router modem (ASUS DSL-AC68U) but is currently set disabled. I'm considering connecting the BTO supplied modem instead of the ASUS built in modem, in case it has wrong settings since it is very adjustable, but doing so I lose the connection data and Log that I find useful on the ASUS.
Using the BTO supplied (locked) modem should ensure a standard connection, but I can't see if there was a disconnect, when, or how long since the last, and I can't see things likes SNR, (currently around 10Db UP and Down, Normally always around 6Db). I might be better not knowing, having limited understanding, imagination kicks in to fill a void!
If I had more confidence in my connection, I'd probably just forget speeds and get on with life, but slow performance really bugs me for some reason. Today, I'm connected at 30Mbs give or take at the PC which gives reasonable performance, but I'm noticing hanging pages or slow loading often helped by selecting refresh, and I'm struggling to believe that it isn't a line fault showing up. If only broadband could be reliable, but that hasn't been my experience.
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Quote from: Anotherone
Doing a "graceful" Disconnect is usually the safest way of minimising the risk of DLM thinking you've had a drop in connection. Do it in daylight hours at least and hour after sunrise and ensure you can be off for an hour and still reconnect at least and hour before sunset.
A question - since I don't know - does this still apply to fibre as the DLM reports are initiated by the Cab which presumably doesn't or may not monitor the PPP connection
thunderer
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Well I find this quite odd, because I've tried 3 differing methods.
1. Draytek 2850n modem/router: A great device, which I bought for future proofing, so when I made the move from ordinary broadband to fibre I didn't have to have loads of mains adapters & loop through cables. It's primarily aimed at work place environments & is seriously complex, with dozens of screens in the menu system and it worked beautifully until recently when I had loads of issues with serious speed drops & disconnections.
I decided to try using the TG582 & BTO modem instead to see if that improved things, it didn't.
2, BTO Modem & Technicolor TG582n: A messy combination in my opinion, it's easy to setup physically, but the setting up of the router is so slow.... It worked however it didn't improve connections or speeds, its interface is to say the least dated and whist quite friendly its not the best, so was packed up into the box when I got...
3. A Billion 8800AXL, this is a cracking little modem/router, not the most intuitive or user friendly interface in the world, but once I cracked, how to set it up, the connection has been rock steady, my dropped connections have disappeared and my line speed is slowly but surely increasing, although that could be down to the visit of the REIN team to my street. But IMO the latter is the best option, one mains adapter, one modem/router which is small/compact and will even accept 3G & LTE connections. So what's not to like?
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Quote from: Oldjim
A question - since I don't know - does this still apply to fibre as the DLM reports are initiated by the Cab which presumably doesn't or may not monitor the PPP connection

I haven't been able to find any definitive information on this, but I think the PPP connection has no bearing on DLM.
This is what I found:
Quote
Openreach guidance is that best practice is for the modem to be powered off for 30 seconds, rather than turned off and straight back on again.
– This period of 30 seconds is to allow for all residual current to die away and ensures the modem is completely powered off.
– It also provides a clear indication to the Openreach network DSLAM (street cabinet) of an effective power cycle activity.
– This guidance is being given to clarify the off time required for power cycling to be effective

Quote
The two key symptoms that indicate that DLM may need to kick in to change the line profile slightly are a change in the number of “errored seconds” during the line’s operation and the number of times the Openreach modem must retrain to maintain line sync.

To me, this indicates that the DLM is looking at the retrains between the end users modem and the DSLAM - not the PPP connection.
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Quote from: Oldjim
A question - since I don't know - does this still apply to fibre as the DLM reports are initiated by the Cab which presumably doesn't or may not monitor the PPP connection

As you & AndyH both well know, the exact manner in which DLM operates is not published in the public domain. Errored seconds and Number of Retrains are not the only factors that DLM takes into account., we do not know the extent of other factors.
My advise is based on the experience of many users before FTTC became quite as widespread as it is now and is a "precautionary" approach, and that has not changed. Fibre DLM is more aggressive than ADSL so a precautionary approach is always to be recommended. The advise is based on a few things.
First, that a "Disconnect" of the PPP session ensures that the Radius Servers disconnect the Session from the ISP and reduces the chances of a stale session being left on the system which might prevent Authentication when the user wishes to reconnect.
The DSLAM is aware of a PPP session, to say that it has "no bearing" on DLM, especially when you can't find any definitive information, is foolish. Whilst DLM may not be interested in the number of PPP session changes (Connects/Disconnects) doesn't mean it may not act differently to some events in the presence or absence of a PPP session.
Powering off the Router before the modem is again precautionary which should help avoid any potential lock ups which might subsequently require a factory reset. A factory reset of the modem could equally be seen as a dropped connection in the wrong circumstances, see the following.
I consider the Openreach "guidance" you have mentioned (noted you don't quote the document) to be sloppy at best. Whilst one might be able to get away with that on a good line with zero issues, a number of users have found to their detriment that 30 seconds was treated as a dropped connection and DLM intervened. If a line happens to have issues, and a user may well not be aware that there are issues, one more inappropriate disconnect could cause DLM intervention.
Remaining off-line for an hour or longer, is certainly not interpreted by DLM as a dropped connection. It's also believed it causes some sort of reset of one (maybe more than one) of the DLM counters.
As I said initially, it's a precautionary approach which I always adopt. DLM is very definitely not as simplistic as the previous post implies. Others may wish to give what IMHO is poor or sloppy advise, that is their choice, not mine and never will be. So I repeat what I said previously
Quote from: Anotherone
Doing a "graceful" Disconnect is usually the safest way of minimising the risk of DLM thinking you've had a drop in connection. Do it in daylight hours at least and hour after sunrise and ensure you can be off for an hour and still reconnect at least an hour before sunset.

@thunderer
You mention what you and others have found to be 2 very good devices in 1) & 3) but as you say complex and not especially easy to set up.
The whole idea of the OR Modem & the Plusnet Router is that they are virtually plug and play and easily set up by someone without technical knowledge.
@danludlow
I would hope your ASUS detailed stats would give you the information about G.INP.  I'm not familiar with the AC68U so can't advise in detail, but you say it is "set disabled" as though that's a setting you can change. One thing is for certain as you already know, you won't get that or any other detailed information from a locked OR modem. so I'd be inclined to stick with your ASUS for now at least.
Bear in mind slow page loading etc may well be down to temporary congestion somewhere, and if you normally see speeds of 30Mbps then your equipment is highly unlikely to be responsible. Also note, this forum can often suffer from slow page loading etc. an issue that a number of us just "put up with".
When was the last time you had a sync change in the early hours? OR normally implement changes roughly between 0300 and 0500. If you've had one in the last week or so, it could have been the implementation of G.INP 
If so, I'd be inclined to wait until a convenient day next week, in daytime, when your SNRM is running stable at around your mentioned 10dB, and do a "graceful" disconnect as previously described. If this ASUS G.INP is a setting you have to "enable", then when it has been off for a minute or so, unplug it from the line. Power it up disconnected from the line, change the setting and reboot it, check the setting and then power it off.  After you've been off-line for an hour, plug it in and power it up, etc.
Whilst nothing is ever guaranteed as you well know, this should give the best chance of getting the optimum from whatever DLM has currently decided is best for your line. HTH.
danludlow
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

Had some success! Thanks to all who replied, and those with suggestions, in particular @Anotherone who mentioned G.INP. I was aware of this but had no way of knowing whether it was on my cabinet. Well, it seems to be.
I went through a factory reset of my Asus router-modem, restoring all to default settings. No improvement, but G.INP is disabled by default and (apart from trial attempts that showed no improvement) its stayed disabled. As a long shot, I enabled it. The router took an age (compared to normal) to sync, and I nearly gave up, thinking I'd b*gg*red something up, but eventually it synced. It stayed synced for maybe 30 seconds, then dropped the connection, at that point I knew I'd messed up, but then it synced very quickly.
A look at the log showed that interleaving had been switched off. The speed is still capped, but the graph on the Ookla Speedtest is a flat bar (smooth). Speed at the PC has gained about 1 Mbps through better connection, and the BTW speed tester is showing a green bar right up to its indicated maximum speed. So far, no CRC errors at all. I'm hoping that speed will start to rise when DLM feels confident, which might be in the small hours tonight, with a bit of luck.
Whatever, I feel that I'm on a winner, a great feeling, after frustrating times seeing no improvement.
An own goal perhaps? Anyway all's well that ends reasonably, I think.
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Re: Is it better to use a BTO modem?

@ Anotherone - All the information I quoted came from Openreach for customers. The first one is from a presentation to CPs about FTTC and the second one is from the FTTC Handbook for CPs.