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    Sky broadband setup experiences

    This is a discussion on Sky broadband setup experiences within the Wireless / Adapters forums, part of the Sky Broadband help category; I wonder if some notes of my experiences of the problems encountered, would be useful to other newcomers like me. ...

    1. #1
      naggis's Avatar
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      Sky broadband setup experiences

      I wonder if some notes of my experiences of the problems encountered, would be useful to other newcomers like me.
      Well for what its worth – here goes.
      It is 3 years plus since our desktop pc (xp & sp2) was upgraded to AMD 2500 and 512 memory. As we don’t do any gaming this is adequate. It is located upstairs in a bedroom/office and previously we connected to the Net with a pci card modem and a standard plug-in telephone extension about 15 metres long. The connection was at 512k and we didn’t seem to have many problems with it.
      When migrating we opted for the Sky Mid package. The router arrived on schedule and on activation day, I connected it up as described. Having had problems in the past with the intrusive effects of using a Freeserve disk, I didn’t want to use the Sky disk. But where were the username and password? I rang the help line to be told that these were built in and that all I had to do was start browsing! They didn’t say that did they? However, firing up Firefox proved this to be correct.
      A note about the contents of the disk. An upgrade of Internet Explorer was not needed as we have been happily using Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird for 18 months or so. Computer Shopper magazine recently tested a number of antivirus and antispyware programs. The worst were Norton and Mcafee and the best was Kaspersky, and Steganos which is virtually the same program only cheaper. The Kaspersky Internet Security suite contains all the bits you need, including a firewall and checks for updates every hour. Hence I did not want the security offered on the disk.
      Being retired, I tend to use the Net mostly through the day but even with this use there were many occasions when web pages would not load and would be timed out to show an error message. The fault was greater at times of higher Net usage – evenings and weekends. And then we got a laptop – one of the intended uses was for surfing in the evenings from downstairs. It connected wirelessly without much trouble, using its inbuilt adaptor but with a signal strength of 2 bars no matter how the router was positioned (upstairs, hardwired to the desktop). At this point the problem became unacceptably intrusive.
      So I started to look around for help from the Net and soon found this forum, which has been invaluable.
      Using the Sticky from Ratti3 (see here), I found the data relating to the router and could reset the password, WPA encryption (more secure) and disable UPnP. Apparently there is a fault with the latter which can cause problems – why haven’t Sky/Netgear fixed this?
      This didn’t fix the problem!
      The Sticky from dingdong (see here) has details of more set up points. I gave them a try.
      This didn’t fix the problem!
      It was very useful to find an explanation of router stats from Saturday (see here). Originally my basic stats were; Speed/Attenuation/Noise Margin (NM) – 2208/61.0/6.7-9.2
      I also tried various recommended programs such as Netstumbler, Mossywells BounceRouter and TCPOptimiser. All these seem to be good programs.
      They didn’t fix the problem!
      I tried using Open DNS – see here
      This didn’t fix the problem.
      So the next port of call seemed to be the Sky help line. I had thought of calling before but was put off by the many negative experiences posted. However, my call was answered fairly quickly but the chat with the operator produced nothing that hadn’t been found already. But he did refer the matter to T3. Four days later a techie rang me and we spent a happy hour trying this and that – particularly connecting the router directly to the master telephone socket so that he could run tests. The outcome was that our line couldn’t handle 8mbps and he capped it at 2mbps. Now this did have a positive effect. Basic stats changed to: 2016/61.0/16.0-19.0.
      It seems that the NM is the key to sorting out the dropping of web pages. If the NM drops below 6 or so, you are in trouble. NM is associated with the quality of the line and that includes any extension cables and fittings within the house.
      With the router connected to the master telephone socket, Net access was ok. Not wanting to relocate the desktop to the hall (where the master socket is), I bought a Netgear usb wireless adaptor - from Ebay, factory reconditioned, £11.95. Netgear - to be the same maker as the router and usb - to allow repositioning of the adaptor to give the best signal.
      Initially I installed the adaptor software but opted to use Windows to configure the adaptor. WRONG. Apparently there is a bug between the router and adaptor which will not allow this. Why so? Why hasn’t it be fixed? Why don’t they tell us?
      Anyway using the Netgear software did allow the adaptor to work but it often took 5 minutes or more for the desktop to get going at start up and there were still too many occasions when a web page would not load and was timed out.
      As if that wasn’t enough, installing the Netgear software makes a change in the Windows registry, which alters the shutdown and start up arrangement. Apparently it can cause quite severe problems but in my case it only gave a different logout page. Fortunately a guy called Doug Knox has a fix – see here
      At this stage I was totally frustrated and made a post asking for help – except it turned out to be little more than a winge!! There were some good replies (particularly from Koala5) which pointed out further ways to go.
      But what I didn’t see was that the problem must be due to the wireless connection – as is very obvious from the above notes.
      I tried a 5 db aerial on the router to replace the standard 2db one. But this made no difference to the overall problem.
      When the penny did finally drop it seemed the most likely solution was to run an Ethernet cable from the desktop to the router. My wife was not the happiest bunny at the prospect of a cable running around the hall and up the stairs. So in a last ditch effort to salvage the extension cable, I removed both end fittings and connected it directly into the master socket and to a new wall box upstairs. The notes by Simon (see here) provided help here.
      Reconnecting the router to the desktop and extension cable seemed to work a miracle. The basic stats were essentially the same as they were with the router connected directly to the master socket. So far the dropping web page problem seems to be almost eliminated – there always seems to be the odd page which doesn’t play ball but perhaps that can be put down to the website.
      All that was only a week ago – too soon to crow about it I know but the overall “feel” of the setup is better than it has ever been.
      But how about the laptop? Well it had always connected easily and with the router located in the hall it had a signal strength of 5 bars. With the router upstairs again the signal dropped to 2 bars – achieved after much repositioning and fiddling. But installing the now redundant Netgear adaptor (and fixing the Windows registry of course) resulted in a signal strength of 4 bars and decent web access.
      Conclusions
      I just cannot believe that the problems are over – it has taken so many weeks and such frustration to get to this point. I can only hope.
      The fundamental problems with my set up were
      1. The telephone line to the house could not carry the total 8mbps and
      2. The fittings at the ends of my telephone extension cable were rubbish.
      Certainly a lesson for me is to think a bit more clearly and not jump to dodgy conclusions too soon.
      Why did it take so long to sort out what seems to be a fairly short list of problems? Well, if you know what you are doing then it doesn’t take long but I think that there could be loads of folks just like me, floundering about in the mire hoping a solution will pop its head up.
      As I said, this forum is great at providing information and helping us to hold onto sanity. But why oh why is there no official information available to get things sorted quickly and efficiently?


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    3. #2
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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      the majority of ur issues never some up - IF you follow the setup instructions on the CD (it tells you to plug in the router and ur ready to go)

      as for extention, if Sky set u up to 512KB then the extention would pob surfice - however, the faster the speed the better ur line needs to be. Yes this should be made a bit more clearer but if you were told you had to move around half ur gear and possibly even pay for new sockets to be instaled would you have moved?

      i will admit its a lot easier if ur knowledgable about internet/PCs etc but i also think a lot of people need to be educated in simple BB/internet use as you can't be nieve these days and assume everything is easy - you need to take the time to learn the basics...

      anyway, hope all ur issues are finally resolved....
      -------------------------------------------



      Useful Sticky: - How To Obtain Your Router Stats, BT Speed Test, Check For Test Socket

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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      Perhaps I should have looked at the CD.
      One of the things which does come out of all this is that the Sky system was not really to blame. Yes, if they had said that I needed to remake my telephone system for broadband to work, I may had done a double take.
      If there are only a few of us having problems then maybe the information available on this forum is enough to sort matters out. Knowledge is always king, but these days many of us just want to buy a service and have it work for us. If there is a problem it would be good to be able to quickly find solutions.
      Perhaps I should say that I have been involved with computers since 1990, have built 2, and have used a wide variety of software. But I have not come across wireless networking before. "Well you should have been able to solve your problems more easily" I hear you say. Well I didn't. Advancing years is my answer.

    5. #4
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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      An interesting paper on Wireless around the home can be found here
      http://www.solwiseforum.co.uk/downlo...d-the-home.pdf

      Solwise is a company that I have always used for anything to do with comms. since the days of my first 14.4 modem. They are very helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

    6. #5
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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      As you say this is an interesting article. I agree with the conclusion that we should attempt to avoid wireless working if possible - if there is a problem particularly.
      My system is still working satisfactorily - given that some web pages still do not load. When requesting a page, there is a bit of activity and the message at the bottom left of the screen says "Done" but the main screen is still blank. Perhaps an investigation into Firefox may sort it.

    7. #6
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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      Although not mentioned in your main post, have you also disconnected the ringer wire (orange No3) from your telephone sockets?

      As you may know from reading this site, you only need wires 2 and 5 connected in your home, having any others connected can cause interference and degrade your broadband signal.

    8. #7
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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      Yes - used only 2 wires. I think that the original extension cable used more than the 2 wires which as you say could have caused some problems. Getting this right was the second major turn around in the saga - as I mentioned above.
      XP seems to cache all unsucessful attempts to access a website (as well as the sucessful ones. I am currently trying a fix which stops it caching the unsucessful ones. Hopefully this will give a further improvement in performance.

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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      Just a short update
      So far there has been no return to the uncertain internet useage. I still don't want to claim that the problems are behind us but it is about 3 weeks since the turn around. Here's hoping

    10. #9
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      Re: Sky broadband setup experiences

      Just a quick update
      The system is still working just as well as when the first post was made. The fault with website pages not loading was due to NOD (antivirus etc. system) thinking that some pages were spam. Disabling the antispam module fixed the problem completely

     

     

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