Friday, 10 February 2012

Could it be magic ? Making my narrowband more broad ….

So I've been trying to get to the bottom of why my home broadband bandwidth was so poor, both BEFORE and AFTER I moved to BT Broadband, with their Home Hub, BTFON and OpenZone service.

This meant that even basic web activity took time, including podcast downloads ( I need my geeky fix on a regular basis, almost as regular as my caffeine fix ) and streaming TV, including BBC iPlayerITV Player4ODDemand 5 etc.

The Home Hub has a great geeky user interface, and I was able to see, at a glance, how poor the bandwidth WAS: -

Whilst lurking around the BT website, I found mention of this BT Broadband Accelerator - working on the principle that, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, I kept on browsing, and got lost in the wonderful world of line tests and speed tests.

However, I did go back to the Accelerator ( formerly known as the iPlate - perhaps before our friends in Cupertino copyrighted the letter 'i' !! ).

It's a simple piece of hardware, that clips into the standard BT master telephone socket, and seems to "smooth" out the spikes, noise and crackles caused by extension wiring - of which we have plenty.

It looks something like this: -

Given that BT wanted to charge me the princely sum of £1.30 ( for delivery, as the unit was "free" to existing BT customers ), I thought it was worth a try - after all, for £1.30, I can barely get an espresso in my favourite coffee chain :-)

I ordered it on Wednesday, it arrived on Thursday, and installation took about 2 minutes - I merely had to open up the master socket ( Caveat Emptor ), and plug the Accelerator in to the existing socket.

Having done this, I plugged the Home Hub back into the faceplate, and waited for 2-3 minutes for it to re-establish the connection.

Almost immediately, the Home Hub started reporting a fairly significant rise in the Downstream connection: -

Almost immediately, my perception was that downstream performance had improved, with a few podcasts coming down nice and quickly, and no obvious stuttering on the BBC iPlayer.

I left it for a while ( BT recommend 48 hours to 14 days to be sure ), and then ran speed tests using ThinkBroadBand: -

So far, so good.

You pays your money, you takes your chance ( or, in my case, your change !! )


Unknown said...

Next on the list is to get a Billion 7800N ADSL router, and use the hidden SNR tweak. I've got a 65db/16gb loss line - yours is only 48db line loss. I'm averaging over 5mb with this router and this SNR hack - I'd expect you to get over six.

The hack is here:

Hope this helps

---* BIll

Dave Hay said...

@Bill - cheers, will take a look :-)