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FTTC installation feedback

Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

FTTC installation feedback

Finally, after putting up with months of delays to my exchange's enablement, a friendly BT Openreach engineer arrived and got me up and running with FTTC. Initial impressions are extremely favourable: my line supports the full 40Mbps/10Mbps speeds, and this is despite being 230m from the cab as the crow flies – so knowing BT, it's probably somewhat longer than that. Of course, training might however mean that that speed decreases owing to stability issues, although so far the connection's been up for 2h 45m with no problems. I've also run in to the wireless G issue – despite the fact my router (Time Capsule) supports 802.11n I've ended up using 802.11g as that's got the most stable speeds, but even then I only get ~2.7MBps so I'm not actually able to experience FTTC's full benefit from my computer!
Anyway, I've got three points of feedback that I'd like to offer about the installation process:

  • The engineer was a bit perplexed at first as to why I didn't have a BT Infinity Home Hub; he was expecting to do a full managed installation where he gets it set up on the computer, tests it, and everything… so he ended up having to make a phone call to someone and checking his laptop to figure out what he was supposed to be doing.

  • The engineer didn't seem to know what a VDSL modem was! Funny that, 'cause I'm sure he just installed one…

  • I was a bit perturbed by the fact that, as far as I could tell, there was no testing of the modem. The engineer used some gadget with a screen on it, plugged directly in to the master socket, to check the obtainable FTTC speed, but he wasn't interested in waiting for me to set up my router to talk to the modem in order to make sure that that was working fine. I did just about manage to check it before he disappeared however, but I would have felt happier if he'd actually said “right, do you want to set up your router and check everything works before I leave”.


To finish off then, the usual before/after comparison (taken from the downstairs Mac connected via ethernet):

…so that's 10× what I used to get! Very pleased indeed. Thanks Dave for keeping tabs on my exchange (Ponders End) and getting everything sorted for me.
19 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,339
Thanks: 595
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Thomas - were you on Max Premium before? If so make sure it's cancelled as you shouldn't be paying the extra any more.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Nope I wasn't, but thanks anyway – I trialled it, but it wasn't useful enough to warrant paying for. The ‘high’ upload speed you see in my previous post was simply the result of ADSL2+.
matt_2k34
Grafter
Posts: 1,300
Registered: 09-07-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Nice one Be3G
Glad to see you've finally got it sorted Smiley
Very Very nice speeds! Smiley
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Thanks Matt, I'm sure I'll be along in #usertools before long to gloat. Wink
Or then again maybe not, because I've hit upon a problem: our phone's not ringing when someone dials us. We can make outbound calls, but not receive any inbound calls.  Undecided For any staffers reading, I'm reporting the problem in the ticket that was opened about my FTTC installation (36482506).
appyclappy
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Registered: 06-09-2010

Re: FTTC installation feedback

We had that, but fortunately the engineer did a ringback test before he left, phone didn't ring so he made a quick adjustment to something (connected the ringer wire?!) and it was all sorted
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Hmm, if so that means it sounds like we'll have to make another appointment then – I was hoping it was something that could perhaps be fixed at the cab. Sad Thanks for the info appyclappy.
Anyway, the latest teething issue is that my profile at PN's end has shot down to 3500 which, strangely enough, is exactly what I was on up until about 24 hours ago. I have had a couple of disconnections today so I'm guessing they're the cause, but my IP profile at BT's end is normal – over 38000 (I can't remember the exact figure). Could someone therefore reset my profile at PN please?
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Hi Thomas,
It's always happens to you Smiley
I've fixed the profile, that's a known bug we've got with the trial as pending profile change can take several hours to process so it can come in after I've changed the profile on the account. It's back to where it should be now. You might need to disconnect/reconnect for the change to take effect. Also passed your ticket on to the phone faults team to look at.
The feedback about the engineer is quite interesting and something I'm hearing over and over. BTR are by far and away the biggest FTTC supplier in the UK (I believe we're second) so the majority of the installs they do are for them but when we place the order they know it's a Plusnet order so should know what to do. I'll pass your feedback on to BTW and others who have said the same thing.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,339
Thanks: 595
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Dave,
Are you going to issue a direction to all new trialists to check that the telephone works for outgoing and incoming calls (dial 17070 option 1) before letting the engineer leave?
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
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Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Quote from: dave
I'll pass your feedback on to BTW and others who have said the same thing.

You may pass feedback to BTw but will they pass it on to Openreach? This is an example of having a fragmented BT is not best for the end user.
itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
Thanks: 1
Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Quote from: jelv
Are you going to issue a direction to all new trialists to check that the telephone works for outgoing and incoming calls (dial 17070 option 1) before letting the engineer leave?

Is this just the case that the ring wire has been disconnected in the master socket and FTTC does not use filters at the extensions so no ring circuit is present?
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Jelv, yep, added a bit to the setup guide which you can see here:
http://www.dtomlinson.plus.com/fibre/fttc_guide_netgear.doc
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Quote from: dave
Hi Thomas,
It's always happens to you Smiley
I've fixed the profile, that's a known bug we've got with the trial as pending profile change can take several hours to process so it can come in after I've changed the profile on the account. It's back to where it should be now. You might need to disconnect/reconnect for the change to take effect. Also passed your ticket on to the phone faults team to look at.

Thanks Dave. Me and good luck seem to be diametrically opposed so inviting me on to trials will probably always prove to be… interesting. Huh I've done some further testing with the landline; it would appear to not be the ring wire problem suggested earlier as one call did successfully make our landline phone ring. (I've reported this in the ticket by the way.) Out of interest, what would have happened if I weren't a PN landline customer – would I still have had to raise a PSTN fault with the hypothetical supplier? I can't imagine them being very pleased about investigating a fault caused by a broadband installation.
Quote from: dave
Jelv, yep, added a bit to the setup guide which you can see here:
http://www.dtomlinson.plus.com/fibre/fttc_guide_netgear.doc

Just had a quick read through of that; there're a few useful bits of advice there even for people who haven't requested a PN-supplied router. Might be worth producing a cut-down version (basically steps 6 and 7) for own-router users?
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Whilst I accept that PN aren't to blame for the problem with incoming calls, I'm somewhat disappointed that a day has passed now with, as far as I'm aware, no-one even looking at my PSTN fault aside from Dave moving it to the correct pool in the early hours of the morning. PSTN is, I thought, a rather essential service so I would have expected a slightly more prompt investigation! Particularly now that, no doubt, it won't be looked at until Monday… so by the time it gets looked at it will have been the best part of four days with no incoming calls.
Edit: seems I have to eat a little bit of humble pie as the ticket was looked at this morning. Not entirely pleased that it took more than a day before the fault was raised, but it's better than the expected wait until Monday.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: FTTC installation feedback

Looks like I'm talking to myself here! Though in the spirit of the trial (finding out problems and discussing them) I'll share the most recent developments anyway…
So, despite no appointment having been made, at shortly after 4pm an Openreach fibre-trained engineer arrived – a pleasant surprise indeed on all counts. This one seemed to really be on the ball, carefully checking the new master socket, the extension cabling, and the old master socket to try to find the source of the problem. Furthermore, sensing that I knew a fair bit about what was going on, he actually shared the details with me which was good. Finding nothing at fault indoors, he surmised that it could be a problem with the tie pairs connecting the FTTC cab to the original one, which was supported by the fact that I'm the first FTTC installation on this cabinet thus making it entirely possible that there was a teething issue with the cab which needed to be ironed out.
He spent perhaps an hour at the cabinet checking things, but phoned back to say that there didn't seem to be anything at fault there either, and that he therefore felt the fault lay in the cabling/junctions between me and the cab (he referred to it as the ‘B side’), possibly including the distribution box for this block of flats; the fact it happened at the same time as the FTTC installation is, he thinks, perhaps just a coincidence, although he didn't seem too certain. I'd be surprised if it's a coincidence myself, but then again like I say he did seem to be methodical and to know exactly what he was doing so… I'm not sure really! Either way, BT are going to investigate the cabling although obviously that's going to be a pretty big job so nothing will happen now until Monday.
There were a couple of other interesting bits of information which I gleaned from him however. One is that all of the green cabinets dotted around my street aren't in fact for BT: they're Virgin and/or older brands (e.g. Cable & Wireless). So that explains why I wasn't seeing any FTTC upgrades added to them. Furthermore, he told me he'd looked at the cable plans for my area, and described to me the route the copper takes to the cab: measuring it on Google Earth, the run appears to be about 440m, which I mention as I know Dave's interested in what kind of loss is experienced with greater distance from the cab. So in my case, 440m seems to be getting me full speeds still, although with a drop every few hours at present… so perhaps when training's finished that speed will go down a bit to prevent the loss of sync.
Finally, one question. The engineer seemed to imply that the fibre between the exchange and my cab only carries the broadband, not the phone service. Is that indeed correct? I had been under the impression that the phone signals would be carried over fibre too.