Sunday, 5 April 2009

RouterStats and RouterStats Lite

When you get broadband problems, it's always as well to try and collect as much information as you can about what is going on. To my mind, two of the best programs for collecting the sort of data you may need to present to your ISP, to convince them there is a problem, are RouterStats and RouterStats Lite. These were written by a bright chap called John Owen.

These programmes are designed to continuously capture data from your HomeHub (Version 1.0 and 1.5 - but sadly, not the latest Version 2.) or other router and present it, and save it, in graphical form. The two key bits of data it collects are the speed your router wishes to connect to the exchange at and the signal to noise margin. The output looks like this:

This trace is fairly typical of a nasty problem known as Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise (REIN). At the start of the trace, the signal to noise margin is around 12dB. When the REIN hits, there is a sudden spike of interference on the phone line and the router synchronisation with the exchange is lost. When the router recovers, the signal to noise margin has increased and the speed has dropped through the floor. If you are really unlucky and this happens too often, the BT equipment at the exchange will cut your IP profile in an attempt to stabilize the line - which can result in your speed dropping and dropping until it reaches sub-dial-up speeds.

If your line doesn't see any problems for a while, the speed can climb again, but it will take days (at least) to reach its previous levels.

It's very hard to collect this sort of data without RouterStats/RouterStats Lite, which is why I recommend it.

Oh, and did I mention, these wonderful programmes are FREE, courtesy of John Owen - another unsung hero of British broadband!

No comments:

Having had some major problems with my own broadband service, I understand how others struggle to get help from BT.

There is a lot of good information out there, but it can be hard to find. So this blog is an attempt to pull some of it together, in one place.

It's a blog that really shouldn't be needed - if only BT and possibly other ISP's in the UK, provided useful customer support.