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.