Broadband Problem? Top Fixes for ADSL Slowdowns and Breakdowns

Jul 25 09:49 2013 SelJones Print This Article

If you are experiencing a broadband problem, this article guides you through the best fixes to enable you to get your broadband working properly again.  A step by step guide.

From time to time broadband connections have problems.  Problems can occur at the telephone exchange,Guest Posting at the line, in your set-up, wirelessly, wired and in many other ways.  In this article, we will show you how to identify the root cause of the problem for your broadband and then help you to identify the best fixes to use.

Identifying Where the Problem Comes From

Whether you’re with Plusnet broadband, Sky Broadband or any other provider, the troubleshooting process is generally the same.  You may like to speak to the provider you’re with in order to find out if they have a specific troubleshooting process that will work best; a phone call is always worthwhile.

In this article, we’ll look at some general tips that you can use. 

What you need to know about ADSL

ADSL is delivered through the BT infrastructure of the telephone network.  The connection will pass from the telephone exchange through to your street level cabinet and then travel from your street level cabinet to your telephone point in your home.  It will come in through the main telephone point and then go around your home in the telephone line.  It’s therefore important that you add your router to the first telephone point into your home which is normally nearest the door but is sometimes in the living room.

Set-up of Your Router

It’s also important that you set up your router with microfilters to split the data and voice components.  You should put microfilters around your home in the different telephone points and certainly you should have every device that plugs in to your telephone line going through a splitter or filter.  This will include cordless telephones, burglar alarms, TVs, and anything else.

Where is the problem from?

The best way to test where the problem is from is to test the speed of your internet in different locations.  You can test wirelessly in different locations as most of us connect wirelessly in our homes and we may be identifying a wireless problem rather than a fault on the line.  We can then plug in through an Ethernet cable and find out what the speed is there and see if there is a differential between wireless and wired connectivity.

Following this we can take the front plate of our BT connection with a screw driver and test in the testing port within the main telephone socket.  If the speed is poor coming in to this third test, then the likelihood is that the problem is not in your house but is outside.  If the problem is with the wired connection but not with the connection coming into the house through the testing port, then you may have interference on the line or you may have an improper set up with cables, damage or another issue.

One of the First Fixes

One of the first things to do if you have a problem coming in to your house is to talk to your provider, they may quickly tell you that there’s a fault on the line or in the exchange and that there are already engineers working to remedy it.  If you’re on ADSL then faults may well have to be escalated to BT Openreach as the providers won’t have control of the hardware so it’s just the lines and telephone exchange themselves.  Make sure you are pushy but polite in getting this escalation to happen. 

Some providers such as Tesco Broadband have had real problems getting escalations through to Openreach and therefore it’s important that you understand this.  Plusnet broadband, BT Broadband, and Sky Broadband are particularly good on this measure.

Problems Connecting Wired

If, when you connect with your Ethernet cable you have issues with the connection, you can try a number of things.  First of all turn off your router and disconnect the wires and ensure all the wires are plugged in properly.  You should also ensure that the microfilter is in properly and is working.  Perhaps check the microfilter by trying another one on the line.  You can normally purchase new microfilters from any good electrical store but also from the online websites of internet service providers.

Many people will choose to install an iPlate or BT accelerator to improve their connections in their home.  The bell wire that was used to pass the telephone ringing sound around our homes to different phones is now obsolete but is a major source of interference.  Indeed, our telephone lines can carry interference to our broadband connection.  An iPlate has been shown to improve connections by up to 4Mbps and on an average by 1.5Mbps.  If you’re with BT, they can go through a questionnaire to find out whether they think you will benefit from an iPlate and they may well even send it for free.  If you’re with another provider, then you can normally buy one for around £10.

Fixes for Wireless Issues

If you’re having wireless issues on your Plusnet Broadband or any other provider, then it’s important to understand the source.  It could be that your router is badly positioned and that you simply can’t get the connection to the places in your home that you want to get.  Connect within line of sight of your router and find out whether it is better.  If it is then it may be that there is interference or an obstruction causing problems.

Interference to your Plusnet Broadband or Other Provider

Whether you’re with Plusnet Broadband or any other provider, interference can be a real issue with your wireless connectivity.  Wireless connectivity obviously means that the data is passed from the router over to the connecting device and back and forth.  If you are receiving wireless signal interference from other devices on the 2.4GHz range, it may well be the airwaves are crowned and you are struggling to get a decent signal and perhaps even having drop outs in connection.

Most wireless routers work on this 2.4GHz range and interference can be from other connections, but also from other devices in your home such as baby monitors, wireless boilers, and wireless audio systems.


If you have obstructions such as shiny surfaces, metallic shields, walls, and ceilings in your way, the connection can suffer.  Older homes tend to have denser walls and ceilings and so connections can be poorer on a wireless basis in these older homes.  Indeed, some homes will have chicken wire in the walls which can prove an impenetrable shield for broadband signals.  If we were to design today, a substance and a system in walls to block internet signal, we’d probably come up with something close to the chicken wire that has been installed in many older homes.

The Top Fixes

Buy a homeplug system.  By buying a homeplug system you are passing the internet signal through the electric circuit in your home rather than wirelessly.  You can therefore get super-fast broadband in the same way as if you were wired through an Ethernet cable to all the rooms of your house.  Normally you just plug the Ethernet cable into the homeplug system in the connecting rooms and you’re good to go.

Repeaters and Relayers

Repeaters or relayers or extenders affectively amplify the signal of your broadband.  You place them between your router and your connecting device, and you extend the range of your signal.  You can’t use them in series but you can use them in parallel around your home in order to get the broadband to where it needs to be.  Effectively, you are increasing the range of your signal and also therefore able to go around objects and obstacles so that you can get better connection upstairs or even in the more remote portions of your house.

Wired Connections

You can of course, connect via wire with Ethernet cables around your home.  Most broadband routers come with four Ethernet ports and so you could run cables around your home to certain points much like we do with our telephone landline cables.

Premium Routers

Premium routers tend to have more antennae and better range than the routers we get from our internet service providers.  They may also have a dual band frequency where you can change the frequency or channel of your broadband router in order to bypass the interference from other devices.

So there you have it, a look at why we have problems with broadband in our home and some of the common fixes that are in place.  The first point of reference is always your internet service provider, so make sure that you speak to them and find out if there are issues that are outside your control so that you can ensure that you don’t go through a troubleshooting process only to find that you have no control over the issues.

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Getting Plusnet broadband seemed to be all the rage in Sam Jones's street.  He clicked on to uSwitch and similar sites to find out why everyone seemed to be saving money but not him.

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