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Topic # 114388 18-Feb-2013 14:27 Send private message

I know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, but I don't know much about networking. When I read this forum, it is (like any tech forum, I guess) full of techie terms - DSL, ADSL2+, 802.11a/b/g/n, dual band this, megabit that. I could go on. I'll be honest; I understand about 30% of it.

I'd really like to know a lot more, because my bog-standard-Telecom-supplied-Thomson-WiFi setup sucks. Slow speeds, constant dropouts, devices connecting fine one evening and flatly refusing to connect the next morning (again, I could go on). At some point in the very near future, I want to upgrade to something more stable and (hopefully) faster. So I'd like to be able to consider the types of devices that would be connecting to my home network (and how many) and any other functions I might want, and work out from that what sort of router/modem will suit my purposes, and how to configure it.

I guess I could always just post another GZ "What modem/router should I buy" thread. I'm sure you guys would give me excellent advice. But then I still wouldn't know anything, and that's no fun. Anyway, I'd probably be back on here five minutes later asking how to configure everything!

Apparently there is a book called Home Networking for Dummies, and that might be all I need, but I wondered whether anyone here could recommend any other good references that explain the terms and technologies, standards and spec.s, features and functions, aimed at complete noob level? Or does this take three years and a student loan?

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  Reply # 764181 18-Feb-2013 14:31 Send private message

Hi, the Telecom supplied modems, whilst not the best modem on the planet, they should not be flaky as you desribe, however what you describe is more like a issue of phone wiring issues, could you explain how many outlets and are they filtered etc. And can you post your modems line stats, its under DSL connection > details.

Cyril

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  Reply # 764182 18-Feb-2013 14:31 Send private message

Getting in before anyone else asks; do you have a master splitter installed on your phone line?



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  Reply # 765206 18-Feb-2013 15:33 Send private message

cyril7: Could you explain how many outlets and are they filtered etc. And can you post your modems line stats, its under DSL connection > details.Cyril


There are three phone outlets in the house. One has a Uniden cordless phone base station (which runs two handsets) plugged in with a filter between the unit and the outlet. A second has the Thomson modem/router plugged in, with no filter (I did have a filter on this outlet too, for a while, but it didn't seem to make any difference). The third outlet has nothing plugged into it.

Edit: Just remembered, I have a MySky decoder also connected to the phone line, to enable direct booking of Box Office, etc. The installer put a phone socket on the inside wall near the Sky box and wired it directly into a Telecom junction box on the outside of the house. Filtered? I don't know - should there be a filter between MySky and the wall?

I'll try to post some line stats later this evening, after I get home from the gym.

DarthKermit: Do you have a master splitter installed on your phone line?


Wasn't Master Splitter the rat in TMNT? But seriously - I'm going to say "no", but again, that's a guess. What do I look for?

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  Reply # 765209 18-Feb-2013 15:34 Send private message

My guess is you dont have a master filter as you are using inline filters.

Cyril

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  Reply # 765261 18-Feb-2013 16:37 Send private message


DarthKermit: Do you have a master splitter installed on your phone line?


Wasn't Master Splitter the rat in TMNT? But seriously - I'm going to say "no", but again, that's a guess. What do I look for?


One of these:


They're designed so that they'll fit inside your ETP (external termination point), which is the white box where your phone line enters your house. Assuming you have one.



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  Reply # 765272 18-Feb-2013 16:43 Send private message

DarthKermit: They're designed so that they'll fit inside your ETP (external termination point), which is the white box where your phone line enters your house. Assuming you have one.


A white box about 8cm square? Yeah, I think that's the box the Sky installer connected into (see my edited second message). Can't say I've opened it up myself, but will have a look tonight.



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  Reply # 765339 18-Feb-2013 18:56 Send private message

OK:
- There is an inline filter at the back of the MySky decoder.
- There is not a master splitter in the ETP.

Here is a photo of the contents of the ETP:



It's a bit of a rats nest, but:
1. The Telecom black cable comes up through the PVC pipe from the bottom of the picture.
2. There is a second black cable you can see running in from the right hand side of the picture. This is the one the Sky installer put to connect the MySky to the phone line.
3. There are three white cables running into the house.
    a) One of them is labelled "OFFICE" and runs to a single phone socket in a room that the previous owners used as an office. This was a "second line" they used for a phone/fax device
        with a different phone number to their home number. We don't use this line and there is nothing connected to it.
     b) I presume one of the others two white cables goes to the three phone sockets on the line we do use, possibly "daisy-chained". One of these has our cordless phone base unit (with
        inline filter), another has the Thomson modem (with no filter), and the third is empty.
4. I have no idea what the third white cable is for. Maybe the three sockets we have are not all on the same line?

And here are the line stats. I should point out that I have had the modem connected via ethernet cable for the last four or five days as we couldn't connect anything to it (Windows PC, two iPads, an iPhone or an Android phone). It started working again by itself yesterday, but I left the ethernet cable in until about 45 minutes ago. It's all Greek to me...

Uptime:                                                      0 days, 0:47:50 
DSL Type:                                                  G.992.5 annex A
Bandwidth (Up/Down) [kbps/kbps]:              313 / 3.040
Data Transferred (Sent/Received) [kB/kB]:   0,00 / 0,00
Output Power (Up/Down) [dBm]:                 12,0 / 0,0
Line Attenuation (Up/Down) [dB]:                32,0 / 20,5
SN Margin (Up/Down) [dB]:                         4,0 / 27,0
Vendor ID (Local/Remote):                          TMMB / IKNS
Loss of Framing (Local/Remote):                  11 / 0
Loss of Signal (Local/Remote):                     2 / 0
Loss of Power (Local/Remote):                     0 / 0
Loss of Link (Remote):                                0
Error Seconds (Local/Remote):                    8 / 0
FEC Errors (Up/Down):                               35 / 1
CRC Errors (Up/Down):                               35 / 0
HEC Errors (Up/Down):                               0 / 0


PS: To give you an example of the speeds we experience, when I first posted this, the "table" with line stats lost it's formatting and was just a couple of lines of densely packed text. I hit Edit to fix the post, and it took 27 seconds for the page to finish re-displaying.

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  Reply # 765345 18-Feb-2013 19:05 Send private message

Wow, this reads a little better

DSL Type:G.992.5 annex ABandwidth (Up/Down) [kbps/kbps]:313 / 3.040
Output Power (Up/Down) [dBm]:12,0 / 0,0
Line Attenuation (Up/Down) [dB]:32,0 / 20,5
SN Margin (Up/Down) [dB]:4,0 / 27,0
Vendor ID (Local/Remote):TMMB / IKNS
Loss of Framing (Local/Remote):11 / 0
Loss of Signal (Local/Remote):2 / 0
Loss of Power (Local/Remote):0 / 0
Loss of Link (Remote):0
Error Seconds (Local/Remote):8 / 0
FEC Errors (Up/Down):35 / 1
CRC Errors (Up/Down):35 / 0
HEC Errors (Up/Down):0 / 0

so looking at that photo, and 20dB attenuation and 3Mb/s demonstrates a serious need for a central master filter if ever I saw one.

If you put your address into www.chorus.co.nz/sat what does it tell you

Cyril



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  Reply # 765353 18-Feb-2013 19:26 Send private message

Well, after losing my wireless connection again, and plugging the ethernet cable back in again...

Network capability:
  • Urban broadband > 10 Mbps
Network upgrade scheduled:
  • UFB deployment dates for your area are still being developed



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  Reply # 765897 19-Feb-2013 18:34 Send private message

I'm about to go away for a few days, but have spoken to a friend who's an ex-Telecom tech who now runs his own electronics business to come and check some things for me, and see about installing a splitter. But while I really appreciate how helpful you have been, I still haven't learned anything - e.g. I don't know anything now that I didn't know before that would enable me to figure this out myself. So, a follow-up question...

How does the splitter work? I thought it somehow "isolates" the jack that the modem/router is plugged into so it is not affected by "interference" from other devices that are sharing the line (phones, MySky). I ask because although it's not blazingly fast, I always have internet access when plugged into the router with an ethernet cable. It's only wireless that drops out. But the other end of the modem is plugged into the same phone jack whether I'm connected to the the router wirelessly or by cable. It's sharing the same line with the same other devices either way. Shouldn't that interference be there all the time? Why is it only WiFi that drops out? Why don't I lose internet access when I'm connected via cable?

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  Reply # 765900 19-Feb-2013 19:01 Send private message

Hi, your undestanding of how the filter works is basically correct, it both isolates the other devices, and more importantly removes the other cabling in the house from being seen by the DSL signal.

The filter actually goes between the inbound line and the voice devices rather than the inbount line and the modem, the modem sits directly across the line, so the filter stops those voice devices from making any impact on the DSL spectrum, the subtle difference between inline filters and a central filter is that it also isolates out the cabling, resulting in an effective single 100ohm transmission line from DSLAM to modem, something inline filters cannot achieve.

Cyril

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  Reply # 765928 19-Feb-2013 19:50 Send private message

When you get to the high frequencies used by ADSL or VDSL, all the little bits of wiring that go to the various phone jacks act like a mirror does with light, reflecting the signal back down the cable the way it came. These reflections then interfere with the original signal, degrading the signal, with the end result being lower throughput on your connection. The more of these line stubs you have, combined with different types of cable mean the more prominent this problem is.

Lower frequencies in the voice range aren't bothered by these reflections, so that sort of ad hoc type wiring was fine before we started pushing high frequency signals through.

The master filter basically is a low pass filter (lets low voice frequencies through) that lets the voice frequencies through to the voice wiring, but doesn't let any high frequencies through in to the voice wiring, where they can bounce around and cause problems. It also isolates any problem equipment like alarms from interfering with the DSL signal.

When looking at the modem line stats, there are three primary figures which give you an idea of the connection quality - attenuation, noise margin, sync rate. Each of these will have an upstream (upload) and downstream (download) value.

Attenuation is the amount of loss over the length of the line. Given a known conductor, the approximate length of the copper line between you and the exchange/cabinet can be calculated. Higher attenuation means longer line, so lower is better. Anything over about 35dB and you will be having a pretty poor connection. Attenuation should not change, unless there is a physical problem on the line, like a broken joint or corrosion.

Noise Margin is basically the difference between the background noise on the line, and our signal. It is set by your ISP, and will generally be 12dB for Chorus equipment, but some ULL gear will set it as low as 6dB. Higher is said to be more conservative. It should also stay more or less static, but may fluctuate by +/- 1dB.

Sync rate is a measure of the throughput of the connection. Under ideal conditions, you would see about 85% of your sync rate if you did a speed test to a local server due to the various overheads. The higher the attenuation, the lower the sync rate will be.

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