ADSL Irritation

I’ve been having problems with my ADSL line since maybe April/May, but never severely. I’ve been with my ISP, Freedom2Surf for perhaps 3 and half years and I’ve never had a problem, ever.

In May or so 2006, I had a few connection drops and the line wouldn’t come back up, sometimes for between 4-6 hours or even 24 hours sometimes. As frustrating as it was, I figured that having a few dropouts wasn’t a big deal as the service had been impeccable for 3 years. The the dropouts became more frequent and also longer in duration. In the interim period many ISPs stated that the move to ADSL Max had caused some network instability for many customers, but the worst was over.

By September I’d had enough and submitted a support ticket. I was asked the standard questions, to which I replied and heard nothing back as in the mean time, my line was changed over to ADSL Max. ADSL Max offers up to 8Mb connections speeds and I was theoretically capable of up to 6Mb as I am around 3km from my exchange in Fordhouses.

With ADSL Max, the line synchronises at the highest possible speed and then over a 10 day period, changes occasionally, so the fastest error free connections speed could be worked out. During this period, I received a solid 7Mbs, which was incredible. After the end of the 10 day period, my bandwidth dropped through the floor to 16Kbs, which is around 500 time slower than I was getting up to that point. I went on holiday after a few days and thought the speed would sort itself out while I was away. On my return 15 days later it was the same so I submitted another support request. After a few days the speed came back to around 2Mbs, which although not in the dizzying heights of the line speed training period, was the same as my pre-ADSL Max speed and was certainly workable. After a few more days it dropped to 16Kbs again so I submitted another support request. Again the speed came back to 2Mbs after a few days and then dropped to 16Kbs. I think I submitted another support ticket, this time including the results of a BT linespeed test, which stated that my ADSL profile was set to 16Kbs and that I had already submitted 3 previous tickets about this issue.

I also explained that I had done everything possible to exclude problems at my end, changed modem cables, changed microfilters, moved the modem to nearer to the phone socket, no power cable interference, in fact the only thing I hadn’t done was try another router as I don’t have one. After a few days my connection picked up and then dropped again, so I phoned up.

The support guy was very helpful, I explained my situation and he agreed that there was a definite problem, performed some tests and then told me it was a suspected line fault for which he would report a fault with BT (the British phone company which supplies ADSL and telephone lines). He also said he would call back before 7pm on that or the following evening to tell me the results of BT’s tests.

A week later I called back to see what the results were as my man didn’t call back. Another support guy explained that BT had concluded the problem was with my equipment. So now I have to find another ADSL modem and router to check the problem out. Which is irritating because I don’t have one. Even worse is the fact that I might have to buy a new one if using a different router solves the problem.

I have to admit that my telephone line is quite noisy with what sounds like dialup modem signals just about audible on it, which may well be my ADSL modem spitting out signals which aren’t filtered out by the microfilter properly. Not being an ADSL geek, this obviously sound dodgy but I’m still not convinced that my router is at fault. The line has always been slightly noisy I think, but I have little option to try a new router, so Carl, bring your router next weekend to the LAN party if you can make it.

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  1. Pingback: Dealing With BT « Adam Sweet’s Blog

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