This is free advice so please take it if you need it.
Often we as customers complain about our service and wonder why no one seems to be doing enough. Have you done enough? We expect our DSL provider to bend over backwards to bring us a better connection when often we have made little or no such effort on or own end.
Do you have a POTS splitter?
Please keep in mind that the device you plug into your phone jacks all over your house are not POTS "Plain Old Telephone Service" splitters but filters and if you are doing this all of your non DSL lines under your house are counting in your total line length and are robbing you of bandwidth. A POTS splitter goes inside of or next to your SNI/NID which is usually a gray or black box located outside where your phone line comes into your house. On one side of the POTS splitter is DSL and the other side is POTS or voice this keeps the DSL signal from running in all of your other lines under your house which will add to your line length. POTS splitters run from around forty dollars and up and depending on which one you buy and where it may be a module that fits in your SNI/NID or a separate box all together. I recommend getting the module type and personally use the LPF-200 by antec products. You can find some nice examples of how this is done here and for older SNIs here. Be sure to take out that half-ringer since it can add to the length of your line.
Do you have a dedicated or "home run" line?
Dedicated or "home run" means that the line for your DSL runs from the SNI/NID to the wall jack or interface for your DSL modem and nowhere else and it is best to have no other devices installed on this line. It is also best to use CAT5 "category 5" cable to run your dedicated or "home run" line. You can use any of the four pair to do this and it is often suggested that you use pair number two or the orange and white pair. You can also go the extra mile by running CAT5 from your wall jack or interface to your modem of course you will have to do some trimming "cut some of the other wires back" to allow it to fit into the module plug.
Always remember these important rules while routing ANY CAT5 cable:
Never stretch your CAT5 cable.
Always keep your CAT5 cable at least six inches away from ANY other cables this is VERY important for electrical cables as this will cause more noise on the line. If you are a bad judge of distance a dollar bill is usually six inches.
Never un-twist the pair any more than one half of an inch, one quarter of an inch is even better if you can get it connected. The same goes for stripping it including the outside jacket.
If you have to cross other cables do so at a ninety degree angle.
Never crush or kink your CAT5 cable. This includes stapling your CAT5 cable. Use hangers for such purposes which you can get from radio shack or staple wire ties which you can get almost anywhere.
Make sure you don't run your CAT5 into a spike or surge protection device as there are sometimes problems with these like you didn't know your new puppy likes to pee in it. =o) It also should not be needed as SBC should have such protection in your SNI/NID already.
Are you sharing your dsl with others in the house?
Invest in a DSL gateway or router as ICS, Sygate and other software alternatives just don't do as good of a job and cause you to have to leave a computer on so the other computers can use the connection. If you only have one IP a gateway will do just fine. Make sure that what ever you purchase will support PPPoE "point-to-point protocol over ethernet (RFC 2516)". Most that are made for DSL do but it is always a good ideal to make sure since many of the europe DSL providers use PPTP "point-to-point tunneling protocol (RFC 1171)" or PPPoA "point-to-point protocol over ATM (RFC 2364)". DSL gateways can be purchased for as little as thirty dollars depending on where you shop and how much security you are looking for most of them offer NAT "network address translator (RFC 1631)" protection at the very least and are well worth the investment. Also most of them have a built in DHCP "dynamic host configuration protocol (RFC 2131)" server that makes it easy to use multiple platforms without all of the setup nightmares.
Are your settings correct?
Your MTU "maximum transmission unit" and RCVWINDOW "receive window" are the most important but you should not ignore the rest. If you are not getting one hundred percent transfer efficiency on the DSL-Reports tweak test it is probably your settings and they offer some helpful advice there. I usually obtain best results with an MTU of 1500 and an RWIN of 65535 but your results may vary depending on your line conditions. The DSL-Reports tweak tester is here
Do you have noise on your line?
If you have noise on your line it may be RF interference you can find good information on tracking it down here.
Remember if you refuse to go the extra mile then you can't expect others to do it either and you will find if you have most of the techs will be able to get to the root of your problem much quicker.
Thanks to everyone whose fine post I have used in reference here and DSL-Reports for such a fine resource. I couldn't have done this with out you.
Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
Also read About DSL for lots more information