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Author Topic: Could a change of gear do better?  (Read 4757 times)

Aardvark 62

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Could a change of gear do better?
« on: March 12, 2015, 12:07:15 PM »

Hi folks

Ok, Iíve read what I can, found out what I can, yet I still canít figure out an answer to my question(s).

Iíll start with what I know and what I have, from cabinet to final usage.

I have FTTC, (Plusnet) 38Mb Unlimited, testing at Ė

37.67Mbps Down and 18.20Mbps Up, (using U-Switch speed Tester).
37.79/37.68 Down, 18.82/18.71 Up and 16/16ms Ping (tested twice in succession using Ookla)
38.04/38.03 down, 13.85/15.15 up and 25.00/40.25ms ping (tested twice in succession using BT Wholesale tester)

The BT cabinet Iím connected to is an ECI M41 and is approximately 250 Mtrs away from my home, (approx street measurement).

My equipment is Ė

Modem - The Plusnet supplied BT Openreach modem Ė Echolife HG16. (running original firmware as I donít know how to upgrade it)

Router - My router is a (new) TP-Link TD-W8960 (V5) ADSL modem router - connected to the modem by cable into the WAN socket and being used as a router only -  running the latest firmware. (New because my existing one had firmware problems which could not be resolved and was kindly replaced by TP-Link under their three yr guarantee)

Usage - I have two PCís connecting via wireless (LAN cable not an option), one using a TP-Link  TL-WDN 4800 card (480Mbps dual band) the other using a TP-Link TL-WDN 3800 card (300Mbps dual band), both running latest firmware and both in use most of every day.
Various other uses, all wireless, ie. iPhone, Kindles, etc. (possibly tablet/laptop as well) but not all at once
No thick stone walls or great distances involved for the radio signal, just general around the house usage (ground and first floor + very short garden).

Now for the question(s) Ė

Would I benefit in any way at all, and if so, how ...... if I :-

1 - Kept the BT modem and changed my router for a new (and better spec) dedicated router, - or -
2 Ė Changed both the modem and router for a new (and better spec) single box dedicated VDSL (or ADSL/VDSL) modem/router.

Iíve read some great reviews for some great equipment, but I still donít know if they would benefit me or not (if I do upgrade, my budget is £150 max).

Iíve tried to give as much info as I can and I hope itís good enough for anybody to answer my questions and make any comments or suggestions which may help me finally stop wondering if Iím doing ok as I am or if things could be better/faster etc. (Iím sure this will also help others who may be wondering if their gear is up to the job).


Thanks in advance
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loonylion

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 02:03:20 PM »

I dont see that there would be any benefit in replacing the hg612 modem, you're getting pretty much the capacity of your package. Might be worth unlocking it for additional monitoring.
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burakkucat

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 02:18:33 PM »

Welcome to the Kitz forum.  :)

Having read through your initial post, I cannot see anything that is obviously a problem nor anything that could be improved. It really comes down to what you would prefer to do. As l*lion says, the Huawei HG612 modem is a perfectly competent device. So if you are happy to use a "two box" solution then just leave things as they are. (Unlocking the device, by flashing it with the latest firmware, would then allow you to monitor your circuit's status.) If you would prefer to go to a "one box" solution, then Kitz, our leader, has a list of VDSL2 modem/routers that would be worth considering.
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Ronski

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2015, 03:44:17 PM »

Your high upload speed does suggest that you would get significantly higher download speed on a full speed package,  but do you really need it?
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WWWombat

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 08:41:12 PM »

Your download speeds are the maximum you would get, because of the cap placed by the Plusnet 38Mbps package.

Your upload speeds are the maximum you would get with Plusnet, or any ISP, as they are synonymous with a 20Mbps sync - the maximum cap imposed by Openreach on any service.

Note: For Plusnet to give you the 40/20 service, they provision you on the 80/20 package, and then control download speeds through their internal traffic management system.

If you want to see what speed you are actually synchronised at (downstream), redo the BTW tests, but go through the "further diagnostics". That will then tell you an "IP profile" value - from which we can calculate the sync speed (it is 3% higher than the profile); a profile of 77.4Mbps means a sync of 80Mbps.

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Aardvark 62

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 11:13:07 AM »

Thank you guys.


It seems, from what loonylion and burakkucat say regarding my equipment, that all is well and it would not benefit me at all if I were to change either or both my modem or router.

Ronski and WWWombat both spoke about the package I am on rather than if my equipment is the best for the job. That is fine and welcome advice too. I have re-tested the BTW and found that my IP profile is 77.42, meaning that if I were to upgrade to the 80/20 package, I would actually get the full speeds offered. It is comforting to know.

My question was posed because I really wanted to know if my equipment was giving me the best performance for my Plusnet package.  Because of all the talk about how fast and efficient some of the new modems and routers are, in my ignorance I thought that maybe with higher spec equipment, connection speeds may improve and that, possibly, throughput/processing speeds might also improve. I get the impression now, from the guys who kindly replied, that even if I got the best modem and router out there, any improvement - if there was any - would not be noticeable to me.

So, thanks again loonylion, burakkucat, Ronski and WWWombat for your thoughts and advice. Your help is appreciated.

Any other thoughts, comments etc always appreciated from anyone.
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Ronski

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 12:58:33 PM »

If you are only use your network as a normal home network, for browsing,  email, sharing files etc then your unlikely to be able to get any noticeable improvement.  The only area you may be able to improve is wi-Fi performance,  but unless you're having problems it's probably not worth the cost and hassle.
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WWWombat

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2015, 05:54:08 PM »

Ronski and WWWombat both spoke about the package I am on rather than if my equipment is the best for the job.

Not exactly. I said that it was the best you could get, for the package you are on, in order to emphasise that there is little you could do with your equipment to improve things. Your equipment can easily handle the speeds of FTTC, especially while only on the 38Mbps package.

IMO, the biggest headache you are likely to find, especially if you do upgrade to a faster package, is in the way WiFi works.

The first thing to have a grip on is whether your wireless channels are congested or suffer from interference. This will help you to decide whether your should start to consider 5GHz seriously.

To optimise wifi, you need to understand the use of channels well, the choice of 20Mhz vs 40MHz bandwidth (and 80MHz bandwidth on AC routers), and the amount of power used. If 5GHz is in the mix, then the question of power is important - as cheap imported routers have a tendency to be limited by US rules, and you can find that you can't use as much power as the UK allows - and TP-Link sits amongst that definition.
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Aardvark 62

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2015, 03:15:08 PM »

Thanks again Ronski and WWWombat.

Yes, Ronski, It would seem common sense to keep things as they are. Hassle is no problem but why, as you point out, pay for something which may possibly only bring marginal improvements. Thanks for your input and advice.

Sorry WWWombat, yes, you did also mention that I was already getting the best for the package I am on. Just to answer your very good pints re WiFi. I am on band 13, most people in my vicinity seem to be on auto channel selector which puts them in bands 1,6 and 11. No one else is on band 13. 5GHz is another matter. The cards in our PC's are both dual band (see original post for models) and the TP-Link TD-W8960nis also dual band. The problem is that no matter how I try, I can't get then to work on 5GHz. The modem (which is set to Great Britain) has a bandwidth choice of20MHz or 20/40MHz, it is set to 20/40. Transmit power is set to 100%. Channel choice is 1-13 and the mode choice is 11b, b/g, b/g/n or n only, I have it set to n only. I cannot find a way of forcing 5GHz only on either the cards or the modem, so I am stuck with 2.5GHz. Obviously, given the upload and download results, that is not having any effect on my speeds but it is frustrating that having both cards and the modem capable of dual band, only one band can be had. Hey ho, such is life. Thanks again for your input and advice.

Thanks again guys, you have all been very helpful .. I'm learning all the time :-)

ps - no relation to AArdvark (animal, vegetable or mineral) who is also posting in the FTTC forum
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 03:18:14 PM by Aardvark 62 »
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loonylion

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2015, 03:23:19 PM »

channel 13 overlaps with 11, so there is potential for interference.
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burakkucat

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2015, 03:56:33 PM »

ps - no relation to AArdvark (animal, vegetable or mineral) who is also posting in the FTTC forum

Who is, if I am not mistaken, also a member here!  ;)
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ejs

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2015, 04:24:05 PM »

The TP-Link TD-W8960 is not a dual band router. It doesn't support 5GHz wireless.
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Aardvark 62

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2015, 04:54:58 PM »

Thanks loonylion, I didn't know that channels overlapped (see..still learning (wish I could find out how to put an embarrassed face in here))  ). So, if people around me are predominantly using channels 1,6 and 11, which channel should I choose? Maybe 9?

ejs - Now I really am embarrassed. I could have sworn that the 8960 was dual band, I really should have gone to Specsavers. I bought my original just under 3 years ago and when I got my new one, never bothered to check the specs to remind me what it was. Stupid me (blushing even more) sorry about that.
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ejs

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2015, 05:38:58 PM »

I usually suggest just picking one out of 1, 6 and 11 and seeing what it's like. It's not necessarily a problem to be on the same channel as other networks. It might be worth avoiding sharing with other 11g networks.

Any other networks you can detect that have a signal level of around -80 dBm or lower are probably far enough away to be of no concern.
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loonylion

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Re: Could a change of gear do better?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2015, 07:22:24 PM »

Thanks loonylion, I didn't know that channels overlapped (see..still learning (wish I could find out how to put an embarrassed face in here))  ). So, if people around me are predominantly using channels 1,6 and 11, which channel should I choose? Maybe 9?

1, 6 and 11 are the only ones that don't overlap. Just pick the one of those 3 with the fewest/weakest networks.
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