Before you start to use this page your best using the other guides first to see if you are actually getting a low speed to start with, see our Check Your Speed and Check Your Latency guides first before continuing, however if your certain your not getting the speed you should or can be then this guide will try to help you tackle those issues, if you find your having any problems during this excersize then feel free to post on our forums where members will be glad to help
Testing your connection in the Test Socket
You should always bare in mind when testing your Broadband Connection that you should always connect to your Router/Modem via LAN (Ethernet) cable and not by Wi-Fi (to be certain you should disable Wi-Fi altogether while testing takes place) this is to help single out where your loss of speed is coming from, you should also turn off all other computers on your network as they may be downloading or uploading files in background and you should never use extension cables to move the Modem/Router away from Master Socket into another room, keep the Modem/Router next to the BT socket on a short RJ-11 cable from the filter to the Modem/Router, this helps prevent interference, if your computer is in another room you should use long Ethernet cables, Wi-Fi or Homeplug Adapters, but never use 10m extension cable as they are not made to reflect interference.
We need to test your line too make sure their is no problems on it with Interference or Faulty Connections, the first thing we are going to do is test your Modem/Router in the 'Test Socket', this is hidden behind the BT Faceplate on your master socket, what this does is essentially cut out any internal extension wiring like if you have other BT sockets around the house as these can cause problems and speed loss. The BT Socket you should be using is the 'Master Socket', this is the main socket that comes into the home from which extensions (if any) are spurred off from, most people would be using this for their Modem/Router so will be setup there already.
Unscrew the Faceplate and remove slowly and carefully, if it has wires attached to it then you have some form of extension wiring and probably have Extension sockets around the house, once removed you will see the 'Test Socket' that the faceplate plugged into, thats where you insert your Filter and plug in your Modem/Router into the filter and turn it on and see if your speed has got any better.
Here you can see from the picture on the left how a Faceplate looks once its removed, this example has extension wires and the 'Bellwire' connected, both of which are most likely causing some speed loss due to acting like ariels picking up interference that blocks out certain broadband frequencies. Insert the Filter into the test socket on the right-hand side of the back-plate.
If you have determined that your speed is better in the test socket then it is likely to be your extension wires and the redundant 'Ringwire' are attracting Interference, the wires run around your home to the extensions and act like one big loop ariel that picks up electrical interference that is emitting in same radio spectrum as some of your broadband, this blocks the communication over that 'range' of the spectrum and results in loss of speed, the Ringwire was used to ring the old electro mechanical bell type phones in the 60's and 70's, nobody uses these types of phones anymore and the wire can be removed, it is the Orange one you see in the picture above.
If you have disconnected the Ringwire and still get slower speeds then the cause could be the extension wiring itself catching interference from something in your home (see our Causes Of Slow Speed pages for more info). It can be poorly made wiring that does not adhere to BT specification, poorly twisted or copper plated aluminium or copper plated steel cable which degrades quality, if you need your Extensions for access to Phone upstairs or in other rooms you can consider buying a Filtered Faceplate such as the NTE-2000 which terminates the xDSL signal at the master socket which stops the signal travelling around your internal wiring where its degraded but filters off the phone signal and sends that to your extensions, you can also use a wireless set of phones that all run from one wireless base station that connects at the Master Socket, this will enable you to disconnect the Extension wiring from the Master Socket and still have phones upstairs or in other rooms, the wireless sets do operate in same 2.4Ghz frequency range as Wi-Fi so may interfere with that if you use it but in most scenarios its fine and you can change channels in the router to try to accomodate, the best channels to use are 1,6 or 11 as these channels do not overlap each other like the other remaining channels, the best thing is probably just to use a Filtered Faceplate.
Once we have completed testing here and you find your still having problems with lower connection speeds then something is emmitting Interference, trying to locate whats doing this can be very hard, other than turning electrical items off one by one around your home until you see a difference there is not much you can do, if you have an old AM/MW Radio with and tune it in to 612 kHz and hold it near an LCD screen you will hear a distinct noise and it will fade when you start to move the radio away from it, if you move it next to your Modem you will hear the DSL Broadband Signal, use the radio to locate the suspect device, your looking for a buzz, clicking or whistling - a distinct sound, white noise or 'shhhh' is less likely to be it, once you think you have found it turn it off and reboot your Modem and see if its any better. (source: kitz.co.uk)
Tweaking the TCP/IP Stack
The TCP/IP Stack is a set of parameters that control network connections on the computer, by default these parameters are set to a 'safe' setting that are good for most scenarios, one can tweak the parameters to work best with your setup and home internet connection.
- Optimizing TCP/IP with TCP Optimizer - Download - This brilliant program can set most of the tweaks for you, simply run a speedtest on our speedtest page here and note the download speed result, open TCP Optimizer and slide the speed slider to match the download speed result you got, then check Modify All Network Adapters and then check Optimal (at the bottom) then APPLY the changes and reboot.
- Optimizing DNS with DNS Benchmark - Download - This is another brilliant program, it tests DNS (Domain Name Server) response times from your computer, a DNS is like an online telephone directory that gives your computer the website's IP address so your web browser can connect to it and download the page, being connected to the fastest public DNS means websites will load faster. Download amd run the program, open it full screen, click the NameServers Tab, then click Add/remove, then click Build Custom Nameserver List - this takes about 35 minutes and will quick test over 4500 DNS Servers around the world and save the top 50 as the default list to run the benchmark against proper. NOTE: make sure that nothing else uses the internet while you run this program as it will affect results, this includes other computers on your home network. once the custom list is complete click Run Benchmark, when its finished note the top 2 IP Adresses in the list, now we are going to set those IP addresses in windows (you need to do this for each connection you have, so LAN and Wireless if you use one or the other at different times)
- in XP Click START / Connect To -> Show All Network Connections, right click on the connection you use and choose Properties, now search for Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) in the list and double click on it, check Use The Following DNS Server Addresses and enter the top two IP Addresses from DNS Benchmark and click OK and then OK on previous window, repeat for other connections on computer and reboot too take effect.
- - - in Vista/Windows7 click START / Control Panel / Network and Internet / Network & Sharing Center / Change Adapter Settings , right click on the connection you use and choose Properties, now search for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) in the list and double click on it, check Use The Following DNS Server Addresses and enter the top two IP Addresses from DNS Benchmark and click OK and then OK on previous window, repeat for other connections on computer and reboot too take effect.
Testing your Wi-Fi connection
In this section we will be checking to see if your Wi-Fi signal is cause of your speed loss
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