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Standard User WafferThinMint
(newbie) Thu 07-Jan-16 14:34:59
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Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[link to this post]
 
First post here, so please treat me as dumb as a gate post and we'll take it from there.

I have problems with my DSL connection dropping out randomly, especially evenings and also sometimes when the connection is stressed. Sometimes it drops when on a land line voice call. It might be once a day or it might be six times an hour for an entire evening.

I am on just under 3km of aluminium cable all the way back to the fastest (fibre enabled) exchange in my area. For part of the route it runs alongside a light railway and passes a substation. All the rest of the area has FTTC but we are not due to get a green box at the end of the road until sometime after hell freezes over.

My ISP (PlusNet) has been very supportive so far, but they are dependent on BT wholesale, who seem to have only one setting - send an engineer to plug in the box of tricks. They then say something like, "Line quality isn't great, I've seen no drop outs in the 20 mins I've been here (quelle surprise!!) and I'll refer it to the underground team" Tomorrow will be my 7th engineer visit. To my knowledge, or PlusNet's, the underground team have never been involved. On one visit a couple of engineers went back two manholes and re-did the jellies but that's it.

In terms of numbers: my downstream loop loss is 57.5 dB, my downstream power is 18 dBm, downstream SNR can be as low as 6dB but today is sitting at 14dB. My neighbour, who is with a different ISP but has the same problem is showing similar numbers. My modem keeps telling me the line is unstable and it's doing what it can to keep the show on the road.

In terms of actions so far: I'm on my third modem (an ASUS DSL-N66U). All internal extension cables have been disconnected and I'm working on a modem router and DECT phone plugged directly into the Openreach type 3 face plate they fitted; So whatever the problem is it's outside my home. Also, I've had a pair swap (from 9 ohms to a 1 ohm pair) and the outside box, incoming cable and jellies have been changed twice.

The only result of recent "adjustments" at the exchange is another drop in my speed. I had a best case of 5.7Mb and more recently 4Mb, but it's down to 2.8Mb since the last fiddling at Christmas. I'd settle for such poor speed if only the connection was stable.

So that's my tale of woe. My question is, what do I do next?

Cheers, Chunky




.

Playing with computers since the days of CPM and writing stuff in assembler.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 07-Jan-16 15:01:06
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
Loop loss figures are useless without the matching connection speed figures and the SNR figure from the same time.

The DSL-N66U is loved by some but hated by others, so if it is three of those you've tried then time to do something different like the old 2Wire stalwarts that had a good reputation on long lines.

The noise source could be anywhere, from your central heating to the neighbours or some cases someones Sky TV box 200m area, i.e. there can be nothing wrong with the wiring but just lots of radio noise locally.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Thu 07-Jan-16 15:48:12
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by WafferThinMint:
I am on just under 3km of aluminium cable all the way back to the fastest (fibre enabled) exchange in my area. For part of the route it runs alongside a light railway and passes a substation.


That may well be the reason ... which railway? Is it overhead or track powered? Do drop outs correspond to trains passing?


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taurus excreta cerebrum vincit


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Standard User WafferThinMint
(newbie) Thu 07-Jan-16 21:59:55
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the initial comments. Much appreciated.

To be a little more precise, I've not had 3 of the same modem. This is an ASUS, the previous was a D-Link I bought specially for the job and the first was the cheapo one that PlusNet supply but which has no diagnostics and wasn't able to either handle all the routing on my (rather large) domestic network or to allow me to run my Netgear wireless router as the DHCP host and just act as a modem connection for the router to sign in to.

The figures quoted are, obviously, all at the same point in time. Variation isn't great anyway but my worst case is an evening of 0.54Mb with SNR 12dB and loop loss 57.5 dB, as it always is from one day to the next. Download speed is in my OP. It has trended down as they have played about, particularly by winding up the SNR and on one occasion, trying to lock both up and down at 9dB. Throughout this, the line shows as unstable at my end and the ISP sees it as red.

The light railway is a tram network with overhead pantograph. Maybe there's a correlation with arcing as some trams pass one or more particular spots on the route but I have no way of knowing this and it certainly can't be a contributory factor when my modem has logged a DSL loss at 3am. I'm not going to be able to get the trams stopped, so I need a solution that accommodate the extraneous RFI.

I've been downloading multiple 1Gb dummy files from this site all night and all day and it has fallen over 3 times this afternoon.

My central heating is not an issue. It is located way over in the garage and three zone thermostats are high end Honeywell wireless, not the old two wire bi-metallic monsters or even the low grade wireless that British Gas fit. The motorised valves I specced are also high end, not the sort that click and buzz. The drop outs were happening in the summer when all the lot was turned off anyway.

I appreciate that it might be interference from someone else's Sky box or something similar but I'm not in a position to diagnose such variables let alone fix it. To my mind, if the line can't accommodate such noise then it isn't fit for purpose.

What I'm really searching for is advice on what to do next with my ISP and/or BT Openreach when they come tommorrow and I'd like some meaningful things to pose. If not that, then what is the general consensus about my numbers and whether they are acceptable?

Last time the guy spent two hours doing diagnostics at the socket before telling me it was all down to a partial short on my internal telephone wiring. It wasn't, because I disconnected it and ran continuity and resistance checks afterwards on the Cat 5e wiring I had done it in. It does not run past any power supplies and shows no picked up 50Hz hum on a scope. Individual end-to-end resistances on all 8 cores are the same within half an ohm and are consistent with the manufacturer specs for that length of cable. It's been disconnected for two weeks and, as per the original post I'm straight into the socket for all my connections.

Thoughts please.



.

Playing with computers since the days of CPM and writing stuff in assembler.
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Fri 08-Jan-16 02:12:44
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
My usual advice under circumstances of intermittent faults would be to start logging 24x7.

Not sure what programme is best for your router.
Standard User WafferThinMint
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-16 10:02:06
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
Not sure what else I can be logging.

I have every event in my router log for about 2 months copied and pasted into a running Word file. So I know date and time of every failure event and also any wobbles where it just lost WAN connection but didn't fall over. I have the same for my neighbour who has similar issues and the two are side by side in 2-column mode. The times do not match up between his drops and mine.

I have my ISP's logging data that shows all the completed drops graphically by day and also instantaneous line data when they've run a diagnostic at their end about a dozen times so far.

I've also been running Ping Assist Pro since August, pinging a number of DNS addresses such as Google, my ISP's primary, secondary and tertiary DNS addresses, equipment on my network (to confirm no internal drops) and I'm even pinging a DNS in Australia. I have Ping charts coming out of my ears and could post them here if the forum allowed it. Without exception, pings to my server and CCTV cameras/recorder all come in at 0ms which confirms my network as fine. UK DNS addresses have a base line of 22-28ms, but I get spikes to 100-400ms, sometimes as high as 4000ms, which is the point at which it is about to fall over but just manages to recover. Some days no spikes, some days one or two, sometimes it's like a forest on the chart. I also get extended periods of 10 mins to several hours with a higher baseline of 100-200ms during which page loads are slow but they struggle through. If I spot such periods and look at the modem data there is no real change in SNR or downstream power.

As I type this, my last drop was 30 minutes ago. I'm experiencing UK pings in the range 53-4485ms for the 9 minutes since I turned on the logging PC this morning. I'm showing 2% of packets lost. At the time I'm downloading a total of 4 Gb of large test files from this site at an unremarkable speed nowhere near modem capacity or that indicated for the line. Aggregate speed is just under 300kB so I'm assuming the bottleneck is at the ThinkBroadband end.

Modem figures at this instant are no different to "normal"..................
SNR down / up 19.0 / 9.0dB
Line Attenuation down / up 57.5 / 31.5 dB
Data Rate 2944 / 768 kbps
Max Rate Down / Up 3008 / 900 kbps
Power 18.5 / 12.5dbm
CRC 0 / 0
I'm Annex A DSL with interleaving.

I'd welcome suggestions of any software that can continuously log anything more than what I already have that will be useful. But to be frank, I'm up to my ears in logging info and the BTO engineers don't seem too interested when I show them the prints.

How do I get my issue sorted?


.

Playing with computers since the days of CPM and writing stuff in assembler.
Standard User hunnymonster
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-16 11:24:22
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
What everyone is getting at is the need to continuously monitor the SNR Margin, CRC errors, FEC errors - amongst others. Depending on your router - Routerstats would be a good place to start for monitoring.

Ping is almost entirely useless in this case - since all that reliably tells you is that the connection is up (or not). Variation simply tells you that your ISP is congested, you were using the link for something else at the time or the remote site was busy or a link between you and the remote site was busy.
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Fri 08-Jan-16 21:50:58
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: hunnymonster] [link to this post]
 
As hunnymonster says, using ping or a speedtester only tells you that a problem may exist ... but doesn't help identify any causes. Any problem seen could be anywhere from your PC through to the far end, not just your DSL connection.

The logging you need to do is specific to the details of your DSL connection to the exchange - reading the connection details from your modem or modem/router. The starting point will be to monitor the values hunnymonster advises; by monitor we mean taking reading at least every minute, and produce graphs of the output.

RouterStats, or its sibling RouterStatsLite, might work with one of your modems.

I currently use programmes focussed on the FTTC modems - HG612-modem-stats and DSL-stats - but you might find they can help you with plain DSL too.

Here's a good summary, on a well-respected DSL site:
http://www.kitz.co.uk/routers/monitor_linestats.htm
Standard User WafferThinMint
(newbie) Thu 14-Jan-16 12:12:38
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
Well I've spent an hour or three trying to get both RouterStats and RouterStats Lite working. The nearest available config data to my modem is DSL-N55U and I tried that one but nothing recorded. I also tried the full fat version and even worked out the TelNet option but my modem back heeled me saying that this client didn't have authority to do stuff. The modem shows RS as failed login attempts, even though name and password are correct. I'm sure it's brilliant if you've got a Netgear (I have, but it's a router, not a modem).

Before I spend even more time trying to get RS to work, will someone please tell me what benefit it's going to have? My modem has a traffic monitoring page where I can graph what's going up and down and a page of line info THAT NEVER CHANGES. Let me say that again, the numbers are always the same when I refresh, even when I force the line to fall over by downloading big files and watch the numbers. The speeds might vary a bit, but the line info is stable, so to speak.

Let's just say I spend half a day getting RS working and get a graph (that I can't post here on a text only site). What happens next?

.

Playing with computers since the days of CPM and writing stuff in assembler.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 14-Jan-16 13:34:12
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Re: Advice Please -DSL drop out are driving me nuts


[re: WafferThinMint] [link to this post]
 
If the modem is falling over when downloading large files that usually points to something like a NAT table size or other issue in the router software, rather than the dsl component itself.

If the line is dropping and resyncing you should see this in the line stats when you refresh when the line is down, if not able to see that web page at all it suggests the modem/router has actually crashed and is going through a full reboot.

At the end of the day it may just be some random bad noise burst from something that is nothing to do with the line/modem/your home and not a lot can be done about it.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
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