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Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

happyhog
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 21-11-2015

Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

I'm considering upgrading to Fibre (Unlimited Fibre Extra) but I have a few questions.
Currently I have all devices connected to an ethernet switch, connecting to the internet through a PC / ethernet ADSL modem (cheap D-Link that does a very dumb but functional PPPoE/PPPoA translation).
I'm not sure I fully understand what hardware changes are needed or supplied.
Stepping through the upgrade wizard there's an option to pay for delivery of a "router" but that doesn't seem to be required, and then later on it says that an engineer visit is required and that the engineer will install a new master socket and new fibre modem.
What is confusing is that about the optional router it says that it's a "fibre router" and that "normal" broadband routers won't work with fibre broadband. Does this mean that the router supplied is VDSL specific? If so why does the engineer need to install another (presumably VDSL) modem?
Also, there seem to be no engineer install dates for the next two weeks. Is this normal?
13 REPLIES
Andrue
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 775
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Registered: 12-01-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

The hardware requirements are the same as for ADSL - except for the modem which must of course be VDSL capable. Until this year every FTTC installation came with a BT supplied modem fitted by an engineer and it was up to the user or the ISP to source a router to handle the PPP session and provide LAN DHCP services. Now that BT are allowing engineer-free installs and withdrawing their modem FTTC is following ADSL and moving toward a combined modem/router as the configuration of choice.
In your case it sounds like you already have an arrangement where the modem and router are separate so in theory you could just replace the modem and continue as you are. In practice you might find that your existing router struggles if you are lucky enough to get a high speed connection. Some older routers just can't handle the kind of EWAN speeds that FTTC delivers.
PN can supply you with a router but you don't have to take them up on the offer. It's quite a cheap router (no surprise given that it's free).
As for timescales - two weeks is fairly typical. You might not need an engineer to attend your home (in the same way you wouldn't get one for ADSL these days) but one will be required to visit your cabinet.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,387
Thanks: 218
Fixes: 31
Registered: 13-08-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

You don't mention the performance/speed of your switch, or your requirements/devices attached to it.
For the best performance you could use your own VDSL router/modem with GB capability, there are a few options, all of which will give better performance to the PN/OR router and modem, or the new Hub mentioned on other threads. Much will depend on your technical ability/requirements.
All of the ISP supplied equipment will be "budget" devices, they will do the basics, but like everything else there are better more efficient options.
happyhog
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 21-11-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

Thank you, Andrue and Mustrum, for your helpful and informative replies.
My switch is a 16-port managed 1-gigabit switch but I haven't bothered to do any work isolating the modem and router PC onto their on VLAN because the bandwidth of ADSL is so minimal that even though packets from other devices go into the router PC as IP/ethernet and then back out as re-routed IP/PPPoE/ethernet from the router PC to the modem it's not going to affect the bandwidth at all. I think this will still be true with Fibre.
The only third party VDSL modem I've seen online is the DrayTek Vigor 130. I used to use the Vigor 120 for a long time before a capacitor failed and rendered it inoperative so the 130 would probably work for me, but it sounds like I could just connect to the BT supplied modem from my router PC.
I have one of these faceplates https://www.claritybroadband.co.uk/clxcart/BT-Openreach-ADSL-VDSL-Adaptor-Faceplate-for-NTE5-Master-... and the documentation now says that it should be VDSL compatible (VDSL wasn't a popular thing when I originally bought it), so I don't think I should need a new master socket but I'm wondering if I should let the engineer install the modem near the master socket. Currently the modem is upstairs on a ~10m extension to be close to the "server closet" but I suppose that and extension is likely to be more detrimental to VDSL than it would be to ADSL.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,387
Thanks: 218
Fixes: 31
Registered: 13-08-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

Looks like you are OK for the faceplate, but you may want to have a look [urlhttp://forum.kitz.co.uk/index.php/topic,14436.0.html]here for VDSL [/url]options.
It would make sense to take advantage of your GB LAN and connect it to a good VDSL router/modem with GB capability - possibly the cheapest option could be a second hand BT HH5, which as it happens is what I use, but only for the modem part, I have a Netgear cable router sitting behind it for the Router and wireless functions. I am looking, but have not yet decided on which device will replace both devices, the Draytec 2860 or Netgear D700, or the newer model seems to be my favourite options. Just need to sort out a budget/excuse for changing what works very well for me so far!
happyhog
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 21-11-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

So, off the back of this conversation, I've ordered my fibre upgrade. I should be getting an engineer visit some time today.
I talked in detail to the sales advisor and chose not to have the plusnet router but confirmed that the engineer will bring a modem.
Strangely, plusnet have since then decided to send me a "plusnet hub one", so I have one of those, but nothing sensible to do with it.
So now I sit and wait...
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,387
Thanks: 218
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Registered: 13-08-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

The OR engineer will not bring a modem, they stopped doing that some time ago, so you will need to connect the Hub 1 to act as your VDSL modem at the very least.
happyhog
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 21-11-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

Are you sure about this? I was specifically told that the engineer would bring a modem and my further research suggested that I'd be safe from a "self-install" option if I was upgrading before 17th December 2015.
Another thread here seemed to indicate that the plusnet hub one doesn't really have a true modem mode so this looks like it's going to be very inconvenient if I don't get a dedicated modem installed.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

Depends on which install option Plusnet have specified, I believe the 'basic install' option still includes the BT engineer supplying a modem.
happyhog
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 21-11-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

Very, very irritated. I agreed to change phone suppliers at the same time as ordering the upgrade to fibre and the sales advisor organised them for the same day.
The fibre upgrade was then rejected because of a conflicting order on the same line.
Had I known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have moved phone suppliers and stuck with the slightly more expensive fibre cost - at least for a while.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,387
Thanks: 218
Fixes: 31
Registered: 13-08-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

That is very annoying, hopefully they will get it sorted very soon.
happyhog
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 21-11-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

I have a new date, Friday week, but now I'm definitely self-install. After about 1h15m on the phone I did get through to someone very helpful and apologetic. So apologetic, I didn't even have to tell him how annoyed I was.
fronty
Dabbler
Posts: 13
Registered: 21-10-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

As others have suggested, do not expect the OR engineer to supply a modem, regardless of what Plusnet have told you. You may be able to wangle one out of the engineer if he has any in the van, but be prepared to use your Plusnet supplied hub if he refuses or simply doesn't have one to give you.
happyhog
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 21-11-2015

Re: Upgrading from plusnet ADSL to Fibre

Finally, after nothing happened on Friday (apparently I was given the wrong date), I've been switched to VDSL. Upstream rates are hugely improved (~13Mbps) although downstream rates remain about the same as before (perhaps a tiny bit better) ~6Mbps.
I'm told that things may not be finished until the evening, so I'm holding out some hope that things may improve then. The modem is syncing at ~40Mbps so it shouldn't be a line quality issue.
Interestingly, upstream rates improved a bit this morning even while still on ADSL.