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193 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 27834 7-Nov-2008 18:25 Send private message

BACKGROUND
 
Firstly, it’s important to realise what a reasonable connect rate is and what affects it. It’s also important to mention we’re talking about physical connection rates here, not your throughput over the connection. Explained more simply, we’re talking about how wide a hose is, not how much water we’re trying to push through it.
 
The rate at which your modem connects to the exchange is determined by 3 main factors. Primarily, the length of the cable running from your house to the exchange plays a big part on this as well as attenuation, and resistance on this cable. These are things more often than not you cannot change, short of moving closer to the exchange or Telecom installing a cabinet near you.
 
With that in mind to find this information you’ll need to log in to your router and take a look at your ‘ADSL Status’ page and find your ‘connect rates’. The process for this differs for every modem, so if you’re unsure check your user manual.
 
TROUBLESHOOTING
 
If you believe the rates you’ve discovered you’re connecting at aren’t as good as they should be then I urge you to take note of these, before performing an isolation test.
 
An isolation test consists of removing each and every single device and attached cable completely from all jack points in your house, leaving only the modem plugged in. This includes the ADSL Line filter that you may have in the Internet jack point, due to the fact from time to time these are often found faulty as well.
 
You may need to find yourself one of these cables in order to bypass the filter to which the modem was connected. Borrow one from a cordless phone or other device, or pick up an ‘RJ11 – BT Cable’ at an electronics store.
 

 
With only the modem connected to the phone line, remove the power for 30 seconds and plug it back in if you haven’t already. Log in to the router once more and record your results.
 
If you notice a significant difference, this indicates your Internet connection speed was influenced by another device, or potentially degraded cable being used on the line or a filter being plugged in where it shouldn’t be.
 
FILTERS
 
What is a filter?
ADSL and your phone line operate over different frequencies on the same cable. Your phone uses the lower frequencies, while the Internet uses the higher ones. In order to prevent cross over of these frequencies, an ADSL filter is used. If cross over does occur, you may hear bursts of static on your phone, or experience drops in the ADSL connection.
 
I have noticed there is a large amount of confusing regarding ADSL filters, and how they’re used properly. Refer to the following picture
 

 
It’s important to note, you only need an ADSL filter plugged in to jack points in which you’re using a phone, fax or any telephony device other than an ADSL modem.
 
The picture above illustrates a correct setup. If however, the phone didn’t exist there, you wouldn’t need a filter on this jack point. However, if for example, this jack point was in the office and you had a phone in the kitchen you would need a filter on the jack point in the kitchen to prevent the signal that’s being transmitted across every wire in the house crossing over to the phones.
 
ADSL SPLITTERS (MASTER FILTER - PREFERRED OVER FILTERS)

 
Unfortunately, some houses have corroded, damaged, or badly installed internal wiring/jack points. If an isolation test doesn’t resolve your connect rate issue, you may need an ADSL Splitter installed.
 
An ADSL splitter is a dedicated jack point for your Internet. A technician will visit your premise, and wire a splitter at the front of the line before it reaches your house. He then installs a dedicated box labeled ‘ADSL’ mounted on a wall, and runs a cable from that splitter to that jack point.

This gives you the cleanest possible connection the line due to the fact it bypasses everything internally. This also makes the use of filters on each jack point redundant due to the fact an ADSL signal is filtered out beforehand, and not transmitted over the internal wiring of the house.
 
CONCLUSION
 
With all the above in mind and the figures in hand after a completed isolation test you’re ready to get an idea on your distance from the exchange.
 
Borrowing an example from a well known Australia ISP named Internode here is a graph showing degradation over length/attenuation.
 

 
And some interesting statistics that should give you a fair idea of which bracket you sit in.

In December 2006 we took a random sample 7,305 Internode Extreme® ADSL2+ broadband. Each service was connected to an Internode DSLAM and using the ADSL2+ protocol (G992.5 Annex A ADSL2+ over POTS). We found the following distribution:
•    13.4% achieve a download synch speed of higher than 20 Mbps
•    27.7% achieve a download synch speed of between 15 Mbps and 20 Mbps
•    22.1% achieve a download synch speed of between 10 Mbps and 15 Mbps
•    23.0% achieve a download synch speed of between 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps
•    13.8% achieve a download synch speed of less than 5 Mbps

Source: http://www.internode.on.net/residential/internet/home_adsl/extreme/
 
YOU STILL WANT TO START A DISCUSSION

Most of the speed problems in New Zealand will be one of these things:
If you still want to start a discussion, make sure to post where you are, modem/router model, if an isolation test was done, if you have tested with an ethernet cable already instead of WiFi, what ISP and plan you are connected to.

Most importantly post your modem DSL stats. Post as much information as possible in the first post, otherwise you will have to keep coming back to answer some questions.

CLOSING NOTE
 
If you're still experiencing issues, then I'd suggest contacting your service provider first of all as there may be a fault on your line. Things like a break in the cable or a bad connection at the exchange can also have huge detrimental effects on your connection speed, not to mention the reliability and quality of your phone line for voice calls as well.
 
If your connection is with Telecom/Xtra and you’re experiencing throughput or connect rate issues you may email [email protected] with the relevant phone number, account details and description of your issue. You can also call 0800 22 55 98.
 
Customers with other service providers will need to contact or email their support lines via the relevant service channels.

Important: All images are copyrights of their respective owners.




Please note: Any posts, comments, or contributions in this forum are posted by me as an individual acting in my own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of any company I work for, clients I've consulted for or anyone else.

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1750 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 176732 7-Nov-2008 21:16 Send private message

Nice, you should have a geekzone blog :)
Awesome post.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 176748 7-Nov-2008 23:17

Except that this comment

"I can say with relative confidence, around 90-95% of the issues logged and escalated to me regarding speed & throughput are either the end customers perception of the issue or equally as often, a problem relating to physical configuration of the customer premise equipment."

is rather alarming from a customer point of view. These forums are full of customers of various ISPs with no speed problems but disappointing throughput. To be told that this is a "perception" problem is rich.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 176846 8-Nov-2008 17:35 Send private message

great post but it still dosent explain the majority of complaints about  speed. ie for 2-3 hours i have great speed then nothing so i know i have it connected correctly  so why the drop , this is what the isp providers seem to have trouble explaining to most customers why it does this, we just get " it must be your fault " or the problem is our end,

Nate wants an iphone
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  Reply # 176852 8-Nov-2008 19:18 Send private message

Bung, it doesn't surprise me too much. While some ISP's do experience speed issues (like Slingshot, Orcon, or WorldxChange) with other providers, it may fall down to the symptoms described.

I'm sure Anarkist, can confirm that he thoroughly investigates these issues before reaching that conclusion.

By the way - great guide!




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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 176870 8-Nov-2008 23:07

cokemaster:
I'm sure Anarkist, can confirm that he thoroughly investigates these issues before reaching that conclusion.



The problem has to be escalated to likes of Anarkist before they get to investigate. The Xtra frontline have had a very low view of what a "reasonable" throughput is and refused to escalate in the recent past. If they are lifting their expectations that is welcome.



193 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 177310 11-Nov-2008 11:13 Send private message

A slow speed issue, is not a 'throughput' issue when it is caused by a poor physical connect rate. It does however, have the same exact effect on the end user.

It's important to note, throughput and physical connect rates are two very, very seperate things.

My initial post addressed only issues relating to poor physical connect rates, not throughput. It was made to address the confusion surrounding the issue and hopefully draw a relatively clear line between the two.

As per my original post:

Anarkist:
BACKGROUND
 
Firstly, it’s important to realise what a reasonable connect rate is and what affects it. It’s also important to mention we’re talking about physical connection rates here, not your throughput over the connection. Explained more simply, we’re talking about how wide a hose is, not how much water we’re trying to push through it.
 




Please note: Any posts, comments, or contributions in this forum are posted by me as an individual acting in my own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of any company I work for, clients I've consulted for or anyone else.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 177311 11-Nov-2008 11:33

I am aware of the issues and only brought up throughput as you included it in your preamble as something driven by customer perception.

The history of my interest relates to Telecom sending me a Thomson modem to replace a D-Link because it would be "better". At the time I was sceptical as I was on the GO plan and the D-Link was already performing about as well as you could expect given the uplink speed. The Thomson was installed using the CD provided and connected about 50% faster downstream but the throughput fell. I tried contacting someone within Telecom in case this was a problem they would be interested in but got nowhere. I was told that the performance was still adequate and it wouldn't be escalated to Technical Support. Rather than persist with troubleshooting this issue I reset the modem and set it up manually. The throughput then increased to about the maximum you could get on GO.

So you are right that "an incorrect configuration of your equipment can have a significant detrimental effect on the rate at which you connect to the Internet" but it could just be that this is done by the tools that Telecom provide.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 180200 25-Nov-2008 13:50 Send private message

Excellent guide,

Thanks for your help

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Master Geek


  Reply # 181618 2-Dec-2008 17:34 Send private message

So you are right that "an incorrect configuration of your equipment can have a significant detrimental effect on the rate at which you connect to the Internet" but it could just be that this is done by the tools that Telecom provide.

You have to remember that the CD is there to asist 'mom & pop', not geeks XD.

1231 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 181626 2-Dec-2008 17:55

Stryfe:
So you are right that "an incorrect configuration of your equipment can have a significant detrimental effect on the rate at which you connect to the Internet" but it could just be that this is done by the tools that Telecom provide.

You have to remember that the CD is there to asist 'mom & pop', not geeks XD.


All the more reason for the CD install process to work without any hitch. I have no idea whether the issue I had has affected others or can be reproduced. Not my problem :)

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