It’s been three days since my 8Meg line was switched on. So far the speed performance has been very impressive – I still can’t get over just how fast my downloads are. Files really are just taking seconds to grab. Mail speed is also excellent and the DNS issues have settled down.
Not so good is that on Thursday and Saturday between 6 & 8pm I got disconnected a couple of times. After some investigating I’m putting it down to the condition of my line and not F2S or the LLU provider Easynet. The key factor is that as the speeds of broadband increase the quality of your line becomes all the more important.
Firstly you have to take into account line length when using an LLU service. The following is a rough guide of what to expect:
<1km – Very good, as close to the full 8Meg as you’re going to get
1-2km – Decent, you’re looking at 6.5Meg with luck
2-3km – Bearable, 3.5-5Meg
4km+ – You’re not likely to get much above 3Meg
I’m just over 1km from the exchange and I’m seeing 7-8Meg. Next issue is line quality and specifically SNR (signal to noise ratio). This is key in maintaining a connection to the server. In order to guarantee a stable connection you need to maintain a rating of above 6 at all times . Looking at SNR whilst on current 512k, 1Meg or 2Meg connection, youâ€™re probably seeing something along the lines of 25-35. This is about average at these speeds. The problem is that at increase by 2mbit will generally see a 6-8db drop in SNR. So, assuming Iâ€™m on 2mbit with an SNR of 30:
Increasing my connection to
4mbit weâ€™d see a drop to 22db
6mbit further drop to 14db
8mbit further drop to 6db â€“ possibly unstable connection
It’s quite common for SNR to get slightly worse during evening/peak times. Mines is around 11-13db at all other times apart from 6-8pm where it drops to 5-8db. So I reckon I’ve identified the issue – just need to try and solve it and that’s where the confusion kicks in.
According to F2S I’m still not active. Hopefully this means that the BT engineer e-mail I received will lead to an increase in SNR and a stable connection. If not I’ll pick up a new faceplate for the master socket which seems to have helped other users in increasing their SNR. Other option is to have speed throttled (to say 6Meg) to give stable connection. Annoyingly I’ll need to give F2S a call to see why they think I’m not active – another 10 minute phone queue. Of course it could all be academic if the Easynet buyout is true and Murdoch gets his claws into the broadband market. BT Max here I come – thank goodness I’m on a monthly contract now. That’s being pessimistic though – could be an interesting move with Sky offering bb as well as High Definition channels next year.