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Author Topic: FTTC Line Maximum Upload Speeds but Minimum Download Speeds issue (Zen Internet)  (Read 886 times)

Wasabi

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Hello all,

I am in need of some helpful advice regarding FTTC speeds I am currently receiving on my home Broadband connection with Zen Internet.

Recently moved into a property that is approx 250m from the local cabinet, according to data on Kitz the cabinet is Huwawei with a broadcom chipset.

Transferred my current supplier from old address (Zen Internet) who moved me onto their Fibre 2 Unlimited package (max 80/20). I did a working line takeover of the phone line currently in place within the property.

Broadband has been switched on, Upstream is syncing at the maximum attainable rate (19999 sync which equates to real world 18.7Mb/s) but downstream will not sync above 48946 (real world 45Mb/s)

Although I know I'm still recently switched on (and I understand there's a training period), I'm getting the impression that theres an underlying issue here (I would expect the downstream to have synced at a much higher rate based on the quality of the upstream signal and proximity to the cabinet - plus my neighbours on either side are getting similar upstream but with 70+ Mb/s down).

I raised the complaint with Zen who managed to resync at (they say 51Mb/s) which is (only just) within my lowest acceptable (see below for estimates). Because of this Zen are telling me the line is within "acceptable limits" ...but come on ...Surely they dont expect me to believe that a line that attains the MAX possible upstream sync is only capable of around Half to 2/3rds the maximum on downstream.

I am using an unlocked HG612 (to match the broadcom chipset) but have also tried Openreach ECI Modem, Vigor 166 as well as Zen's own Fritzbox 7530, none of which will sync any higher (I am also testing hard wired straight into the test socket of the Openreach Master Socket 5C - there are no extensions attached).

Can anyone advise a potential solution, as to me this seems like a fault - if not can anyone suggest some troubleshooting tips - i've attached the Zen sync info (all but one dropped connections / re-syncs are troubleshooting on my part)

PSB for initial estimates of speed based on area, as you can see my line is already performing better on the upstream that the "best case estimate" which makes it all the more puzzling that I'm expected to put up with what is clearly a gimped connection on the downstream.

Estimated Lower Download Speed (Kbps): 56329
Estimated Upper Download Speed (Kbps): 72800
Estimated Upper Upstream Speed (Kbps): 18200
Estimated Lower Upstream Speed (Kbps): 17053
Min Guaranteed Download (Kbps):    50050
Min Upload (Kbps):    14305
Max Download (Kbps):    74400
Max Upload (Kbps): 18600
Advertised Download (Kbps): 67000
Advertised Upload (Kbps): 18000

In additon PSA for line sync speeds - as previously noted the upstream is maxing out the connection but for some reason the downstream appears broken.

Any help or advice would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 03:49:09 PM by Wasabi »
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tubaman

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As you have an unlocked HG612 please can we have the line stats from telnet using 'xdslcmd info --stats'. they should assist with diagnosing what's going on.
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Wasabi

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Hello,

Thank you for your swift response, I appreciate the help.

I'm away from home tonight so cannot access line stats - however will post tomorrow evening once I return home from work.

Thanks again.
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Weaver

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And welcome to the forum, Wasabi!
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Wasabi

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Thanks for the warm welcome to the forum.

FYI (and thankyou both for the kind offers of assistance) However I think we may have sorted the issue.

Yesterday I decided to complain to Zen that they had not met their obligations under our contractual agreement and (credit where credit is due) Chris, once of Zen's fault managers agreed and arranged an engineer visit first thing this morning.

The Openreach engineer was excellent, ran a series of tests and checked all elements of the line. Eventually after a number of hours and by thoroughness and perceverence the engineer identified the fault and moved us onto a different pair within the cable.

We are now syncing at 77 MB/s down / 19999 MB/s up at the Master Socket with real world speeds of around 74 MB/s down at the router and I could not be happier, The engineer has said that we may lose a couple of MB/s as the line settles but he's tested the new line and all seems good, so any reductions as the line stablises should be minimal.

Thankyou for the kind offers of support, however on this occasion Zen (and Openreach) really delivered!!
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Chrysalis

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Excellent news, luckily Openreach recognised that the sync was unrealistically low and fixed it for you.

Not so good for Zen though who perhaps need to take a look at their support scripts.  Sadly the minimum speeds liberties are been taken, even though my line has never synced below 72mbit outside of fault conditions in over 2 years, any new isp will only give me a min speed rating of barely 40mbit/sec.  It wouldnt surprise me if in 5 years time we will see isps only willing to support 20mbit/sec on lines capable of getting around 80.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2021, 04:03:42 PM by Chrysalis »
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j0hn

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You're somewhat fortunate as it appears from the 1st post that your downstream may have been capped/banded by the DLM.

Swapping modems back and forth while checking sync speeds can cause that. A fault causing the line to resync over and over can also cause it.

If it had not been capped/banded the DLM may have lowered the noise margin to 3dB which would have given you another 10Mb sync on the downstream and would have taken you above the minimum guarantee.

Whatever the cause it has kept your line below the minimum guarantee, prompting the Openreach visit which has considerably improves things.
All round a good result.

Your line is more likely to increase to the full 80Mb as it settles provided it is left alone. Resyncs/reboots of the modem are seen as instability by the line management system.
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Wasabi

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Hi j0hn,

Thanks for your input,

I'm aware (from reading the Kitz forums) how dropping sync and subsequent reconnections can have a negative effect on a modems negotiated line speed due to the DLM recognising too many re-syncs as faults on the line and subsequently reducing to keep it stable. On this occasion you are incorrect in your assumption that this was the cause of my reported slow speeds however, the Openreach engineer confirmed this during the visit after I raised the question of whether he would perform a DLM reset (the default quick fix for most things) on the line.

In fact, the line itself had a physical fault on the cable and was not capped or banded (the engineer informed me that for whatever reason despite the cabinet outputting the full 80/20 some 300m away by the time it hit the pole outside my house the DL was reduced to around 48MB/s.)

The engineer told me there was no band or cap placed on the line and this was the reason the engineer didn't swap out the line at the cabinet (nor did he process the DLM reset I'd requested) he simply switched the line to another join within the penultimate underground section of cable (where he identified the line was losing speed) and then connected this new join of cable onto our existing line for it's journey up the telegraph pole and onto the drop wire into our property.

With this middle section of twisted pair changed over, the line (without a DLM reset) is now syncing at 77MB/s down and 19MB/s up.

TLDR: The line hadn't been capped or banded, nor was it changed onto a new pair at the cabinet - engineer re-routed the underground central section of twisted pair cable and with no reset to DLM profile the line is now hitting very close to maximum speeds.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2021, 06:48:42 PM by Wasabi »
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j0hn

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I didn't say the line didn't have a fault.

Many engineers don't know their a*** from their elbow. I tend to ignore a lot of them.
If the engineer fixed a physical line fault and did not perform a DLM reset then they are doing their job wrong. That's a no no unless there's been changes.

You posted no line stats but a single screenshot showing (what looks to me like) the downstream syncing at the exact same figure 9 times in a row. The upstream changed once.
If that isn't a banded line then I have no idea what's going on.

The chances of a line syncing at the exact same figure twice in a row randomly are about 1000/1.
How did your line manage that so many times without it being banded?
« Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 06:55:42 PM by j0hn »
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Wasabi

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j0hn,

Thanks again for your input.

I'm not about to waste time debating the counterfactual conditions of whether or not the Openreach engineer has or hasn't done his job correctly, or if he should / shouldn't have performed a DLM reset on the line.

Nor am I looking to enter discourse about whether this particular engineer knew "his a*** from his elbow or whether or not the line was / wasn't banded.

I apolgise if the screenshot I posted did not display enough information relative to the question I asked, you can see from my post count that I am new to the forum and will try to do better next time.

I have no idea why the line synced at the same speed multiple times, or what the odds are of this happening, I simply reported what the engineer had stated - I'm not looking to debate this further.

The long and short of it is that the issue has been fixed, I am happy with the speeds I am receiving, and in that respect the engineer did his job.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2021, 08:02:24 AM by Wasabi »
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Wasabi

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Excellent news, luckily Openreach recognised that the sync was unrealistically low and fixed it for you.

Not so good for Zen though who perhaps need to take a look at their support scripts.  Sadly the minimum speeds liberties are been taken, even though my line has never synced below 72mbit outside of fault conditions in over 2 years, any new isp will only give me a min speed rating of barely 40mbit/sec.  It wouldnt surprise me if in 5 years time we will see isps only willing to support 20mbit/sec on lines capable of getting around 80.

Agreed, a great result with the fault resolved efficiently and in good time.

I was expecting this to become a long drawn out issue, but have been pleasantly surprised how quickly it was resolved, though a little disappointed that I had to push back quite so hard to have the problem escalated through Zen's technical support.

I agree that the initial support scripts from Zen are more than a little tedious, (sensibly?) aimed at the lowest common denominator but annoyingly make no allowances for more technically minded callers and seem to assume that any customer with a technical issue has the sum total of zero knowledge regarding modern networking hardware and wouldn't have already attempted to "reboot the modem".

Having said this, any issues I've had in the past have always been dealt with quickly and I've found that historically Zen have advocated strongly for their customers and are derserving of the awards they have received. I hope this remains the case.

I've got one eye on Andrews & Arnold Ltd so if future support turns out to be an issue I'll make the switch. To me, reliable support and agent knowledge is invaluable in the current climate of chat bots / scripts and non UK based call centres.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2021, 08:33:47 AM by Wasabi »
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g3uiss

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j0hn,

Thanks again for your input.

I'm not about to waste time debating the counterfactual conditions of whether or not the Openreach engineer has or hasn't done his job correctly, or if he should / shouldn't have performed a DLM reset on the line.

Nor am I looking to enter discourse about whether this particular engineer knew "his a*** from his elbow or whether or not the line was / wasn't banded.

I apolgise if the screenshot I posted did not display enough information relative to the question I asked, you can see from my post count that I am new to the forum and will try to do better next time.

I have no idea why the line synced at the same speed multiple times, or what the odds are of this happening, I simply reported what the engineer had stated - I'm not looking to debate this further.

The long and short of it is that the issue has been fixed, I am happy with the speeds I am receiving, and in that respect the engineer did his job.

This post suggests you didnít want expert advice or indeed need it.
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Wasabi

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This post suggests you didnít want expert advice or indeed need it.

You are correct.

At the time of j0hns reply on the 17th November I no longer required assistance as the issue had been resolved the day prior by an Openreach engineer.

I'd reported this to the thread, thanked those that had offered their assistance and noted the solution that the engineer employed to fix the problem.
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Weaver

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Hi Wasabi

> I've got one eye on Andrews & Arnold Ltd so if future support turns out to be an issue I'll make the switch. To me, reliable support and agent knowledge is invaluable in the current climate of chat bots / scripts and non UK based call centres.

Iím an Andrews & Arnold user and there are a few others here. Iíve been with them for over 11 years.

It has always driven me into a seething rage having to deal with Ďscripted phone callsí where the poor wretches at the other end act like robots, donít listen and donít have any respect for me, since they donít even entertain the possibility that I may know far more about the subject than they do. So I just couldnít ever handle such a situation again.

I used both Zen and AA for a while before switching to all-AA. Was with Zen back in 2009, liked them but Iím told Zen may not be the same company now. Back then Zenís support was never called upon, so I had nothing on which to base a comparison.

Youíre right about AA support though; they have checklists possibly but no dumb inflexible scripts. All their staff know their onions and escalation is easy but not usually necessary. They know their customers individually and assume that you may either be a specialist or a normal non-specialist user. They will sometimes want you to do sanity checks to check for modem or router badness but thatís only to protect themselves from unnecessary charges from OpenReach for time-wasting call-outs. Itís also worth a lot to me to have a one-stop shop for free support for my AA-supplied Firebrick FB2900 router as no buck-passing between companies. (AA is one of the two partners in Firebrick Ltd.)

They know that in my case I have to summon help to swap modems round, unplug cables etc: anything physical that needs doing in the office, since I am largely confined to my bed these days. So they trust me enough in the sense that for example I know how to tell if a modem has died or not.

And whatís best of all is that I never use the phone, since Iím phone-phobic at times. Instead I always talk to AA by email, but have also used IRC, for live chat; and my wife could use SMS IRC email or telephone calls [!] to to talk to them.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 10:23:31 PM by Weaver »
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Wasabi

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Good morning Weaver, thanks for your helpful response.

Your post is incredibly interesting to me as a potential Andrews and Arnold customer as not only is your reply informative and well written, it also re-enforces what I suspected to be true, that A&A is an excellent company, the kind I like to do business with.

I'll have to see what the release terms are in my current contract with Zen, but based on what yourself and others have told me, now may be a good time to make the move to a company that I think may represent me better as a customer.

I've not had a bad experience with Zen per se and I've been a customer for a fair few years now, but in my opinion you are correct in your observations that they might not be the company they used to be. To be fair to Zen, I AM quite a demanding customer and doubt I am a typical Zen user.

For me at least, it appears that as Zen have increased in size and popularity they have (perhaps out of necessity) adopted the default setting of assuming a very low level of technical knowledge in their customer base and thus begun to use an increasing number of scripts to assist with calls, rather than try to ascertain the level of technical knowledge of the caller and tailor their approach accordingly.

This is fine for someone that simply wants a working internet connection and phone line at the most basic level (most likely 99% of Zen's customer base), However, because I have a (marginally) higher level of technical knowledge and understand roughly the speeds I should / shouldn't be achieving based on similar lines and conditions locally, I prefer to try to maximise the potential of the line.

This is the reason I feel I'll most likely be better represented by a more specialised company, such as A&A in the future.

For me, the move to mass market penetration has had the effect of Zen becoming less like the Zen of old and more like any other mass market Openreach based provider already available and the adopting of generic scripts to triage customer service issues has defeated the purpose of why I originally chose Zen as my ISP.

Changing the subject slightly, I'm incredibly excited to hear of your experience with the Firebrick, I currently use a Firewalla Gold for routing purposes (which I've found to be far more solid than the typical "high end" router offerings from Asus / Netgear etc) and I pair this with a WiFi 6 access point for what I consider to be a pretty robost and reliable solution overall - but I'm always on the lookout for new equipment that improves either security / performance / stabilty or all three within my home network.

I've had a look at the Firebrick (they're available on Amazon and also through A&A themselves), I've also played around with the online demo on the Firebrick website in the past and was a big fan of the software experience and features available, but I'd be extremely interested to hear your thoughts as a day to day user of the Firebrick hardware?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 03:26:09 PM by Wasabi »
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