Strange broadband issue

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3,284
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Nick
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Morning all.

I have a rather odd broadband issue and I'm wondering if anyone else has ever experienced the same and if so, how did to resolve it? bit of background;

We've lived in this house for 4 years, all of which time the router has sat in the same place. We have had 3 broadband providers, Sky/EE/BT and now EE again as of 4 days ago. Without exception all the providers have hit on this issue. The speed to the house is 36 mb (This is good for us as we live in a village in deepest darkest Essex) once it hits the router the wifi sometimes slows to as little as 1-2mb download. The key word here is sometimes... Sometimes its absolutely fine and stable for months. All the providers have sent out engineers and have given me new routers and in the case of BT and EE disks to extend the signal. We can go months without an issue, then it kicks in. The ONLY thing that's consistent is switching off the router or as in this morning case, a power cut. As soon as power is restored I'm D/L at full whack for about 5 minutes then it's back to 1-2mb again. Bloody frustrating!
As I said, this is very intermittent but I can't continue now we have 2 working from home and 3 kids doing zooms. It just doesn't work. Not forgetting wireless security systems, Ring doorbell, Alexa etc. We pretty much grind to a halt.

Even ethernet only makes a small difference, bringing the speed up to 6-7 mb

Any ideas? I'd love to solve this before I change providers again...

Cheers in advance,
Nick
 

TCR4x4

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8,582
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Tom
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Sounds like you might be being throttled by your isp.
Try using a vpn on each device, can be a free one. You’ll notice Immediately if it’s throttling as the speed will Increase dramatically.

We can’t use the internet without a vpn, nothing loads and Speedtests time out. This is constant not occasionally.
Turn the vpn on and we get 25mb download and 6-7 upload.

Of course our isp denies all knowledge and can’t explain why the internet doesn’t work without the vpn.
 
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David
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Many years ago I used BT and, if I powered down the Router or it lost power, my bandwidth would restart from a very low figure and take maybe weeks to get back to where it was. When I moved to Virgin, I had much higher bandwidths and these problems no longer occurred. One thing I did change is that I have an UPS and use this to supply my Router an my PC. I still use the UPS but it is probably not necessary but do not power down the Router anyway.

Dave
 
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Suz
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Is there noise on the phone line? It could be a line fault or fault with exchange equipment. Have any of them looked at that or just tossed you a new router?

There shouldn't be throttling in normal use. It could be contention at the exchange though and it's over loaded.

I have Zen and my speed doesn't change when I reboot the router. It shouldn't be re-profiling the connection each time.

DNS could also be an issue. Do you use ISP DNS or say google? I've always found google faster.
 
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John King
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I was warned by my provider (PlusNet) that if the router is switched off that will signal to the exchange there may be problem on the line and will consequently automatically slow down the BB speed until it again becomes stable. My router is never switched off except when I am away from the house for longer than overnight - which is at present of course is highly unlikely, The problem you are having was probably triggered by your power cut yesterday. Last year when I was away for 5 days the speed did not fully recover for nearly a week.
 
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Joseph
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I was warned by my provider (PlusNet) that if the router is switched off that will signal to the exchange there may be problem on the line and will consequently automatically slow down the BB speed until it again becomes stable. My router is never switched off except when I am away from the house for longer than overnight - which is at present of course is highly unlikely, The problem you are having was probably triggered by your power cut yesterday. Last year when I was away for 5 days the speed did not fully recover for nearly a week.

I was with PlusNet for years and had to regularly switch off the router, never noticed a drop in speed. But there are so many factors that go into it. With Virgin now, no issues after a year and I get more speed than was advertised, consistently get 380 down.
 
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NickTB
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Nick
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Thanks for the replies so far. The switching on and off of the router was recommended by all of the engineers that have visted over the last 4 years. A BT mesh engineer visited and bought a shortwave radio to test interference and couldn't detect anything. The line is clear and fault free. It really is a strange one. I will try a VPN now to see what happens...
 
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NickTB
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3,284
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Nick
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So

I’ve downloaded a free vpn and my speeds on the Mac are back to normal. My phone is still slow.. on the minus side I can’t access the site on my Mac as my ip has been banned!!
 
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Tony
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I had a few problems with the internet being really slow. Changed the DNS to google (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) and no problems since.
 
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NickTB
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Nick
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And now I've switched the VPN off, my speed is flying on all devices!!
 
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@NickTB

From your OP @ 36MBps are you on a FTTC service?

Have you checked the speed using BTW Performance Tester (btwholesale.com)

Have you looked at the details of your exchange SamKnows - Telephone Exchange Search

Lastly, what do the specs about your exchange tell from this page BT Broadband (btwholesale.com)


PS your description, if on FTTC, does infer that the last copper part could be the problem...........................have any of the providers suggested taking the faceplate off of the master socket and plugging directly into the "test socket" behind the faceplate?
 
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NickTB
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@Box Brownie

Checked speed using BTW Tester and it gave me some crazy results anywhere from 0.7 to 86 The latter being impossible here. Ran it just now against Speedtest.net and it gave me 36. Speedtest gave me 16.

Looking at SamKnows I don't really understand the information there to be fair.

As above, Looking at BTW I don't really understand the info provided

All engineers have removed the faceplate, and they all come back with the same answer, a scratch of the head and a bewildered look. They all say wifi is an unknown quantity which is fine but I'm virtually sitting oj the router!
 

TCR4x4

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And now I've switched the VPN off, my speed is flying on all devices!!
Youll find that when you switch the vpn off, you have good speeds for a while, as you are essentially creating a new connection with your isp, same as turning the router on and off.. it will get throttled again as soon as they realise or as soon as you start using heavy network traffic.

Some vpn IP address are banned on certain sites, there is a thread here to get it unbanned on this site. Or you can just refresh the vpn and get a different ip.


Im with 3 on a 4g connection as our landline broadband is unusable.
They insist they do not throttle. I sent them a video of me trying to connect to google.com on their connection. It times out.. I turned the vpn on and it connects straight away. I demonstrated this with several sites.
They can’t offer an explanation as to why nothing works on their connection but does through the vpn.
 
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NickTB
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Just a thought on the wi-fi, have you checked to see if any of your neighbours are using the same channels as yourself, a free-sniffer should be able to tell you, you could then set up your router not to cause any clashes.
Yeah that was one of the first things we checked, bu as were detached we can't 'see' any of the neighbours connections
 
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NickTB
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Youll find that when you switch the vpn off, you have good speeds for a while, as you are essentially creating a new connection with your isp, same as turning the router on and off.. it will get throttled again as soon as they realise or as soon as you start using heavy network traffic.

Some vpn IP address are banned on certain sites, there is a thread here to get it unbanned on this site. Or you can just refresh the vpn and get a different ip.


Im with 3 on a 4g connection as our landline broadband is unusable.
They insist they do not throttle. I sent them a video of me trying to connect to google.com on their connection. It times out.. I turned the vpn on and it connects straight away. I demonstrated this with several sites.
They can’t offer an explanation as to why nothing works on their connection but does through the vpn.
I\m calling EE now, will see what the response is
 

sirch

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Chris
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Interesting that you get better bandwidth with ethernet than WiFi at those speeds. I would try to break it down, connect a PC directly to the router via ethernet and then log in to the router and check it's status, run broadband speed checks etc. Then do the same over WiFi and see if there is a difference, up to 50 - 100 Mbps there shouldn't be a difference. WiFi is more susceptible to electrical interference so if there is a difference then it could be noise from some other electrical device, plug the router into a socket on its own away from other devices, unplug everything you can in the house and try again, see of there is an improvement.
 
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13,655
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Rich
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I think it could be REIN causing the problem, so many things around the house or nearby can cause problems.
You can check with an AM/MW radio tuned to 612Khz and you should hear noise from various devices.
This noise will fade as you move away from the device, this explains it better than me.

If you suspect there is something interfering with your broadband, get an AM/MW radio and tune it to 612Khz. If you hold the radio next to an LCD screen for your pc as an example you would hear a distinct noise. This should fade away if you move the radio a quarter to half a meter away. Hold it by your modem/router and you'll hear the DSL signal.

If you get a distinct noise enveloping a larger area, then this may be picked up by your router causing an SNR problem (or even drop of sync). By using the radio you may be able to get an idea of where the noise is coming from. Switch the suspect appliance off & retest your DSL connection. By distinct noise you're looking for a clear buzz, whistle, clicking etc. White noise or a general shhhhh noise is less likely to be the cause of the problem, same as any radio broadcast. (In the south of the UK you may hear a French radio station from around 612KHz.)

Be aware that any noise heard on the radio is not always affecting your DSL connection, and you may still have REIN issues in the area which will not be picked up @ 612Khz as REIN is often notoriously difficult to pin-point. This method can be a bit hazy so don’t rely on it completely by any means.

Before I retired from BT I dealt with many of these issues and quite often REIN was to blame.
Had some weird cases such as Pendolino trains nearby, stairlifts, Christmas tree lights, electric fences and the list goes on.
 
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NickTB
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3,284
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Nick
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I think it could be REIN causing the problem, so many things around the house or nearby can cause problems.
You can check with an AM/MW radio tuned to 612Khz and you should hear noise from various devices.
This noise will fade as you move away from the device, this explains it better than me.

If you suspect there is something interfering with your broadband, get an AM/MW radio and tune it to 612Khz. If you hold the radio next to an LCD screen for your pc as an example you would hear a distinct noise. This should fade away if you move the radio a quarter to half a meter away. Hold it by your modem/router and you'll hear the DSL signal.

If you get a distinct noise enveloping a larger area, then this may be picked up by your router causing an SNR problem (or even drop of sync). By using the radio you may be able to get an idea of where the noise is coming from. Switch the suspect appliance off & retest your DSL connection. By distinct noise you're looking for a clear buzz, whistle, clicking etc. White noise or a general shhhhh noise is less likely to be the cause of the problem, same as any radio broadcast. (In the south of the UK you may hear a French radio station from around 612KHz.)

Be aware that any noise heard on the radio is not always affecting your DSL connection, and you may still have REIN issues in the area which will not be picked up @ 612Khz as REIN is often notoriously difficult to pin-point. This method can be a bit hazy so don’t rely on it completely by any means.

Before I retired from BT I dealt with many of these issues and quite often REIN was to blame.
Had some weird cases such as Pendolino trains nearby, stairlifts, Christmas tree lights, electric fences and the list goes on.
I had a MESH engineer come round about a year ago,, and when he produced this battered old SW Radio I thought he'd lost the plot! Suffice to say, there was noting causing interference!
 
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NickTB
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3,284
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Nick
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Just off the phone to EE, will try again this evening when Mrs NickTB is finished work. They categorically deny throttling, but did say their could be a bottleneck of devices. Explained that there are actually less devices in use at the moment, and that I have had good service in the past.. Will see what happens at 6pm
 
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Suz
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I'd probably start bandwith monitoring on all devices in the house to see if there are any that are hoovering data a lot. Hopefully whatever router you have will have some way of doing that.
 
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@NickTB

Hi Nick

On this checker BT Broadband (btwholesale.com)
Can you take a screen shot of the results.............then make sure to scrub out your phone but leave the exchange name showing and then post the screen image here. At this stage it is to satisfy my curiosity and see if there is anything of note in the data on that screengrab.

Plus what service are EE saying you should get download & upload speeds.

The fact that you say the speed as measured at the router via an ethernet connected PC is dropping so markedly is as I suggested nothing to do with the WiFi connected devices.....unless there is a neighbour vampiring/piggybacking via WiFi and doing massive downloads i.e. stealing a huge amount of your bandwidth???

Also, as you mentioned that the ISP's you have tried have not managed to (a) improve the speed and (b) all suffer the problem................the common factor logically is the background provider of the service at the exchange and that is commonly BT/Openreach because as far as I recall very few ISP have their onw kit installed the exchanges and sometime ago the only one I think that was installing their own kit was TalkTalk and not in all the exchanges they served customers from???

PS in regard to ISP services user discussions, I have in the past found this a very good resource:-
Broadband Forums :: think broadband
 
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NickTB
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3,284
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Nick
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@Box Brownie

Please see the image attached, apologies for the big square in the middle not sure what happened there!

EE offer speeds of up to 36mb, but knowing this village as I do, 25 is realistic, 28 being Nirvana

Openreach are responsible for the line, the last time an engineer came out, he moved my line to a closer box, but that was well over a year ago

After speaking to EE, all I get is "you're in a serttling in period, the llibne can and will fluctuate" The problem is, the line isn't really fluctuations. Switch off the router and it's fine for 5 minutes. Otherwise it's just one speed-Slow.

 
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Brian
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I've seen similar before. I've had customers where the signal couldn't cover the width of a hallway, with line of sight. It was definitely randon radio interference but we never bottomed out what. I put them on powerline adaptors.

Has anybody tried repositioning the router?
Is it the same on 2.4g and 5g?
Are any of the kids running file sharing programmes?
 
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Your figures are very similar to mine:-

On the ADSL figures...you may be in the sticks but you are closer to the exchange than I am.
On the VDSL (fibre) I think compared to mine you are a tad further from the FTTC cabinet

Your observed speeds are clsoe to mine but you have a nirvana on the upload compared to mine as I get 6.22Mbps.

In general all looks good based on what your line should be giving you.

So scratching my head................I have a vague memory (here or on the PN forum?) of someone having intermittent speed issues and it AFAIK it turned out to be the overhead wires where it passed through a junction point and the wind was exposing a weakness in the wiring???
 
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I've seen similar before. I've had customers where the signal couldn't cover the width of a hallway, with line of sight. It was definitely randon radio interference but we never bottomed out what. I put them on powerline adaptors.

Has anybody tried repositioning the router?
Is it the same on 2.4g and 5g?
Are any of the kids running file sharing programmes?
Nick does mention in his OP that even on ethernet the speed drops to a dawdle of 6 -7 Mbps compared 36Mbps ;)
 
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Just a thought?

Other than your power cut situation or similar there will be a record accessible by EE or any other provider that shows the connection performance of the line and if there is something happening that shows repeated disconnections & reconnections the automatic control on the line (if I recall correctly......I may be thinking back to ADSL days but thought FTTC could still be affected?) the SNR ratio would be increased until the 'system' decided your line was stable???

I find it hard to believe that Openreach would not have considered that and searched for the cause but IMO It cannot hurt to ask EE the question and if the connection is fragile (so to speak) to ask for an escalation e.g. switching to a new fibre at the exchange/cabinet and or a completely new copper line from the cabinet to your house???

PS I was told some years back that the copper wiring in many places was not all copper, as much had been repaired and/or replaced by Aluminium and the Cu to Al joints were a major source of problems but never corrected until the problems reported hit a certain level!!
 
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So scratching my head................I have a vague memory (here or on the PN forum?) of someone having intermittent speed issues and it AFAIK it turned out to be the overhead wires where it passed through a junction point and the wind was exposing a weakness in the wiring???
I've had that problem, in fact it may have been us discussing it.
We had an issue with weather affecting our adsl speed. When we went to fibre we had similar issues but much less noticeable. In the end I gave an open reach guy a tenner to swap our house feed pair while he was up the pole. End of issue.
 
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NickTB
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Apologies I've not updated the thread, work commitments called. I've today received a new router from EE. I'll fire iyt up around 6 when Mrs NickTB is finished her calls and I'll report back
 
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NickTB
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So I received the new router and as expected, the speeds shot back to normal for about 10 minutes. Called EE and they agreed I should probably just walk away.

Went for Sky as I've had them in the past and found their Customer Services better than BT. So started the process to switch over.

Woke the morning and lo and behold, it's working fine. Will monitor it, but so far so far good... EE are saying it was the settling in period. But whatever it was, it seems fine now

Will update as and when it fails. Or not!
 
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Lennard
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Just to add to your frustration, and mine, my son lives on Tenerife, a small Spanish island off the African Coast.
Who has just been informed that his Broadband is being increased, free of charge, from 600mbs to 1000mbs
 
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John King
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That's fine in the local area but send and E mail or search on line and that search takes you to a place that doesn't have a fast speed and the brakes go on. Much the same as my BBI came to this house with normal BB about 88mbsa I opted for the HS and that jumped to about 45-65mbs although it still had the copper cable from the terminal to my router. I was offered a package by my isp that is if I wished they could fit fibre optic right into my house and I now have well over 100mbs. Not as fast as some but ample for me.
 
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