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 iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 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: -
and SpeedTest.net: -
So far, so good.
You pays your money, you takes your chance ( or, in my case, your change !! )