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Broadband Woes Update

Another BT Openreach engineer visited again last Friday to investigate my Broadband fault further, the first engineer that visited the property with his “BT Hawk”, found no fault on the line with the tests he conducted, and was surprised how good the quality of the line was considering it’s 3609 metres from the local telephone exchange. The second engineer brought with him the Remote Unit to connect to the end of my telephone line at the exchange to conduct a “full telephone line quality check” He had some initial issues with the earth bonding in either my property or the exchange to conduct the tests.

The issue I’ve been experiencing since January 2009 is a decrease in Sync speeds not throughput, although if your sync speed is low, this will affect your throughput, this took some explaining to the engineer, because he seemed to be getting confused with throughput, and kept telling me that speed tests and throughput will vary, he eventually agreed that Sync speed should not change much.

Noise Margin fault in progress

Noise Margin fault in progress, high SNR, until router reset

frosty outside tonight, high SNR, router disconnects and connects

frosty outside tonight, high SNR, router disconnects and connects

I’ve now narrowed down the fault to cooling down or warming up which causes the fault, so with these recent frosty evenings/mornings the sync speed has been very low, it remains stable throughout the day, but evenings and mornings have been the worse.

When he completed the “full telephone line quality check” the telephone line FAILED, the engineer did state that if this was a new Broadband service, it’s likely that BT would not guarantee service, but I made sure he was aware that broadband has been at the property before 2009 with no issue.

Hooraah!!! a fault! Now they can fix it and make my broadband better!

A RED alarm was given for AC Longitudinal Balance of 50 db. The BT Openreach Engineer stated this should be above 60 db for the line. From what I understand this is a measure of how well the pair is balanced and rejects external interference. The BT engineer called someone, asking to remain on the fault that had been found, because the customer was complaining of line drops, and then he requested to talk to the Service Provider (I don’t think this was Eclipse, but BT Wholesale), the engineer wasn’t certain that low AC Longitudinal Balance would cause this issue, but when speaking to the Service Provider and they looked at the logs, they could see lots of disconnects on the line, and state the Line Quality was poor.

The engineer wasn’t very happy that he would have to go off and explore the 3609m line to find the fault. He left the property at approx 9am. I saw him later at the BT cabinet in the villiage 2 miles away at 12noon. Whilst he was out, I took some photographs of his test equipment.

Later that afternoon (approx 4pm) he returned, telling me it had been a nightmare fault, and there were no spares on the pole or in the cable to the village as they are already DACS-ing lines on the pole (DACS - (Digital Access Carrier System) - It is a technology which allows two ordinary phone lines to be squeezed down a single copper pair.  Normally each phone line requires its own copper pair all the way to the exchange) but luckily they had found a unused telephone line on the pole (spare!?), it had been unused since 2006, this is a rented property in the hamlet, which is currently vacant (next door but one).

So they shifted my line on the pole to this line and retested, and now the AC Longitudinal Balance is 66 db, and passes the line quality test. The engineer was still sceptical that this wasn’t the issue, and suspects the equipment in the exchange of wire from the house to the pole.

But the line is now fixed and I’m happy to report at present, I’ve not encountered any line drops, sync speed decreases, or SNR increases.

My Broadband Speed Test

Noise Margin approx 9db

Noise Margin approx 9db after fault fixed

On a final note, it’s been very difficult to get this fault fixed, when you’ve got an Internet Service Provider (in my case Eclipse), circuit maintained by BT Wholesale and the actual telephone wire maintained by BT Openreach, and before when it was LLU-ed Tiscali!. Four different vendors trying to get one single fault fixed on the service. So it wouldn’t have made any difference in this case switch to another ISP, which so many people had been stating to me, over the last 18 months, the fault would have been carried to the new service provider, and they probably wouldn’t have had the logs to raise it with BT to get the fault cleared on the physical line!

So patience and constant badgering is the key….

The software used to generate the graphs is the fabulous RouterStats by john@vwlowen.co.uk

and was it all worth it, when this is the speed from my house with 3G from mobile network 3! (it was 2+ before I saved the results!), somethings not right, when wireless gives you faster broadband speed than wires!

My Broadband Speed Test

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