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Pentris
Mentor

Reducing broadband speed

My broadband download speed using FTTC over the last 3 years has been very consistent at 37-39Mbps. Since April is has declined by up to 50% and is now only around 20-22Mbps. NOW say that the line test shows exactly 40 every time they test it. That is impossible to get the same result each time. I think they are merely quoting the synch speed as set up in the equipment. They have replaced the router with absolutely no change for either WiFi or Ethernet tests. I have tried responding to them as directed and emails are being rejected as their emailbox is full!

This reduction is also coincidental with a new 1 year contract and also the rollout of FTTP when three neighbours have upgraded, next door to Sky. I suspect a copper line fault or they are throttling normal users bandwidth to cater for the new full fibre customers.

1 Solution
Jayach
Expert 2


@Pentris wrote:

 I have ordered an USB-C to Ethernet adapter so that I can try again with my laptop connected with a short ethernet cable to the router. Previous tests have used a longer cable to my desktop which is in another room to my router.

As long as the Ethernet cable is at least Cat5e, and is less than 50mtrs, the length shouldn't matter

The FTTC service shouldn't be affected by the FTTP rollout, however who knows what may be happening in the background.

View solution in original post

15 Replies
gavs82008
Legend 5
Legend 5

@Pentris 

Sounds likely to be a fault when the FTTP rollout was being carried out. Call the team and ask for full investigation of the line back to the cabinet. 

https://help.nowtv.com/article/how-to-submit-a-broadband-complaint1

FYI that I do not work for NOW, just a NOW customer trying to help
Jayach
Expert 2


@Pentris wrote:

My broadband download speed using FTTC over the last 3 years has been very consistent at 37-39Mbps. Since April is has declined by up to 50% and is now only around 20-22Mbps. NOW say that the line test shows exactly 40 every time they test it. That is impossible to get the same result each time. I think they are merely quoting the synch speed as set up in the equipment.


That is what Now and most (if not all) ISPs mean by download speed.

Mothballs
Advocate

Hi,

I have the same issue. My neighbour whose contract is with SKY also has the same drop in performance. SKY has accepted his test results using Speediest.net as have the three engineers who have visited his house. The speed "measured' by the router is as explained to my neighbour the raw or sync speed and makes no allowance for any overhead. Tomorrow there is a meeting of various engineers at the exchange to try and resolve the problem.. SKY are also aware of this problem in other areas. Also it coincides with the roll out of FTTP for our estate.

Jayach
Expert 2


@Mothballs wrote:

The speed "measured' by the router is as explained to my neighbour the raw or sync speed and makes no allowance for any overhead.


That is correct, but the overheads should be no more than 5-10%, when measured over ethernet.

RoyB
Legend

@Jayach 

So where do Now measure the sync speed?

And if it can be affected by problems in the cabinet, why would Now not be aware of this?

It seems to me that the proper measure of download speed is what the customer can see on a single Ethernet connection from their router with WiFi turned off.

Please note that I am just a customer like you, and my advice may well be worth no more than exactly what you paid for it.
Jayach
Expert 2

They can obviously see the sync speed with their tools, whether they get it from the cabinet or the router, I don't know, but probably the cabinet. (it makes no difference, it will be the same both ends)

If the sync speed is affected by anything, they will be aware of this (when they look), but they won't know what is causing it.

I agree about what the measure of download speed should be. That is why I always say sync if I mean sync and download when I mean download. (well sometimes I may trip up)

The trouble is all the large ISPs use "download" when they should really say "sync".  I think they think it will confuse people if they say "sync". (and it obviously does) 

In the problem in this thread, the sync speed is fine, but download speed is being limited. That means there must be some form of congestion, the hard thing is finding out where and why.

RoyB
Legend

@Jayach 

So what sort of thing would ‘congestion’ be? In @Pentris case, a line that has been fine for years, with the download speed very much in line with the sync speed, has suddenly halved its download speed. Which Now apparently can’t see?

So what is the point of Now telling him his sync speed is fine?

I can see where it matters to Now, as I imagine the remedial action required will be rather different if the lower download speed is caused by a lowered sync speed, rather than by congestion.

But beyond that, it seems to get neither party any further forward, and certainly doesn’t allow Now to wash their hands of the matter just because the sync speed is as expected.

(Sorry I keep banging on at you, @Jayach , but you seem to know what you are talking about, a situation I would like to attain, with your help, as far as possible 😛)

Please note that I am just a customer like you, and my advice may well be worth no more than exactly what you paid for it.
Jayach
Expert 2

To be precise, sync speed is the speed your router and the cabinet agree to use, based on line conditions at the time they check. This means it will stay the same throughout a session. If the line conditions change (more noise for instance), the SNR (signal to noise ratio) will drop. If it reaches 0 (noise and signal the same level) you will lose sync and the line will need to re-sync, probably with a lower speed to compensate for the increased noise.

Mothballs
Advocate

This is the latest I received from neighbour:-

I've spoken to someone in Sky who sounded quite different from all the others so-far, he's read all the notes and sees there is nothing more that can be done, then unprompted he's exempt me from any contract obligations and initiated the Sky Broadband guarantee which means the package cost is reduced by 2/3 (20/30 MB/s).

He also notes that SKY have withdrawn from Ofcom Voluntary Code of practice which makes the minimum guaranteed speed meaningless. I leave you all to draw your own conclusions. If you have friends who are using SKY as their broadband provider you may wish to advise them of the change. Especially as they did not advise my neighbour.

Jayach
Expert 2

@RoyB wrote:

@Jayach 

So what sort of thing would ‘congestion’ be? In @Pentris case, a line that has been fine for years, with the download speed very much in line with the sync speed, has suddenly halved its download speed. Which Now apparently can’t see?

So what is the point of Now telling him his sync speed is fine?

I can see where it matters to Now, as I imagine the remedial action required will be rather different if the lower download speed is caused by a lowered sync speed, rather than by congestion.

But beyond that, it seems to get neither party any further forward, and certainly doesn’t allow Now to wash their hands of the matter just because the sync speed is as expected.

(Sorry I keep banging on at you, @Jayach , but you seem to know what you are talking about, a situation I would like to attain, with your help, as far as possible 😛)


I'm finding it really hard to follow threads with the changes that have happened recently, so I'm going to try to make this a separate post. Apologies if I don't succeed.

In this instance, where changes are obviously occurring with the network in this area, there is probably  some part of the network that is being repurposed to accommodate the FTTP customers coming on-line. This means the parts left facilitating the FTTC users are being stressed and not quite coping.

This is pure guesswork, I have no knowledge of the actual situation here, and I am sure the network engineers are working hard to get it sorted out, but it takes time, change rarely comes easy.

The problem from Now's point of view is they purchase the basic connection from Openreach, with a guarantee of sync speed, but sometime the backend systems (either Now/Sky's (they are the same as Now runs on Sky network) or maybe Openreach's are not always fully capable at the time.

An awful lot of what I have said is conjecture, if only we could speak to the network engineers involved we would get a much better idea of what is happening.

From @Pentris's  point of view the only consolation is that they may soon be able to get FTTP. (but not from Now, at the moment)

Pentris
Mentor

Thank you all for your observations.  NOW have told me they will do some more tests over the next few days and only if they find a problem will it be passed to Openreach. They do appear to treat their customers as idiots sometimes. I agree that sync speeds can easily be determined from a test to look at their transmit equipment, the DSLAM equipment in the cabinet and my router. I can, and obviously did, look at my router settings before trying to report a problem so I knew it was set at 40Mbps. If they are not going to do a proper line test then they should call it a 'continuity test' or a 'set up test' but not tell me they have a line test. Their terminology is all wrong.

I worked all my life in Telecommunications and with broadband and fibre including trials of FTTP back in the early 1990's. In my day we respected customers being able to speak with us as engineers and give us information first hand. The modern way is everyone must be kept in their own box and never should they meet or communicate. A sad reflection of progress.

Thank you all.

Jayach
Expert 2


@Pentris wrote:

Thank you all for your observations.  NOW have told me they will do some more tests over the next few days and only if they find a problem will it be passed to Openreach.


That seems entirely reasonable. If your sync speeds are fine, you're  not getting line drops, and errors are not building up on your line, there is no point passing it to Openreach. They will just run their tests and pass it back NFF. (No fault Found)

That doesn't mean there is no fault, it means it isn't within Openreach's connection.

The problem is almost certainly a capacity problem within Now/Sky's local network (as Now/Sky are an LLU provider Openreach's involvement is minimal)

The call should be escalated to the network team who can test just where the slowdown is occurring. It may still not be a quick fix, it very much depends on what is needed.

Pentris
Mentor

NOW have responded. "The network team were unable to find any physical faults on the line and the speed has been consistent at 40mbps over the last 30 days. I would recommend trying a new Ethernet cable and retesting." I have ordered an USB-C to Ethernet adapter so that I can try again with my laptop connected with a short ethernet cable to the router. Previous tests have used a longer cable to my desktop which is in another room to my router. (As has been used reliably for the past 3 years)

I was interested in the response from Advocate that others appear to have similar problems after FTTP rollout in an exchange area.

My views are that the NOW so called tests are only from them to the cabinet, hence being sync figures which would only be affected if there is line transmission problem. My problem could well be that with full fibre rollout they have adopted a service prioritisation system, the higher grade service gets the first pick of the available capacity. It could also be that the FTTP take up is currently reported to be about 7% as many users just don't need the greater capacity and this will not recoup the expense of the rollout costs.

Jayach
Expert 2


@Pentris wrote:

 I have ordered an USB-C to Ethernet adapter so that I can try again with my laptop connected with a short ethernet cable to the router. Previous tests have used a longer cable to my desktop which is in another room to my router.

As long as the Ethernet cable is at least Cat5e, and is less than 50mtrs, the length shouldn't matter

The FTTC service shouldn't be affected by the FTTP rollout, however who knows what may be happening in the background.

Pentris
Mentor

Feedback for above contributors

Waited to get adapter to test my laptop on ethernet. Line tested good at 38Mbps despite not doing so for previous 3 months. WiFi not good at around 20Mbps. Used WiFi analyser app and found the new Sky router next door is quite powerful and was possibly affecting my signal as it was on the same channel. Reset my router to 'auto' channel selection and now getting 38Mbps on ethernet and Wifi. Convinced something was changed by Now or Sky on their network. Case closed, thanks for your help.

Robin Dew