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Standard User Mescaline
(newbie) Tue 28-Jun-11 12:25:49
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Noise spikes on line, SNR Margin drops, REIN issue?


[link to this post]
 
Hi,

First off apologies for the long post, but there's a lot of info to squeeze in...

The Background

Moved into a house in Sept last year, located in a village in Bedfordshire. ADSL provided by Zen via the exchange 4.73km straight-line distance away. Actual line length probably closer to 6km.
Line has always been a solid 1Mb with the BRAS profile sometimes creeping up to ADSL 1250 on occasions.
Router used = Edimax AR-7284WnA running the latest firmware 1.0.6. Connected to BT Test Socket. PC connected to router via ethernet.
BT line goes from master socket to telegraph pole outside on street. This pole is connected to various underground junction boxes which feed my line approx 0.5km to the green cabinet in the centre of the village.
Connection was stable for all online activities (streaming, downloading, gaming etc) up until March this year when the problem began...


The Problem

March 4th 2011 - I notice when playing an online FPS game that i'm getting what seems to be periods of near-constant packet loss (lots of "running on the spot", lots of "teleporting" - just basically all the signs of a laggy connection) However my ping remained normal throughout.
I then checked by streaming something on youtube, this had similar results (I have a bandwidth monitor that tells me how much traffic my PC is generating at any given time) and it showed that the stream was "cutting out" at intermittent intervals where the connection would still be active, but the stream would essentially stop completely for a short period of time and then resume it's download.
I experience similar symptoms when testing with anything that uses the internet connection (a chat on Skype would be rendered inaudible for short periods of time etc etc)

Having checked my router I found that it was reporting thousands of errored seconds (although no HEC, OCD or LCD errors reported)
I also noticed that the SNR Margin was intermittently fluctuating from it's normal 7-8dB right down to 0.0dB for short periods of time, before retuning back to the normal 7-8dB range.
I noted that the errored seconds being reported by the router were increasing in-line with the SNR margin drops I was seeing.
Further testing also showed that the SNR Margin drops were occurring at the same time I was experiencing the problems with my connection (as described above)

Router rebooted made no difference, so i log the fault with Zen Tech Support.


The Investigation

As with all ISP's, I was asked to perform all the normal checks to rule out the problem being at my end; replaced filters, cables etc. I even went out and purchased a new router to test, which turned out to be worse than my existing router in being able to handle the SNR Margin drops to 0.0 - with it constantly dropping sync.
Interestingly, Zen couldn't see any of the errored seconds on the line, even though the router was reporting literally tens of thousands for each 24hr period. They could however see that the router was losing sync with the exchange regularly (now that the alternative router was plugged in and dropping sync all the time) and so they booked in a BT engineer to investigate an "intermittent connection".

March 16th 2011 - Engineer comes out to house (visit #1) and checks connection. He see's there is an issue (BRAS profile by this time has dropped to ADSL150 due to all the disconnects) and goes off to investigate.
He calls an hour or so later from the exchange to say "he thinks he's fixed it". By this time i'm back at work, so can't test the connection until i get back home.
I get home to find everything exactly the same. SNR Margin still constantly dropping to 0.0. All symptoms the same.

I inform Zen that the problem has not been fixed.

March 17th 2011 - Zen confirm to BT that the issue is not resolved.
March 18th 2011 - BT engineer (visit #2) booked for Sunday 20th March - AM appointment.
March 20th 2011 - No sign of any engineer - waited all morning. Queried situation with Zen.
March 21st 2011 - Zen update to confirm engineer did attend, but didn't require access to my premises. Engineer performed D-side swap. Zen want to monitor connection for 24hr period to see if issue resolved.
March 22nd 2011 - No difference to the connection, still all the same issues. Spoke to neighbour, he confirms lots of problems with his internet since early March too. Confirm all this back to Zen.
March 23rd 2011 - Zen arrange for BT Engineer (visit #3) to attend March 24th - PM.
March 24th 2011 - BT engineer attends premises (speaks to the missus this time, as i'm at work) again tests the line and see's there are problems. Goes off to "investigate further" in the village / exchange.
March 25th 2011 - Update from Zen re; previous day's engineer visit - BT Engineer notes read; "EU in sync on arrival, but EU said he is facing very intermittent issues. Eclipse test ok. ADSL test show CRC errors. There is a REIN issue in area. REIN issue Ref 2755 that was built on job SM7XAF72. Have reported to SFI about REIN issue."

So looks like they'd discovered a REIN issue... As it was Friday, Zen suggested there wouldn't be any further update until Monday 28th....

March 28th 2011 - Update from BT via Zen to say that the REIN fault is raised, and that they are still working on it.
March 29th 2011 - Update from BT via Zen to say REIN engineer assigned, but no ETA.
March 30th 2011 - No further info on REIN engineer visit.
March 31st 2011 - No further info on REIN engineer visit.
April 1st 2011 - No further info on REIN engineer visit. Although connection seems to be back to normal (aside from BRAS profile which is still stuck at ADSL500). Did they fix something??
April 2nd 2011 - No further info on REIN engineer visit. Spoke to Zen, confirmed line seems to be back to normal aside from the BRAS profile. Requested manual raising of profile.
April 4th 2011 - No further info on REIN engineer visit. Zen get BT to manually adjust BRAS profile back to ADSL1000.
April 5th 2011 - No further info on REIN engineer visit. Monitoring of line stability ongoing. So far so good.
April 6th 2011 - Update from BT via Zen to say; "REIN team have confirmed that job is closed as engineer has visited site and found no evidence of REIN. Current test results shows line is stable for 3 days now with a speed of 1 Meg". Line still stable, Zen close their ticket as issue resolved.

So... It seems that the problem just went away by itself after 28 days of constant issues. Strange, but I didn't really care as I had my internet connection back.

April 26th 2011 - ARGH! The problem is back (after 25 days of working fine). Exactly the same symptoms - just started again out of the blue. I re-raise with Zen.
April 28th 2011 - Zen re-raise fault with BT.
April 29th 2011 - BT want to arrange engineer visit, I explain to Zen that it would need to be a weekend visit as I cannot take any more time off work. Zen will go back to BT.
April 30th 2011 - No further update.
May 1st 2011 - No further update. Line seems to be back to normal again..
May 2nd 2011 - No further update. Line is indeed working as normal. Inform Zen.
May 6th 2011 - Zen close off fault.

So that was a little 5-day "blip" of the problem, after which everything went back to normal again...

May 23rd 2011 - Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! The b**ch is back. Exactly the same symptoms etc etc.
May 24th 2011 - I report to Zen that the issue has returned and request they log with BT.
May 25th 2011 - Update from Zen to confirm BT has stated there is an issue outstanding at my exchange which has to be resolved before they can investigate further.
May 26th 2011 - BT confirm issue at exchange resolved. I confirm problem still outstanding on my line. Ask Zen to chase with BT.
May 27th 2011 - No further update.
May 28th 2011 - No further update.
May 29th 2011 - No further update.
May 30th 2011 - No further update.
May 31st 2011 - Update from Zen to ask when BT engineer can attend (visit #4) to investigate. They inform me that earliest appointment would be June 7th. I ask for issue to be escalated as i don't want the issue disappearing again before BT have a chance to fix it.
June 1st 2011 - Zen escalate issue with BT management.
June 2nd 2011 - BT Manager confirms to Zen that he will "see this fault through personally". Engineer arranged to attend exchange to fix E-side (as that is where they think the problem lies) on June 7th (visit #4).

June 8th 2011 - Update from Zen; Thank you for the update. We have the engineers notes from the visit yesterday;
"The engineer has indicated an issue with the D-side of the network (the part from your premises to the Green Street Cab).
The engineer was fully aware of the issue that you have been having and saw it happen as well. However this engineer was unable to resolve the issue.
Engineer spoke to his Team Coach, who advised that they would need to send a specialist engineer to investigate the issue.
Engineer also advised that there are other people in the area having the same issue that have not been resolved.
The fault is not in BT Openreaches Escalation queue, waiting the assignment of the PTO Engineer to investigate that fault.
We have been advised by BT Wholesale that the next update will be tomorrow 09/06/11."


Maybe some progress at last? Hopefully PTO engineer will be able to finally shed some light on the issue....?

June 9th 2011 - PTO Engineer (visit #5) confirmed for June 13th.
June 13th 2011 - PTO Engineer calls me to confirm what speed my router would usually sync at. During the brief discussion, he confirms he'll be investigating from the pole to the exchange.
June 14th 2011 - Update from BT states; "Checked that the fault was dealt by the quality assurance team who have checked with the suppliers.
The PTO is still dealing on the fault and investigation a possible REIN issue.
We have been suggested to review this on 15-06."
Back to it being a REIN issue?
June 15th 2011 - Update from BT states; "ON this fault suppliers have update latest notes states that PTO found that duct and cable is required please provide estimate so work can be done. There is no estimate date provided on this. Suppliers advised to check tomorrow for more update.

Thanks & Regards,

Broadband Customer Service Team Leader"


I guess no REIN issue afterall?

June 16th 2011 - No further update.
June 17th 2011 - No further update.
June 18th 2011 - No further update.
June 19th 2011 - No further update.
June 20th 2011 - Zen contacted BT who advised; "Duct work is being undertaken by BT Openreach. They have advised that there will be an update available on 21st PM."
June 21st 2011 - Zen update; "I have been through to BT who advise that this duct work is now complete. We will check to see how this affects the stability of the line"

Success at last???

I check the line when I get in from work. Still exactly the same. All the symptoms remain. I inform Zen and ask them to go back to BT.

June 22nd 2011 - Update from BT; "PTO task is completed. Duct work was carried out. He confirmed customer was connected." Obviously the engineer did not check to see if the specific symptoms had been resolved, just that the line was connected (which it always has been throughout the problems!) ARGH. Useless ******* BT!!!!!

This is where it starts getting very confusing, as BT's own updates start contradicting themselves...

June 23rd 2011 - Update from BT; "We have contacted the suppliers who have informed that the PTO who was assigned on this has checked and confirmed that all is ok.
Hence there was no duct work carried out.
As you have informed that the issue is still there, would need an SFI engineer to progress further the escalation."
No duct work carried out?! [censored]? I ask Zen to clarify with BT..

BT come back with two separate emails which state;

"when the engineer informed initially regarding the duct work, this was checked by the PTO engineer and found not to be needed, after which the task was closed."

"I have checked with the suppliers and they have confirmed that the duct work is completed, customer now has a working session."

So one update stating the duct work had been completed, the other stating it wasn't even required. But regardless of BT's conflicting views on what has happened - the actual problem remains unresolved!!! Requested that Zen escalate the issue once again.

June 24th 2011 - Update from Zen; "We have requested a complete breakdown of the the fault from start to finish from BT, including everything that has happened including the parts where BT wholesale have gaps in their knowledge and need to speak with Openreach. We are also pushing for a fresh PTO visit to do a full end to end check"
June 25th 2011 - Update from BT;

"07/06/2011 Engineer requested the fault to be passed to the PTO.
09/06/2011- Fault passed to suppliers escalation queue to carry out investigation
10/06/2011 Review provided for 12-06
13/06/2011 Informed regarding the PTO visit for 13-06, to be reviewed on 14-06
14/06/2011 - PTO has found that duct and cable is required. Form sent to planning team.
16/06/2011 review provided for 18-06
19/06/2011 Task passed to repair team
21/06/2011 Task closed after confirmed working with customer adam. Line tested ok, asked to close Fault not found"


Zen have replied to them stating they want the full notes, not just bullet-pointed summaries, and also the full details going back to when the fault was first diagnosed including full engineers notes and the notes form Openreach and the planning department.
I also pointed out to Zen that at no point have BT contacted me to confirm the state of the line, and if they had, i obviously wouldn't have said it was working! So that last update "confirmed working with customer adam etc etc" was a complete fabrication.

June 27th 2011 - Yesterday. Issue is still with BT having been escalated once again... Awaiting their next update.

So that is where we currently stand. Still seemingly no closer to a resolution than we were 4 months ago when the problem first arose.. With very little faith in BT based on what i've seen so far..
I'll post some router stats when I get home, but i'd be interested to see what people think the source of the problem is going to be?

Again, apologies for the wall of text - hope some of you made it through to the end!

Thanks,
Adam.
Standard User ionic
(experienced) Tue 28-Jun-11 14:00:46
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Re: Noise spikes on line, SNR Margin drops, REIN issue?


[re: Mescaline] [link to this post]
 
"Task closed after confirmed working with customer adam"

You're sure they aren't talking to your other half _at all_ when they do anything? It could be she's inadvertantly saying something that they're misconstruing as saying its fixed.
I had that problem once - the first chance they get to say "the customer said it was working", they'll take.
Standard User Mescaline
(newbie) Tue 28-Jun-11 14:24:13
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Re: Noise spikes on line, SNR Margin drops, REIN issue?


[re: ionic] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ionic:
"Task closed after confirmed working with customer adam"

You're sure they aren't talking to your other half _at all_ when they do anything? It could be she's inadvertantly saying something that they're misconstruing as saying its fixed.
I had that problem once - the first chance they get to say "the customer said it was working", they'll take.


Nope, she has only spoken to them once, and that was during one of the earlier engineer visits... 100% sure of that.


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Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Tue 28-Jun-11 22:37:37
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Re: Noise spikes on line, SNR Margin drops, REIN issue?


[re: Mescaline] [link to this post]
 
Ouch, I do wonder why the PTO got involved, sounds like the grand order of the buck pass to me. It's all well and good getting duct work done, but what you need is the cable change over work to be done after the duct work.

It does seem odd that Zen don't see the errors you see.

If REIN rears it's ugly head, it's either there 24/7, intermittent (once or twice a day), not every few months. It seems clear that *somethings* up with your line, but what .......

Standard User ffox
(member) Wed 29-Jun-11 07:27:18
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Re: Noise spikes on line, SNR Margin drops, REIN issue?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Zarjaz:
If REIN rears it's ugly head, it's either there 24/7, intermittent (once or twice a day), not every few months.
Not always - my neighbour didn't use her PC (with dodgy monitor power brick) very often. It averaged once or twice a week, but there were sometimes much longer gaps due to holidays etc.

Plusnet Value Fibre, Netgear WNR 1000, St Ives Cambs

Edited by ffox (Wed 29-Jun-11 08:55:49)

Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Wed 29-Jun-11 19:43:15
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Re: Noise spikes on line, SNR Margin drops, REIN issue?


[re: ffox] [link to this post]
 
Fair comment, how were you able to track that little blighter down, with it being so infrequent ?

Standard User ffox
(member) Wed 29-Jun-11 21:33:54
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Re: Noise spikes on line, SNR Margin drops, REIN issue?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
I was sitting at my PC one evening when the noise started. I rushed out with a portable MW radio and rang doorbells.

The full story is here if you are interested: http://tinyurl.com/68vgknp

Plusnet Value Fibre, Netgear WNR 1000, St Ives Cambs
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