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Author Topic: Kitz and Crew - You are my only hope!  (Read 11221 times)

phearfactor

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« on: April 18, 2006, 02:01:35 AM »

Hi guys/gals I have been reading various articles on the site for quite a while now but never expected to find myself being here with a problem. So although its good to finally say hello, I have a bit of a Broadband disfunction and dont know what to do, if there is anything else.

You all probably know about the imminent arrival of MaxDSL and this is what got me tinkering and ultimately is the reason I am here.

From what I have read MaxDSL will be governed mainly on your SNR and a low SNR will mean a low speed upgrade. My SNR hits off at 26, but overtime it gradually drops, to the point where about 2 hours later it is fluctuating at 16-19. Sometimes its rock steady at 24, but it never seems to hold the 26 that it almost always connects at.

I have tried posting for help in my ISPs forum to no avail and I am not sure if it is a specific line fault (or could be classed as one) or not.

I am using a dedicated face plate to get my broadband (I believe these are called NTE5) which was supplied by BT as I am using Business Broadband from Home. My Modem Router is a DSL-G604T which I believe saved J Housden's broadband (mentioned here) so therefor must be a pretty good little box.

I have tried another 1 port modem router which is a Conexant which seems to hold the connection slightly better than the D-Link but still drops 10db less than what I connect at and fluctuates around 20-23DB mainly but doesnt really seem to act much better than the D-Link. Although I have noticed on the Conexant box which was cheap and is now old that the CRC Errors can sometimes mount up into the hundreds.

I am now back on the D-Link and after trying several firmware versions the problem still persists. I have even tried removing the dedicated face plate and banging it straight into the test socket. Even then it fluctuates constantly and doesnt seem to be able to hold +20DB.

I have changed modulation types a few times in the settings of the router but whether it changed anything (or even could do) I am not sure. I have changed the all the wires involved apart from the one outside the house of course heh.

I also even inspected the wire outside my house to make sure it was not the old BT brown cable that some people say are bad. It seems to be a thick black one.

I cant seem to point the problem down to any street lighting or anything similar. Although my router is next to several computers I have moved it around the office but it still seems to do the same thing.

I hope all of this makes sense as I seem to be rambling on now lol. I sometimes also have random occassions when my ADSL light on the modem is bright-green yet their is no activity for any of the 4 linked up systems. The only way I can get it to work again is by re-booting the box/connection.

I havent checked the SNR when this as happened as I really did not think it would be the issue but I am wondering with such fluctuations how much further down it would have to go to cause a drop-out.

Do these symptons and numbers mean there could be a fault on my line or is it just due to me being so far from my local exchange? (3.14 km/1.95 miles)

Here are the line stats as of now:

Item Downstream Upstream Unit

SNR Margin 24 25 dB
Line Attenuation 52 30 dB
Data Rate 1152 288 kbps

I have used a guessimator for the MaxDSL and notice the difference from my lowest noted 16db SNR and the highest of 26db means I am either going to get 7MB/s or 1.5Mbs. If the speed differential did not vary so widely I probably would not bother, but 6MB/s is more than enough to get me biting my nails.

Thanks for reading, I hope you can help!
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mr_chris

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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 02:01:02 PM »

Hi there, and welcome to the forum :)

I'm going to leave the issue of the router locking up for now, as this is probably unrelated, and try and concentrate on your line quality.

Forgive me for trying the simple stuff but:
~ Make sure everything is filtered properly (sky boxes, fax machines, telephones, alarm devices, etc)
~ Try swapping the filters around / changing them for spares if you have any, and see if that helps.

It sounds like you have interference on your phone line from somewhere. What the interference is from, is hard to say.


A SNR of 26dB is very good for your attenuation given that you're on 1Mb (the higher the speed, the lower the SNR becomes, due to cramming more data onto the line). SNR can go as low as 2-3dB and maintain a connection, if the rest of your line is fairly stable. Other people have problems if it goes down below 6-7dB if the line is longer or is susceptible to interference. It's hard to say, but generally a SNR of 6 or above is considered to give a reasonably stable service.

Apart from what you said (the SNR drops after a couple of hours) are there any other patterns to it? I.e. do you always try at the same time of day? Does it ever go back up again without a re-sync?

As for your CRC errors, over what period of time do they accumulate? 100's of errors that gradually increase over a few days is nothing really to worry about. However if you get short bursts of errors where they grow by a large number over a matter of seconds or minutes, this would probably indicate either a fault with the line, or interference coming from somewhere.

Do these errors coincide with your central heating / fridge / freezer switching on/off or anything like that?


Unfortunately, I'm pretty certain that BT won't class this as a fault.

I would have said to use a filtered faceplate but since you already are doing, there's not much point. Unless the filter on the faceplate has deteriorated somehow, over time. If you have an adapter or a microfilter handy (or even an old 56k modem lead), you could take off the NTE5 front panel and try plugging into the test socket behind it, to see if that makes any difference (just unscrew the front panel and you'll see a BT socket there). If that makes things all better, a new faceplate is probably in order.


There is another thing that may help, but I'm really not sure of its degree of effectiveness when combined with a filtered faceplate. It may not even help at all - I don't know, merely offering a suggestion.

Phil T has posted up a tutorial about disconnecting your ring wire. This effectively prevents this wire (which is useless if you have ADSL anyway) from acting as a large radio aerial and picking up all sorts of interference from around your house. His tutorial is here if you fancy having a go, and his next blog entry shows two frequency graphs - one with the ring wire connected and the other with it disconnected.

My own line has a nasty habit of showing 25+dB SNR sometimes, yet it can go down as low as 14dB at other times. I haven't quite worked out the rhyme or reason for it, because up to now I haven't really needed to. Like you though, I'm getting a bit more anxious about it as MaxDSL looms!

I am going to try the ringwire trick myself later on today to see if it makes any difference. I don't have a filtered faceplate though, so I'm expecting to get slightly better results.

As regards your router locking up, this could be down to it's DNS cache getting full. If you use your ISP's DNS server instead of your router, this can help alleviate some of the load on the router, and stop it locking up. I've seen this with a D-Link router before, in fact a lot of routers suffer from this problem. At the bottom of this page it shows you where to set your DNS settings on the PC, if you're not sure.

Hope this post gives you some food for thought, please let us know if you get any joy, or even if not, and we can try and take it from there :)
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Chris

phearfactor

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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 08:06:33 PM »

Wow thanks for that, covers alot of stuff.

I did mess about with the ring wire. But I noticed I have more than 1 phone linking up at the back of the NTE faceplate. So I disconnected them all apart from the main line telephone. It is a bit early to say its fixed the issue but since then I have been on and stable 23dB.

It still connects at 26 and drops but I havent seen it go under 20dB yet so thats a good sign, and when it does drop - it seems to now go back up on its own without me having to force reboot the resync. Hehe

But the NTE5 ethernet extensions that then leads to the ADSL socket does go near the fridge/freezer but pretty much winds its way into the office room without too much trouble from large electrical devices.

I did try from the test socket the other day and it seemed to be just the same (all the extension phones were hooked up though, although I dont know if this could make a difference when I wasnt using the NTE port).

The CRC errors was with an an old Conexant type modem, I was just using it to test that the Dlink was not broken/faulty.

Also I have always used DNS to connect upto, mainly because the auto DNS from my ISP are dodgy ones lol

I will keep watching it but it also seems to have go much more relaxed since the holidays are now over. Maybe it was just traffic related as my exchange is not that big, but it isnt showing any problems.

Thanks for the help, I will keep a lookout for the fridge coming on or anything similar when the line drops dB.
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phearfactor

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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2006, 03:00:10 PM »

I have a feeling it is somehow related to my ISP (Plusnet). The Plusnet portal (forums, emails etc) all slow down dramatically and if I check my SNR when this happens its start to plummet down to around 17dB, if I wait the portal will speed up and my dB will become more steady around 20.

If I go into the router and tell it to reconnect it usually reconnects at around 20dB whether the Portal is still slow or not. The only way I can get it to above 20dB is by rebooting the router which seems to make the Plusnet Portal fast again and give me a steady dB rating of 24.

Now what I dont understand is that it is only the Plusnet Portal that is effected. Any other website such as google loads absolutely fine whether my dB is 26 or 16. The way my dB drops when the PN Portal becomes congested is really concerning me as I dont know how to prove that the two are related or if they could even be related.

I have also noticed that different gateways that I connect on give very different SNR. They are called Juniper, the ones I usually connect on are 1/2/3 and 2 usually gives me a starting dB of 26 where the other two either hook up at 21-23dB and stay steady. Juniper 2 usually drops down to 23dB the same as the others but sometimes I can connect on and off to the different gateways and get huge differences.

But I dont really understand this as I thought the SNR value was between my router and the exchange, surely what gateway/plusnet/etc should not in anyway govern my dB rating. So whats going on?

Can anyone make sense of this.

Thanks again.
-Rob
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kitz

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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2006, 08:52:55 PM »

Hiyas..

SNR Margin is between your home and the exchange.
Im not aware of how in any shape or form it cant be affected by which gateway you connect to or which site you visit... or even which ISP, so this is probably just down to co-incidence Im afraid.

However.... the PN portal has been running slow over the past few days and theres a service status message about it.
http://usertools.plus.net/status/archive/1145438116.htm

My SNR remains fairly static even between router swaps/gateway changes.
I believe chris tried removing his bell wire last night and he has some figures which seem to have evened things out for him, but hopefully he will be able to comment further when he has chance.
I may even try removing my bell wire here if I get chance (hoping that maxdsl draws near for me too).... but Im pretty tied up with other matters over the next few days. :(
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phearfactor

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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2006, 09:31:00 PM »

I am going to try and get a hold of a newer router, one better than the Conexant to see if it is related to my DLink box. Thanks for the help  :D

I will keep you all posted.
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kitz

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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2006, 11:31:52 PM »

Hi

As promised..  had chance to play with my master socket today, for me the ring wire hasnt made any difference, nor has changing filters etc, but then Im very close to the exchange and I have a low attenuation figure.

Something that I have noticed though over the past week is that my SNR margin which has been rock steady over the past 3 years has suddenly started to take a downward turn. - typically before Im due to be maxed :/

On a 7dB attenuation line I consider an SNR margin of 27dB to be quite poor..  and why Im also surprised to see that your SNR margin is pretty high for the length of your line.

One thing that has been mentioned a fair bit recently is as more users are getting adsl and the higher speeds then this starts to introduce "cross talk" which can lower the SNR margin.  
Im wondering if your line is picking up cross talk which is whats lowering your snr margin after youve connected?

If so Im not sure if there is anything that BTw can or will do about it.

Let us know how you get on with the new router.
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phearfactor

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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2006, 12:42:42 AM »

I tried out a USB Speedtouch using one of your guides to pull out the SNR values. It seems that everything is normal, none of the modems seem to make any difference. Its stable at 22dB more than any other reading, so I am just going to accept it now and see what happens with MaxDSL (should start to be upgraded next week!)

I am guessing my SNR is so good because of the NTE5 faceplate, I see no other reason what could be bringing me such high SNR when I am over 3km from my exchange. People only 2km from their exchange are getting only 12dB SNR! That is very worrying indeed and if I knew this before I probably wouldnt be complaining.

I am hoping to get 3MB up atleast, anything more is fantastic. But the upload speed is the main thing I am waiting for which I am hoping will not be effected by high/low attenuation/snr but have not found anything on this matter.

My exchange is pretty small and not in a very futuristic (lol) location, I would say only 10% of the users at the exchange even have ADSL. So I am guessing this is part of the reason for my high SNR.

I will be sure to tell you what sort of speeds I get once the upgrade is complete. Then we will be able to see just how much difference the SNR really makes and whether my Attenuation will bring the connection to its knees or not.

I have everything crossed. I just hope BT do me proud for once  :wink:
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kitz

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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2006, 02:20:20 AM »

>>  am guessing my SNR is so good because of the NTE5 faceplate

They do indeed seem to be pretty good :)

Good luck with maxdsl and fingers crossed for you
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phearfactor

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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2006, 01:34:50 AM »

I thought I would update you all on whats happening. MaxDSL is being messed about with on my line, here is the stats so far:



Router Stats ^




Speed Test 1 ^




Speed Test 2 ^




UK Mirror Download ^




UK Jolt Mirror Download ^


Not quite sure why the speed test results are so different, but everything else seems fine. I dont seem to be suffering from the disconnections other people have moaned about (touch wood), and I have seen my SNR drop to 0 and the connection has stayed alive...? lol

I had a little go on an online game to see if there are ping spikes but over 2 hours I only got 2 spikes, both were pretty major. I am guessing this is down to the testing rather than the router losing sync as I just had to reconnect to the server and it was all fine again.  

Could be related to my SNR but I am not sure how to get this conclusion. If the SNR is the problem would my router lose the connection altogether (ADSL light goes out) or will it just pop its clogs until the SNR comes back up?

Anyway everything seems to be going okay so far, it has connected at 4.8 and 4.4MB so I am guessing the 4.8 is the highest I will be able to acheive which is fantastic. Much better than my old 1Mbit service. Very happy at the moment just hoping (and touching alot of wood) that everything keeps steady.
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kitz

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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2006, 11:40:58 PM »

Hiya

Funny enough I did a speed test on AG earlier this evening and only got 2,395.5 Kbps. I then tried a couple at dslzone and got between 4 and 5 Mb.
Ive just done one now on AG and got 3532.1 Kbps and immediately after got 6.17 Mbps on dslzone.

I think perhaps the AG speedtester may be a little busy? :(

----

One thing you will notice on max though, is that speeds will fluctuate more.  I only got the bRAS profile lifted today, but Ive not seen exactly the same speed at any time.
- Nor do I expect to actually.  The higher max speeds will be far more subsceptable to local exchange contention which are likely to cause small variations.


Is it down to SNR margin?
Yes... and no.

No because the your margin drops too low..then you loose sync and will notice and your green adsl light will flash slowly.

Yes because if your margin is in the *just about hanging on in there*, then you may have crc and hec errors and errored seconds, in which case packets of data are lost and need to be retransmitted therefore your speeds will suffer.

Yes because the state of your line is being monitored by exchange kit and therefore can adjust your maximum speed accordingly.

From what you have said, I would guess in your case you perhaps had a few errors.  Does your router display this information?
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phearfactor

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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2006, 01:46:04 AM »

Been connected all day at 4888 but not got anything above 420k on downloads. I havent actually noticed anything at all today but then again you notice stuff more when gaming and I have been to busy today to try any servers again.

I will see if there are any CRC errors in the morning, I completely forgot about checking that lol

But yeah my speeds seem to be trotting along quite nicely, I have noticed huge variations as you said. Sometimes its massive sometimes its not, I notice it most of the Speakeasy speedtests.

My SNR at the moment is only 2, it has been 6 all day long. Just reconnected a minute ago and its also saying the data rate is 4544 (Just dropped to 0snr and Msn logged in and out). Although the router is not giving any CRC errors?

DSLZone indicates:
3.25 Mbps
which is around 415.53 KB/s
including overheads

SNR is now saying its at 3 lol. It seems to move around alot but I havent had a case when I have lost connection altogether. I am not sure now if I prefer the speed over stability as the packet loss (as you suspect) doesnt really happen that often.

Ah well, I guess its the MaxDSL checker machine that decides that anyway lol
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phearfactor

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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2006, 08:03:11 PM »

Just noticed I am set to the dreaded interleaving !  :roll:

I heard that after the 10 day period I can ask for this to be turned off, at the moment my pings are identical to what they were on 1MB. I am guessing this is mainly down to interleaving?

Everything seems very very stable though so I am not sure why they turned it on. Although my modem is now syncing over 5000 rather than the 4800 before.

Any idea what would happen to my connection if I asked it to be turned off? Would I lose alot of speed or will I just possibly get a very unstable connection. Trying to way up the pros and cons but its a little hard as I cant find much on this subject.

I dont play online games all the time but the games which I do play are very ping orientated so the better they are the happier I would be. Hmm.

Your opinion on this kitz would be appeciated as I am really not too clued up with this. I have to switch routers to find out whether I am on interleaving or not because the firmware version I am using for my DLink router doesnt seem to tell me.

Is there an easier way to find out other than switching to the other router everytime I want to check? I have also disconnected everything for 20minutes as I heard this turns off interleaving but nothing happened. I am not really that bothered but I did expect a ping drop as my upload speed is almost 4 times as fast but it almost seems worse than my old 256k upload speed.  :oops:
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phearfactor

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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2006, 12:34:11 PM »

Just done some traceroutes and I am getting 100% packet loss constantly lol

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Hop | %Loss | IP Address    | Node Name        | Location           | Tzone | ms | Graph      | Network            |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0   |       | 192.168.*  | *            | *                  |       |    |            | (private use)      |
| 1   |       | 192.168.*   | *   | ...                |       | 0  | x          | (private use)      |
| 2   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 3   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 4   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 5   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 6   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 7   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 8   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 9   | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 10  | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 11  | 100   |               |                  |                    |       |    |            |                    |
| 12  | 70    | 66.249.93.104 | www.google.co.uk | ?Mountain View, CA |       | 45 |        x-- | Google Inc. GOOGLE |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Roundtrip time to www.google.co.uk, average = 45ms, min = 43ms, max = 52ms -- 01-May-2006 12:32:26

No matter what I put its the same outcome. I dont get any information between hops.

I guess this isnt a good sign  :oops:
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kitz

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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2006, 01:47:30 PM »

tbh Im not that well up on interleaving aside from the basic stuff, as it is something Ive not experienced first hand to be able to write about in depth without doing some more research myself.

I do believe though that interleaving is "auto" by default, therefore if the BT kit thinks your line will benefit from it, its switched on and off as required. You should be able to request PN though to have it switched off if permantly if you so wished.

Interleaving does increase your latency, but gives you a more stable higher speed connection.  So I suppose its up to you decide whether speed or latency is your primary concern - Interleaving supposedly increases latency by about 30ms.
Latency like you are already aware, is normally only priority to ardent gamers, switching off interleaving can impact on line stability.

Because maxdsl is relatively new (you wouldnt think BT had been testing it for months would you?), theres still quite a lot of unknown factors about it. Since its gone live, theres has been so many differing reports so far its hard to know exactly what the norm is. :(

One of the best explanations Ive seen so far is from AAIP.

MaxMagic
http://aaisp.net.uk/maxmagic.html
which also mentions interleaving but doesnt mention anything about auto.

Hope this info helps
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