The joys of Broadband – Part 1


Over a month ago, we were asked to have a look at a client’s broadband connection as they were experiencing drop outs and poor service of a random nature.

Upon doing some basic testing it appeared that they were suffering from a faulty micro filter as any voice calls would kill the ADSL connection.  New filters were installed but the problem persisted.

(Interestingly the internal wireless connection was throwing up so many errors, we turned it off and installed a Access Point which fixed the wireless connections problems straight away)

A new test router was installed as was new router wiring which made no difference to the ADSL connection stability.

A fault was raised with the ISP and after going through all the normal loops, they finally agreed to send an Engineer under “Speed Optimisation” and we provided the client with a list of the problems.

a) Connection stability – the ADSL would drop and fail to resume repeatedly at random times.
b) Internet Speed decreased (you were running 18-15Mb download but testing showed the connection ranged from 18Mb down to 3Mb with varying SNR values.)
c) Crackle on telephone handset with the router installed and without it being installed.
d) All filters replaced and router swapped as well – no improvement
e) No improvement if plugged into the Master Test Socket

 

After this visit the fault was escalated to BT and unfortunately no obvious line faults could be found, but the BT Engineer kindly fitted a new Master Socket and ran line tests and all seemed well.

The connection was left for a few days and then the fault was closed with the ISP, shortly after it re-appeared !

Another ticket was raised (120722-001284) and so the loop started again.

The client was obviously concerned when the first suggestion was to turn off all Anti-Virus and Firewall settings until we was pointed out that this can’t be the problem as the Internet connection was affecting all devices, not just one and how do you turn off the firewall on a mobile phone ?

Lots of phone calls later, the client was told to dismantle the newly installed Master Socket and plug the equipment directly in to the Test Socket and see how the connection performed.

Whilst the connection would seem to be stable for periods of time, when it did drop it took an age to reconnect and there were very poor connection speeds.

After plenty of random disconnects and spells of very poor connection speeds in the space of 30 minutes, we spoke to Technical Support on a Saturday morning to see the progress that was being made.

It was politely pointed out that as soon as the original fault was “cleared” the problems came back and explained that it seemed that the previous fault notes had not been looked at and that the only changes were the ones that ISP insisted upon doing (including changing wireless settings on the router which was being used and dismantling the newly fitted BT socket) which were pointless, time consuming and not helping investigate the problem.

The ISP could see the line was dropping once this was pointed out to them and that an engineer would call on Sunday between 4-6pm as it looked like an issue on the their network and that it could be potentially rectified by modifying the profile/exchange settings and that the call on Sunday was to confirm the results.

We missed the call on Sunday and called back with 20 minutes. Despite the engineer saying he was looking at the notes on multiple occasions, it was obvious that this was not the case and it had to be explained that they needed to look at the logins for the connection and they could see the outages. As luck would have it the connection dropped whilst he was on the call.

The router was reporting a sync speed and failure to login in on at least one occasion and then looking in the router logs the following errors were displayed :

08/05/2012 15:55:11        Last errorlog repeat 10 Times
08/05/2012 15:55:11        ADSL: down
08/05/2012 15:55:11        netMakeChannDial: err=-3001 rn_p=805c7b90
08/05/2012 15:55:14        Last errorlog repeat 17 Times
08/05/2012 15:55:14        ADSL: wait initialize
08/05/2012 15:55:14        netMakeChannDial: err=-3001 rn_p=805c7b90
08/05/2012 15:55:20        Last errorlog repeat 23 Times
08/05/2012 15:55:20        ADSL: initializing
08/05/2012 15:55:20        netMakeChannDial: err=-3001 rn_p=805c7b90
08/05/2012 15:55:32        Last errorlog repeat 25 Times

The engineer ran a line and system check which said there were no faults and was trying to insist that all of the wiring and router needed to be changed before anything else could be done. It was explained that all of the standard checks had been done (again) and that the error being reported needed to be investigated further and that I was told on Saturday that the reason for the call was to look deeper into the problem, not go over the same information previously reported.  Logging the error messages would potentially help resolve the problem.

The engineer said that the fault had been escalated but line should be monitored and if the problem re-appeared to call back, in effect implying they were not going to do anything unless the fault was reported again. It was explained that this was not good enough and that more than adequate information had been provided, including error messages and that the fault was not to be closed and needed further investigation by ISP. It was confirmed that there would be a call back within 48 hours.

So far there has been no callback within the 48 hour time frame as agreed and the fault with voice calls killing the ADSL connection have randomly reappeared.

Interestingly a harmless tweet on Saturday was picked up by the ISP and now the whole process has started again, “have you changed the filter and router and plugged into the Master Socket as you must do this before we can investigate further”.  One change was made to the clients profile, however the previous error was reported multiple times before a connection could be made.

 

We fully understand the steps that have be performed to identify an ADSL fault, “is it the customer equipment, extension wiring, PC/Laptop settings etc at fault ?”and sometimes it is the basics that can cure it, but in this instance, it appears that there is a fault, albeit slightly random, outside the client’s control which needs investigating properly but the ISP seems unwilling or unable to do so.  A simple Google search on the error messages being given by the Router sheds plenty of light on the issue and other people with the the same ISP having the same problems but all the resolutions are on the ISP side rather than the client.

 

So why the reason for this blog ?  Hopefully this will provide a central reference point for the ISP in question, as it appears there is no central log or record of any of the problems being reported and constantly having to repeat yourself to multiple people before anything gets done gets a more than a little frustrating!

 

We’ll keep you posted…….