back to article Faster broadband for free?

BT has started handing out Broadband Accelerators to customers prepared to stump up £1.20 in postage, and promises an average speed increase of half a megabit. BT customers interested in a free boost to their broadband can apply on-line for a free Broadband Accelerator, assuming they're prepared to pay for postage, have the …

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  1. dunncha
    Thumb Down

    Is this a enhancement

    or a hardware plug-in to support some sort of Phorm/spying type operation?

    A free plug-in which is going to help you the customer?

    be suspicious

  2. Steven Davison

    Long Line?

    Does anyone know if this would be of use to someone on the end of a long line from the exchange?

  3. Matt Black

    Unplug all extension wiring...

    I just received an iPlate - net effect an apparent slight reduction in speed.

    However, when I unplug the internal wiring and plug a micro-filter in to the BT ‘test socket’ to which my home-hub and a DECT phone are attached, my ‘IP Profile’ rises from 2mbit/s up to 6.5mbit/s.

    So I am now thinking of some experiments to cut (or perhaps earth) the bell-wire – or another approach would be to insert a (very short range) DECT extender to link from the micro-filter attached to the test socket through to the internal wiring – more money but might do the trick?

    Thanks to Neil from BT who rang to provide support and knew what he was talking about!

    Matt Black

  4. K Silver badge
    FAIL

    Surprising

    Suprising thats its taken then so long to admit this is a problem.

    Personally I cut the ringer wire about 3 years ago and have been experiencing an extra 4Mb/s on my ADSL2+ line. Note it doesn't affect the ringing of my phone as the micro filter has a separate ringer circuit built in..

  5. G 5
    Megaphone

    Cmon in

    Heard about these some time ago; quite some time ago 6 years to be exact.... Glad to see BT has licensed them and included them in new installations.

    It is still however, a poor replacement for fibre as the aging copper will not manage to make it (in some cases) another 90 years!

    BT, have some bran, its good for your diet!

  6. N2 Silver badge

    Excuse me, but

    Broadband Accelerator it is most certainly NOT.

    The iPlate consists of a filter which removes the interference created by Microwaves and similar electrical equipment, thus allowing an increase in speed due to reduced interference.

    For anyone prepared to remove the two screws in their master socket & disconnect the bell wires 3 & 4 (if they havnt done so already) it have a similar effect, albeit to a lesser degree.

  7. Lionel Baden
    Thumb Up

    wooot

    well i took mine off cause they ask you to remove it if they have line problems.

    but i dont really care !!!

    i got a upgrade too 4mb last weekend !!! WOOOOOOOO

    also although i shouldnt really say this i got a brand new router because i phoned up and stated that my wireless signal was no where near as good as it used to be so they said they would send me a new one !!!

    I forgot to tell them my little boy Ripped the Arial off

    AC cause i really like my new router and i want more stuff !!!

    thanks BT

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    These do work

    They do work and can work well. I went from about 1.7 Meg to 5.8 meg DSL connection speed by fitting one of these things. I just plugged it in, reset my router and bingo: a big leap in speed! Just to prove it I then removed it and it went back to the poor, crappy performance.

    Might take your ISP a little while to faff about with their settings for you to get the corresponding rise in actual download speed. (im afraid im no IT tech monkey hence the rubbish explanation!) so if you fit one and immediately run a speedtest you might not show an immediate improvement, give it a few hours or overnight. However you will see an immediate change in your router where it shows connection speeds.

    Also, dont do what I did. I have two BT sockets in my house, one in the lounge and one in the bedroom. I actually bought my I plate 6 months ago and found it wouldn't fit on the phone socket in the lounge and therefore thought I had the wrong type of socket. I had assumed that the socket in the lounge was the master socket and the bedroom was the extension, when it was in fact the other way around! I only discovered this last week so have missed out on 6 months of faster broadband!

    Anyhoo as a technical illiterate (in the IT sense) I recommend this!

    AC...cos im an idiot!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks Bill

    Getting below local area average (3.5Mb) on an 8Mb line, so maybe this is worth a try.

  10. Matt Brigden
    Thumb Up

    Also increases line stability

    I have had an iplate fitted since they became available . Whilst it didn't increase my line speed which is already as high as its likely to go 6.5mbps I was suffering periodic disconnects which neither the ISP or BT could find any reason for .

    Since fitting these have gone . I was skeptical as I had already cut the bell wire and disconnected the other spare wires . Whatever these other filters are they work . My line is now rock solid .

  11. matt 49

    CBA to order one?

    Google "disconnect ring wire", same thing

  12. Briantist

    BT

    Ah, poor old British Telecommunications plc.

    Such a shame that the 1984 privitization banned BT carrying "entertainment services" on their system, to protect the "new cable companies".

    If that ban had been lifted before the late 1990s, BT would have slung fibreoptics in to every home by 2000.

    Now, it is reduced to handing out super-filters in attempt at turd-polishing.

  13. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Long Line?

    That's certainly the claim, and if you've got extensions around the home then it's certainly worth a try, even if you're not a BT Broadband customer it's only about seven quid retail.

    Bill.

  14. Daniel 1

    Anyone with extensions, that is

    Anyone with extensions should reallly take a look at any number of factors, to do with that extension network, that could be causing line interferance. All wiring beyond the primary wall unit coming into the house (called the NTE-5 unit, pictured in your article) is entirely the house occupier's responsibility, and it's up to them to make sure it is optimised. The NTE-5 is purpose designed as the demarcation line between who is responsible, BT or you.

    Many people may be using a purpose-built combined microfilter/faceplate, that eliminates the bell line by default, for instance. I'd recommend these, and an I-plate would be rendundant or even counterproductive, if one of these was in use.

    There's a little survey on the BT page that you link to that is very good at determining whether a home network will benefit from an I-Plate.

  15. alain williams Silver badge

    Anybody tried one ?

    Me being someone who instinctively does not believe what large corporates say - without verification.

  16. Robert Cunningham

    Work a treat

    The i-plate is definitely worth the investment of £1.20 if you run your broadband modem off a house extension socket. I was boosted to 5 Mbit from 3.5/4 Mbit (real measured speed).

  17. Number6

    What about the BT-supplied filter faceplate?

    Will this help even if I've already got a BT-supplied faceplate with separate ADSL and phoner jacks on it?

  18. chris 169
    Paris Hilton

    BT Broadband customers only

    Its worth noting that this is only available to BT broadband customers only. Not everyday BT customers who just rent the line or have calls with them.

    I tried to get one last month, however as i'm not a BT broadband customer I was asked to pay the full retail amount for it.

    Paris - because everything she does is FAST!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Not free

    What you forgot to mention is that it's only free if you're a BT Total Broadband customer (which no self respecting Reg reader should be), and that if you're not, you have to stump up £7.07 (delivery is free).

    I presume BT are offering to do this in desperate attempt to compensate for the fact they came out 3rd worst of all major ISPs last week?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or save £1.20...

    ...and just disconnect the bell wire at your master socket. The BT engineer who installed my broadband suggested this 2 years ago and it yeilded an infinite speed increase on my upstairs extension from 0 to whatever it is now.

  21. David Edwards
    Go

    How To

    Interesting, Found this as my fisrt question was SO WHICH ONES THE BELL WIRE

    http://www.draytek.co.uk/support/kb_vigor_linefaults.html

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeh, right

    Only if you have your broadband from BT themselves. If you're with another privider you've got to go to the shop and fork out the best part of a tenner when you're done.

    Personally, I put an extension system in place which, although cuts out if the power dies (I have a standard phone on the main socket for emergencies) also allows me to up my REN number considerably.

    That booster, put straight after the main phone socket, also eliminated the interfearence and was better value for money than this interfearence eliminator. http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=32828&C=5716&U=shop_A21AF

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cutting the wrong wire?

    I heard a story recently that there was a noticable incidence of people cutting the wrong wire. Unlike disarming a Hollywood bomb this won't blow the hero to smithereens, but it will stop your phone working and land you with a hefty call out charge if you can't fix it yourself.

    Could this be why BT are offering these for almost free?

    It's worth mentioning that in many homes the extensions won't have the bell wire connected anyway. If they are done by the book they will have, but most DIY or non-BT wiring jobs won't have bothered with the bell wire for ages.

  24. Rog69
    FAIL

    No need for this.

    Just disconnect the bell wire in your master socket.

  25. Ray0x6

    I remember trying to get one of these last year

    Called up BT engineering and they didn't have a clue what I was talking about. Eventually got my BT branded iPlate (boring name? prepend that 'i'!) off ebay, instead.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    288Kb/sec clarification?

    Did you really mean bits per second, or should that be a capital B for bytes?

    (Either way, I'm still feeling remarkably smug about having a cable connection instead of one of those toy ADSL thingys, the modern-day equivalent of the dial-up modem....!)

  27. probedb
    Thumb Up

    Just rip out any extensions

    Just open your master socket, rip out any extension cables running from it (who doesn't use DECT phones these days?). My speed went from a dodgy 5Mbps up to 10Mbps just by doing that!

  28. Big-G
    Flame

    When is a BT Customer not a BT Customer?

    When they use cable...stupid! The rest of us are still BT customers, albeit indirectly, of BT Wholesale. The £1.20 P&P offer is only available to BT "Total Broadband Customers" , so if you use another ISP, then you'll have to fork out the full amount of £7.07 on top of p&p.

    This does make me wonder though, whether or not this is an "infrastructure or legacy issue" affecting all customers of BT Wholesale, and whether or not they should also offer the devices at a similar cost, via "other ISP's". After all I would imagine that BT Total Broadband is able to source these devices at similarly massive volumes & discount, available to BT Wholesale, so why should they not also do the same, and offer them under similar terms via "other ISP's" or "their customers", which in turn means those BT customer who are not BT customers.

    Confused? I wouldnt blame you if you were. BUt I cant help feeling I'm being done over, after all BT is offering to FIX an inherent flaw in their own infrastructure for a small fee to one customer and a bigger cost to other customers, even though the problem is the same for all copper wire customers.

  29. Joe 5
    Happy

    It does actually work

    I more than doubled my upstream bandwidth and I've stopped experiencing frequent desyncs since installing my iPlate. Worth every penny!

  30. Ian 11

    What if you don't have a split socket?

    I see a lot of comments here and on the net about how you can install this iPlate, or how you can cut the bell wire, but these all seem to talk about if you have a socket with one of those lines across the middle.

    My socket just has a flat faceplate, with only a marking in the top left, the old BT logo, the first one shown in BTs checker linked in the article.

    Is there anything I can do to achieve the same effects? Can I replace this socket with one of those NTE5 ones that can use this iPlate thing at all? Does anyone have any links or info for those of us that doesn't have one of these plates that's required or the iPlate but still has to suffer shit speeds?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: wooot

    Except, Mr Baden, you didn't post as AC...

    Oops.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news

    Trojans offer a free large wooden horse to Greeks.

    I know the device is almost certainly completely innocent but I'm not going to plug in anything BT have touched if I can avoid it after the Phorm thing.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:smug about cable

    Well at least ADSL comes under better regulation, and is more widely available. Those prats at the cable companies ran a line right through my town, straight up the middle, but for some ridiculous reason refused to provide the town with service. Arseholes.

    Then again I wouldn't touch Virgin with a bargepole. At least if something goes wrong with my link then my ISP, which is pretty good really, will be on BT's back about it so I don't have to.

  34. Matt Brigden
    Go

    Wiring mod

    For a complete wiring mod all you need to do is disconnect the Orange/White stripe & White/Orange stripe wires . This should leave you a White/Blue stripe and a Blue/White stripe wire . Those two are all you need . If you run a PABX system DONT disconnect the White/Orange stripe wire as PABX uses it as earth .

    The iplate must filter more than just the bellwire as with this mod it shouldn't make any difference to my adsl but as posted earlier it did improve my line stability .

  35. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @ Lionel Baden

    Anonymous Coward fail! They're gonna get you now.

    AC, well, just to prove that I'm capable of ticking the box correctly.

    @ Anonymous Coward - 5th August 2009 09:25 GMT

    I'm feeling quite smug that I'm not being ripped off by Virgin Media for a service that's only usable in the small hours of the morning, and that I actually have a customer services team who know what they're doing and can answer questions without a script.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    power socket

    The guy that said about ripping out the extensions is deluded...

    If you had your phoneline installed a long time ago, chances are it was located nowhere near a power socket as the phones didn't need power back then, hence that's why we for one need to run an extension from the master socket to somewhere there is a power socket for the DECT phone we now have.

    Either that or pay BT a considerable sum to re-locate the master socket near a power socket.

  37. Stu J

    Pah

    I had to have one of the Master-Socket ADSL filters fitted by BT a couple of years ago to get broadbane working at all. When I first had broadband installed I was getting < 0.5Mbps and it was dropping out every couple of minutes. Now with the Master-Socket filter I'm up towards a heady rate of 1.7Mbps. Woo.

    Oh, and this is in an urban area, on a large estate (1000 houses & apartments) built entirely in the last 10 years. Great planning there BT/Wimpey/Redrow, surely it would have been better to build a new small exchange in the centre of the estate, and everyone could easily have had 8Mbps+ connections, but nooo, that would be far too forward-thinking. One of my neighbours has been told by BT (after 18 months of wrangling and trying to get through to people at ISPs that aren't in India reading a script off a screen) that he "just can't have broadband, his line won't support it" - despite being in the same block of flats!!! He asked them to re-lay his line, they refused. So he cancelled his landline (which he only got installed for broadband in the first place), and invoked the Direct Debit Guarantee to get 18 months of line rental back off BT - I'd like to see them try to take him to court!!

  38. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    Boffin

    Want faster ADSL?

    Plug your modem directly into the master socket, or use CAT5 network cable to wire up your phone extensions, rather than that nasty unsheilded bit of bell wire you bought from Dixons for £25.

  39. David Webb

    NTE-5

    New build houses should have the new BT plates installed by default, if you take them apart you will see a circular object which is an ADSL filter, it does exactly the same job as the iPlate. If you have the BT Openworld logo on your faceplate then you have the filter already.

  40. Annihilator
    Boffin

    RE: Cutting the wrong wire?

    Erm, why on earth would anyone CUT the wire? Just disconnect it from the NTE5 faceplate (and at all the extensions incidentally - if it's connected anywhere it can cause interference) - no cutting is involved!

    I've still to figure out if this i-Plate (subverted Apple marketing?) is the same thing as an ADSL Nation faceplate. The added benefit is that effectively the filters dotted around the home can be dumped (and you can filter alarm systems wired into the telephone system), as the ADSL Nation one filters the lines at the source, so cutting off any additional attenuation added by the extensions. Sky boxes should still be filtered at the extension however - double filtered if no faceplate exists. They're noisy buggers and a common source of sync speed drop.

    This of course assumes that you haven't just unscrewed the NTE5 plate and plugged the modem directly into the test socket and just left it there. Who uses a land line these days anyway? Even if you do, just get a DECT extension phone which doesn't need to be plugged in.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Black

    If connecting direct to the test socket improves your speed, but the iplate doesn't then you've probably got DIY extension syndrome. I've come across lots of houses where the extensions have been wired in using crappy wire and or sockets all wired up in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways. Sometimes it's obvious when you use the extensions that something is wrong, but sometimes the phones just magically seem to work despite all the problems, while broadband is badly effected. The only real solution is to rewire all your extensions and disconnect those that are not in use. Indeed with the proliferation of wireless handsets and networks there is often no need for any extensions.

    Providers often take the blame for poor quality service when in fact it's the internal wiring that's at fault. I knew one person who complained of poor quality voice service from their phone provider and switched to cable claiming it was much better. However it turned out that the cable installer had wired in all new extensions for her because "a real cowboy wired these in for you".

    I've even come across an installation done with four core alarm wire where one of the extension cables was actually microphonic.

  42. Rab Sssss
    Happy

    '@Number6

    No, you have a prefiltered faceplate...better than a Iplate

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Big-G

    Remember this is fixing a problem with customer's internal wiring. This NOT fixing a problem with the BT kit. Many people do thier own wiring and dodgy cheap DECT handsets etc, BT cannot be responsible for what you do in your own house!

    Internal wiring is owned by you and is your responsibility. Interference on the network side is partly BT's responsibility, although if the culplrit is not BT (for example a farmer's electric fence etc) then there is nothing that BT can do legally to resolve it.

    The plates do work, for us it makes the the difference between having boradband and not, we get approx 2.4mbit out of a 6.5 kilimeter line. The i-plate can sometimes work even if a neighbour installs one as the bell wire can cause interferance past your own master socket.

  44. b166er

    Cutting the wrong wire

    Usually, you need the Blue on 2 and the White/Blue on 5 and that's it.

    Basically, note down whatever is on 2 and 5 before you start.

    As for the tin-hat brigade (ie dunncha and presumably you again as AC@10:02), you are free to test all the components of the i-Plate before attaching it to your outlet.

  45. TeeCee Gold badge
    Alert

    Re: In other news

    Blimey! Is that a propellor on your tinfoil hat?

  46. Mark 127

    @ ian11

    Contact myself over at my IRC channel, for assistance with your Master Socket.

    There is a way it can be sorted, but would require a few steps explaining to you.

    I used to work for BT Yahoo front-line support, and have delt with simalar issues before.

    http://www(DOT)westpark.tk (Replace (DOT) with .) Click on gaming related, then click on the second link in the "mpu34 Fruit Machine Chat" line.

    I'll be about after 6pm.

  47. Secretgeek

    Pure tech help question.

    I very recently went to Sky from Virgin, obviously my main phone socket is now all BT. All I want to know is:

    a) Do you think that the engineer would've disconnected the bell wire?

    b) How do I identify it so that I can check for myself? (Most important)

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @ Number6

    Why not follow the link to BT, quoted in the article. You just might find the answer to your questiion...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Number6 - Original BT filtered faceplate

    In principle you don't need one of these if you have the original filtered faceplate, or similar modern equivalents.

    In practice if you have the *original* (now 7+ years old) faceplate there is a very slight chance that routine component degradation or failure may have occured, in which case one of these might be of value.

    re Phorm comments

    I sympathise with the train of thought, but there's nothing in this which is capable of doing anything *that* dodgy. Honest.

  50. Daniel 1

    Re: What if you don't have a split socket?

    Do you have any extensions, then, in that case? If not, then you don't need an i-Plate, anyway.

    It sounds like you could have an old standard BT-branded line-jacker socket, and as far as I know, you cannot open up an LJU. However, make sure it actually IS the primary socket to the premises. Many extansion sockets look like LJUs, and your builder or electrician may have hidden the real NTE5 from view and left you with an extension socket.

    Folks often complain that i-Plates 'don't work', but oftentimes, this is because they didn't need one (for any of the reasons already stated) or because they have an NTE5 dating from after March 2007 - where the bell circuit was already filtered within the socket. The i-Plate is a perfectly legitimate piece iof kit, but it is a fix for older equipment: if you don't have the older equipment for which it is designed, then fitting an i-Plate won't improve your line!

    Finally, remember that transmission speeds will only improve, in any case such as this, if the ciruit INSIDE your home is underperforming the ciruit OUTSIDE it. It sounds obvious, but people fit things like i-Plates, and then seem to expect them to suck the electrons out of the mainline, at increased speeds, in some way. If the slowdown is caused upstream from your NTE5, then you can do what you like inside your home; it won't matter. Grumble to your telephone provider and try to get the real problem fixed. If it is causing demonstrable lack of connectivity (like an old BACS unit), then you will often find that BT Open Reach is legally obliged to fix it, free of charge, to meet the minimum domestic connectivity levels set by EU law. This is what the NNTE5 is for. Problems beyond the NTE5 are not something you can, or should, attempt to take any responsibility for improving.

    All the nasty gubbins about different uk TELEPHONE sockets can be found here:

    http://www.buzzhost.co.uk/nte5.php

  51. Daniel 1

    RE:Pure tech help question.

    Regardless of Sky or Virgin, the line work will have been done by Open Reach. If you have a new NTE5 unit, as part of the switch, then it will be internally filtered: no need for an i-Plate. Open Reach engineers generally replace any old NTE5s dating from pre 2007, as a matter of course, whether they are faulty or not, in order to achieve this end.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Gonna check this out...

    Having checked mine - the BEL wire is already disconnected and I get 5.5MBPS currently. My neighbour gets 512KBPs - but has all sorts of crackling on their line even with ADSL filters in place...

    Gonna suggest this to them - in addition to running tests from the master socket to see if its the telephone extensions or the line into their house. Both our lines go into the same telephone pole so theorectically they should get the same speed.

  53. Fred 3
    Megaphone

    NTE 2000

    This is just the front plate for the NTE2000 that BT have been using on ADSL fault call outs... doesnt surprise me that they selling this gimmick.

    dont earth the bell wire btw. thatll cause probs.

    courtesy of an ex BT engineer...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gonna check this out...

    Same DP does not mean you will get he same speed. You have a seperate pair all the way to the exchange, so your line quality may be significantly different.

    We have two lines, one gets 2.4mbps, the other 1.6mbps. All our neighbours are struggling with 512k.

    For those people who already have a split faceplate, you essentially already have an i-plate installed...

  55. mydog8it
    Thumb Up

    Long Line

    I'm at the end of the line as far as distance from the exchange, normally only get 0.5M, with the I-plate after a couple of days it is 0.75M, so slight increase.

  56. Grease Monkey

    @Annihilator

    Indeed you have to ask what BT Broadband customer still uses their landline phone. Shirley one of the best features of BT Broadband Talk is that you no longer need filters.

    I keep an old handset handy just in case I need to use the phone in the event of a power failure AND there being no mobile signal.

  57. Richard Lloyd
    FAIL

    Er, BT shop postage isn't 1.20 quid!

    I'm not sure why BT broadband customers pay just 1.20 pounds "postage" for this, when the BT Shop's P&P charges are actually a ridiculous 5.86 pounds! Yes, if you buy this from BT and aren't a BT Broadband user, it's *not* 7.07 pounds (the misleading "Free delivery on BT products" logo on the BT Shop site actually links to a page that only then adds "for BT products over 15 pounds" - I think the ASA should do them for that), but actually 12.93 pounds including P&P.

    If you really want one for 7.07 quid, then dabs.com look like the place to go (yes, it truly is free P&P on that site) - I've just ordered mine from there.

  58. Lionel Baden

    yup

    gonna go shoot meself in the foot !

    oh well at least i didnt post my address !!!!

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Flame of the Month

    FUCK THEM, FUCK THEM TO FUCKING HELL

    THEY'RE A HEAP OF SHIT, THEY FUCK YOU AROUND, DON'T ACTUALLY SEND YOU BILLS FOR 6 MONTHS THEN SEND YOU A BILL, A REMINDER AND A CUT OFF NOTICE WITHIN 2 DAYS!

    THEN THERE'S THE FAULT REPORTING! FAULT REPORTING,?! SPEAKING TO SOME UNDERTRAINED BASTARD HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD THAT STOPS YOU GETTING AN ENGINEER OUR WHEN YOU KNOW YOU NEED ONE.

    THEN THERES THE FUCKING CAP

    I PAY FOR UNLIMITED 8Mb I GET 25K/s AT THE MINUTE! I'M BACK ON SODDING DIALUP FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES!!!

    BASTARDS, FUCKING BASTARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    end rant... and yes, I typed all of that holding the shift key because I'm so fucking pissed off at them at the minute.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    'Faster broadband for free'

    Ha ha, nice marketing spin. In what century was the bell wire relegated to the 'irrelevant' arena again? And why the hell do they not supply proper line filters with their consumer equipment to begin with? and what the hell is with these stone age line speeds?? part of the 'milk the gullible' corporate directive no doubt. Is the UK infrastructure really still in the Victorian age? Makes my eyes water it does.

    They could save you money by just telling you to cut the bell wire (should you still have it, that is, not all of us do) in the master socket if it isn't already, and then coil the remaining wires through a five cent ferrite ring core at one or both ends (your choice) a few times. A simple component which incidentally you can just tear out of an old radio/tv/monitor if you're the handy sort. Yawn... 5 minutes hard labour. ;)

    Oh, and for those that have already tried the above and already have filters installed, do yourself a favour and take off all filters and test your phone line with the simplest phone you have at your disposal. If you get any hum on the line either before, during or after a call, even if you plug it into the master socket, the problem isn't in your home, it's in the cable that runs up to your house. They'll have to send you some monkeys to dig up the cable from it's moist (read: water creeping into the phone cable) grave in the pavement for repair/replacement. Been there, done that.

    Also keep in mind that stacking filters will *not* help you get a better signal, quite the opposite. Some shitty 'active' filters (recognize those by their size (old ones) and the power cord/brick that came with it) actually produce more garbage than they filter out.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    WFM

    When I got upgraded to ADSL2+, I had a bit of an obsessive twiddle of everything.

    I got BT to come in and move my ADSL over to a better pair (they confirmed my suspicions that there was something amiss outside the premises with the one that I was using). While the guy was in, he also offered to disconnect the extension (which I was going to do anyway). He also disconnected the ringer wire in the master socket, which was another nice timesaver.

    Credit where it's due, the engineer that BT sent was friendly, helpful and sorted everything. He saved me some faffing, which is always welcome.

    This gave me 11mbit/sec- exactly what the BT line quality estimation said I should have. Not content with this, I got a Netgear DG834GT. These routers are remarkably tolerant of line noise. I then cranked the signal to noise ratio adjustment. While maintaining an average of 5 dB headroom, I was able to get up to 16 mbit/sec.

    I then ordered an i-plate (like wot are being discussed in the article). At the same time, I also took the opportunity to order a slightly more shielded cable to go from master socket to router. Actually, the primary benefit was that it's ever so slightly longer than the flimsy free cable that came with the router- so it make it easier to put the router somewhere sensible. Anyway, this seemed to actually help very slightly (even though my bell wire was disconnected and so forth).

    After all this faffing, and after a little more prodding of the SNR setting on my router, I managed to go from 11 mb/sec to 17-and-a-bit mbit/sec, with reasonable noise headroom. Well worth it, as I actually get the line speed with most sites, and reliable 1.7MB/sec downloads from Steam are extremely nice.

    Not a bad result considering that I am a fair way from the exchange.

    </long_and_boring_story>

  62. shirecom

    BT strikes again

    Despite having a BT telephone line and paying for a full option 3 phone system. It seems I cannot get this device as I am not a BT broadband customer, but they will contact me about changing over to them. Now as they currently charge £10 per month more for the same level of broadband, probably not a great offer.

  63. UKQRM

    BT taking with one hand and trying to give back with the other?

    The irony of this situation has really amused me and others to!

    So BT has noticed that a interference from other equipment cause a slow down in your broadband!

    LOL

    Well of course, yet BT is the biggest most destructive peddler of just such equipment!

    What you ask? why their Comtrend Power Line adaptors they want you to use with BT Vision.

    These things flood the mains wires with wide band noise 24/7 and have been shown in tests to drop your broadband speed.

    Just try it if you don't trust me.

    Use one of the real time speed checking web sites, unplug both or all PLTs you have and do a reading, then plug them in again and do a reading!

    If you use other than Comtrend PLTs make sure they are transferring data when you do the test.

    So yes well done BT interference does slow down broadband but you are responsible for most of it anyway!

    www.ukqrm.org

  64. sean bone
    Gates Halo

    Lovely Jubbly

    We installed the I-Plate and has helped our speed stay at about 5 to 6 mbps during busy times, normally we can get about 7 to 8Mpbs but we are very close to the exchange so this also helps.

    Bill - because without him, we would not have Internet Explorer......

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    @ smug about cable

    Modern day equivalent of a dial up modem? Oh, stupendous win. Ahem.... You, sir, clearly don't know what you're talking about.

  66. John Blagden
    Thumb Up

    I did it!

    Did this about a year ago when I upgraded to ADSL-2 8Mb/sec line (not BT Broadband).

    Before I put it in and after the line had had it's run-in period (10 days), about 6Mb/sec.

    After, about 11Mb/sec with a 1.5Mb/sec upload speed.

    Very, very well worth it.

  67. Spleen
    Thumb Up

    Simple enough for me

    While I do know which end of a screwdriver is which, I'd rather pay the £1.20 than try to boost my geek credentials by playing bomb squad. Especially as the socket doesn't belong to me, it belongs to my landlord.

  68. Mike Gravgaard

    ONLY AVAILABLE TO BT TOTAL BROADBAND CUSTOMERS

    I tried to get one, here is the email from BT:

    "Thank you for placing an order on bt.com. Please see the details

    below.

    Subject

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Your BT.com order to agent : BT Broadband Accelerator

    Discussion Thread

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Response (Angela Townson) - 06/08/2009 01:43 PM

    Dear Mr G-d,

    Thank you for your recent request for a BT Broadband Accelerator.

    According to our records you are not a BT Total Broadband customer. As this offer is limited to BT Total Broadband customers only this request will not be progressed.

    You can buy a BT Broadband Accelerator - also known as an “I-Plate” - at the online BT Shop. Please see www.shop.bt.com/iplate for details.

    Or if you would like to order BT Total Broadband please go to www.bt.com/btbroadband

    Best wishes,

    Angela Townson

    BT.com Orders Team"

  69. Steven Gray
    Thumb Up

    @ONLY AVAILABLE TO BT TOTAL BROADBAND CUSTOMERS

    Er, I just got mine from www.shop.bt.com and we're on TalkTalk. £7.07 postage free. Just search for i-plate.

    We live in a new estate (4 years and still under construction) 10mins drive from Glasgow city centre. Lack of planning re broadband is astounding. As it happens, we're tacked onto the end of a very long line 3.5km from the exchange as the crow flies, God knows how much copper is involved. Speeds with our previous ISP maxed out at 512kbps - TalkTalks exchange equipment helped boost this to 800kbps.

    I fitted the I-Plate this morning. Now we're up to 1.4mbps. Those with much faster BB may scoff, but this is pretty amazing. Thanks to El-Reg for the heads up too...

  70. Jason Croghan
    Alert

    Old...

    When I got my very first broadband connection in my parents home in lil ol' Roscommon, Ireland about 10 years ago this little contraption came with the modem in the post. How come BT are only now discovering it??

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