Post Office B/B

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by Woody, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Woody

    Woody Guest

    I've been helping an elderly neighbour get going on the
    Interweb he, at 89, having just bought his first laptop and
    printer and has B/B from the Post Office.

    He was getting 7.47Mb until I changed his socket faceplate
    for a BT vDSL iPlate and he now gets 10.68Mb - when it is
    there. Even before the faceplate change he was moaning (a
    bit) that his laptop kept reporting loss of Internet. He
    tells me it has been OK over most of the weekend but was
    repeatedly dropping out this morning.

    Does anyone know if this is typical of PO Broadband and if
    so what is the best approach to getting them to have a look
    at it? He lives less than 1Km down a straight road from the
    serving exchange and has no problems with his phone service
    (also from the PO.)

    TIA
     
    Woody, Aug 12, 2014
    #1
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  2. leave it a couple of weeks: there is a training period in which repeated
    disconnects and reconnects happen until the speed is low enough to be
    reliable..
     
    The Natural Philosopher, Aug 12, 2014
    #2
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  3. Woody

    Woody Guest



    I've just spoken to PO B/B - who were surprisingly helpful -
    and they stated that the router has lost synce 15 times this
    morning but has been stable for the last six hours - when it
    has not been in use!

    It has now been on line for six weeks which I would have
    thought was enough for any router to stabilise?
     
    Woody, Aug 12, 2014
    #3
  4. When somebody just says they've "lost internet" or "the internet isn't
    working", the first thing to establish is where the disconnection
    taking place. People are astonishingly vague when describing the
    symptoms of technical problems so if you want to help your neighbour
    you may need to do some of the detective work yourself rather than
    relying on his testimony, regardless of how sure he seems to be.

    If there are several computers, are they all affected at the same time
    in the same way? (Your neighbour will probably not even have thought
    of this; most people don't, and can't even understand why you ask). If
    there's only one computer, is it connected by wireless or ethernet?
    What does the network indicator on the screen show, and what do the
    lights on the modem show, while the fault is showing itself? Since you
    mention a laptop, it's possible that you're really dealing with a
    wireless issue, rather than an internet issue.

    It's normal for a few real ADSL disconnects to occur at first, as
    another poster has described to you, but if a couple of these
    happened to occur at times when a user was trying to do something,
    this can end up being described as "it's always going wrong", so
    consider all the possibiities and check the facts for yourself. Good
    luck.

    Rod.
     
    Roderick Stewart, Aug 12, 2014
    #4
  5. Woody

    Woody Guest



    PO B/B is actually done by TalkTalk. I spoke to them (as PO)
    this afternoon - couldn't have been more helpful. They
    interrogated the router remotely and its stats showed it had
    lost sync 15 times this morning but had been stable for six
    hours - the same six hours when it was not being used in
    anger.

    Suggests to me that it is a router fault but TT say they
    have to send out a tech first to check the line (presumably
    BTOR?) and if it is due to internal problems on the premises
    there will be a charge of £144. The router is plugged
    directly into the master socket.

    As it happens the router is a ZyXel and I have a spare that
    I acquired (I'm on cable.) OK it is a few years old and only
    802.11g but it is ADSL2+ and its stats should indicate if it
    too is loosing sync. Obviously if not then it is a router
    problem.
     
    Woody, Aug 12, 2014
    #5
  6. Woody

    Mark Carver Guest

    No, I know someone on TalkTalk and the engineer they sent was
    one of their 'agents' and certainly not from BTOR, (which surprised me)
     
    Mark Carver, Aug 12, 2014
    #6
  7. Woody

    Graham. Guest


    They will get a "Bright Spark" like my neighbour did.
    https://flic.kr/p/dC6Cwj
     
    Graham., Aug 12, 2014
    #7
  8. I've had this on a router that was lightning affected.
     
    The Natural Philosopher, Aug 12, 2014
    #8
  9. The fact that there will be a hefty charge if the problem turns out to
    be the customer's own equipment suggests to me that it would be in his
    best interests to check as many things as can be checked locally
    first. In particular, check the connection between the computer and
    the router, which you can do any time, regardless of internet. If it's
    wireless, all the more reason to suspect it.

    What were the on-screen indications and the router lamp indications
    while the problem was showing? This will indicate whether it is a
    local problem or a genuine internet connection problem. The internet
    may have been disconnected 15 times, but did any of them coincide with
    a time when the customer was experiencing "loss of internet"? Was
    there ever a "loss of internet" while the actual internet connection
    was OK? Does it continue to lose internet connection, or was it only
    this morning? It could be expensive for somebody else to check things
    that you could check first.

    Rod.
     
    Roderick Stewart, Aug 12, 2014
    #9
  10. "Roderick Stewart" wrote
    [...]
    ..> When somebody just says they've "lost internet" or "the internet isn't
    working", the first thing to establish is where the disconnection
    taking place. People are astonishingly vague when describing the
    symptoms of technical problems so if you want to help your neighbour
    you may need to do some of the detective work yourself rather than
    relying on his testimony, regardless of how sure he seems to be.

    ..> If there are several computers, are they all affected at the same time
    in the same way? (Your neighbour will probably not even have thought
    of this; most people don't, and can't even understand why you ask). If
    there's only one computer, is it connected by wireless or ethernet?
    What does the network indicator on the screen show, and what do the
    lights on the modem show, while the fault is showing itself? Since you
    mention a laptop, it's possible that you're really dealing with a
    wireless issue, rather than an internet issue.

    ..> It's normal for a few real ADSL disconnects to occur at first, as
    another poster has described to you, but if a couple of these
    happened to occur at times when a user was trying to do something,
    this can end up being described as "it's always going wrong", so
    consider all the possibiities and check the facts for yourself. Good
    luck.


    Indeed it is well worth while trying another computer such as a tablet in
    case the problem is wholly or partly a Windows one.

    I have had Windows report "partial connection" when a Kindle Fire had no
    difficulty at all and no problem was showing on the (Plusnet) router.
     
    Michael R N Dolbear, Aug 12, 2014
    #10
  11. Woody

    Woody Guest



    You should note Rod that by training I am an electronics
    engineer in the radio comms industry albeit just early
    retired so perhaps I have thought of and gone through all of
    these?

    The laptop reports 'no internet access' which means that it
    is still talking to the router but no further. The guy, even
    at 89 and totally non technical, had the sense to try a
    cable connection to the router when he got that message but
    it was the same although from my experience with this
    particular (Toshiba) laptop I am not certain that a cable
    connection overrides wireless as one would expect.

    Having been there and seen it happen several times, the
    router 'Internet' light does extinguish which I would not
    expect to happen - once on it should stay on. There follows
    a load of flashing lights whence said LED comes back on
    initially red then green, which does suggest to me that the
    problem is either in the router or the line. There is
    however no line issue (or noise) that I can find. It also
    seems significant that changing from an external plug-in
    ADSL filter to a vDSL iPlate increased the download speed by
    50% suggesting perhaps that either there is a noise issue or
    that the router is working on the edge. Given that he is
    less than 1Km from the exchange down a main road and that we
    are the better part of 1Km further on the same road and off
    the same exchange and my neighbour using ADSL gets the same
    order of speed suggests to me that the router is more likely
    to be at fault.

    Anyways I have another (older) ADSL router of the same make
    which I will try probably tomorrow and see what happens.
     
    Woody, Aug 13, 2014
    #11
  12. Woody

    PeeGee Guest

    Is it T/T LLU or via BT kit? Have you extracted the stats from the
    router - SNRM/errors. I believe Routerstats (or the lite version) will
    process some zyxel devices (such as the 660)?

    As it's dropping during use, it could be a line/noise problem (even with
    a successful quiet line test) causing excessive errors while the error
    rate is "acceptable" during the "keep alive" idle time or even a line
    card problem at the exchange.

    If he has no extension wiring, then there should be no possibility of
    "internal wiring" causing the problem and triggering a charge. If there
    is, you've probably checked that already.

    --
    PeeGee

    "Nothing should be able to load itself onto a computer without the
    knowledge or consent of the computer user. Software should also be able
    to be removed from a computer easily."
    Peter Cullen, Microsoft Chief Privacy Strategist (Computing 18 Aug 05)
     
    PeeGee, Aug 13, 2014
    #12
  13. Woody

    Graham J Guest

    Yes, but unless you tell us all these details in your first posting, we
    will ask!

    Further, the router should tell you what is going on, via its management
    page. Given your background you should have checked that also.

    If possible always have a spare computer monitoring the router's status
    page while the user is trying to work normally, that way you can
    actually tell what's happening.
     
    Graham J, Aug 13, 2014
    #13
  14. agreed, it's losing sync
    agreed. The "load of flashing lights" could be the router rebooting -
    check the power connections (mains and low voltage) are secure.

    Take the lower faceplate off the master socket - which should also
    disconnect all internal extensions - and connect the router to the test
    socket.

    If the problem persists, the next step is to try a different router.
    lift the receiver, dial any digit to stop the dial tone, and listen
    hard. The line should be silent. With a router connected, you nay hear
    a faint high frequency hiss, this is normal.
    I think it's more likely that the iPlate disconnects extension wiring
    connected to pin 3, which acts as an antenna and induces noise onto the
    voice pair. It also has filtering on the voice pair.
    Phone wiring doesn't always run as the crow flies. If you can get into
    the router, the download attenuation (expressed in dB) is a more
    reliable indicator of line length and quality.
     
    Mike Tomlinson, Aug 13, 2014
    #14
  15. Yes, or the line has noise on it.

    Since no one will budge a finger till you actually replace the router,
    its handy to always have a cheap POS router to exchange with. TPlink is
    ideal.

    However its just as likely there's a grotty connection down the wires.

    If possible check for crackle and 'invent' it and report it as a voice
    fault.

    That generally gets most joints remade.

    Reporting an ADSL problem gets engineers with reflectometers in to ID
    bad joints as well. That's the next step.

    Finally if that doesn't fix it, keep persisting till BT replacce the
    DSLAM card..
     
    The Natural Philosopher, Aug 13, 2014
    #15
  16. Woody

    Woody Guest

    There is internal wiring to the Krone connection inside the
    faceplate but it is only two wire so the pin 3 doesn't come
    into it. Note also that this is not just an iPlate, it is a
    vDSL plate so, from what I read, has both filtration and
    line balancing within it - possible why the download speed
    rose by 50% when it was fitted.
     
    Woody, Aug 13, 2014
    #16
  17. Woody

    Woody Guest



    It is T/T LLU on the exchange concerned so I assume T/T have
    to fix it? I intend to go have a look at the router stats
    this afternoon if he is in.

    The faceplate fitted is a vDSL unit which I believe not only
    filters but rebalances the line - perhaps why the download
    speed increased by 50% after I fitted it. There is
    additional internal wiring from the Krone connections on the
    face plate but two wire only.
     
    Woody, Aug 13, 2014
    #17
  18. Fair enough. Not realising this, all I had to go on was my own
    experience of people telling me of "loss of internet", a description
    which on its own is so lacking in detail as to be useless. I've had
    this sort of thing all my life both informally as the only technical
    person in the family, and also in the course of employment. If you're
    another electronics engineer I expect you have too. A description
    amounting to "It's broken" or "it's not working" doesn't tell you very
    much.

    There's a huge variety of people posting queries online, so without
    knowing anything of their knowledge or capabilities, to have any hope
    of helping anyone, you really need some details of what they've
    checked already.
    It does if you switch the wireless adaptor off, which is the best way
    to make sure of this. On a portable device, there should *always* be a
    means of switching off wireless connections (wi-fi and bluetooth),
    although the owners of laptops rarely know how to do it. You can
    always disable the adaptor in software in the Device Manager if the
    owner can't find the switch.

    Then of course you can check if the laptop has a local IP address
    (e.g. 192.etc) and the router has an external one, but in this case
    your further description suggests that it is indeed an ADSL connection
    issue, and could very well be the result of faulty cabling between the
    house and the exchange.

    Since you mention that you have another router available, I'd agree
    that's the best thing to try next, just to be sure, though if I were
    required to bet on it, I'd guess it was cabling.

    If you need to get an Openreach engineer out, cross your fingers and
    hope that you get an older one with a bit of experience. Also, if
    offered a choice, pick an afternoon appointment in the hope that it
    will be his last job of the day, but not too late. The one that fixed
    a connection problem for me replaced the very old cable from the pole
    to my house fairly quickly, but was then reluctant to return to base
    before the end of his turn of duty so went back to the street cabinet
    to make some extra checks, and did in fact discover some dodgy joints
    there, so my line ended up being very thoroughly tested and is working
    well.

    Rod.
     
    Roderick Stewart, Aug 13, 2014
    #18
  19. Woody

    Woody Guest


    My comment about cable v. wifi is because I have a Dell and
    a HP (Compaq) and both running W7 when on wireless will
    automatically change to cable when the cable is plugged in.
    Clearly Tosh are not that clever?
     
    Woody, Aug 13, 2014
    #19
  20. Woody

    Woody Guest

    Right Peeps,

    I've been and looked at the router stats and found some
    interesting figures.

    As I arrived the user said to look at the router and sure
    enough it was clearly resetting itself. By the time I had
    got set up and interrogated it it showed an up time of just
    over 8 minutes - which co-incided with my arrival. In the
    hour that I was there with us using two laptops and a
    printer it never dropped once. [This compares with 15 losses
    of sync during Tuesday morning but none during Tuesday
    afternoon when the system was idle.]

    The stats are somewhat limited but show:-
    Noise margin downstream 12.3dB
    Output power upstream 11.3dBm
    Attenuation downstream 26.0dB
    Attenuation upstream 12.7dB
    The telephone line is as quiet as the grave.

    Now having done my homework, 26dB downstream attenuation to
    me looks pretty good, although I am puzzled why there is
    such a large margin between upstream and downstream
    attenuation unless it is (RF) frequency related.

    There didn't appear to be any wireless issues but as the
    router was (auto) on channel 12 and there were a lot of
    users locally on 1, 4, 6, 11, and one on 13, I moved it to
    channel 8 which was much quieter to see if it is of any
    benefit.

    speedtest.net showed the same figures as last weekend: 32mS
    ping and about 10.6Mb down (didn't wait for up.)

    Finally I have fixed the DHCP addresses of his laptop and
    printer so that there would be no address confusion caused
    by different switch on sequence, i.e. laptop first or
    printer first.

    Can anyone advise me of what to do next if the router still
    shows itself to be resetting? The router is a ZyXel AMG1302:
    I have another ZyXel but of an older type (brand new) which
    I could substitute which may indicate whether it is a router
    or a DSLAM card problem assuming the figures indicate the
    line is OK.

    TIA
     
    Woody, Aug 14, 2014
    #20
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