12 January 2012
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Trobuleshooting your Broadband

Helpful hints and tips to help diagnose ADSL & general broadband problems

If you are having problems connecting to your broadband ADSL Internet Service Provider (ISP) then the first thing you should try is to reboot/power cycle your modem/router. If that makes no difference turn it off for around 7 minutes (7 minutes is a strange number, but this is because the ISP counts in seconds and when you convert to minutes it is a little over 6 minutes), this allows the servers at your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to realise that you have disconnected and reset their servers. This is called a stale session and is caused by you being disconneted incorrectly somehow (not necessarily your fault).

If that doesn’t work there is a simple test to perform to check whether your ADSL line or ISP is at fault.

Here are the login settings to use for your router or modem to connect to the BT test domain.

User: bt_test@startup_domain

BT will ignore any password present in the password box, and therefore is not necessary to delete or modify these settings. If you are unsuccessful connecting to BT test account and are sure your ADSL line has been activated and all hardware wiring is correct then contact your ISP to let them know.

If you connect successfully you can determine whether your computer software (e.g. Internet Explorer settings & firewall)and DNS are configured correctly by going to this URL: http://www.bt.net/digitaldemo/ If you can view this website then congratulations your software and hardware is configured correctly.

If the above is successful, then you have confirmed that your line is ADSL enabled and that the ADSL is working. The next test is to confirm that you can connect to your ISP. To do this, change the login settings again to:

User: bt_test_user@your_connnection_pipe where your_connection_pipe is the bit after the @ symbol in your ADSL login.

This will test that you can login to your ISP using a default login. If this works, then it generally means one of two things: your ISP has not yet set up your account, or you have entered your details incorrectly.

Note that if you are successful with the above, you may now find that your login details work correctly even if they did not before. This can happen if the “session” you have with BT had failed to expire properly; reconnecting with a different login will usually clear this.

ADSL Speed Tests – Check your Line Speed

This tutorial will explain how to use the BT ADSL speed test facility. This is a test often used by BT engineers when testing the speed on customer’s ADSL connections. It basically tests the time it takes your system to download a file from a BT server and thus determines the effective transfer speed of your connection. This test differs from the normal Internet speed test that PlusNet and websites like ADSL guide have, as the test only involves the BT network and not your ISP.

Here are the login settings to use for your router or modem to connect to the BT speed test domain.

User: speedtest@startup_domain

BT will ignore any password present in the password box, and therefore is not necessary to delete or modify these settings. Once connected you will be able to access the bt speedtest URL http://speedtester.bt.com On that page you will be promopted to enter your telephone number then click the “GO” button. After a short time your results will be displayed against the different speed internet connections to give you a fair idea of your ADSL line speed compared to your service. It is recommended that you repeat the test several times to give an average tested transfer speed. To repeat the test just click your browser’s back button, which will take you back to the first page. Then just click the GO button again to repeat the test. Don’t be surprised if the test results vary from test to test, this is not an accurate test but again will give you a fair idea of your ADSL line capacity.

We have done a number of tests using identical equipment whilst changing the ADSL Microfilter, this is the device that you plug into the phone socket and it splits the phone line and ADSL/Broadband line. We have found some suprising results, the quality of your filter can have dramatic affects on your line speed, up to 4Mb in some cases and it is not always the more the pay the faster the speed.

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