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Thread: Is My ISP lying to me about the maximum speed my line can handle?

  1. #1
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    Is My ISP lying to me about the maximum speed my line can handle?

    Hello there, I am paying for a connection that is advertised to have a down speed of "up to 16mb" but I am only getting 8, after speaking with tech support I was told that this is the maximum my line can handle. Going into the router settings these are the details:

    http://imgur.com/a/Qw7IZ

    As I understand it, the Rate is what the line is capped at. And the Maximum Rate is the rate the modem estimates my line can handle. Is there something there that might suggest why they can't upgrade the speed?

    Appreciate all your help. Another probably stupid question. When they say that the line can't handle more, would it be damaged if they upgraded it? which is why they are capping it at 8190 instead of setting it at 16 and letting me get as much down speed as the line can reach, which is supposedly 8 mb. I tried searching for information about this but couldn't find the right keywords!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I can't see the image (imgur over capacity atm), however...
    Keep in mind that with DSL distance and noise on the line both play a major role in how clean your signal is and can decrease line quality.

    Attenuation is a measure of how clean the signal is, the further away you are from the exchange the higher it will be.
    SNR (signal to noise ratio) is a measure of noise on the line, and it fluctuates somewhat. If it fluctuates too much it can cause your modem to lose sync.

    DSL modems are designed to sync at a certain speed and keep a "noise margin" big enough for those SNR fluctuations not to cause it to lose sync (disconnect). If they disconnect too frequently, many modem firmwares are designed to increase the "SNR margin" and therefore sync at a lower speed to avoid such disconnects.

    So then, it is possible that your modem syncs at a lower speed because of noise fluctuations. A cleaner/direct line to the modem and installing DSL filters on phones may help if the noise is introduced at your end.
    The exact speed that your modem syncs at the moment depends on the attenuation, and the fluctuation of noise. Sometimes, if you disconnect/reconnect the modem and there is not much noise at the time it may sync at a higher speed temporarily. Some ISPs can change the SNR margin in your firmware to allow the modem to sync at a higher speed, at a higher risk of losing sync periodically because of noise fluctuations.

    If it consistently stays at the 8 Mbps mark, you should probably only pay for that. It may be worth looking into the line at your end to make sure it is in good condition without anything introducing noise.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for taking the time to reply, I appreciate it!

    these are the values in the pic:

    Rate (Up/Down) 1020/8190 kbps
    Noise Margin (Up/Down) 9/13.3 dB
    Modulation Type ADSL_2plus
    Line Attenuation (Up/Down) 14.4/23 dB
    Output Power (Up/Down) 12.1/18.9 dBm
    Data Path (Up/Down) Interleaved/Interleaved
    Max Rate(Up/Down) 1186/19648 kbps


    Is the Noise Margin not good enough for an upgrade in your opinion?

    If I understand you correctly the value of 8190 kbps can be set by the modem automatically, and not solely by the ISP, though it still can be the latter doing it.

    The ISP's tech support representative who seemed as clueless as I was, presumed that I had upgraded recently and that they might not have upped the speed yet, until I told her its been a few months, after which she told me she'd issue a ticket and that the ISP will contact me withing 3 days to see what the problem was, so if they are not doing anything untoward, asking them to tweak the settings of my modem or even changing the brand of modem myself should change the down/up speed that it syncs depending on the parameters it uses, correct?

    Again thanks for your help!

  4. #4
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Your downstream noise margin seems high... you should be able to get over 16 Mbps down (if using ADSL2+, not ADSL) based on those numbers (look at the "max rate up/down" number, it is the maximum possible you should be able to get if noise doesn't fluctuate much and everything is configured correctly).

    It could be either settings at your ISP, or your modem firmware, your ISP's techs should be able to sort it out if you complain enough What you can do on your end is disconnect/unplug your modem for a minute, and see what it syncs at after that (preferably at non-peak times, i.e. not at 5-11pm). If the "noise margin" decreases and the "rate" increases after unplugging, it means your modem is throttling down itself because of fluctuations in noise to keep connected. If it doesn't change, it probably means your ISP has to change a setting, either at the exchange or your modem's firmware.

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