Welcome to the Freeola Internet customer support pages. This guide is designed to help with optimising your broadband connection, specifically your Line Synchronisation rate. For more internet help topics please visit our main Support Page.
For more general tips on improving your broadband speed, please see our guide to improving internet speeds.
The first and most important part of obtaining a fast connection via an internet connection is the quality of the line between the router and the exchange. Generally BT will provide as good a quality line to your premises as possible, whereas internal extension wiring may not be provided to as high a standard.
Some areas where BT have experimented with aluminium wiring, or in rural areas, it can be a challenge to get a good speed.
BT do not take responsibility for any extension wiring within your property (even when fitted by BT, except within the first year). BT's responsibility for the wiring starts at the BT Master socket - even the faceplate which plugs into the master socket is considered CPE (Customer Provided Equipment).
Maximising Speed ~ Minimising Distance
To ensure that you are receiving as fast a speed as possible, it is good practise to have as small a mount of wiring between the router and your BT Master socket as possible. The BT master socket is usually the first socket when you enter a premises, it should have a BT logo and will usually also have a horizontal split across the middle which can be unscrewed. Underneath the bottom half of the socket you should find another telephone socket, this is known as the test socket, and this is the point at which BT take responsibility for your line.
Connecting to the test socket should cut off any extension wiring allowing you to test your internet equipment without any interference from other equipment or wiring.
Testing the Difference
If you want to see whether moving your equipment makes any difference to your speed, the first place to start is to check what is known as the sync rate of your router or modem. If you are using a router this can usually be found by logging in to your router or modem and finding the modem status section. You will usually find two numbers in this section, one is the upstream and the other is the downstream. The upstream speed controls how fast you are able to send information from your computer, the downstream is how fast you are able to receive information to your computer. The upstream on all connections provided by Freeola will always be substantially lower than the downstream.
Upstream speeds on ADSL services average around 1Mbps. FTTC services are likely to see 9Mbps or 17Mbps (depending on tariff) while FTTP services average around 25Mbps or 40Mbps.
Downstream speeds on ADSL services average around 11Mbps. FTTC services are likely to see 35Mbps or 63Mbps (depending on tariff) while FTTP services can average around 150Mbps or 300Mbps.
The downstream sync rate will change relatively quickly when you make changes to a telephone line, however the actual throughput you will receive will not change as quickly.
There is another component to the speed that controls this is, called the BRAS profile. The BRAS profile is set by BT and is used to prevent your connection with becoming saturated by receiving data quicker than it can transfer it. Because internet sync rates can change on a day-to-day basis, and a profile that is set too high will cause connection problems, the BRAS profile will decrease relatively quickly if the sync rate decreases, but can take some time (up to 3 days) to increase if the sync rate increases.
This also means that anything that causes the sync rate to drop even for a relatively brief period (such as static or noise on the line) will mean that the BRAS profile will not increase and will remain below the minimum speed achieved in order to keep the line stable. This means that even though a line may seem fine 99% of the time, if there are lots of errors at particular times this will keep the BRAS profile low and hence the throughput.
BT Speed Test
The BT SpeedTest can be done by visiting http://speedtest.btwholesale.com, and following the simple on-screen instructions. Once you have completed the test, you will be given 3 types of information which are of use to yourself (or Freeola Support).
You should be given your Download Speed/Sync Rate, Upload Speed, and Ping. For the most part, the Ping is irrelevant for diagnostic purposes.
If you Download Speed is significantly lower than any previously obtain or estimated speed, this could indicate an issue with the connection.
Dealing With Errors
There are a number of things that can cause errors on a line, these include (but are not limited to):
Faulty equipment (routers/modems and microfilters)
Faulty wiring (both internal and on the BT line)
Electrical interference from devices near the router/modem
Noise on the telephone line
Once you have established whether the internal wiring of your premises is at fault or not you can then look into how to resolve the issue. For example if you find that connecting your broadband to the master socket gives a significant speed increase, then it is worth examining the layout of your telephone extensions to resolve the issue. You can see a diagram of a correctly configured setup below.
Note that each extension has a microfilter at the end of the line, that there are never two microfilters placed in series (this will seriously slow down a connection!) and that the router/modem is connected via the BT master socket.
If your computer is not adjacent to the master socket then we would recommend either connecting the router via the master socket and then laying down Ethernet cable to your computer (the best solution, but this is not always practical) or installing a wireless router onto the master socket and then using wireless networking.
Speed, after all, is only theoretical
One last thing to note is that the actual throughput that you achieve on your internet connection will also be affected by items other than discussed so far, which means that following the instructions given will only help with your maximum theoretical speed. The actual speed you will obtain from any particular web site will also be affected by:
The bandwidth available to the website you are visiting.
The bandwidth on the "pipe" to your BT exchange (which you will be sharing with other users).
The bandwidth on your telephone line.
Your distance from your local cabinet and telephone exchange.
The quality of the wiring from your premises to the cabinet or exchange.
Please note: the bandwidth delivered to you can, and most probably will, vary according to the time of day and how much other users are using. If this is the case for your connection then you may find that your connection is fast during the day, but slows down in the evening, (when home users are at their most active).
While contention is not usually an issue in modern times, some users still using ADSL in areas that are not yet fibre-enabled may find their connections perform slightly slower during evenings, weekends, and school holidays or major sporting events.