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Agony Aunt > urgent techie help

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments Every morning we have broadband which lasts for minutes. I've discovered that if I switch the computer off and walk away, the router eventually syncs to the outside world. I switch computer on and we have broadband. For minutes, until it dies again.

Techie friend suggested to me that what is happening is that the broadband is so intermittent and so poor that my computer's inbuilt security systems are cutting it off, rather that have it break and thus letting someone else creep in and pose as my computer.

Does this make sense?
PS the broadband is rubbish at the moment, like sub broadband speeds at times


Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) | 2998 comments Your friend's suggestion sounds like guff to me.

Are you using wifi or a cable connection? Have you tried more than one PC or another device like a phone? Rebooting the router and/or modem?

Spoken to your ISP?

How long has the issue been going on?


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Sounds like you may have to send your help via smoke signals, Mike. ;)


message 4: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments Are you having any issues with your phone line (assuming it comes down that rather thank via cable)? When I first moved into my house broadband would cut out after fifteen minutes or so, but also phone lines would become crackly after a similar amount of time. It took a BT engineer two hours up a telegraph pole to also listen to the problem. He replaced the worn out wire from the pole to my house and that sorted the problem out. If you're on ADSL it might be also worth changing the little filter boxes that plug into your phone line also, they can be temperamental at the best of times.


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments I agree with Michael, this is almost certainly an ISP issue. It sounds like as soon as the broadband is under load it fails. I would suspect a faulty component at the local exchange or the cabinet. But to save costs (there is a charge if it's wrong) I would suggest the following.

I would start by replacing the filter that splits the phone from the broadband cable. These are quite cheap to replace and can be purchased from Curry's for a few quid.

Next I would get the ISP to replace the router as this can be a greater part of the problem too. If both fail to solve the problem then the ISP will have to refer it to BT to check the equipment. Have you checked with the neighbours? Do they have the same problem? That's often an indicator to where the problem lies.

Hope this helps.


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments Well both line and ISP are BT
We've had engineers round,
Inside the house we've replaced everything, router, cables, ASDL filters

We don't really have neighbours but the nearest house has reasonable broadband.

I checked with a borrowed laptop and BBmax
With desk top plugged into router download 1055, with lap top using wireless 1722


message 7: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments It's odd that you're getting a faster speed over wireless than you are with wired. How far are you from the exchange? If you're several miles away, the speeds you've mentioned may well be the best you can achieve, until BT get around to supplying fibre optic to your area.


message 8: by Pete (new)

Pete Carter (petecarter) | 637 comments Jim wrote: "Well both line and ISP are BT
We've had engineers round,
Inside the house we've replaced everything, router, cables, ASDL filters

We don't really have neighbours but the nearest house has reasonab..."


I had similar problems to you a year ago. I'm with Virgin on cable. I was using a separate router into the Virgin modem and it kept dropping out. I abandoned the router and just went hard-wired, doing without a wireless connection for a while. Then my speeds dropped dramatically. Virging sent me a new all-in-one and things have been perfect since them. I'm on 34Mb/s.


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments Jim wrote: "Well both line and ISP are BT
We've had engineers round,
Inside the house we've replaced everything, router, cables, ASDL filters

We don't really have neighbours but the nearest house has reasonab..."


I can understand the low speed if you are on the end of a curcuit, but you should still be able to have a usable Internet connection albeit a slow one.


message 10: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Wilcox (lyndawrites) | 1142 comments We've had similar probs in the past. Ours was due to damp getting in the junction box and corroding the wires. It was always worse after it rained.

Had any rain, lately, Jim? ;)


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments Back again after restarting everything and waiting for the red internet light to go on the router.

Lap top 1611, desk top wired in 1573

We've had 2500. We're normally at 1500, I can live with 1500, but it's the way it just seems to come and go. I've just done another ping on the laptop and it's grinding to a halt as I watch and I suspect broadband has gone again, that's less than a minute

Yes, that time I lost connectivity after about two minutes.

Anyway I’m writing this off line, I’ll post it when I can

We’ve had engineer visits , another one tomorrow.
So far we’ve got entirely new wire and sockets in the house and a new router
We had a line check (the third) on Wednesday and the guy at the other end said he could see faults in the house, which had to be the router as everything else was new.
Then when the router didn’t help, on Friday we had another line test. This one discovered faults so bad on the line they couldn’t even see the house, never mind the router.


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments We're six miles from the exchange
It's been persisting it down with high winds for two months
There's also trouble in Barrow apparently due to them trying to bring in fibre optic and it's been screwing a lot of people, we might be collateral damage as part of that


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments The engineer cleared out three major faults on our line on Tuesday (water in junctions etc) but of course they might need clearing out again


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments Sorry it's a bit disjointed, I'm getting stuff posted before I loose connectivity :-(


message 15: by Jim (last edited Feb 07, 2014 07:20AM) (new)

Jim | 21872 comments Got connection sorted out, now the problem seems to be that my computer is crashing the broadband. We can have the hub working with late father in laws lap top, works fine for hours. Plug desk top into it, broadband crashes within minutes

So what's wrong with the desk top machine?


message 16: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments Could be any number of things unfortunately. Definitely worth checking to ensure the router has the latest firmware. Check to see how your PC is trying to talk to your router over wireless. Somewhere in the settings for for the adaptor card it should allow you to change it to b/g/n or similar combinations. Try popping it to just b/g and see if that helps. Also check to see whether MAC filtering is switched off in the router setup as this can be a bit pesky.

What OS are you running? I've had issues with Windows 7 and the latest OSX (Mavericks) with WiFi.


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments PC talks to router over wire,
I'm running Windows XP
I'll check adaptor card idea,


message 18: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments Is it connected via an ethernet cable? If it is check if your router allows connections over USB and if so give it a go connecting that way. Easy way to see whether its a problem with ethernet ports or cable itself.


message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments The cable is new,the ports obviously aren't


message 20: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments Problem resolved or persisting?


message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments We replaced the router, BT Business Hub with borrowed BT Voyager 2091 that must be half as old as God
We now have stable broadband for over 72 hours (as opposed to five to fifteen minutes)
To be fair the BT engineers did fix an awful lot of line faults.


message 22: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments That's a result. Glad to hear you're back on broadband rather than a rubber band.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments Well the jokes about wet string were beginning to fall flat ;-)


message 24: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Wilcox (lyndawrites) | 1142 comments Please may I hijack Jim's thread to ask for some advice?

My mother lives in a sparsely populated area on one side of a steep valley. When we visit, it is almost impossible to get online, as we are dependent on (legally) piggybacking on someone else's connection. I'd love to have a laptop, tablet, or even a widget, that would get me online anywhere and everywhere, and at any time.

Is such a thing possible, please? And will it cost me the earth if it is?


message 25: by Richard (new)

Richard Martinus | 646 comments Lynda wrote: "PI'd love to have a laptop, tablet, or even a widget, that would get me online anywhere and everywhere, and at any time.

Is such a thing possible, please? And will it cost me the earth if it is?"


It is possible. I got a package via PC World which included an iPad with SIM card and subscription to Three for £29 per month for 24 months (i.e. the cost of the iPad is included in the sub). It preferentially connects via a wireless network, but if it can't find one it's allowed on it switches to 3G. The latter isn't terribly fast, in my experience, and I can't vouch for Three's coverage. Okay for posting here, say, or Skype without video.


message 26: by Michael Cargill (new)

Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) | 2998 comments Lynda wrote: "I'd love to have a laptop, tablet, or even a widget, that would get me online anywhere and everywhere, and at any time."

A USB dongle might be your best bet and you can get them from O2, Orange, etc.

If you go onto their website you can usually put the postcode in to see what the coverage is like but it's not guaranteed.

How much it costs will depend on which plan you choose, they use a SIM card like a mobile phone does.


message 27: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments Or if your smartphone has the capability, use it as a wireless hotspot. Most (if not all) modern handsets that run Android, iOS (Apple), Windows Phone and Blackberry offer this feature, although check to see how much data you're allowed each month. If you've got one but are unsure how to set this up just post which one you've got and I'm sure one of us will tell you how to sort it.


message 28: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Jim may have some pigeons that he no longer needs ;~)


message 29: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25061 comments I have a PAYG sim from Giff-gaff in my tablet. Ace! £5 a month does all I need.


message 30: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments It might seem obvious Lynda but what sort of mobile phone signal do you get at your Mum's house? As someone who has no phone signal as well then it's going to be tricky.
I'm assuming that your mother has a landline? What does the phone sound like? If there's a lot of crackling or whatever it'd be worth having BT do a line check to check for faults.If there are any, then they should fix them.

Also, thinking about it, if the wireless connection you're piggybacking on is from somebody's router then it might be that there isn't a lot to do to improve the line as obviously they can manage


message 31: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Wilcox (lyndawrites) | 1142 comments Thanks, Jim.

Mother has a 'funny' phone anyway. It's the sort that sits in a cradle but is wire free so you can walk around the house with it. I used to speak to my aunt when she called. It didn't sound too crackly.

My own mobile is an old one that I use to make calls on and, you know, actually speak to people. Gulp. It's not an all-singing, all-dancing affair that can connect to the internet, take selfies and post them to FB, and the like. I'm a GPO trained telephonist, for gawd's sake.

I'm with T-Mobile and, inside mum's, the signal strength is pretty low. It will often default to Orange, and the signal is stronger half way down the drive. I can't see me humping the laptop across the lawn just to get on line, somehow. :)


message 32: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21872 comments Might be worth seeing whether a G3 or G4 will work in your mum's house before you buy one (by which I mean have one in the house and try and use it, ignore the maps they produce).

Just phone 0800 800 153 (is that the BT number for private lines?) and say the phone isn't great, and ask them for a line test. They'll do it from the desk. It'll pick up obvious faults


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