More Life In The Fibreoptic Lane: an article by: GF Willmetts.

July 28, 2019 | By | Reply More

In the past month, even in the faster fibreoptic speeds, things seemed to be slowing down. An odd effect of playing ‘Fortnite’ which does eat a lot of net channels was back to the odd effects I was having when on standard broadband, like waiting to respawn for extended periods and, this time, a lack of colour. Not exactly in black and white just that all colours went black for several minutes. All well and good had ‘Fortnite’ had a night mode – I imagine that will happen at some point but then I hope they have an infra-red optic.

Regular links to other websites were also starting to freeze as well. Something was wrong. Anyway, I ran the standard Internet Speed Tests and my original 40Mbps was now just under 30Mbps. Still a lot faster than the 6Mbps I had on standard broadband but you would think that earlier problems would be gone with faster speeds. It also meant it had a problem.

The description of the Internet being a digital highway is very accurate. You move to a different faster lane but so do a lot of other people as well and you might not always be at the front and can still get bottlenecks at particular times of the day. You know, the ones where people get home from work and want to look up the auction sites and other places they haven’t been able to until then, although you would think mobile phones would be used a lot more for that these days but then those routers are on all the time.

With people leaving their routers on all the time to maintain their signal, the lanes are now always open and even if it’s just a ping, its noise on-line. When you’re after websites, there’s more info on-line. Fortunately, many sites don’t update or renew their download pages all the time. If you want to make sure that they are up-to-date, then simply pressing the F5 button will do that. Some of this is me talking to those who know but you’d also be surprised how many don’t know or even forget.

So, if you’re on a faster lane and the speed is dropping off then you’re taking a back seat. What I am going to describe will probably apply to any of the servers you belong to so I’m going to keep it pretty generic so it can be applied world-wide. There might be other causes but this appears to be the common one.

Your server is likely to introduce you to one of their net options for them to test their speeds and by sending the numbers with your phone number to them, it’s saved at their end. They want this done at three times over the period of the day. Make a note of these numbers. Checking in with them, they will probably want a repeat done with your alternate microfilter – that’s the device that’s between the router and your line jack which filters out noise so your phone can work properly – and send another series of readings.

Once they’re happy that your signal isn’t what it should be then they will arrange for an engineer to come and look at the line. I did wonder if that meant changing the line from the telegraph pole to the house as it’s been there over 45 years now. Nope.

He was more interested in the line inside the house. It turns out that the more phone outlets you have inside the house, the more likely it will disrupt the fibreoptic signal, which he describe as being fincky as its still relatively new. As I didn’t use out of the outlets, he disconnected that one and his test described my Net speed would now be back to 40Mbps and I should use a lead to connect the router to my computer if I wanted to strengthen the signal.

The speed on my back-up computer was 41Mbps but that was with a new modem card so I wasn’t surprised at that. A lot of it depends on what your modem card registers, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any slower.

Even so, when everything was back to normal, there was now an Internet speed discrepancy between the laptop and the back-up computer. You don’t have to change to laptop modem. In fact, looking them up, they cost a lot. I already had an external USB high-gain dongle but the fastest that was going was 300Mbps but really only at 30 on the scale which was revealed by the Internet Speed Test which meant it was a bottleneck but pointed at a problem in the right direction. The only thing I couldn’t figure was why it gave the correct speed when I first went fibreoptic.

The replacement high transmission dongle runs up to 1200Mbps with a 5G option at a reasonable price. It won’t exceed the limits of my fibreoptic connection, around 38-40Mbps but it removes the bottleneck into the laptop. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when 5G comes into the area and a possible future article when it happens and how much faster it can generate. After all, it’s all in the radiowaves and how many people are using it. There are versions without an aerial but think about what it needs to pick up.

As I write this, the download speed is a consistent 36-38Mbps and a stronger response time. Don’t just assume speed is what it’s all about but consistency of signal and the dongle appears to be keeping that stable.

The real test is the real swamper ‘Fortnite’ and it was back to where it was before. Well, apart from the couple times I had the no colour effect although this went back to normal after a few minutes and rarely happens for more than a few seconds now. The other problems of scene definition is more a problem with Epic’s website and number of people than Net usage. Don’t always assume a problem has a single answer.

The people of my own server have rung in a couple times to see how I’m getting along but have also said that it was unlikely that it would get higher than 40Mbps. Remember what I wrote in the last article on the subject, go for the fastest speed you can afford and it’s a bonus if it’s on special offer than picking lower speeds.

Oddly, when I repeated the standard Internet Speed Tests from elsewhere on the Net, I’d only gone up a few points but I bow to the engineer’s device as it was connected directly into my line and it’s the results that should count than purely looking at the numbers.

Going back to the busy network. If you want to do a tweak, on your Windows 10 menu bar, on the right hand side, there is a symbol looking like a quarter circle of concentric waves. Press that and you see all the local Internet connections your modem is picking up. If it’s anything like mine, then you can see at least half a dozen. Run down the list beyond your own and press the button that turns them off ‘connecting automatically’ and it should turn them off for that period of time on the computer. If you do it again later in the day, you will be turning off other servers on the same line as your own and should restore some extra speed. The Net is busy but why share signals with others when you don’t have to?

It sounds like reverse logic that the more signals you’re receiving should re-enforce your own connection but it doesn’t work that way. You do need to get them off sharing your line. You would think that the modem and router manufacturers would keep other connections it discovers off your connection. However, they’re job is to look for the signal roads out there to hook up to and so it has to note what else is there. The only odd thing is why they don’t stay turned off but I’m thinking about that. Quite why W10 doesn’t keep them turned off is a bugbear for now.

Oh, an odd thing. It took a while to figure out why my back-up computer was so sluggish going on-line compared to the laptop until I looked in the Control Panel/Internet Options/Connections and saw the broadband option was still on. Turn that off and things should go back to normal.

Even so, we’ve probably all experienced a delay with the Net as we go on first thing in the morning after booting up. Instead of playing with the home icon and whathaveyou, leave it alone and it will still connect in the same amount of time you try to force it along. A lot less stressful as well.

Geoff Willmetts


Category: Computers

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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