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  1. #1
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    Improving Internet speed

    A question for someone in the UK. My ISP is TalkTalk and my internet speed is generally 2.8 Mbps, but sometimes, after a modem re-boot, it goes up to 3.0 Mbps – the speed is consistent between re-boots. I live in a large conurbation but have been told that the speed is low because the route distance to the exchange, classed as unbundled, is 1.8 km. I can get a very much faster connection by going onto fibre optic cable, but the cost is very much greater and as I have no wish to download movies it is not justified. Are there any hardware or software developments in the pipeline aimed at squeezing more speed out of the existing wires to meet the government promise of faster internet speeds or are these promises based on nearly everyone having access to cable. My modem/router is a Huawei HG 523a, N150 ADSL2+, would there be any significant advantage in buying a more sophisticated router – the connection has never had drop-outs and is just as good on my laptop and tablet as the desktop.

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  3. #2
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    Your ADSL speed is determined by the length and quality of wire and joints between you and the exchange and the TalkTalk profile that you are on.

    This can be determined by dividing your Downstream Attenuation by 13.81 and that will be in kms.

    Put the Downstream Attenuation that your router gives into http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/max_speed_calc.php and that will give an approximation of the speed that you can expect on a 6dB profile.

    Who told you that your speed was low because you were ~1.8km from the exchange as that distance equates to ~25dB Attenuation, which would give you an expected Throughput of ~16meg so you would need to contact TalkTalk to report a low speed fault if your Atten. is about that.

    The 2.8 - 3.0 meg that you are getting, is this wireless or with an Ethernet cable.

    If wireless - how far are you from the router.

    I don't know how old the HG523a is, but I'm using their D-Link 3780 which gives me a sync speed of ~6.9meg with a 47dB Attenuation on a 6dB profile.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-05-17 at 14:16.

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  5. #3
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    Thank you. Downstream attenuation is given as 56.5 kbps, which gives a line length of 4.1 km. Actual road length to the exchange is about 1.8 km. Using the kitz site adsl2+ is given as 3712 kbps and throughput as 3285 kbps.

    My desktop computer is connected to the modem by a short ethernet cable - the laptop and tablet are used only a short distance away and speed tests on both report virtually the same speed wirelessly as the desktop. From the modem/router summary screen line attenuation up is 34.5 dB, SN margin up 8.9 dB, down 6.9Db.Download speed is only a problem when downloading the Telegraph on the tablet and downloading a large batch of desert island discs podcasts on the desktop.

  6. #4
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    The Downstream Attenuation very rarely reflects the actual distance from the exchange because of the routing of the cable and the greater the distance, the more the signal will be degraded.

    Are the speeds any better when you plug the router with microfilter into the Test socket which is behind the faceplate of the master socket.

    If your master socket installation is of the older type where you have wires connected to terminals 2 and 5 on the rear of the faceplate, you may also have a red or orange one connected to terminal 3.

    This is the old Ringer wire which can be disconnected and tucked away.

    With BT's newer wiring, only a single pair (orange and white) are used which will be connected to the back of the socket base and connected to terminals A and B - don't touch either of those as they are BT's side of things and you would end up with nothing if you disconnect either of those.

    If you are out of contract with TalkTalk, then you could sign up to a new one and ask for a new router plus any other discounts you can squeeze out of them.

    If this applies to you, then ask them for a D-Link 3780, otherwise you could be sent their lower D-Link 3680 or another HG.

    Newer routers may have less resistance in them which could improve your Attenuation a little to give you a little better sync speed, but with a current Atten. of 56, the improvement won't be much - but everything helps.

  7. #5
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    I have had to carry out lots of tests for talktalk, including taking off the faceplate of the incoming socket and connecting the desktop computer directly into it with a very short cable via a microfilter and the speed was the same to within a few kbps. I did have a D-link but my contract came to an end a year ago, at which time I re-signed and got the present Huwei router - there was a marginal improvement, but then each time I reboot there is a slight difference in speed. It was the BT website that stated the distance as 1.8 km - there are several roads along which the cable could be routed -the walking distance of them all is about the figure stated. BT are reported nationally to be routing fibre optic cables to main junction boxes, will this carry all of the signals - voice and internet - or is it purely for faster premium digital connections - if the former perhaps speed will eventually increase with the same tariff

  8. #6
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    With fibre the cable is routed to the new cabinets and from there, through the same copper wire that you have been getting your ADSL and phone should you switch to fibre - otherwise you will continue to get the same ADSL connection from the exchange as they are two different lines to the cabinet.

    If you continue to reboot the router too often, the Dynamic Line Management could interpret this as an unstable line and increase the SNRM to a 9dB+ profile which will decrease your speed even more.

    Speed tests taken at peak times can be lower than at other times and taking speed tests throughout the day was probably one of TT's tests to determine if any lowering of the speed was due to Contention.

    The BT figure of 1.8km was probably just their info on the distance of the exchange to you and while Kitz gave a slightly higher estimation for your speed, it also said that would also be dependent upon the quality of the line - although BT are now replacing aluminium with copper as aluminium isn't proving to be as good as first thought, but given your Attenuation - the speed you are getting is about it unless you consider the additional expense for fibre would be justified.

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    mike21 (2014-05-19)

  10. #7
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    Thank you. I now know that what I am getting is probably the optimum and will remain so, regardless of any new developments. Incidentally, my speed measurements are virtually the same regardless of time of day or day of the week. TT had lowered the signal to noise ratio to around 6 dB but it kept going back up - they finally locked it at 6 dB on the basis that the signal was consistently good.

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    See if changing the ADSL mode to just G.Dmt in the router as that can sometimes give a better speed on longer lines.

    You just uncheck the boxes for the others if they display as all checked but if the setting is Auto, then use the dropdown to select G.Dmt.

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  13. #9
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    I swapped from Auto to G Dmt, re-booted the modem and checked the speed. Download had dropped by about 100 Kbps and upload dropped from 590 to 490 Kbps. S/N ratio had gone up from 6 to 9 dB. I have swapped back to auto and rebooted the modem - the speed has gone up to virtually the same as before the change but the S/N level is still 9 dB. I will now leave things alone and stick with nearly 3 Mbps

  14. #10
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    It was worth a try.

    Don't reboot any more and the DLM will probably change the SNRM back to 6dB after about a week or so providing the connection remains stable.

    If it hasn't changed it back after two weeks, you can either phone TT tech support or register on the TT forum at www.talktalkmembers.com and request a profile change.

    The OCEs on the forum can provide tech support.

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    No solution, but a bit of info on my recent experience, for what it's worth. I have DSL through Frontier Communications (US-Indiana) and some time ago a tech came and replaced my out of date modem. At that time he ran a line test at the modem and told me my line would support a download speed of 6.6. At the time I was on a rate for 3 down and the office was not quite ready to support speeds greater than 3. A bit later the tariff changed an we all paid for an "up to" speed of 7.

    I called and requested my service be upgraded to 7. And it was. Testing I got a solid 6.0 down. But there times when the modem would just not sync at the highest speed and my speed would fall back to really slow speeds, so I reported it. The tech suggested that provisioning my line for a rate of 5 could make the connection more stable and that may solve my fallback issue. It work well - got consistent download speeds of 5.0. Would have preferred to have the 6.0 speed over 5.0 that was consistent, but this was a reasonable compromise.

    Or so I thought. Several days after the speed was reduced to 5 and I was having no issues, I got a call from the tech who had been working on my service telling me that "engineering" told him that my line did not support speeds greater than 3 and he had to set my line back to 3 down. I was not happy - paying for 7 down and now only allowed 3!

    Over the following months I had Frontier tech support run line tests on my line with the results always being 6.6 except for a single result of 7.2. Contacted customer service on several occasions complaining about my internet speed and several times customer service agreed that I should be able to get my line provisioned for the 7 down speed and issued orders to do so. But that always followed with a call from a local tech telling me again my line would not support speeds greater than 3 - the same line that tested for 6.6 and actually ran at 6.0 and 5.0 before.

    The last time I was in contact with Frontier over another matter, that once resolved, was asked if there was anything else. Of course never wanting to miss an opportunity to voice my displeasure with my internet connection speed issue, I again relayed the long story of my quest to get the speed I was paying for. The difference this time was that I was speaking with an honest representative. I now learned that my speed, and all others that worked out of that same serving office, has had their speed capped at 3 down because the office is under provisioned.

    Now the point of this now way to long rambling. Your line and office probably support a greater speed than you are allowed to have. That is what Frontier has done to me. Reduced the speed of my DSL service because they do not have enough capacity to serve the customers who are paying for, and not receiving the speed they deserve.

  17. #12
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    In the UK I think that it's only BT that have speed related packages with the rest on ADSL speeds dependant upon the length of wire between you and the exchange.

    They all used to advertise as UP TO 24meg but were ordered to only quote up to speeds that were attainable by I think it was 60% of their customers, as to get 24meg (less the 10 - 15% overhead) you would have to be in the exchange's backyard.

    They now advertise up to 16meg for ADSL.

    For home users in the UK the Contention rate is usually 50/line and 20/line for business users to share the bandwidth at peak times and while TalkTalk at one time used to cap except for the wee small hours, they now boast that they no longer do this as there's now enough bandwidth for everyone and with unlimited download limits for a single tariff - that's one advantage of a competitive market

    Perhaps you have alternative ISPs with better set ups/tariffs ?
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-05-22 at 15:26.

  18. #13
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    A couple of months ago I did install a cable modem from our cable service provider as a trial. Advertised upload speed was 25 and speed tests often yielded results as high as 35. It varied from time to time, and at busy periods was no faster than 15-17. Still plenty of bandwidth to use two computers at the same time and view full HD videos.

    But all was not rosy. My wife has several foreign language programs she likes to view using a media play that originate from South Korea. Needless to say there is quite a bit of latency going all the way over there from where we are here so we see video buffering from time to time. And surprising enough, it was worse on the cable modem service provider. Had techs on site a couple of times and worked with the second level technical support several times but could not get the service to improve. With the DSL we get buffering but after a pause the video would resume. With the cable modem, all too often when the buffering would start, the video would freeze - permanently, requiring a reload to resume the video.

    The cable modem went back. Hated to see it go because every other activity was so much faster but the video buffering and freezing was just too much to take. The cable modem was cheaper, especially when one compares the speed to cost, but I hear rumblings that the cable company may soon put data limits on their internet service and overages could get really expensive. Probably stick with the slow DSL and continue to complain.

  19. #14
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    Looks like you have more than just Frontier to choose from - how do any of these stack up pricewise to Frontier http://www.speedtest.net/local/indiana#?w=400

    While you will still be getting the DSL down the same line, they may have the bandwidth to give you what your line can take.

    Check them out and if any are viable, then tell Frontier that if they don't stop capping your line then you will change ISP.

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  21. #15
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    Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, my choices are limited to Frontier and Comcast. Satellite is ridiculously expensive and has even more ridiculous data limits. So, no, my choices are quite limited. Comcast doesn't work right and Frontier is too slow. And to rub salt into this wound, two houses away FIOS is available. Looks like my only real option is to move to South Korea where they really know how to do data!

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