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Standard User bob_lucas
(learned) Wed 03-Feb-21 18:34:30
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Problem with frequest dropouts


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I am suffering problems with my FTTC broadband service, with frequent dropouts and declining speeds.

I live approximately 300m from the cabinet. From there, ancient copper wiring travels a short distance underground. Then it goes overhead and hops from pole to pole, before diving underground again. One of the overhead sections even passes through the branches of a large tree, which sway when the wind blows. BT Openreach had to install a new pole and replace that section several years ago.

BT Openreach engineers have attended three times during the past week. Following today’s visit, the connection has not dropped out. However, I am not confident they have done anything to identify or resolve the cause. As far as I am concerned, dropouts every few minutes are unacceptable.

Last time I renewed my contract, BT estimated download speeds of 55 - 73 Mbps and upload speeds of 17 - 18 Mbps, with a stay Fast Guarantee of 49 Mbps. Last year, I often achieved downloads at between 50 and 52 Mbps. Upload speeds fluctuated between 10 and 14 Mbps.

Following repeated dropouts last week, dynamic line management capped my sync speeds at 44 Mbps down and 17 Mbps up. However, dropouts continued and actual speeds dwindled to around 35 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up. BT Openreach have not identified any external wiring faults so today, they reset the sync speed to 56 Mbps.

My BT Halo 1 contract has just ended. Another 24 months is too long to risk, because the service is so unstable. Fortunately, I did not need to renew the Halo 1 contract, because the out of contract price has not increased and surprisingly, a new contract would cost more. Furthermore, there seems little point in changing to a different supplier, because the service would use the same infrastructure and I would have to commit to a fixed term contract with the new supplier.

The master socket is in an upstairs bedroom. I am not sure whether it is an NTE5 or NTE5A. From the bedroom, two wires feed into star-wiring throughout the house. The BT SmartHub 6 router is in my home office, where it is plugged into an extension socket, and is no more than 3m from the master socket.

I am not convinced internal wiring is the cause of the problems, because the symptoms are intermittent and vary, according the weather. However, the BT call centre assured me that the problems will disappear, if I plug the router directly into the master socket. Furthermore, BT will not guarantee any speeds, unless I do so.

I know the wiring in my house is far from ideal. Unfortunately, the location of the master socket is in the wrong room and I cannot move the router. Consequently, I wonder whether I could anything do to improve the wiring.

It would not be practical to re-wire the entire house, but would it help, if I replace the NTE5 faceplate with an ADSL filtered faceplate (like the one at www.solwise.co.uk/adsl_splitters-faceplates.htm)?

It would be fairly easy to drill a small hole through the wall between the bedroom and my home office and run a longer lead from the master socket directly to the router (or to a dedicated RJ11 socket in the office). Then, it should be possible to hard wire the modem and voice extensions to the rear of the filtered faceplate. And if I install an RJ11 socket in my office, should I use Cat5 or Cat6 cable – or would ordinary solid core telephone cable suffice?

I shall appreciate any other suggestions or recommendations.
Standard User Zarjaz
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 03-Feb-21 20:21:25
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Re: Problem with frequest dropouts


[re: bob_lucas] [link to this post]
 
master socket is in an upstairs bedroom. I am not sure whether it is an NTE5 or NTE5A. From the bedroom, two wires feed into star-wiring throughout the house. The BT SmartHub 6 router is in my home office, where it is plugged into an extension socket, and is no more than 3m from the master socket.

So you have a bridge tap on your internal wiring .... I am surprised this hasn’t been picked up on and rectified.

DLM will always see a bridge tap as an issue, and will slowly but surely cap sync rates down as a result.

Standard User 4M2
(knowledge is power) Wed 03-Feb-21 21:48:38
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Re: Problem with frequest dropouts


[re: bob_lucas] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by bob_lucas:
It would not be practical to re-wire the entire house, but would it help, if I replace the NTE5 faceplate with an ADSL filtered faceplate (like the one at www.solwise.co.uk/adsl_splitters-faceplates.htm)?

It would be fairly easy to drill a small hole through the wall between the bedroom and my home office and run a longer lead from the master socket directly to the router (or to a dedicated RJ11 socket in the office). Then, it should be possible to hard wire the modem and voice extensions to the rear of the filtered faceplate. And if I install an RJ11 socket in my office, should I use Cat5 or Cat6 cable – or would ordinary solid core telephone cable suffice?


https://www.solwise.co.uk/adsl_splitters-faceplates.htm should be OK - hardwire 100% copper, 2 pair CAT5e cable (one of the pairs) to the faceplate's A&B unfiltered rear terminals then route the cable through to a rj11 socket in the office for the modem/router. A maximum of two voice extensions, less bell wires, can then also be hardwired to the filtered terminals on the rear of the splitter/filtered faceplate.

The modem/router will then be on an unfiltered "data extension" and a maximum of two voice extensions will be filtered. An Openreach Mk3 filtered faceplate might be preferable but they are hard to come by these days at a reasonable price. Also alternatively you could use cw1308 solid core twisted pair telephone cable for the modem/router extension but DSL "data extensions" generally use 2 pair CAT5e.

Good luck.

Edited by 4M2 (Wed 03-Feb-21 22:19:32)


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Standard User bob_lucas
(regular) Thu 04-Feb-21 09:22:05
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Re: Problem with frequest dropouts


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Zarjaz:
So you have a bridge tap on your internal wiring .... I am surprised this hasn’t been picked up on and rectified.

DLM will always see a bridge tap as an issue, and will slowly but surely cap sync rates down as a result.


In reply to a post by 4M2:
https://www.solwise.co.uk/adsl_splitters-faceplates.htm should be OK - hardwire 100% copper, 2 pair CAT5e cable (one of the pairs) to the faceplate's A&B unfiltered rear terminals then route the cable through to a rj11 socket in the office for the modem/router. A maximum of two voice extensions, less bell wires, can then also be hardwired to the filtered terminals on the rear of the splitter/filtered faceplate.

The modem/router will then be on an unfiltered "data extension" and a maximum of two voice extensions will be filtered. An Openreach Mk3 filtered faceplate might be preferable but they are hard to come by these days at a reasonable price. Also alternatively you could use cw1308 solid core twisted pair telephone cable for the modem/router extension but DSL "data extensions" generally use 2 pair CAT5e.

Good luck.


That is great advice. I should be grateful if you could clarify two aspects, please.

1. Would the use of a Solwise adsl splitter faceplate or an Openreach Mk3 filtered faceplate eliminate the bridge tap completely?

2. If not, would it help to reduce the frequency of dropouts?

Thank you.

Edited by bob_lucas (Thu 04-Feb-21 09:24:46)

Standard User candlerb
(fountain of knowledge) Thu 04-Feb-21 09:29:35
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Re: Problem with frequest dropouts


[re: bob_lucas] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by bob_lucas:
It would be fairly easy to drill a small hole through the wall between the bedroom and my home office and run a longer lead from the master socket directly to the router (or to a dedicated RJ11 socket in the office). Then, it should be possible to hard wire the modem and voice extensions to the rear of the filtered faceplate.


Yes, that's absolutely the right thing to do to fix this problem.

As I think you already know, there are separate connections inside the master socket for the data and voice extensions; and these are disconnected when the front plate is removed (to allow testing directly into the master socket).

In reply to a post by bob_lucas:
And if I install an RJ11 socket in my office, should I use Cat5 or Cat6 cable – or would ordinary solid core telephone cable suffice?


Ordinary telephone cable is fine - this is what the VDSL modem is designed to use. But if you happen to have some Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 lying around, that will work too.

Only a single pair - the middle two pins on the RJ11 - needs to be connected.
Standard User bob_lucas
(regular) Sat 06-Feb-21 12:23:39
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Re: Problem with frequent dropouts


[re: bob_lucas] [link to this post]
 
Dropouts still occur every few hours. That is an improvement, although it is still rather frequent.

However, I have received a text from BT, saying that they are still looking into the broadband issue and have passed the fault to their specialist team, who will be in touch within the next two days. BT are probably working on the case, because they seem to have reset the line. Present router stats indicate that the downstream sync speed has increased to 60.59 Mbps and the upstream sync speed is now 20.00 Mbps.

So before going to the expense and upheaval of fitting a filtered faceplate, drilling through a wall and installing a dedicated data extension, I obtained a long (10m) modem lead. So now, and as a temporary measure, I have used that lead to connect the router directly to the Master socket (using a plug-in filter).

That does not seem to have made much difference to the dropout problem. However, the speed test result at https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/16126122656... is much better.

I also input my details on the BT Wholesale Broadband Availability Checker which produced the following result:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yvlrdf1bh0715bz/BT%20Broad...

Last time I performed that exercise, the Wholesale Broadband Availability Checker detected a bridge tap. This time, it reports no bridge tap. I wonder why.

I wonder whether I should still go down the route of fitting a filtered faceplate and installing a dedicated data extension, or whether to await developments.
Standard User dect
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 06-Feb-21 12:29:57
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Re: Problem with frequent dropouts


[re: bob_lucas] [link to this post]
 
If BT / Openreach are still investigating I personally wouldn't change anything until they have finished doing that as I wouldn't want to throw them a curveball.
Standard User 4M2
(knowledge is power) Fri 12-Feb-21 02:06:31
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Re: Problem with frequent dropouts


[re: bob_lucas] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by bob_lucas:
So before going to the expense and upheaval of fitting a filtered faceplate, drilling through a wall and installing a dedicated data extension, I obtained a long (10m) modem lead. So now, and as a temporary measure, I have used that lead to connect the router directly to the Master socket (using a plug-in filter).


Assuming you have a NTE5 master socket with removable lower faceplate, are you connecting the modem/router to the master socket's faceplate using a plug-in filter and are any voice extensions currently terminated on the rear of the faceplate? If alternatively you have connected the plug-in filter to the master socket's test socket (with the faceplate removed) and thus isolated any voice extensions from the circuit that should be preferable if one wishes to diagnose the broadband speed/stability.

However that might be undesirable at the moment due to the limitation of only being able to use one corded phone connected to the plug-in filter. If you do work from the test socket and hence other voice extension sockets in the house are dead, for an unknown period of time, would that be unduly inconvenient?
Standard User bob_lucas
(regular) Fri 12-Feb-21 10:41:40
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Re: Problem with frequent dropouts


[re: 4M2] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by 4M2:
In reply to a post by bob_lucas:
So before going to the expense and upheaval of fitting a filtered faceplate, drilling through a wall and installing a dedicated data extension, I obtained a long (10m) modem lead. So now, and as a temporary measure, I have used that lead to connect the router directly to the Master socket (using a plug-in filter).

In reply to a post by bob_lucas:
Assuming you have a NTE5 master socket with removable lower faceplate, are you connecting the modem/router to the master socket's faceplate using a plug-in filter and are any voice extensions currently terminated on the rear of the faceplate? If alternatively you have connected the plug-in filter to the master socket's test socket (with the faceplate removed) and thus isolated any voice extensions from the circuit that should be preferable if one wishes to diagnose the broadband speed/stability.

However that might be undesirable at the moment due to the limitation of only being able to use one corded phone connected to the plug-in filter. If you do work from the test socket and hence other voice extension sockets in the house are dead, for an unknown period of time, would that be unduly inconvenient?

Yes. I have used a plug-in filter to connect the modem/router to the front of the master socket. All of the voice extensions still run from the rear of the faceplate. Unfortunately, use of a longer lead between the modem/router and the master socket has made no noticeable difference. The Internet connection sometimes remains stable for up to 30 hours, followed by repeated and frequent dropouts.

Given the intermittent nature of the dropouts, I would need to continue any test for at least 48 hours. I know I could plug the filter into the test socket and add a single telephone to the filter. However, the master socket is in an upstairs bedroom, so the location would be inconvenient to say the least.

Consequently, I am still inclined to try a filtered face plate as a first step. Then, I could connect a dedicated data extension directly to terminals A & B at the rear of the faceplate. That should do no harm. I think disconnecting all of the house wiring, by removing the faceplate, would have to be a last resort.
Standard User 4M2
(knowledge is power) Fri 12-Feb-21 19:59:56
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Re: Problem with frequent dropouts


[re: bob_lucas] [link to this post]
 
I would certainly get those required voice extensions filtered at the NTE5 using a filtered faceplate ensuring that any bell wires are not connected. A Solwise filtered plate, or ideally an Openreach Mk3 filtered plate, together with your long adsl lead for experimental purposes should be OK. If there is an improvement then you could go ahead with the "data extension" setup.

Good luck.
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