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    Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

    This is a discussion on Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss within the Sky Broadband help forums, part of the Sky Broadband help and support category; Firstly I'll state the obvious wired connection with filtered faceplate and a quality cable. For the sake of full disclosure ...

    1. #1
      gott_sei_dank's Avatar
      gott_sei_dank is offline Sky User Member
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      Firstly I'll state the obvious wired connection with filtered faceplate and a quality cable. For the sake of full disclosure I'm using Ubuntu 8.04 as my OS, Firefox 3 RC1 as my primary web browser and using OpenDNS with the less than impressive Sagem router on the MAX package (for unlimited download). I've a high Line Attenuation of 62.0db, IIRC the highest Max connect speed was around 2500kbps with my actual speed in the range of 2000-2250. This has been fine for over a year.

      On Friday afternoon the internet disconnected I thought nothing of it, the Sagem seems very flakey compared to my old Netgear V1 which it had to replace after the Netgear died (my fault don't unplug router when the firmware is updating ), except when it reconnected I had the blistering speed of 570kbps downstream, yes lower than my upstream of 768kbps. NM had more than doubled to around 17db. As I type now it is 800kbps with the NM @12db.

      The only time I could sync at my normal speed was early Saturday morning but this only lasted a few hours, with luck I might get between 1500-1700kbps at the highest but usually it is around 1200 with an annoying NM of upto 17db (I really miss being able to set a target noise margin, a little tweak upwards on the old Netgear to 8.5/9db, even with the old firmware and it was stable for months).

      Now for the pings, sometimes I've been getting as high a packet loss as between 40-60%, this usually occurs when everything appears to grind to a halt, maybe having 40+ tabs in firefox is a bit excessive but hey it worked before. I've had Wireshark running and been doing some pinging while typing this, unfortunately I forgot about the terminal buffer so I'll make do with the last couple of ping results.

      --- BBC - Homepage ping statistics ---
      684 packets transmitted, 613 received, 10% packet loss,
      time 863879ms rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 34.255/37.026/151.943/4.810 ms

      --- Jolt.co.uk - Online Gaming - Clan Server Rental ping statistics ---
      145 packets transmitted, 131 received, 9% packet loss,
      time 192617msrtt min/avg/max/mdev = 34.179/36.807/43.200/1.351 ms

      Anybody have any ideas? Anymore information you need

      edit @ 01:24

      NM has climbed upto 20.1db, rebooted router back @ normal speeds, 2176 kbps with NM 7.4db will see what tomorrow brings
      Last edited by gott_sei_dank; 02-06-08 at 02:29 AM.


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    3. #2
      Netgeezer's Avatar
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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      I would be most concerned about the packet loss above all else, it is just not right at all. I am assuming that you had nothing else going on at the time?

      What you should be seeing is something like this:-
      Code:
      --- bbc.net.uk ping statistics ---
      177 packets transmitted, 177 packets received, 0% packet loss
      round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 7.149/7.928/16.547/0.807 ms
      
      --- jolt.co.uk ping statistics ---
      332 packets transmitted, 332 packets received, 0% packet loss
      round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 6.755/8.117/40.196/1.811 ms
      For a moment forget about the latency, what is essential is the quality of the connection should be able to deliver 0% packet loss. Its all very well having high line speeds, but if it is at the cost of packet loss then you're going to have a bad experience either way.

      I'm assuming that when you had the good line speeds of around 2000kbps that your throughput was squeaky clean? The same for when you initially had the Sagem? Would that be fair to assume?

      That would suggest that something has broken along the way. It could very well be the Sagem itself that has gone out of whack. Equally it could be something at the DSLAM end. But my money would be on the wiring between house and exchange.

      Have you tried the silent line test on your BT line? Use a wired phone - try plugging it into the Test Socket and dial 17070 and select option 2 (quiet line test) and then listen carefully. If you have a handset with a mute button press that in. What you are listening for is absolute silence. You may hear some [very] light crackling, that is not too bad - but if it is very pronounced then it is not good and needs sorting. But if you hear any kind of electrical humming it could be a good indication of a problem.

      The crackling is typical indication of noisy [corroded] joints in the line, and would go some way to explain your high attenuation levels. ADSL can usually overcome these up to a point.

      Hum on the line is much worse, it is a sign of a possible leak to earth on one or both legs of the line or other electrical fault and that has a major impact on the ability of ADSL to function at all.

      With the noisy line stuff you'll need to refer to BT and press them to resolve the issue. I don't think it'll do any harm to tell them you've done the quiet line test and what you've observed. You could over-egg your description slightly

      If your line is clear though then the next place to look is your home extension wiring, if any. Same thing, try the silent test from the extension socket furthest from your master socket, then all of the others, listening for the same stuff and repairing any faults detected. Plug the phone directly into the socket and not through the ADSL filter.

      That done, then its time to go for the Sagem. Can you borrow an ADSL router from anyone? You might consider buying a white Netgear from eBay and configuring it up using the instructions on this forum. Its strictly a no-no from Sky but could be a cheap solution as these can be had for around a 10.00, don't get into a silly bid. Alternatively, take your case to Sky customer service team and explain what you have done so far and see if they'll replace the Sagem with a Netgear (white or black).

      Hope some of this helps. No doubt others can/will add their thoughts to this...
      It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
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    4. #3
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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      Slight hum or a line is very common and not much to worry about. If the balanced pair become unbalanced, with one side down to earth, this shows up as nothing, or loads of noise. A quiet line test is just that ie not silence. So long as any noise is not loud enough to prevent conversation thats o.k.
      If you still have BB problems when connected to the test socket, and your phone line is quiet (background noise but no crackel) then it may be time to phone Sky.
      If you have no problems when connected to the test socket, then the problem is with your filters/internal wiring.

    5. #4
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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      Good point, have you tried swapping out the ADSL filter for one of your spares? Thinking aloud, any lightning storms in your area of late, or coincidentally with your poor quality service?

      I meant quiet, I read silent and typed it verbatim

      Not to take anything away from what Brian69 has said, earth hum has always been a bit of a no-no in my book, coming from the old (!!!) days of serial RS232 running through buildings before structured wiring and the like. A routine problem used to be where engineers would cable up and wire the shield to the ground pin (1) at both ends. That would put a stonking great earth loop on the cable and disrupt any decent speed. Cutting the earth at one end solved the problem. I know its not quite the same, moving on to ADSL, an earth on one or both legs of the line is going to affect the capacitance and that can cause problems with the ADSL signal.

      Capacitance issues are often under-played when assessing line issues.
      Capacitance acts as a filter, allowing certain frequencies to pass and blocking others. In the case of telephone wires, which were not designed for ADSL use, a high capacitance level can prevent the frequencies used by ADSL from being transmitted properly. Capacitance is affected by cable length, insulation, moisture etc. Line 'noise', which is measure in dB on a logarithmic scale and as a signal/noise ratio, is unrelated to capacitance, which is the important function being tested. The capacitance on my phone line was 7 nanofarads, which is very good. BT engineers will usually accept a capacitance up to about 47 nanofarads as adequate for ADSL.

      Source: ADSL in the UK
      Its an old article but no-less valid for that.
      It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
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    6. #5
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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      It's just that faced with an earth loop/inbalance, telephone exchanges do not respond with a hum, but a lot of noise. this is a good thing, it makes fault location in big cables much easier.
      Having said that it is very unlikely that a line long enough to have an attenuation of 60+db is well balanced anyway, there will just be too many joints/changes in cable type, not always in both legs. The main thing to find out is what are the results at the test socket, and to be certian that all other sockets are dead when using the test socket.
      Last edited by Brian69; 06-06-08 at 12:15 AM.

    7. #6
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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      Thanks for the replies guys, I've just had another speed wobble where the NM dropped to around 8db and then bounced up and down till it stabilized at 22db within in a few minutes.

      Pings have no packet loss at the moment and general web browsing remains stable.

      No extensions to speak of, a XTE-2005 filtered master face plate connected via a 20m run of Pro+ RJ11 cable straight to the router, all from ADSLnation.

      The main telegraph pole (if that is what they are still called) was replaced about 7 years ago along with the overhead cable. This connects through the front door frame to a little white box with an old T logo which in turn is connected via thin white cable to the master socket.

      When I'm in the right frame of mind probably on Sunday, I'll try out the quiet line test and see what the router is like in the test socket although I'd be surprised if there was a problem with XTE-2005.

      Thanks once again guys

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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      before you do anything else, just open up that joint box (the little white one with the T logo) and make sure the connections are nice and tight. If they look at all damp or corroded, a squirt of WD40 works wonders. Next take the master right off and check that the connections to A and B are also tight. Have a look along that thin white cable and make sure it is not damaged. Have a look at the external wire for any obvious damage.

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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      have you tried removing the 20m extention, as although it might be 'pro' it could well be the issue...you'd been better off buying a 20m ethernet cable...
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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      Quote Originally Posted by IAmNotTheEnemy View Post
      have you tried removing the 20m extention, as although it might be 'pro' it could well be the issue...you'd been better off buying a 20m ethernet cable...
      Next you'll be telling me my gold plated optical cable is useless!

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      Re: Wildly variable connection speeds, High packet loss

      Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
      Next you'll be telling me my gold plated optical cable is useless!
      If he don't I will Gold plated optical? Whatever next?? Water cooled kettles??
      It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
      [Albert Einstein]




      ADSL Nation XF-1e filter - the dogs nuts

     

     

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