Print Story Attention Broadband-connected Infidels
Help!
By Cloaked User (Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 03:35:15 AM EST) (all tags)
A question for you inside, plus the usual stuff and probably some nonsense.


So, I'm having occasional problems with my ADSL connection. According to BT, lines in my postcode should be good up to about 6.5Mbps. However, the best the router has ever claimed to be connected at is a paltry 3Mbps (currently 2.5). Also, the connection itself tends to be dodgy - sometimes it'll happily last for a couple of weeks or more, sometimes it'll be up and down every few days or even hours. Sometimes being on the phone will kill it, sometimes that has no effect (yes, I have a microfilter in place).

Update [2007-4-3 10:1:32 by Cloaked User]: For the technically-minded, the router is currently reporting the following connection statistics:
                         Downstream      Upstream       
Line Attenuation         54.0 db         31.5 db
Noise Margin             15.8 db         14.0 db
Make of that what you will... (Update ends)

So, I'm going to sort out the wiring inside my house (which looks dodgy, although I have no proof that it actually is), before getting on to either my ISP or BT (or both), but I'm keeping my options open. To that end, I note that I am in a NTLVirgin cabled street, so the question is, do any of you have any experience of cable broadband? Any useful info greatly appreciated - real-world speed vs advertised, contention ratios, download limits, reliability, customer services usefulness, etc.



In other news, operation self-improvement got off to a reasonable start last night, as I got on with some of the painting. It's going to be a long job, just priming the bannister upstairs took 2 hours, and there's still the one running along the stairs to do (about twice the length), plus at least another coat of paint on top of that. Then there are the doors and door frames, wallpapering to do, more painting... It'd be helpful to take a week off work, but I don't feel that I can spare the holiday time (due to other pressures on it, not work pressures - work can screw itself the mood I'm in right now).


Speaking of work and moods, I'm really not in the mood to be in the office right now. Getting stuff done at home feels far more pressing. Moving desks to a rather worse one yesterday isn't helping, and nor is the rumour that came up in an earlier meeting... The company may be moving out to west London soon, but rumour has it that we're going to keep an office in the centre of town for sales, as it'll be easier for clients. Well, fuck the rest of the staff as long as sales and potential customers are ok, yeah? West London isn't particularly fucking convenient for me either, can I stay in the sales office please?

I know it makes sense, but I can't shake the feeling of being treated like a second-class employee, not worth the expense of a centrally-located office.



No word yet from $girl, but then I've not seen her online at all, so she may just be busy. I'll see how the next couple of days pan out.
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Attention Broadband-connected Infidels | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Virgin media/Telewest customer for over 5 years by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 03:41:05 AM EST
Had a couple of days of downtime in that whole time. Apart from a tendency to throttle down the speed on bit torrent works mostly at specified speed. Recommend it even if it's a slightly pricey option.

 

Yeah, that's one factor against it by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:09:08 AM EST
I'm currently paying 18.99 a month for a one month contract with fixed IP address and "up to 8Mbps", hence I'd rather get that fixed than move to cable. 10Mbps is tempting if it really is 10Mbps, but that's almost double what I'm paying. Even the 4Mbps service is almost 50% more, but again if it's guaranteed, it could be worth it...


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
In theory by Herring (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:03:23 AM EST
the contention ratio is lower and it should be more dependable. I know people who've got it and had no problems. You probably wont get stuff like static IPs, license to fuck about. I suspect they do some traffic shaping - my mate doesn't get the same Bittorrent speeds I do.

Not sure about now, but when they were NTL they had the worst customer service in the world. Except maybe for Sky.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Not too worried about customer service by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:13:35 AM EST
As the only time I've ever contacted my ISP was once to get it all set up (I had some issues operating out fax machine when getting the order in...), and again when they let me know that BT had told them my line was being disconnected and to end the ADSL service. (The landline was in my ex's name, and apparently BT can't simply change the name on an account, it has to shut the account and open a new one...)

Not getting the same Bittorrent speeds I do now could only be a good thing, to be honest, they couldn't be any worse...

I have a static IP at the moment and it's very nice, but not having one wouldn't be a huge problem; the only thing I use it for is rdesktop home from work, and I can always just make a note of my IP address (or have it auto-mailed to me or something).


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
"Not too worried about customer service" by TPD (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:02:25 AM EST
Trust me if they've not improved since the NTL days, worry, worry LOTS!!!!!!!!!

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM
[ Parent ]
I amost never call customer service by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:04:35 AM EST
Of course, it's those times when you need them that you really, really need them not to be utterly shit...


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
Depends by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:10:33 AM EST
Telewest the other cable company had a pretty decent reputation for customer service and was pretty good when I very infrequently called them. Haven't had any probs with Virgin so far so haven't had to call them...

[ Parent ]
Just little things by TPD (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:25:08 AM EST
like giving them your date of house move months in advance and to finally be notified on the day you are due to move after many many times trying to get an answer that they can do you in a month (Of course the waiting time for new customers was approx a week).

Modem issues that took weeks to sort out as in get anyone to take a look what the issue was, and so much other crap you would not believe.

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM

[ Parent ]
Fair enough by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:35:33 AM EST
I'm not planning on moving any time soon, so that wouldn't be an issue for me. The modem issues, on the other hand, could be...

Still, switching to cable is a definite measure of last resort, I'd much rather get my ADSL connection fixed.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
This was some year ago by TPD (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:42:55 AM EST
so it would probably be wrong to base your decisions on an embittered ex-customer of an ex (or at least rebranded) company, anyhow! It just I can't pass a reference to NTL without at least a mini rant. That's how much the experience effected me ;).

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM
[ Parent ]
I'd blame the router, maybe. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:16:23 AM EST
That's what causes problems for me. On the other hand, it's easy for me to tell, because the lights go out when it crashes. Its own ones, that is, rather than those of the house.

That is another possibility by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:20:27 AM EST
Sometimes the router takes forever to respond, even on its management interface. However the ADSL connection has definitely been adversely affected by telephone usage - I've seen the link drop (router still responsive) while I've been on the phone a couple of times. That seems to go hand in hand with periods of relative instability.

I don't think it's the wiring in my house, although like I said visually it's dodgy as fuck (literally hanging from the entry point to the house, after we had a new front door fitted). I want to get that sorted before calling out BT, as any engineer will take one look at it and blame it straight away. Besides, it's just plain messy, and I'm sick of it too.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
My current ADSL woes by Herring (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:40:09 AM EST
I've tried two different routers and it's equally dodgy with both.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
I'm on my third by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:56:47 AM EST
The first modem, the old green Speedtouch, was fine for a few years, but in the end simply couldn't hack it. Whether that was degradation in the modem or the line quality I don't know.

The second, a Netgear, fared much better, but died (my fault) before I upgraded my connection to "8Mbps". The third, a different Netgear, is the one that's having some difficulties at the moment. Again, whether that's the lie or the modem I don't know; seeing to the wiring then moaning to my ISP is a damn sight cheaper than buying another router...


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
Sounds like by Herring (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 04:59:05 AM EST
their problem. Dodgy wiring though can be a pain to get fixed (as I am finding).

A neighbour of mine has an earlier Belkin router than mine which seems quite stable. He really out to turn on some sort of privacy though. And set a password on his router. Still, when my ADSL is playing up, it's kind of handy.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Yeah by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:03:47 AM EST
I suspect that it may require threats along the lines of switching providers to get BT to actually take it seriously. There is also just the faintest of chances that it is the wiring in my house, of course.

My ex is in a new flat; her router reports the connection as being 8Mbps. Cow.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
Internal wiring by Herring (4.00 / 1) #14 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:13:09 AM EST
What I did was disconnect everything except one socket with microfilter and plug one phone into that (until Sky started bellyaching about the boxes not being plugged into the phones). I put in a new single piece of that stupidly expensive "ADSL cable" from the filter to the router. Minimum connections, minumum stuff connected.

Doesn't help.

Zen need to persecute BT. Not sure how much influence they wield.

My router reports the connection as between 6.5 - 7.5Mb/s depending. I don't get that though. I would rather 4Mb reliably.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Wiring by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:27:02 AM EST
All I have plugged in is the router and a wireless phone, plugged in to a filter plugged in to the master socket. My router reports (currently) 2.5Mbps, but I don't get that; probably closer to half (or less). Of course, crappy wireless performance might account for some of that, but not the "phone use sometimes kills ADSL connection

My master socket, however, is literally hanging from a piece of wire that's hanging from some sort of cable splice box, that's hanging from a wire that enters through the wall by the front door. If an engineer sees that...


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
2.5MB/s? by Herring (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:34:46 AM EST
Well ...

Downstream xDSL Link Info Loop Loss 30 dB Margin 11 dB Errored Seconds 0 HEC Errors 0 Cell Count 273532655 Speed 7072 k

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
That was a little b by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 06:02:14 AM EST
[Mega|Mebi]bit, not byte - more's the pity...


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
Aye by Herring (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 06:18:08 AM EST
But, the thing is, your noise margin is better than mine, but you're getting a much lower rate. That's odd. At least I think it's odd.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Isn't my attenuation much worse though? by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 06:23:58 AM EST
Damnit, I knew I should've paid more attention in the electronics and electricity and magnetism lectures in uni...


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
Actually, yes by Herring (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 06:26:53 AM EST
and, of course, dB isn't linear so it's .... quite a bit worse.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Yeah by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 06:51:45 AM EST
dB is exponential iirc, so the 20ish difference is... upsetting.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
I've not seen her online at all by TPD (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 05:39:39 AM EST
hopefully she's not invisible$girl. Though I suspect you'd know if you made that bad an impression.

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM
$girl by DullTrev (4.00 / 1) #26 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 07:33:18 AM EST

She'll get in touch shortly, telling you she had a wonderful time, and would you like to come and meet her boyfriend.

Whatever happened to CR? I still hold a flame for you two.


--
DFJ?
Thanks man by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #29 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 09:18:44 AM EST
I knew I could count on you for support.

CR is still around, but engaged to her current bloke; we're meeting for lunch in a day or two.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
We had a similar problem by skippy (2.00 / 0) #27 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 07:49:20 AM EST
with our cable modem recently, and it was just resolved yesterday (I hope).  Worked fine for the better part of a year, and then suddenly it would start dropping the link every 5-20 minutes... or be fine for days.

Essentially, our signal had always been fairly borderline low, and we had just been lucky.  Normal downstream levels are -54 to -35 dB, ours was down at -62 and fluctuating up and down.  The modem itself was good to -60, so that's why it worked sometimes but othertimes started dropping.   As part of the modem's normal communications method, it was screaming out on the upstream.  Imagine that someone is trying to talk to you across a canyon, but you can barely hear them.  So you start yelling really loudly, hoping that they will be able to hear you... but now it's almost impossible to listen to them.

The tech replaced all the fittings from the pole all the way through, and re-ordered some of the splitters in the box at the back of the house - and managed to get it up to -52 dB.

What's the lowest possible receive level on your modem?  If you're near the borderline, that might be the problem.  Assuming they don't charge for service calls of this nature, they should come and test your signal strength at the modem, at the connection to your house, and at the pole.  Then they can figure out where the problem lies.

How old is your DSL modem? by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #28 Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 08:08:06 AM EST
Mine was several (five?) years old. It turned out that it had only borderline performance. I swapped it out for a new one and it tripled the dB's.

But my internal wiring was bad, too. I think a mouse chewed it. I had to have it restrung.
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Attention Broadband-connected Infidels | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback