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?
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 …
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!
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..
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!
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.
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 !!!
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!
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 .
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.
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.
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!
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?
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I tried to get one, here is the email from BT:
"Thank you for placing an order on bt.com. Please see the details
Your BT.com order to agent : BT Broadband Accelerator
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
BT.com Orders Team"
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...
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