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Standard User adrianshepherd
(newbie) Mon 15-Feb-21 18:58:25
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Should I expect faster speeds?


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Hello,

I've recently moved over from Virgin Media Fibre M200 to Zen Unlimited 80/20 (FTTC).

The Virgin Media connection was simply awful, with constant drop outs, unstable speeds and tortuous customer "service".

I've had my Zen connection up and running for about two weeks now. It's been far more stable than my Virgin connection, which I'm pleased about.

However, I'm currently only getting at most 73 Mb/s downstream and 16 Mb/s upstream. Sometimes this drops to around 68 Mb/s down and 13 Mb/s up. This is tested using a wired connection from my PC to the Fritz!Box router.

I've waited until now because I was told by the Openreach engineer that the line takes around 10 days to stabilise.

It's strange because when the engineer tested the connection after installing it, he was getting 79.999 Mb/s down and 19.999 Mb/s up on his device.

Upon signing up with Zen, they also guaranteed that my speeds would be at least 78 Mb/s down and 19 Mb/s up.

I'm 118 metres from the exchange (based in East London), and the Openreach engineer installed a brand new line from outside my house to a new Master socket. The router is connected to the Master socket using a 0.5m cable.

Are my speeds the best I can expect, or do I have a legitimate reason to talk to Zen about this? I don't mean to complain when I know so much of the country is struggling with far worse speeds. However, I would like to get what I'm paying for.

One thing I have noticed is that the Openreach engineer didn't do a great job with the cabling. I've seen at least two locations where he stapled right through the cable. I've removed the staples because I was worried about shorting the signal, and the staple has indeed gone through the centre of the cable rather than just the sheathing.

Can this cause a problem?

I've had three occasions when the connection has dropped out completely, however I put this down to the line being tested by the exchange.

I'd appreciate any advice.
Standard User Zarjaz
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 15-Feb-21 19:51:08
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: adrianshepherd] [link to this post]
 
The engineer was ...

A. Talking out of his [censored] about the ten day training period.

B. Talking about the sync rate on his tester, whereas you are talking about throughput speeds.


Not too pleased to hear about the stapling ...
.. is there clear dialling tone on the line ?

Standard User Andrue
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 15-Feb-21 20:25:14
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: adrianshepherd] [link to this post]
 
73Mb/s is about as good as it gets with the maximum sync rate on FTTC. There are protocol overheads that mean you're unlikely to see more than that. Same with 16Mb/s upstream.

The speed drops would also be normal in the evening from most ISPs but are a bit unusual from Zen. Worth keeping an eye on it but I don't know how much traction you'd get trying to raise it as a fault. I've not used Zen but with IDNet it can be worth sending a query about odd behaviour as they will look into it. If the lower speeds were a common occurence I would do that.

However the occasional poor speed test is probably not worth bothering with.

---
Andrue Cope
Brackley, UK

Edited by Andrue (Mon 15-Feb-21 20:29:10)


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Standard User adrianshepherd
(newbie) Tue 16-Feb-21 02:07:26
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Zarjaz:
The engineer was ...

A. Talking out of his [censored] about the ten day training period.

B. Talking about the sync rate on his tester, whereas you are talking about throughput speeds.


Not too pleased to hear about the stapling ...
.. is there clear dialling tone on the line ?



Unfortunately I don't have an active telephone line with Zen, just the broadband. They told me that I would need to purchase the telephone activation as an additional package, even though I paid for the installation.

I'm guessing without the line being activated, I wouldn't be able to hear a dialling tone if I plugged a phone into the socket, would I?

The Openreach engineer was rather stroppy when he came to be honest. He tried insisting on installing the Master Socket near the front door. He also told me that the speeds would only be "guaranteed to the socket" so I should keep the router as close to the Master Socket as possible because a large distance between the two would increase the chance of the signal degrading (which appears to be true).

I had to repeatedly ask that he install the Master Socket on the side of my staircase, because that's where I would be placing the router, centrally situated in the house near the ground floor ceiling for maximum coverage. It was only an extra 5 or 6 metres of straight-forward cabling required, which only took about 10 minutes. But there was a surprising amount of huffing and frowning. Maybe he was having a bad day.

However, this did allow me to keep the distance from the router to the Master Socket very short.

Is it worth mentioning the holes in the cable to Zen?
Standard User adrianshepherd
(newbie) Tue 16-Feb-21 02:08:41
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: Andrue] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Andrue:
73Mb/s is about as good as it gets with the maximum sync rate on FTTC. There are protocol overheads that mean you're unlikely to see more than that. Same with 16Mb/s upstream.

The speed drops would also be normal in the evening from most ISPs but are a bit unusual from Zen. Worth keeping an eye on it but I don't know how much traction you'd get trying to raise it as a fault. I've not used Zen but with IDNet it can be worth sending a query about odd behaviour as they will look into it. If the lower speeds were a common occurence I would do that.

However the occasional poor speed test is probably not worth bothering with.


I did some reading around this, and I've seen it mentioned in a few places that throughput speeds are typically 88.2% of sync speeds, so you're probably correct about the 70+ Mb/s being about the best I can expect downstream. Although upstream I should be expecting at least 17 Mb/s, if the theory is valid.

Are these protocol overheads particularly true of FTTC?

With Virgin, I was on their 200/20 plan. And, when it worked, I would always get at least 200 Mb/s downstream (sometimes even 220 Mb/s) and at least 19.5 Mb/s up. That's surprising, given how awful everything else about Virgin was. Honestly, I'm astonished that their "customer support" hasn't been outlawed as a crime against humanity. I break into a cold sweat merely thinking about their on-hold music.

I think you've convinced me to talk to Zen to see what they have to say. Perhaps my concern will be logged and I may be able to reference it if things get worse in the future.
Standard User Andrue
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 16-Feb-21 09:06:14
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: adrianshepherd] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by adrianshepherd:
I did some reading around this, and I've seen it mentioned in a few places that throughput speeds are typically 88.2% of sync speeds, so you're probably correct about the 70+ Mb/s being about the best I can expect downstream. Although upstream I should be expecting at least 17 Mb/s, if the theory is valid.

Upstream might be being impacted by QoS. Some routers hold a bit back so as to avoid it become swamped when uploading large amounts of data. It sounds counter-intuitive but without that if you initiate a large upload your connection can become useless for anything else because you're unable to transmit ACK packets for other activities.
I think you've convinced me to talk to Zen to see what they have to say. Perhaps my concern will be logged and I may be able to reference it if things get worse in the future.
From what I hear about Zen that might be a reasonable cause of action.

---
Andrue Cope
Brackley, UK
Standard User BLaZiNgSPEED
(member) Fri 19-Feb-21 10:22:34
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: adrianshepherd] [link to this post]
 
Yes, not quite normal. At 118 meters from cabinet you should get the full 80/20 speed test. Now you can wait of-course for the line to stabilize as DLM can sometimes take a while. Make sure you don't power off or reboot your router as that can disrupt the DLM process.

Crosstalk can also be a factor in reduced speeds. However, seeing that you have Virgin Media as well, I'd expect crosstalk to be less of a factor with a chunk of customers still using Virgin Media.

I sync at 80/20 Mbps in my TalkTalk router settings and I also get 80/20 in speed tests. Not absolutely every single time but most of the time I get speed tests of 80 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload with various speed test sites.

Here's proof. https://i.imgur.com/6XC1WI7.jpg
https://i.speedof.me/201205000112-233
https://i.imgur.com/h01UK8f.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/k8Lmgoh.jpg

https://librespeed.org/results/?id=0vmhvmn Latest speed test just done now with Libre 80Mbps download, 20 Mbps upload.

And btw, I am 320 meters away from cabinet and that's with TalkTalk! I pay only £21.95 a month.

If you are 118 meters away, you should be guaranteed to receive 80 Mbps considering that my copper length is 202 meters longer than yours! In fact there are people here who claim to get 80Mbps with a 450 meter cabinet distance.

What does the Broadband Checker show? https://www.broadbandchecker.btwholesale.com/#/ADSL/...
I'm pretty certain that if your cabinet is 118 meters away from your property, barring any crosstalk you should get VDSL Range A (Clean) 80 79 20 19 VDSL Range B (Impacted) 80 79 20 19

78Mbps would be the lowest I can expect you to receive. I have been with TalkTalk FTTC last 1 year and my router has always synced at 80/20 along with my speed tests even though my lowest estimates are between 64.8 and 68.2 Mbps in the BT Wholesale checker.

You should complain to Zen! I am assuming that you are paying £34.99 a month and only getting 73/16 Mbps? That's certainly not acceptable.
Standard User jpm
(member) Fri 19-Feb-21 16:56:44
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: BLaZiNgSPEED] [link to this post]
 
Seconded, my line is best case 450m long and synced at 79.999 down and 19.999 up, stable for 45 days with a 3.8dB margin.
Standard User BLaZiNgSPEED
(member) Sat 20-Feb-21 01:58:11
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: jpm] [link to this post]
 
Same, my TalkTalk router stats show

Downstream Upstream
Actual Rate [Kbps] 79999 19999
Maximum Rate [Kbps] 80904 19999
Noise Margin [dB] 2.80 14.80
Attenuation [dB] 18.00 0.00

I have even lower noise margins, 2.80dB and until recently it was as low as 2.30dB but my connection has always been stable, noise margin slightly bounced without interrupting the connection.

At the very beginning last year it was 6.40dB and 15.40dB but crosstalk did drop it to 2.80dB but I am still syncing at 80/20.

We don't have Virgin Media or Hyperoptic here so crosstalk should affect me more than the original poster.

I can only suspect worse case scenario aluminum telephone line instead of copper. It could also be noise related to the line or a faulty router. OP, should look to see if the orange ring wire is connected to his master socket and look to remove it.

Or maybe give it a few days for DLM to sort itself out. In the very beginning I was also syncing 80/20 but my download was only 65-73Mbps
My Broadband Speed Test--->My Broadband Speed Test

As you can see from my speed tests, 5-7 days later last year this jumped.

My Broadband Speed Test
And then finally again it jumped several days later. The connection remained the same but the speed test results seemed to have corrected themselves over time and it has remained that way since.

However, in the case of the OP router stats need to show 79999 19999, there's no reason why it shouldn't with a 118 meter cabinet distance.

Edited by BLaZiNgSPEED (Sat 20-Feb-21 01:59:38)

Standard User MHC
(sensei) Sat 20-Feb-21 10:24:16
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Re: Should I expect faster speeds?


[re: BLaZiNgSPEED] [link to this post]
 
2.x margins are quite common and almost everyone who has a 3dB sync will see it at some time. I have seen cases with 1.x dB. You modem will sync at at 3dB based on the prevailing conditions and then as things change that will vary up and down slightly. It will stay like that until a resync event occurs which could be down to a large number of error in a short time frame and that is more likely with lower SNRs.

The same happens on ADSL and I have screen shots of where the SNR was actually negative.


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M H C


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