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About kitz.co.uk info

kitz.co.uk is one of the UK's largest DSL broadband resource & information sites.

This site contains a wealth of information such as how ADSL & VDSL (fibre) broadband works.
There's tips on choosing an ISP, help comparing ISP prices and ISP performance.

A large section of the site is devoted to self help diagnostics and what to do if you run into problems with your broadband connection, such as how to get dsl line stats from your router to understanding how such things as SNR and attenuation can affect your connection. There's also a vast array of tutorials and FAQs about broadband.

It is independently run and a not for profit site.  Unlike some broadband sites, we do not focus only on ISPs which pay commission. Although the site is well known and respected within the ISP industry, our position means that we are free to tell you 'as it is' and allows us to carry information on far more ISPs than most other broadband comparison sites.

If you have a broadband problem and need some help - or just want to say hello - our community forum is frequented by many knowledgeable people, who may be able to assist you. We are a family friendly oriented site so please feel free to join us.

The site is continually expanding, with new pages being added or amended. New pages are normally announced on the Forum.


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xx Faster sync speeds on the way? Openreach to rollout 3dB target SNRm for FTTC

November 14, 2016, 09:14:52 PM by kitz
Good news for those with stable Openreach FTTC lines which could see small increases in their sync speeds next year.
The current default target SNRM is 6dB but with effect from March 2017, the NGA DLM (Dynamic Line Management) may select 3, 4, 5 or 6dB depending upon how stable the line is.

We had been monitoring the Openreach trial of a 3dB Target SNRM on our forum which was undertaken in April earlier this year.  Those users who were on the trial saw their speeds increase and on the whole the trial appeared to be sucessful.

Based on our observations speed increases are roughly in line with the following figures.

~ For existing Sync speeds of around 20Mbps -  each 3dB is worth 3Mbps
~ For existing Sync speeds of around 40Mbps -  each 3dB is worth 6Mbps
~ For existing Sync speeds of 60Mbps or more - each 3dB is worth 11Mbps.

BT wholesale ADSL (copper) lines already have a 3dB profile available to them.  Obviously this increase wont make any difference if you are already syncing at the maximum speed ie 80Mbps or 40Mbps if you are on a 40/10 or 40/2 product.

For more information on BT's DLM see
What is Target SNR Margin
BT DLM system
BT DLM process

Credit to ejs for spotting the change in SIN 498 published Nov 2016
9 comments | Write Comment

xx Plusnet launch 4G Mobile Services

November 14, 2016, 07:09:14 PM by kitz
UK ISP Plusnet have today launched their own brand of 4G Mobile Service. 

The newly launched 'Plusnet Mobile' will be provisioned as part of the EE group, which was acquired by their parent BT earlier this year. 
Plusnet Mobile will merge with, and in future be responsible for the existing mobile network LIFE.  Existing LIFE mobile customers will join the Plusnet family and become Plusnet mobile from the 29th of November 2016.

Plusnet's CEO Andy Baker said

Quote
“This is an incredibly exciting moment in our company’s history. True to our Yorkshire roots, Plusnet has always prided itself on offering customers more for less, and extending our offering to include a mobile service is a natural next step as we move to become a full-service quad-play provider. With the launch of Plusnet Mobile, we'll be helping more people stay connected on-the-go with our fantastic data-packed deals and highly competitive rates."

Sim Only Plan Details

  • Smart Cap - allowing you to stay in control by limiting your bill and taking all the worry out of your monthly bill
  • Mates Rates – Plusnet residential broadband and line rental customers get access to fantastic offers we reserve for our best mates (further details available at launch)
  • No additional charges for tethering laptops or other devices
  • One size fits all SIM card - no need to worry about your SIM fitting in your phone, we send out one SIM which can be used in any phone
  • Proud to use EE’s 4G network, Plusnet Mobile will focus on delivering excellent data packages to customers at the best possible value.
Core Tariffs
Code: [Select]
Price Per Month Network New Customers
Plan 1 £5 4G 250 minutes, 500 texts, 500MB data
Plan 2 £7.50 4G 1,000 minutes, unlimited texts, 1GB data
Plan 3 £10 4G 1,500 minutes, unlimited texts, 2GB data
Plan 4 £15 4G Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 4GB data
3 comments | Write Comment

xx Rate your ISP

November 10, 2016, 10:32:19 PM by kitz
Tell us how you rate the performance of your Internet Service Provider.

The Rate my ISP section has had an overhaul. Some new ISPs have been added and the totals have been reset

0 comments | Write Comment

xx New ASA rules for ISPs and a warning for the unwary.

October 26, 2016, 07:52:56 PM by kitz
Over the past few weeks we've noticed several ISPs being busy revamping their websites.  Some have fresh new looks, a couple have shiny new logos, but what we have noticed is a growing trend of
  • Charging 'Activation Fees' even if its a migration.
  • It is becoming increasingly hard to find out what product speed you are being provisioned at.
Activation Fees

For those that don't already know migration costs for moving a like to like product are tiny compared to brand new activation costs.
Openreach charges to the ISP are £11 for like-for-like migration, whilst a PCP install is £49 or £99 for a managed install with CP provided device. 

Yet many ISPs are now charging new customers full activation fees regardless or not if its a move and pocketing the extra.


Speed Provisioning

Speed of provisioning is important.  For FTTC (fibre) there are 4 different products for the maximum speeds at which your line can run at
  • Up to 38 Mbps - 40/2  - < 2 Mbps upstream
  • Up to 38 Mbps - 40/10 - <10 Mbps upstream    
  • Up to 52 Mbps - 55/10 - <10 Mbps upstream
  • Up to 76 Mbps - 80/20 - <20 Mbps upstream

Obviously the slower the connection speed, the less it costs the ISP ie £6.90pm for 40/2,  £7.40 (40/10), £8.40 (55/10) & £9.95 (80/20).  Yet many ISPs are not disclosing which product they are provisioning and some have withdrawn the higher speed products.
A new practice is emerging showing how much you can 'save' against competitor products not making it clear that you could be moving to an inferior product.  We have already seen many customers who have migrated to other ISPs and surprised to find themselves with slower upload speeds than their previous supplier. :(

When 'Faster' is slower.



One particularly good example is TalkTalk's advertising for "Faster Fibre", yet if you look at the figures in red appended by me you can see they are using a slower product which makes 'Faster Fibre' rather dubious advertising when they make no mention that theirs is the slowest of all products, nor do they mention in the small print they are using 40/2.

Interestingly TT also appear to have withdrawn sale of their 80/20 product and there is no mention of it anywhere on their site.
IMHO ISPs should be made to display the product they are selling you.


ASA new guidelines - 31st Oct

ASA brings new guidelines into effect on 31st of October 2016 entitled "Tougher approach to broadband price claims", which may have been the trigger for what we are seeing.  According to ASA Price claims should

  • Show all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs; no more separating out line rental
  • Give greater prominence for the contract length and any post-discount pricing
  • Give greater prominence for up-front costs


Whilst this should hopefully end the practice of headline grabbing cheap broadband deals such as "Free Broadband" which upon close inspection of the small print may only be for say 3 months,  and hiding the true cost in over-inflated line rental costs... it would appear that some ISPs have found a few new area's where they can mislead the unwary :(


/rant
Sources
Openreach prices
ASA Broadband price claims
TalkTalk website 26/10/2016
4 comments | Write Comment

xx G.INP/Retransmission roll-out on ECI cabinets - UPDATE 02/09/2016

September 02, 2016, 02:13:30 PM by kitz
For those who have been following progress of Openreach's roll-out of G.INP on ECI cabinets, it would appear that Openreach and ECI have (finally) identified the cause of the problem and fixes are in development.

Quote
The fixes include the need for updated firmware for certain Modem Chipsets which impact both the Openreach Modem and the modem component of certain CP wires only Routers as well as software update for the ECI equipment.
 
This software will be tested by Openreach during Q3 (Oct-Dec) with deployment likely to commence, in consultation with the Service Provider community around April 2017

From an earlier update the symptoms were loss of PPP and intermittent sync problems.  We have long suspected that the problem was modem specific - those using BCM based modems appeared to show no symptoms and G.INP retransmission worked well for the the majority of lines we were able to monitor on MDWS.

Unfortunately line monitoring is severely restricted for ECI modems and the Homehub5A, but we had noticed that the Fritz!box 7490 was affected which supposedly contains a Lantiq VRX208 chipset to the ECI modem and HH5A which contain Lantiq VRX268 chipsets and were the main modems that had issues with G.INP on the Huawei cabinets. Some older Draytek modems (2850 and 2750) also had problems obtaining a connection on both Huawei and ECI cabinets.
 
25 comments | Write Comment


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