Fixed Now

When I got back from cadet camp a while ago I noticed, somehow, that my internet connection bandwidth had dropped quite considerably. I think I had to restart the modem/router for some reason and when I logged into it I noticed that it was getting a download bandwidth of only 20Mb/s. Now, I say only, because I was getting 60Mb/s before I went away.

I restarted the hub a few times but this didn’t increase the capacity and I also left it for 24 hours thinking it might pick itself up. It didn’t. So I contacted BT. The low upload bandwidth was noticeable when attempting to upload pictures to the cloud and the download was affect some streaming services, although 20Mb/s was still good enough for most things.

I tried to use an online tracking fault thing the BT have on their website but navigating it was pretty terrible. Eventually I chose to use the online chat. They performed the same tests that the website interface had performed and then they asked me if I wanted to raise a fault.

Yes please.

When I managed to log in to the fault tracker it registered a voice-fault. I found this curious as I had a data fault but because they travel down the same line it was a voice-fault. BT also do mobile and TV and stuff so maybe that’s another reason for their curious naming of the fault. But, I didn’t know that so I phoned BT and said it was a broadband fault. They explained the previous bit to me and then said the engineer [who is really a technician] had found three problems at the exchange and fixed them. I should head home and restart the modem/router.

Which I did and nervously anticipated the result.

Hub Information

Well, that seems a lot better. I checked it using some external speed testers, although it’s bandwidth and not speed.

Test 1

I’m happy now. I have the broadband service that I pay for. It’s all fixed and the whole process was pretty simple. Well done BT.

Cheerily Fast

There have been communications within here about me changing broadband provider and how it went.

  • Here I talk about FTC.
  • This one is about moving from EE to Sky.
  • For exciting information about infrastructure then look here.
  • I updated the infrastructure in this communication although that one needs doing again!

Anyway, this morning I did another bandwidth test to see how the connection was holding up. Google have their own within the search results page and I go this returned:

Google Speed Result
Google Speed Result

Then, just to check I used the top search result also:

I’m a happy bunny. Streaming to multiple devices becomes more important as I listen to radio via the internet and others might be watching stuff on the television and another using the PC.

Width Looks Good

I wrote a while ago about moving over the BT Broadband and leaving Sky TV. I still don’t miss Sky TV. I stream most TV now and can do so with multiple devices at the same time.

I received a few letters from BT offering me a new deal for when my contract is finished. I tried to use the web address to look at these offers but I have to say that the BT web design was quite shit and I got to a point where I didn’t understand what the web page wanted me to do.

So, I phoned them and spoke to someone. This person could see my offer, explain it to me and also take my instruction to accept the offer. Essentially I could let my broadband [and phone] price increase at the end of my contract, or I could UPGRADE to the next level of broadband for the same price that I pay now.

Doesn’t seem much to that decision does there? I had to sign up for two years but as they are the only company supplying high bandwidth to my village it’s not like I’m likely to change.

Here’re my latest stats:

Quite Happy
Quite Happy

I think that’s pretty good for copper to the house, although it is fibre to cabinet.

Broadband Move

At some point this year I decided to change my broadband supplier. The main reason was to get a higher bandwidth and then, with this bandwidth for viewing moving picture content I could get rid of the dirty money I pay to Murdoch’s media empire.

Over the years I have watched less sport on TV and much less “normal” TV. I am pretty sure I can live without those things. I do still watch Formula 1 races but I either watch them live on C4 or there are always sites that aggregate the streaming content. So I took the step to get rid of Sky TV and broadband and move over to BT Broadband and Netflix along with the NFL GamePass.

The audio-visual entertainment is now mostly Freesat which I don’t really watch, Netflix, Amazon Prime or catch up TV services. There’s enough content on all of these that I don’t have to record anything on a HDD or similar. I don’t miss live TV and although people at work seem to like talking about it I am happy not knowing who managed to operate an oven correctly.

My broadband service has moved over to BT and my village has FTC (fibre to cabinet) which means I get much improved bandwidth but without the need for cables into my house. As I live in a small village it would never really be economical for a cable company to connect the place up. So my internet traffic travels down copper from the cabinet in the village. I am getting a pretty decent 50Mbs which is far better than the 5Mbs I was getting before.

It is now possible to stream music services to all the rooms in my house and also video to the PC and TV while at the same time play games on one of the consoles. This is great news. I no longer have devices buffer or cut out while I am doing stuff elsewhere. The PC used to max out the bandwidth when uploading files to OneDrive and I never quite figured out how to limit that. Films I download take 5 minutes instead of over an hour. It’s a rather grand new world I inhabit.

I also have no money directly leaving me and heading to the evil media corporations. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Dirty Digger has shares in many companies and I still use them, but for direct contributions he gets none. I don’t pay anything to Sky and I most definitely do not pay any money to his newspapers (scum of the Earth).

I am currently watching a few series on Netflix:

  • Scorpion [terrible “spy” / “homeland” series]
  • Archer [brilliant spy series]
  • Black Mirror [brilliantly odd series]

I watch plenty of NFL and have seen all the Saints games so far. I do have to cope with american adverts but these are quite amusing and I can see how the ex-colony has dumbed down, although I see us heading that way very quickly at the moment.

I still have to finish Babylon 5.

I play the Playstation and I am so looking forward to the latest Gran Turismo version. I am quite disappointed that GT6 never really included all the features they said it would. I was hoping to record my own race tracks using an app on my phone, I guess I’ll just have to wait for that in a later full version of GT.

I am watching Haven on Amazon TV when I exercise on the erg.

I will NOT be watching the Grand Tour. Mostly because I don’t care for low key “acceptable” racism. I reached a point early on with Top Gear when I realised it was childish and silly. It coincided with a set piece on the “boys” camping in a caravan and setting it alight. So scripted, annoying and purile. I’ll give it a pass.

So, overall the broadband move went well. The new equipment / router is OK although I had to re-route the power cable for it. All the wired and wired connections seem to be generally OK. The router doesn’t seem to like me trying to set Static IPs for my devices so unless the device can request it, I let the DHCP do its job. I turned off the 5G channel as its range was quite restricted and a normal channel has enough bandwidth for the mobile devices in the house.

There are a few features of the router that are silly. Why do I want to control the lights on the front? What purpose does that serve? It’s just an extra layer of firmware that can go wrong. Every now and then the router blocks out the wireless devices for connecting. I first noticed this when my iPhone couldn’t join the network. This seemed strange and because the router claimed it was working fine I ended up resetting my iPhone wireless settings. This was not necessary as in the end I figured out it was something to do with the router. I don’t know what but turning off the wireless, rebooting the router and then turning the wireless back on seems to work.

I have a Raspberry Pi working away in the loft sending data to a Multilateration Client for aircraft ADSB signals. This is connected wirelessly and I also have a Dynamic DNS pointing to it. This way I can see what the Pi is recording and check the aircraft flying overhead. When the router needs to be reset the external IP is changed and the router automatically updates my DDNS, which is nice.

Overall, I am happy with the change. No Sky makes me feel superior. The series on Netflix aren’t really watched by others so that makes me feel more exclusive and the NFL is great in HD, streamed, on a big TV.

Switching The Blue Sky

A short while back I wrote about changing broadband supplier. This is an update to that communication.

It is a few months since the new broadband internet connection started. It appears that my network has settled down tremendously since those early days.

All streaming, file sharing and music systems within the house seem to be working well. Large upload files are no longer causing connection issues.

Bandwidths seem to be approaching 650KB/s which translates to 5.2 Mb/s. This is not bad given my quite rural location and the aging connections within the village and house.

The Wi-Fi provided by the Sky router is pretty good. The signal dips a bit at the extremes of my house (top front room) but otherwise it is fine. The router connects everything that I need to be connected and my initial worries about a lack of “user” options have dissipated. This router and also the free EE one I had before both do a better job of routing that the £100 Netgear router I bought and have since sold on eBay.

Essentially, so far so good.











So what.


Today [Wed 20th August 2014], I am switching broadband supplier. I have been with EE for about 18 months and am moving over to Sky broadband. I think one of my first communications on here was about changing to TalkTalk from PlusNet. Now I am moving to give even more of my money to Murdoch and his family of companies, something I am rather unhappy about. If I was to total up how much I spend on TV and now broadband I would be horrified. I pay for my television because I like the following:

  • Cricket
  • American Football
  • Formula 1

It is currently 0730 and my broadband seems to be working fine on the old router. When things seem to break I will swap over to the new Sky modem router and also change the micro-filter. I will then spend some time messing around with the router settings so that my home network things work as they should. I set up static IPs for all my devices, mostly because it keeps things nice and neat and not because it is necessary.

[Follow up written Fri 22 Aug 2014]

Went to the park in the afternoon. Had already been out in the morning and broadband was still working once we got home. Once we entered the house I glanced at the EE router and it was flashing “no internet”. I changed the router and micro-filter. Plugged in and watched the lights flash. Eventually some bits were steady white. This meant I had an internet connection.

I logged into the router and changed the SSID so it would work with all my devices. Once that was done I slowly started plugging in all the network.

So, now I am on Sky broadband and phone rental. My initial thoughts are:

  • Not enough settings I can mess around with inside the router. This may, or may not, be an issue. Some of the following could cause me to change router if the issues continue.
  • The download bandwidth is poor compared to what I got with EE. It’s about half at the moment.
  • The router doesn’t like me doing some computer stuff and listening the internet radio. The radio keeps cutting out.

Apparently Sky are spending the next 10 days testing my line and working out a good connection bandwidth for me. I hope that I get more than 5Mb/s. This was my normal bandwidth before Sky. I also hope that the router can cope with all the traffic on my network. I will give it about a month before I seriously consider getting a new router and setting it up myself.

There is an issue with getting my own modem-router to use. Sky will not release my broadband login information. This means I will have to make sure I can find that information in the router before I get a new one. A quick internet search brings up software that will work to find out those details.

Let’s see what the next few weeks bring. I am hopeful.

UPDATE 25 August 2014:

The download bandwidths have increased slightly. I have reached about 5Mb/s which is on a par with my previous provider. The router seems a bit shaky when there’s a lot going on with my network. It doesn’t like uploading large files and streaming downloading at the same time. This means I will probably change my router once the bandwidth settles down. I have a plan to use my EE router. It is more customisable than the Sky router and worked pretty well, even if it was free and I don’t like the design.

Talk Talk Part 4

My lovely router (a D-Link) started to drop connections and act a little bit funny. I put this down to overheating as I had lost the little rubber feet upon which it was meant to stand. This may or may not have been the cause for its miss-behaviour but that was my diagnosis. So I needed another router and reluctantly I went to the back cupboard and got the free router I received from Talk Talk when I signed up with them. It looks pretty grotty and has a huge Talk Talk logo on the front panel.
So I un-plugged the old lovely router and held my breath. Would the new one work? I plugged it in and turned it on, an on-switch is a luxury. Lights flashed and there wasn’t a whirring sound, the connection light blinked and flashed and went green.
I plugged in, logged in to the router and had a look at the settings. It didn’t look like I could change the SSID! Arrghhh. I don’t want my wireless network to be called Talk-Talk8654. I left it.
Later I loaded the router admin page on the iPhone and suddenly there was a settings page for me to play with. I think there was a refresh issue with the PC browser that meant the settings didn’t show. I have now changed the SSID and am a happy bunny.
I know Talk Talk are slammed in public relations but I have to say I have had an excellent service from them! Please remember that anecdote isn’t evidence!

Talk Talk Part 3

This will probably come as a bit of a surprise but I have been really impressed with Talk Talk. I know that they have most complaints out of the media providers bt I haven’t had any issues.
Download speeds in the evening used to be crippling. It just wasn’t worth trying to download any large files and almost not worth browsing the internet. However, since moving to Talk Talk our evening download speeds have really improved. What I do not know is whether that is down to Talk Talk or some other changes that have been made with the infrastructure in our area. The thing is I can’t be bothered to see which it is.
Now I’m looking forward to downloading iOS5 this evening and getting my iPhone up to date.

Talk Talk Part 2

So, judgement day has come and not yet fully passed. The phone and broadband were both switched to Talk Talk today. I was expecting trouble and phone calls to their Helpline but in all honesty it went really well.
I turned the router/modem off this morning and by the time I got home after work (I’m a teacher so it was early) the phone and broadband account had changed. The biggest problem was getting the new settings to save in the router. Rather embarrassing really as I couldn’t find the “save and reboot” button in the router web-interface.
Didn’t want to use the Talk Talk router as it looks rubbish and I like the idea of configuring my own router.
Move router to the dining room and now “electronic corner” has a little less heat emitted, might make the lounge a bit more comfortable as there’s no natural fresh air flow.
Well done Talk Talk, hope your up-time proves just as good.

Talk talk

My change over to Talk Talk for phone and broadband is about to happen on Monday. I’m bothered as I’ve been with Plusnet for years although changing provider has meant I had to go out and got my own web domain and space.
The free wireless router arrived today. It’s very close now but I think I’ll just configure my own router. The only improvement would be wireless range and I get 3G in the garden so what do I care? Also the new box would have to be moved to a different position to fit in “electronic corner”. Don’t like the talk talk colour. So D-Link router it is with no reception in the garden. Could move it and connect PS3 wirelessly, will think about that.
Main concerns at moment. Will they screw up my phone line and will the broadband work properly on Monday. New settings easy so it should be a breeze.
All this to save money! Sky don’t have the package I wanted so they’ll have to wait for more of my money.