Meeting the challenge of interference as xDSL speeds increase
Perhaps the biggest rise in complaints beyond customer service issues, and in fact this complaint may be the cause of the rise in support calls, is the tendency for rate adaptive ADSL and ADSL2+ services to drop the connection to the local exchange and re-adapt to the changing noise conditions. Most of the world that has deployed ADSL previously has used rate adaptive ADSL, and so since roll-out has been coping with issues like missing micro-filters, poor wiring inside a property, but for many UK ADSL users and even ISP's the lessons are only slowly being learnt.
DSLPrime.com in its weekly newsletter has highlighted an article published here, which discusses interference issues with VDSL2. VDSL2 which has not seen light of day in the UK, offers potential line speeds of 60Mbps on a copper line that is around 1km long, this does not sound very good for anyone not living in the same street as the exchange, but if combined with a fibre to the cabinet roll-out offers speeds well in excess of current products without all the cost and hassle of running fibre all the way to 20 million plus homes and businesses.
It appears that VDSL2 offers providers in control of the DSLAM lot better diagnostic aids than the current ADSL standard which alas is very much guesswork when trying to resolve impulse noise (interference) issues. If VDSL2 really will allow remote diagnostics that tell a provider you have a device without a micro-filter or phone extensions in the home picking up excessive noise, then it may help to reduce workload for service providers. Of course in the UK VDSL2 appears to be many years away, but ADSL2+ does offer vastly improved tools if teleco's and providers make use of them.
So what can you do if you have an 'up to 8Mbps' ADSL connection that is unstable in the evenings, or drops out randomly during the day. One of the common reasons for problems is that people forget to add a microfilter to things like TV set-top boxes and burglar alarms (that are connected to the phoneline). Another issue can be faulty, or 'poor' micro-filters. One word of warning, many micro-filters sold in the high street are often just over priced copies, old or poor filters that can be found at cheap online sites. Always make sure any filter you buy meets or exceeds the BT SIN 346 v2.2 specification. With the old slow 0.5Mbps ADSL service this often didn't matter, but to get the most out of the rate adaptive services a health check of the microfilters and extension wiring in your property is worthwhile. This post on our forums answers some common questions, but if the terminology is over your head, do not panic, but try to use the forums search function to find others with similar issues to see what their solution was, or start your own thread.