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Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

JonesTheSteam
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Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

To cut a very long and boring story short I have been experiencing YEARS of Broadband issues and over that time I have spoken to many different people/support staff/engineers about the issue of broadband speeds between various ISPs.

I am just wondering if anybody out there has any actual real world experience of being on the exact same product (fibre broadband) and exact same infrastructure (FTTC) but after switching service provider, router or both have experienced marked differences in broadband performance, or if there should be no difference at all?

I know not all routers are created equally but for this example I am thinking more about the stock hubs provided by the ISPs like the BT Smart Hub 6 and Plusnet Hub One but happy for any tips on 3rd party routers.

I really am becoming a desperate man looking for answers so any feedback would really be appreciated.

28 REPLIES 28
DS
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

I too suffered for years with broadband issues, starting back in 2008. I say suffered as since this month it would appear that these issues could (fingers crossed) now be resolved.

 

Mine started with BT, firstly when I took their ADSL service. It would drop the connection and after many many Openreach engineers, with me complaining to high level, various works were carried out. These including a lift and shift, a tie pair mod, works on a 'roasting hot' (their words) virtual path, extensive tests to which none of this stopped the connection from randomly dropping.

BT's final 'solution' was for me to give them more money and move to FTTC, as they were very confident my issues 'would go away', so I did and it dropped even more!! After years of hassle they eventually agreed to release me from my contract.

I then went to Sky, though back to ADSL. Apart from 2 minor connection issues (they can remotely reset the SNR) we had a pretty stable connection. Their price rise kinda forced me to leave them after 2 years of service.

In then came to Plusnet, but back on to FTTC and would you believe it the drops came back!!

A very long story short (too), but aluminium cable (not copper) is my main issue, as is cable fill, crosstalk, random interference, SNR dropping from 3dB to 0.8dB and so on continued to cause the connection to drop.

I did raise a complaint direct with Openreach and Plusnet did agree to allow me to leave my contract penalty free, so I almost left. But during the last Openreach visit I asked him to check behind the capping on the telegraph pole (at the end of my drive), which is something I've been asking them to do for years, and low and behold 'blue beans' were found - these were never designed to run a BB connection, so these were cut out of the circuit and the drops appear to have stopped.

However, something I believe is important is that I'm using a BTSH6, this seems to hold the connection better and certainly connects to the Plusnet network at a far greater speed.

 

So BT's supplied routers (back then) probably didn't help - Sky's router certainly held onto the connection - Plusnets Hub One couldn't (though not used this properly since the blue beans were removed) and the BT Hub 6 seems to be the best router I've used to date (I always use the ISP supplied routers).

But the main thing is, if the connection is dropping, and you're pretty sure it's not down to you, keep pursuing it, you might just get what seems to be a reliable connection;)

(oh, and I've gone from around 18Mbps (down) and 1.8Mbps (max on the up) to around 32Mbps (down) and 5.5Mbps (up) and those figures are real world, not what the router is showing)

 

If you want my honest opinion of the Plusnet Hub One, then imho the modem part of it lets it down, as does the current software, but the software issue is not relevant to what appears to be a majority of users.

JonesTheSteam
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

Thank you very much for that comprehensive response, suddenly my issues don't seem so bad by comparison.

My frustrations began in 2014 when I first purchased Plusnet fibre. In all this time I have never been able to achieve the minimum line speeds and on many occasions fell well short. Fast forward to Christmas 2018 and a few extra data hungry devices entered the household and on Christmas day (facing a 120GB download to get my son's new console up and running I realised I was getting 12Mbps download speeds.

After a call to Plusnet I discovered my line speed had been capped to 16Mb (I wasn't informed) but when I asked I was told my line had been steadily declining over the past 12 months prior to the cap being put in place. Now I am normally like a dog with a bone over matters like this but I guess life just got in the way and I hadn't pursued it.

After the 3rd engineer visited he completely reset my connection at the exchange and I briefly hit 31Mbps in the morning but 7 hours later DLM had kicked in and I was back to 22Mbps.

Bringing things up to date after some further engineer visits I had sustained a steady 22Mbps but no more. Several Openreach engineers said I was suffering from REIN. After speaking with a former BT engineer I was told people tend to diagnose REIN only when they can't find the real problem. Seemed a little unfair but the more my problem was going away the more I was beciming a convert to that argument.

With that information at hand I tried to remove REIN out of the equation so I decided to isolate my router on a filtered UPS and the result was as predicted... still 22Mbps so no different at all.

The last engineer to visit discovered I was getting a very high number of FEC errors (I believe it was 200,000+ in 10 mins) so he connected me to a completely new "pair" in the cabinet and that reported next to no FEC errors. A few days later... I had a slight improvement in speed to around 24Mbps.

At this point I spoke to two of my neighbours (we are all connected to the same pole) who by chance were both on BT fibre with BT Smart Hubs. Neighbour No1 was getting 40Mbps, Neighbour No2 was getting over 40Mbps... I was still getting 22-24Mps with Plusnet.

I then saw a number of threads about people singing the praises of the various BT Smart Hubs, some saying how it had improved speeds over the Plusnet Hub One. I wasn't really convinced that a stock hub could improved performance over a good quality 3rd party unit (I was using an Asus DSL-AC68U initially and then swapped to the Plusnet Hub One to prove there was no difference in performance as both were getting 22-24Mbps). But I was getting desperate so I decided to take a punt on ebay and yesterday got a BT Smart Hub 6 through the post.

Then things got strange... no sooner had I configured the BTHH6... my download speeds for the first time ever hit 31Mbps!

However, my excitement was short-lived as the line would only stay up for 10 mins before dropping out but I was getting 7Mbps MORE than I have ever got from the Asus or Plusnet routers. I left the BTHH6 plgged in overnight in the hope that it would stabilise but no such luck and this morning I had to disconnect it.

Then things got very strange because after removing the BTHH6 this morning and reconnecting my Asus AC68U and I am now getting sustained download speeds without any drop-outs of 31Mbps!

So after over 5 years of issues and as pleased as I currently am I literally have no idea what has happened to suddenly raise my broadband from the grave. As much as I'd like to just walk away now and forget this whole sorry affair I know I can't as I really need to discover what has changed.

If I ever find out I will happily share.

dws1900
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

@JonesTheSteam 

 

REIN does not need to be in your house. There was a case where REIN on a property about 30m away was affecting other properties, snr raised, speeds dropped. After OR replaced the wire to the house, still there, but when they disconnected the line, no problem for other properties, snr down speeds up. Eventually it turned out to be a dodgy AC-DC power supply for the security camera.

People forget, it's not fibre its radio to the property.

DS
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

When I first read your above reply, I initially thought your issue was going to REIN and then I was almost sure it was going to be something termed cable fill, that was until

At this point I spoke to two of my neighbours (we are all connected to the same pole) who by chance were both on BT fibre with BT Smart Hubs. Neighbour No1 was getting 40Mbps, Neighbour No2 was getting over 40Mbps... I was still getting 22-24Mps with Plusnet.

Then I was thinking that could your neighbours be on another cabinet, until

Then things got strange... no sooner had I configured the BTHH6... my download speeds for the first time ever hit 31Mbps!

Now, for that to jump, although short lived, does point to what I actually believe to be a over sensitive modem in the H1.

I left the BTHH6 plgged in overnight in the hope that it would stabilise but no such luck and this morning I had to disconnect it.

Was it connected to the test point on your master socket?

Then things got very strange because after removing the BTHH6 this morning and reconnecting my Asus AC68U and I am now getting sustained download speeds without any drop-outs of 31Mbps!

As above, in the test point?

So after over 5 years of issues and as pleased as I currently am I literally have no idea what has happened to suddenly raise my broadband from the grave. As much as I'd like to just walk away now and forget this whole sorry affair I know I can't as I really need to discover what has changed.

Don't light the candles on the cake just yet, I've finished up with a lot of melted wax on my cake many times.....

 

(but the BTH6 does, imho, blow the socks off the H1)

JonesTheSteam
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

There is essence of wax on the cake this morning as I have lost a few Mbs overnight (now averaging 28-29Mbps) but still my best sustained speed so far.

Just to fill in a few blanks, my Asus router (and all its pals I have tried along the way) is currently connected directly into the BT master socket 5C which was one of the many things changed along the journey. I should also say I am 750m away from the cabinet but that said, so are my neighbours. Every engineer that ran a test essentially got 32-35mbps at that socket but plug in a router and it immediately hit 22-24Mbps. Unless every RJ11 cable I have ever owned was possessed I am not sure what is going on there either.

The BTHH6 is clearly leaps and bounds better than the Plusnet Hub but despite not being the whole answer for me I am still wholly confused by its apparent broadband life giving powers.

Plusnet have said I could leave without charge to go to another service provider but where my property is I only have the option to go with another provider who again will supply the service over the exact same infrastructure so I am kind of snookered. The only benefit I see is if I went with BT is the potential compensation I would get should they not be able to provide me with another "magic" router.

This is kind of why I asked the original question as even though I am sure other ISPs shouldn't really be capped in any way, shape or form, after the miracle of the BTHH6 I was wondering if BT somehow keep a little in reserve for their own service over others.

Wouldn't put it past BT of old but perhaps I have just watched too many X-Files on TV... now where did I put my tinfoil hat?

DS
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

Yes no two cabinets are the same, but I'm roughly 780 metres from my cabinet (not the nearest though!), with nigh on all of it aluminium and after all the works done (pretty well much the same as you, give or take) I'm getting (as per the hub6) 37.49Mps (sync).

 

But as you're only getting 22Mbps at the router, my gut is saying Plusnets system could well have put you on a banded connection, which by the sounds of it is set circa 22Mbps. This needs ruling out imho. But that's on Plusnet to check and verify.

 

Should it be the case your connection is banded, then you're not the first user I've read about in the last few days....... <grabs my tin foil hat>

 

JonesTheSteam
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

Thanks for all the responses on this issue.

I think I may have started celebrating too soon as it looks like my download speeds are once again heading South. I will test them over a period but it looks like it is now 28Mbps.

Over the course of the investigation I have to say all the obvious potential issues were investigated so we have inevitably  started to take a path down the road to the ridiculous.

Master socket face plate replaced very early on.
The last engineer in wondered if I was perhaps on aluminium but confirmed I was in fact on copper.
My line was switched onto new pairs first at the pole and at then secondly at the cabinet.
The previous owner of the house didn't have a phone so the physical phone was installed new 10 years ago. Obviously it could still be at fault but seems unlikely.

As if to mock me further I am led to believe that the centre line of my road is the demarcation line between my exchange and across the road is one of BT's 5 "Gold Exchanges" as I believe one of the engineers called them which gets all the brand new tech. They currently have FTTP while I have been stuck on 22Mbps.

My Asus router which lots of people appear to have a lot of love for out there was reporting line stability issues at various random times now seems to have settled down too which might go some way to explaining my recent speed boost.

I have attached my DSL log which somebody much smarter than I may be able to check and advise if that looks normal as it's all gobbledygook to me.

DS
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

Not 'up' on Asus stuff but something isn't adding upHuh

It's reporting a max of 41296kbps (down) and 7553kbps (up), with a current rate of 32156kbps (down) and 7564kbps (up).

So the upload is greater than the max.

But I'd also expect to see the current down to be higher than it currently is. Something worrying (unless others rule it out) is the REIN and SHINE

 

Read about that here - https://kitz.co.uk/adsl/rein.htm

(My connection was at one point deemed to be suffering with both, but this doesn't appear to be the case now and nothing was done to rectify it)

 

 

dws1900
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

@JonesTheSteam 

I have looked in the manual for your ASUS router modem, and suggest you turn off the QOS (page 29) and reboot.

Asus router/modems are very limited regarding advance / diagnostic options., so if you can use one that provides more diagnostics that may assist in determining if there is an issue, but ensure and sensitive info (ssid, passwords, username etc) is removed if you publish the results anywhere.

Ensure if possible, QOS and any hardware acceleration is disabled during your testing.

What cable are you using from the Master Socket to the router modem? (ie a supplied one or an extension from another source)?

 

 

JonesTheSteam
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

I must confess I did not even realise I had QoS turned on, but it is now off.

I will run some speed tests to see if that has any positive effects.

As for my various interconnects, I was using a standard cable for quite some time to connect the router to the master socket but as a part I could change in hope of any improvement I swapped that out for a "premium" shielded cable that all Amazon reviews told me would completely transform my broadband... but unfortunately... it didn't.

I also swapped all my network cables from the in-box offerings that came with various pieces of equipment to CAT6e cabling. The vast majority of my cabling was CAT6e anyway but after the suggestion of REIN I removed any lower quality network cabling from every device I could.

Plusnet have informed me in the past few days that my line is still experiencing some drop-outs (not that I was aware) and I will be getting another visit from an engineer this coming Tuesday. If by any chance my line does stabilise I will also check with Plusnet if there are any imposed restrictions that may have crept back onto my line (as has happened in the past) that may have been put in place again due to these issues. 

dws1900
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

@JonesTheSteam 

 

Re cables, here is a post I made in another thread.

1633685

 

Tracking these faults down is frustrating, and you need to rule out any internal issues which can include

Internal wiring

Bell wire

Router/Modem configuration

Filters

Master Box.

REIN

 

External issues can include

Congestion (I had that, though it was not admitted by PN, but used to start around 18:00 and end around 00:00, strange that that is the time when people come home, kids play games and watch TV over the internet. After midnight I downloaded a 50G file over six hours no problems flat-out at 22Mbs typically. After serious whinging the problem magically went away and is more consistent in the evenings with the quiet times, ie 00:00 - 06:00)

Bad wiring/joints

Wet boxes

Trees touching cables

Effects of high power radio transmissions, especially if you have overhead lines.

REIN

 

Have you got PN to provide a GEA test, if so can you publish it?

This site informs you about your line

https://www.dslchecker.bt.com

and includes a date at the bottom when BT checked it.

Remove your phone number when publishing (note if you have a third party phone number, ie SKY, it wont work)

 

 

RealAleMadrid
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

@JonesTheSteam  My advice would be to get rid of the Asus DSL AC68U, it is a decent router with good WiFi but the VDSL modem is probably the worst ever and is notorious for causing problems on FTTC services.

The modem circuit has a MediaTek chipset which has a very bad reputation, there are rumours that it may be one of the reasons why G.INP has never been successfully deployed on ECI FTTC equipment.

If you do a bit of searching you will find posts on this forum and others (e.g.Kitz) which confirm the problems with the modem on this device. A lot of users have run it as a Router only with a separate modem such as the Openreach Huawei HG612 3B which works well.

If you want a combined modem/router the BT HH6 is pretty good for an ISP supplied device and has the preferred Broadcom modem chipset. So I suggest you put the BT HH6 back on and ask PlusNet to do a DLM reset and see how things go.Smiley

RandallFlagg
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

 

Hi @JonesTheSteam

 

Thanks for getting in touch.

 

There are a number of connection drops against your line and your router is currently showing in sync with a download speed of 0mb/s - if changing the router over doesn't resolve this, raise a fault here and we'll ask our suppliers to take a look for you.

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

JonesTheSteam
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Re: Leading question about Fibre Broadband speeds... BT vs Plusnet

I have read on the forums of question marks over the modem in the AC68U so a friend is supplying me with a Billion VDSL router which I believe is a bit more highly regarded, internal modem wise... only time will tell.

The latest blizzard issue with my broadband is just as my downloads hit a steady high of 30Mbps I was once again contacted by Plusnet to ask me what my current download speeds are as from their end my download speeds were reporting as being 0Mbps.

When the last Openreach engineer arrived he also expressed his confusion that the test he ran before he arrived at my property also reported that my broadband was reporting a download speed of 0Mbps.

The upshot is... Openreach engineer number 6 is now due next Tuesday.

Also everybody from Plusnet to Openreach still seem to be completely baffled as to why the BTHH6 gave me that completely unexpected boost.