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uk.telecom.broadband (UK broadband) (uk.telecom.broadband) Discussion of broadband services, technology and equipment as provided in the UK. Discussions of specific services based on ADSL, cable modems or other broadband technology are also on-topic. Advertising is not allowed.

Why is ADSL so finicky?



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 6th 06, 10:12 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Nicholas Thomas
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 42
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?

David M wrote:
Sorry, this is just a letting-off-steam grumble..


Why is ADSL so finicky?

For the past few months my broadband connection, which was previously
rock-solid, has been somewhat temperamental. It started off that
occasionally the router would lose sync, and take a little while to come
back up, before continuing merrily. I could live with that.

Then it happened that the router would lose sync, and would only come
back up again after having been physically powered-off for a few minutes.

So, as recommended, I tried using the master test socket, sometimes with
a little improvement, sometimes not. My ISP has said that line tests
revealed nothing wrong with my line. So I bought another router (prices
fortunately having dropped further in the meantime), and it was happy
for a couple of months.

But now I'm in the situation where my new router has not only started to
suffer the same problems as the first, but has recently almost completely
given up the ability to achieve sync in the first place (although, just
occasionally, it surprises itself into activity ..for a short period).
The old router has been dug up, and usually manages to sync quickly, but
again flails around if (*when*) it loses sync. To make things worse,
this old router has developed a habit of hissing relatively noisily,
making it unsuitable for leaving on overnight. And finally, it's now
come to the stage where the router can only keep sync for about 6 - 8
minutes at a time, before, again, having to power-off (in this case,
yanking the power line out - just how much would it have cost them to
add an on/off switch sigh?) for a few minutes before starting again.

Both routers use slightly different versions of the Conexant firmware
which I suspect is familiar to many of us (the new router seems to have
the latest firmware available for it). Is this generally a reliable
setup, or are some ADSL router-modems somewhat better than others?
(Or are they pretty much just all near-identical equally-crap commodity
items, all based on the the same chipset?)

The other possibility, of course, is that there may be something less
than ideal with the installed (when built [1]) telephone wiring within
my flat, although telephone service works just fine on both the main
socket and pre-wired extension. But as I said, using the master test
socket only seems to make a difference occasionally, which may just be
pure luck.

As you can imagine, I'm starting to find ADSL's finickiness as to when
it will and will not work rather exasperating.. :-(


[1] In the case of modern flats with pre-installed telephone wiring, do
BT install all of the wiring in the flat, or just to the master socket,
leaving any extensions to the (possibly less-professional?) builders?



Would asking my ISP to screw my line back down to 1Mb or 0.5Mb (if it is
possible to do such things now) be likely to make any difference?

What about Telewest cable? Obviously you're then stuck with a single
supplier, but is cable broadband any more reliable/less finicky than
ADSL? (And can you still use dial-thru call services with a Telewest
line?)


If your ADSL is disconnecting every few minutes, and you've eliminated
your internal wiring & set-up, then your ISP really, really should
accept a fault to get the line tested. It could be all sorts of things -
I was in a similar situation recently and when the BT engineer came
out, it transpired that there were some joint boxes that had gotten
water in & been quietly corroding the copper away... not ideal if you're
running MaxDSL .

Which ISP are you with?

Of course, since you've used two routers with the same chipset, it could
just be that they've developed the same fault. Conexants are notoriously
cheap and nasty; although some people swear by them, I've had several
fail on me in quick succession. Other popular chipsets are TI (routers
like ZyXEL, MicraDigital), Sangoma, and I think Broadcom do one as well.
Definitely a difference between them.

If you can get details of SNR/Margin, attenuation, sync speeds, etcetera
from your Conexant (generally they're pretty good for reporting this
sort of thing), and an idea of the variance of them (SNR especially),
then that can give you ammo when you're speaking to your ISP about faults.

Switching down to a lower speed might help if it's a line problem; then
again, it might not. Best looked at as something to try if all else
fails (personally, I'd try MaxDSL before that, but I like my speed. If
worst comes to worst, you can always get Zen's 288-synching DSL).

IIRC, typically for new builds the builders install the internal wiring,
and present it to BT who connect it to their network. But don't quote me
on that .

ADSL is a more complex technology than cable, and it works over a
network that wasn't really designed for high data transmissions, so
there are all sorts of things that can go wrong. Most of them can be
fixed, the majority of the time... the hard part is working out what's
wrong, and getting your ISP to listen (if their tech support happens to
be really cr*p)...

xF,

....Nick
  #2  
Old June 7th 06, 08:16 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 529
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?


On 7-Jun-2006, David M wrote:

Ah. Do BT check the workmanship of what they're presented with, or do
they just take it regardless? Can't help but think this is a recipe for
problems if the internal wiring has been a bit of a 'bodged job'.. :-(


AFAIK BT does not check what they are presented with, a source
of problems with new multi-occupancy builds, such as hotels,
hospitals etc. Of course BT will quote to do the installation and
provide the PBX, phones, wiring, maintenance contract, but at
a price that generally makes them uncompetative.
One thing that the cowboys get wrong is that there is an A and
a B wire, and when you go round with your EagleHawk pocket
tester, half the sockets are wired arse about polarity.
Then there is the split pair problem, less common nowdays
with tighter twist pitch and better colour coding. Here one
wire of a pair is paired with one wire from a different pair, and
visa versa.
Leaving the common remaining problem, wires not properly
punched down into the Krone IDC strips, giving a bad or
intermittent connection. The cowboys tend to buy a bag
of platic punch down tools and hand them arround to temporary,
couldn't care less, installers, who are only there for the contract.
But the bean counters like them, they are the cheapest quote.
  #3  
Old June 7th 06, 08:58 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Nicholas Thomas
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 42
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?

David M wrote:
Nicholas Thomas wrote in uk.telecom.broadband
about: Why is ADSL so finicky?

If your ADSL is disconnecting every few minutes, and you've eliminated
your internal wiring & set-up, then your ISP really, really should
accept a fault to get the line tested.


I'll check the master socket again to see if that makes a difference,
before trying to report a fault again, but as you can imagine I'm not keen
on dragging ethernet cable all around the house every so often.. :-(


Which ISP are you with?


IDNet, who generally seem quite helpful when it comes to support.


Of course, since you've used two routers with the same chipset, it could
just be that they've developed the same fault. Conexants are notoriously
cheap and nasty; although some people swear by them,


..whereas others swear at them? ;-(

That was rather a worry at the back of my mind.

Other popular chipsets are TI (routers
like ZyXEL, MicraDigital), Sangoma, and I think Broadcom do one as well.
Definitely a difference between them.


I'll bear these in mind, if I do need to replace my router.

If you can get details of SNR/Margin, attenuation, sync speeds, etcetera
from your Conexant (generally they're pretty good for reporting this
sort of thing), and an idea of the variance of them (SNR especially),
then that can give you ammo when you're speaking to your ISP about faults.


Typical figures from the last time the line was up:

Down Up
SNR Margin 36.1 30.0 dB
Line Attenuation 9.1 8.5 dB

Data Rate 2272 288 kbit/s

All seemed constant, apart from downstream SNR, which generally was
around 30 - 36, but perhaps 1 in 8 seconds would drop to 24 - 28 briefly
before rising again. Just before it died, it claimed to suddenly drop
to -9 (?!) with absolutely no warning and then lost sync entirely.


IIRC, typically for new builds the builders install the internal wiring,
and present it to BT who connect it to their network. But don't quote me
on that .


Ah. Do BT check the workmanship of what they're presented with, or do
they just take it regardless? Can't help but think this is a recipe for
problems if the internal wiring has been a bit of a 'bodged job'.. :-(


ADSL is a more complex technology than cable, and it works over a
network that wasn't really designed for high data transmissions, so
there are all sorts of things that can go wrong.


This is true. It's probably a miracle that something like ADSL works at
all, over a carrier only marginally more sophisticated than wet string..
It seems not so long ago that we were amazed that it was actually
possible to squeeze 56 kbit/s out of a phone line..


Most of them can be
fixed, the majority of the time... the hard part is working out what's
wrong, and getting your ISP to listen (if their tech support happens to
be really cr*p)...


That _is_ the hard part, working out where the problem lies.. :-(

(and I don't really want to spend a small fortune on an armoury of
routers and filters to do so (yes, I have tried changing the filters a
few times as well))


Thanks for your advice (and to everybody else who replied),


David.


Hmm. Those are *very* good line stats. At first, I thought the SNR and
attenuation were switched around .

From what you've said, it's probably either a problem with the router,
or an intermittent fault of some kind, IMO (another poster has mentioned
dodgy krone connections; I suppose it's a possibility).

Would suggest, perhaps, listening to the phone as you watch the router;
see if there's any interruption in the dial tone as the router
disconnects - which would point towards a line fault... you should be
able to catch even a brief disconnect with your ears, that way. You
might also want to buy a router from some random retail outfit with
"no-quibbles" return policy - so you can take it back if you have no
luck. Or buy something really, really cheap from eBay (a speedtouch,
perhaps) and give that a whirl.

xF,

....Nick
  #4  
Old June 7th 06, 09:56 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
kraftee
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,069
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?

Nicholas Thomas wrote:
From what you've said, it's probably either a problem with the
router, or an intermittent fault of some kind, IMO (another poster
has mentioned dodgy krone connections; I suppose it's a
possibility).


Had one today, the extensions had been 'kroned' the wrong way round
into the strip on the back of the faceplate, this had opened up the
IDCs just enough to produce a HR, causing the phones to hiss & the
ADSL to intermitently drop synch.

What do you mean there isn't a right way or wrong way, there is, it's
just that a lot of people (BT engineers & electrician/networking guys
included) just go like a bull in a china shop & push them in any old
how...

Would suggest, perhaps, listening to the phone as you watch the
router; see if there's any interruption in the dial tone as the
router disconnects


I'd actually advise you to listen for any noise spikes, adsl can &
often does work only on 1 leg (to the amazement of the end user
normally). This is far more likely that a short drop of dial tone &
as long as you are doing this from the test socket in the NTE you're
once again proving a line problem...



  #5  
Old June 7th 06, 10:00 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
kraftee
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,069
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?

kráftéé wrote:
Nicholas Thomas wrote:
From what you've said, it's probably either a problem with the
router, or an intermittent fault of some kind, IMO (another poster
has mentioned dodgy krone connections; I suppose it's a
possibility).


Had one today, the extensions had been 'kroned' the wrong way round
into the strip on the back of the faceplate, this had opened up the
IDCs just enough to produce a HR, causing the phones to hiss & the
ADSL to intermitently drop synch.

What do you mean there isn't a right way or wrong way, there is,
it's just that a lot of people (BT engineers &
electrician/networking guys included) just go like a bull in a
china shop & push them in any old how...

Would suggest, perhaps, listening to the phone as you watch the
router; see if there's any interruption in the dial tone as the
router disconnects


I'd actually advise you to listen for any noise spikes, adsl can &
often does work only on 1 leg (to the amazement of the end user
normally). This is far more likely that a short drop of dial tone &

|
should read...... than
as long as you are doing this from the test socket in the NTE you're
once again proving a line problem...


Sorry been a long hot day..



  #6  
Old June 8th 06, 05:44 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
m
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 36
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?



kráftéé wrote:



Had one today, the extensions had been 'kroned' the wrong way round
into the strip on the back of the faceplate, this had opened up the
IDCs just enough to produce a HR, causing the phones to hiss & the
ADSL to intermitently drop synch.

What do you mean there isn't a right way or wrong way, there is, it's
just that a lot of people (BT engineers & electrician/networking guys
included) just go like a bull in a china shop & push them in any old
how...

Hi K

Guess you are 'in the trade'

From what I remember the 'B' leg is the one with (negative with respect
to earth) 48v on it (B for battery?)

It's labelled on an NTE incoming line terminals (but we cant see that
can we?)

I admit I always have to think several times as I was brought up in the
BBC where pair 1 is wired Aleg - Blue, Bleg - White, pair 2 A - Orange,
B - white etc etc and so I aalways getting phone wiring wrong as BT did
it the other way round so it is now A - White with blue stripe and B -
Blue with (sometimes) white stripe.

Bring back Blue/Brown/Green/Orange

White/Red/Black/Yellow/Violet as tracers and Slate (as opposed to
grey)is burned in the memory!!

Bet very few know how to wire/solder 100pair blocks nowadays either.

Mike


  #7  
Old June 8th 06, 08:40 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
kraftee
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,069
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?

m wrote:
kráftéé wrote:



Had one today, the extensions had been 'kroned' the wrong way round
into the strip on the back of the faceplate, this had opened up the
IDCs just enough to produce a HR, causing the phones to hiss & the
ADSL to intermitently drop synch.

What do you mean there isn't a right way or wrong way, there is,
it's just that a lot of people (BT engineers &
electrician/networking guys included) just go like a bull in a
china shop & push them in any old how...

Hi K

Guess you are 'in the trade'

From what I remember the 'B' leg is the one with (negative with
respect to earth) 48v on it (B for battery?)

It's labelled on an NTE incoming line terminals (but we cant see
that can we?)

I admit I always have to think several times as I was brought up in
the BBC where pair 1 is wired Aleg - Blue, Bleg - White, pair 2 A -
Orange, B - white etc etc and so I aalways getting phone wiring
wrong as BT did it the other way round so it is now A - White with
blue stripe and B - Blue with (sometimes) white stripe.

Bring back Blue/Brown/Green/Orange

White/Red/Black/Yellow/Violet as tracers and Slate (as opposed to
grey)is burned in the memory!!

Bet very few know how to wire/solder 100pair blocks nowadays either.


To true most get confused after the first ten pairs, but that's the
standard to which they are trained, if they want to go any further
they have to dig it out for themselves..


  #8  
Old June 8th 06, 10:15 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
m
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 36
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?



kráftéé wrote:



To true most get confused after the first ten pairs, but that's the
standard to which they are trained, if they want to go any further
they have to dig it out for themselves..


I was out helping a friend to get his line sorted the other day -
usual problem of ADSL working cos it jumps across dry/dis joints
and went to the cabinet with the BT 'lad'
We got chatting and it was ME who was teaching him about 'split pairs'
and problems with aluminium cable etc etc.
Poor lad was very willing but one can't beat experience.

As to pairs, with tone testers etc they seem to connect any old pair
that (maybe) works and no sense of 'through connection' pair by pair

Mike

  #9  
Old June 9th 06, 12:40 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
kraftee
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,069
Default Why is ADSL so finicky?

m wrote:
kráftéé wrote:



To true most get confused after the first ten pairs, but that's the
standard to which they are trained, if they want to go any further
they have to dig it out for themselves..


I was out helping a friend to get his line sorted the other day -
usual problem of ADSL working cos it jumps across dry/dis joints
and went to the cabinet with the BT 'lad'
We got chatting and it was ME who was teaching him about 'split
pairs' and problems with aluminium cable etc etc.
Poor lad was very willing but one can't beat experience.

As to pairs, with tone testers etc they seem to connect any old pair
that (maybe) works and no sense of 'through connection' pair by pair

Mike


Exactly, BT is supposed to be employing a large number of engineers
this year (& indeed have started) but with the very limited training
they receive, about the actual network, I tend to think that it'll be
years before the network recovers. Some of them are being let loose
without even being taught how to jumper in any pcp, no matter whether
it's shelf, PC100, krone, 3M etc. Some one up in BT towers obviousely
thinks that just getting people in vans driving around the area is
good for business...

Oh I forgot......NewsFlash

Spot the Openreach van game coming to your area soon, being run in
conjunction with your local radio station (no I'm not kidding)


 




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