Who can help me with broadband/IT?

If you are having problems with an existing broadband connection, your ISP will probably have provided some guidelines on what steps to take. Alternatively you can print off an online guide while your connection is working, so that you can refer to it when necessary. If you and your ISP are unable to resolve the problem, or you simply wish to ensure that your connection is as fast as possible, who can you turn to? In Ewhurst we are very fortunate that Walter Willcox is usually willing to investigate and help resolve such issues as a hobby, and only asks that his expenses are repaid in return. Walter can be contacted using our contact form. Alternatively, most local computer support companies will have some relevant experience and expertise, but bear in mind that the skill set of different individuals will vary. We are currently aware of only one such business actually based in Ewhurst; Mark Konieczko’s “mkpcs”, details follow below.

If you are considering a new broadband connection, or planning to switch to FTTC when it becomes available in Ewhurst, or cannot currently get broadband, then Walter would like to hear from you here.

For those who need broadband connection help on a commercial basis, or a variety of other IT services, Walter has personally recommended Tom Brook and Alan Oxford. Tom and Alan have extensive broadband experience, including local FTTC installations. They have been working in homes, small businesses and a few schools since 2004 and can help with PC, smartphone, email, setup issues, networking and broadband problems. This can include selecting the most appropriate service provider, help with ordering and fixing any problems after activation, including monitoring of the line. Telephone 01483 608080 or click Mouselike.org.

Mark Konieczko, an early member of the Ewhurst Broadband group, has now set up his own business, named ‘mkpcs’, to support residents and small businesses in and around Cranleigh. Mark has worked in the computer and telecommunications industry since the mid ’70s and offers a range of services including general PC and Mac support and repairs, advice and installation of home networks, iPhone and iPad repairs and setup. He lives in Ewhurst and will either visit your home or premises to resolve any problems, or work on them in his workshop, generally returning your PC, laptop, printer or iPhone within 24 hours. Mark’s wife Lynn, also works with him specialising in resolving problems with Microsoft applications. Lynn’s background is in banking and finance, and was, of course, the former owner of Cromwell Coffee House. You can reach ‘mkpcs’ at 01483 548987, or via their website www.mkpcs.com.

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7 Responses to Who can help me with broadband/IT?

  1. A client in Cranleigh asked me to attend his Infinity installation late last week. The main reason being that BT had managed to ‘mess up’ his friends PC a few weeks earlier as part of an Infinity installation.

    If you already have broadband with BT then there is absolutely nothing that needs to be installed or changed (on any of your PCs, laptops and other Internet connected devices) for Infinity to work. If you are moving from someone else to BT then a few things need to be considered, including how you access email.

    Getting back to the Cranleigh installation, my client lives in the Grange Park area just off Woodland Avenue, which is over a kilometre from his DSLAM (new green cabinet). He had only ordered the ‘up to 38Mb’ service (BT Infinity Option 1) and was told he would get download speeds of ‘around 20Mb’ – roughly 6 times faster than before.

    The OpenReach engineer arrived having called earlier to say their Broadband and land line were now temporarily disconnected. He was extremely helpful and was able to install the new Home Hub 3 and the white BT Infinity Modem a few feet a way from the BT master socket, including hiding the cables discretely under the carpet! The installation (and his tests) took less than 30 minutes and I was able to check the speed using my own tools and found the download speed to be 21.5Mb. My client was delighted! The engineer did not ask to do anything with my clients PCs although I got the impression this might not be the case with some of his colleagues.

    All in all a very smooth, tidy and quick installation. My client is very happy as he has the speed he was promised and he is paying less for the new service.

  2. David Nye says:

    Thanks Mark, it’s great to hear that a new FTTC connection can go smoothly!

  3. Walter says:

    Hear Hear, but to some extent it’s the luck of the draw.

    It would also be worth watching the speeds over say the next few weeks. We have been observing another Cranleigh client with a house to cabinet distance of just over 1 km. They were informed that their estimated speed would be 35.5 Mbps. The connection started at 29 Mbps but over a couple of weeks it fell to an IP profile of 24 Mbps and a throughput of 20 Mbps. We believe this is due to a reduction of the transmit power to counteract crosstalk as more clients were connected.

    Although the performance is a little disappointing the client is reasonably content when comparing it to the service they had beforehand.

    Perhaps we can summarise these results as, due to an imperfect line with a length of around a kilometer, the results are better than with an exchange connection, although a far cry from the maximum of 76 Mbps – if you wished to pay extra for that.

  4. Walter, you have read my mind! I have already arranged to check their speeds and profiles at weekly intervals. Out of interest, how do you check the IP profile, other than by logging into the router?

  5. David Nye says:

    You can get the IP/BRAS Profile for a BT line using the ADSL/FTTC Diagnostics option of the BT speed testers at http://www.speedtester.bt.com/ or http://diagnostics.bt.com/speedtest/. It is also well worth reading the BT info your IP profile and its importance and testing your broadband speed and testing your BT Infinity speed. Note that the BT speed test also measures latency.

  6. David Nye says:

    Note that the BT page on the IP profile refers to the original ADSL services. Most of it holds true for ADSL2 except for the calculation of IP Profile. Walter has kindly provided this version for VDSL services:

    The “IP profile”, or “BRAS profile”, is a speed limit applied to your broadband service by the DSLAM within the FTTC (cabinet). Its purpose is to ensure that the DSLAM equipment doesn’t “overload” your broadband service by sending more data down your phone line than it or the VDSL modem or other equipment can physically handle. Without this “throttle”, your broadband service would suffer from data loss.

    The DSLAM (i.e. the broadband equipment in the FTTCabinet) sets an initial IP profile for your line as soon as it detects an active broadband service. It then monitors the line’s speed for a short period and adjusts the IP profile to 96.79% of the final (medly phase) path rates. As VDSL services use far higher frequency bands than ADSL such services are much more sensitive to line noise. A discovery phase is initiated as soon as the line attempts to train onto a VDSL signal. The resultant speeds are reduced quite significantly, for example, sometimes to around 89% of the discovery phase values. Generally speaking, this maximum possible speed is usually related to the noise levels, the quality of the actual twisted pairs, joints etc. and to the length of the line between your home and the FTTC. The shorter the distance, the faster the speed your line can support, if the quality is up to a reasonable standard.

    The IP profile will then be maintained at this rate unless there is interference or a fault or, in the case of more VDSL services being connected, where the power is dynamically cut back according to the observed crosstalk between twisted pairs. If this happens the DSLAM will automatically reduce speed to prevent data loss. Once the interference or fault has been cleared, the exchange may then return the IP profile to its pre-fault rate quite rapidly.

    You can use your IP profile as a ‘health check’ for your line speed in some circumstances. You can measure it by running a BT broadband speed test, unless you have services from other LLU service providers. Normally your IP profile should be 96.79% of your line’s reduced maximum connection (medley) rate. Where it’s significantly less, it could indicate a fault in either your home wiring or BT’s network. Alternatively it could be because of electrical interference or crosstalk on the line.

  7. David Nye says:

    There is a good guide to getting your IP Profile at:
    http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/btwperformancetest.htm

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