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This FAQ text is copyright dslreports.com
Reproduction of all or part only with our permission..
This FAQ is edited by: laffalot See Profile
It was last modified on 2007-11-24 07:24:22

1. General

What Is the Difference between ADSL and Cable?

ADSL provides an always on high-speed Internet access over a single dedicated telephone line. ADSL connections use a standard telephone jack, and information is transmitted over a private line (BT).

Cable Internet services offer an always on high-speed Internet access over a shared cable television line. Cable modems use a coaxial cable that runs from a cable TV hook-up to a computer. This service is transmitted over a shared cable line.

Where Can I Find A List of Broadband ISPs?

You can find full details of ADSL, Cable and Satellite services available in your area at Broadband Checker

Alternatively you can look at ADSL and Cable at these respective sites:

ADSL Internet Service Providers Here.

Cable Internet Service Providers go to Blueyonder or NTL.

Thanks to Basil2 See Profile for the link!

What Can I Do if ADSL is Not Available in My Area?

You can register your interest for ADSL to be made available in your area here. There are set targets made by BT and once the target level is reached then they will upgrade that exchange.

If your exchange is not yet enabled for ADSL you can go here and see how many people have registered an interest in your area.

Where Can I Check ADSL and Cable Availability?

You can check to see if your line is able to use the ADSL service Here. Just type your phone number in and click go.

You can check to see if your line is able to use the Cable service for Telewest Here and NTL Here

Is There An Independant BroadBand Selector Tool/Facility

Yes, Try this. It does not provide any service ratings but will identify 'the cheapest' available in your area. U Switch will also allow you to compare prices, features, service and connection speeds in your local area and apply online

Check out U Switch for more information.

Is there a way to compare different ISP's on their speed, reliability etc?

ADSL Guide offers users to compare several internet service providers on their speed, reliability and customer service for each month. These ratings were collected from users that are using that service provider.


What Is ADSL?

ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It is a broadband connection technology, which uses the existing copper wired telephone networks. ADSL offers much higher speeds than the standard 56k modem anything between 10 and 40 times faster depending on your connection speed.

What Tests Are Carried Out On My Line?

Before you can get the ADSL service a series of tests have to be carried out on your phone line. This is done to ensure that it is able to cope with the service.

The Following tests are carried out:

  • Phone Line Length
    This is carried out to see how far your phone line is from your nearest telephone exchange. You must be within 3.5km to pass for 1Mbps and 2Mbps products, and within 5.5km for the 512kbps products.

  • Line Loss
    This is carried out to ensure your telephone line is suitable for ADSL. The test checks the quality of your telephone line. To pass you need less than 41dB to pass.

  • Capacitance
    This is also another test carried out to test the quality of your telephone line. To pass you need less than 160nf.

For those getting an engineer installed product there is one more additional test that is carried out:
  • Whoosh Test
    The test looks at the quality of the line across the DSL frequency range and measures how much of the signal reaches your house.

Can I Carry Out Any of the Line Tests?

I'm afraid this is no longer possible as a pin is required to be entered before it allows you to progress.

My line has DACS.

DACS is a device that BT use to share a pair of copper wires between two phone lines. If your line has DACS you have to have it removed from the line by BT before you can get an ADSL service.

The procedure to do this is to apply for an ADSL service through your chosen ISP. During the tests carried out on your line they should spot the DACS and arrange for the removal of the device. This will result in a delay in your ADSL order as an engineer has to carry out some work to remove the DACS. Once it is removed you should be able to get your ADSL service all depending on your line passing the other line tests.

What is the Difference Between an Engineer and a Wires-Only Install?

Prior to the wires-only installation method a BT engineer had to visit your home to add a splitter to your BT master socket. The splitter separates the frequencies used for the ADSL and the phone.

Wires-only is a self-install method and became available in 2002. A wires-only installation means an engineer is not required to visit you to install the ADSL service. This is because you install simple micro-filters which work in the same way as the BT installed splitter socket - to your phone sockets.

You can still decide on which type of installation you would like, however the engineer method is far more expensive.

Can I Share My ADSL Connection?

Yes you can, however some ISPs will not give you any technical support while you have your computers networked. All you would do is disconnect any networked computers before phoning the support line.

The simplest way to share your connection if you are sharing between two computers is through ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) this is part of the Windows OS. All that is required is a NIC card in both computers if using a USB modem and a piece of Crossover Cable connecting the two computers together. If you have an ethernet modem you will need two NIC's (one for the modem the other for the cable) in the host and one in the other computer and a piece of Crossover Cable connecting the two computers together.

Another way to share your connection is to use a router. With this you can share your connection to many different computers.

For more help on networking please look at the Networking FAQ's or the Networking Forum

How can I tell if my ADSL line is activated?

Connect your ADSL modem to the phone socket using the supplied micro-filters or through the fitted master socket. Once you boot your computer up you should see two lights on the modem both of these will flash in a sequence. After thirty seconds to a minute these should both turn solid green.

If both lights are solid green then your line is set-up to use your ADSL connection, ie. your line is activated.

Thanks RocketMBA

2.1. Hardware/Software Troubleshooting

My Modem Disconnects After Being Idle

This can be fixed by opening the properties of the connection that you are using then click on the options tab.

You will then see an option of 'Ideal time before hanging up' change the time limit too never, this should solve the problem.

Problems With My Alcatel Speed Touch USB modem.

This is the most common type of modem supplied by ADSL ISPs in the UK. Some users have found problems in getting it to work on their computer.

This modem is USB 1.1 rated, this means that it requires the maximum power of 500mA. It has been found however that some of these modems pull more than the stated 500mA, you can see more about this here. Some motherboards, do/may not supply the full power required. If this is the case the modem begins to draw too much power from your system. When this happens, your motherboard may trigger a self-protection feature, which shuts down the USB ports. If you have any other devices attached to the same USB port remove them to see if the problem resolves. Some users have found that a powered USB hub or a PCI ADSL modem helps to resolve this issue.

Some users have found that the drivers v. 1.4 - shipped with the modem are the cause of the problem. By updating the drivers to the latest version of 1.6 users have found that the modem works more reliably. You can get the latest drivers here

There is also a known conflict with this modem and Via chipset in a number of motherboards. By installing the latest Via 4 in 1 drivers this problem is normally resolved here

Way to avoid the common USB modem problems

Many people have had problems with the provided USB modems from their ISP and this is a regular topic that is brought up within the forum.

One way to solve this problem - and has helped many - is to purchase you own adsl equipment. It is the general consensus to avoid USB modems if at all possible due to the continued problems that occur with them, though it should be noted not all users have problems.

The most preferred type of hardware - based on forum users opinions - to use for your connection is an ADSL modem/router which can now be bought for as little as 50 though there are of course many more expensive models.

My modem wont dial out (error 651 and more)

This is because MS Windows has really poor support for PPPoA as do all operating systems. The only way we have found that can fix this is to:

(Make sure modem is disconnected from Computer)

1. Right click my computer, and then properties
2. Open Device manager
3. DELETE all network devices and modems
4. Reset your PC
5. Reinstall the driver(s) as needed
6. Plug modem back in

Guide to Port Forwading on BT Voyager 2000

For this example the P2P client Bit Torrent was used.

With Bit Torrent you need to forward ports 6969(tracker) and 6881, 6882......6999! Unfortunately you have to do it one by one which would take ages, but you only need about 10 ports forwarded as its unlikely you'll be downloading more than 10 torrents at the same time so do the following:
  • Find out your PCs Local IP address by:
    Start > Run > Type 'cmd' > in the command prompt window type 'ipconfig' > Your IP address will be listed.

  • BT decided to call the port forwarding set-up option 'Virtual Server'. To get there go to », click on Advanced and then 'Virtual Server'.

  • Click on 'Create New Virtual Server' and do the following:
    PVC name: ppp-0
    Protocol: TCP
    TCP/IP port: check User-defined and type in 6969
    IP Address: enter your PCs local IP Address
    Port: Should automatically have what port you entered before, i.e. in this case 6969

  • Click on Apply

  • Now repeat steps 3-4 for ports 6881, 6882, 6883, 6884, 6885, 6886, 6887, 6888 and 6889 so you should have 10 virtual servers created in total.
    Click on Save and the other Save button that comes up, and wait until it says 'save completed'.
Now when you start bit torrent your yellow status icon should turn green after a few minutes.

If you have more than one PC on a network, You'll have to go to 'Virtual server' and edit to change the IP Address for the 10 ports to the IP of the PC that you'll be using bit torrent on. Don't forget to Save any changes you make!

This guide can be changed to suit the required programs ports.

Credit to this FAQ entry is to zizou9 See Profile

BT Voyager 205 Information

Are you looking for information regarding the BT Voyager 205 ADSL Modem/Router, if so have a look at the following link:


I have Max but low speeds or What about this 10 day setteling time?

The biggest complaint (or at least the one people are making the most noise about) is the issue of people now seeing high line sync speeds, but the actual download speeds are very low in comparison. We have previously talked about the BRAS Data Rate, and how BT Wholesale use this to control the throughput on a connection. What many may not be aware of is how this Data Rate varies over time. Contrary to rumour, the BRAS Data Rate is not set to a fixed value after the 10 day 'training' period, it can vary at any time. The rules are such that if you line resyncs at a line speed lower than previously, the rate will drop automatically, and for it to rise again you need to see three days of higher line sync speeds. For example, if you sync at 5120kbps you will normally have a Data Rate of 4.5Mbps, but if the line speed drops to 1728kbps your data rate will drop to 1.5Mbps immediately, only increasing once a sync speed of 2272kbps or higher is seen for three days.

Snippet blatantly plagiarised from here: »www.adslguide.org.uk/newsarchive···tem=2660

3. Cable

Is there a download limit for NTL?

According to NTL's user policy there is a 1GB download limit daily:

said by Section 2, Paragraph 8:
Nobody may use the Services, either directly or indirectly: in excess of "normal use" bandwidth limits set out in this section...

"Normal use" of the service is defined as up to 1 gigabyte downstream of data transfer daily

Please be aware that this policy may change, so for more information about NTL's policy please visit NTL.

Do NTL block any ports?

Yes, at the time of writing (June '06) they currently block the following ports:


Their justification behind this is that these ports are used to spread viruses.

3.1. Hardware/Software Troubleshooting

My Webstar DPX100 series modem keeps crashing.

There have been several reports pertaining to the Scientific Atlanta Webstar DPX100 cable modem crashing particularly during heavy traffic. Reducing p2p connections and capping can help, but there is no fix for the problem at this time.

There is, however, a workaround which will avoid you having to physically hard reset modem every time it crashes. The modem http software allows you to reset the modem using the following URL link (just put this in you browser):


I A bloke0 See Profile have written a freeware program in VB which does the following:
    •Pings a website (can be changed) every x number of seconds.

    •Counts a number of consecutive timeouts

    •Resets the modem using the URL link above if the timeouts exceed the number specified.

    •Runs on any Computer that is indirectly (on the LAN) or directly connected to the modem.

    •Option to switch off modem resetting, so it can be used as any standard internet checker on the LAN.

    •Keeps a date/time log of connection activity.

Download it HERE

Further info about any updates and post any feedback/comments here

Or email me at: A_Bloke1[at]hotmail[dot]com

This FAQ was submitted by A bloke0 See Profile

Why Can't I Access The Net?

Both NTL and Blueyonder use transparent web proxy caches to reduce the amount of traffic flowing across their network backbones. Occasionally these caches overload or simply play up in strange ways. Its often hard to get your ISP to admit there's a problem although they generally fix them after a day or two.

In the meantime it's possible to sidestep the cache that the ISP wants you to use by following this guide.

Is there a trouble-shooting guide for cable users?

Go here for an extensive knowledge base of trouble-shooting tips for cable modems and their associated software and hardware issues.

4. Miscellaneous

How Do I Get IE to Connect Automatically on Start Up?

To begin with locate your Internet Explorer folder (Normally located in Program Files) Once found make a copy of the IEXPLORE icon, by right-click > copy.

Now locate the All Users this can be found in Documents and Settings alternatively it can be found by doing a search. Open that folder then, Start Menu > Programs > Startup.

Now once inside the Startup folder paste the icon that you have just copied into this folder. Now IE should automatically start to load on Start up, Re-Boot to test it.

However for it to work correctly you must have the Dial-Up box set to connect automatically, otherwise the IE page will just load.

Can I Make My Connection Faster?

Yes, you may be able to make some changes that will help to improve your connection speed.

To do so:

First of all run a Tweak Test. This will make some recommendations to you. It may suggest to change some values. To do this you need to use the DrTCP program.

If you would like help in changing the settings please post in the Broadband Tweaks Forum Just answer the 11 Questions and one of the regulars there will help you out.

How can I test my connection speed?

You can carry out a speed test here at BBR, however it should be noted that these servers are in the US and therefore your results may be some what slower than expected.

You might want to test your speed using these UK speed test sites instead.:

Can I share AOL Broadband?

Yes you can, the only thing is you wont be able to connect to some proxy 5 servers.
  • Goto Analogx.com and download Proxy, and then install on your HOST machine.

  • Then configure all your other PC's to have consecutive IP's address, and ct the same time configure them to connect via proxy, the proxy address is setup proxy on your other PC's, go into IE, then Internet options, then connections, lan settings, then Tick proxy, and put the IP address in.

  • Make sure you have proxy running on your HOST machine, you should have a little green icon in your tool bar.
Thats it, your done.

Happy Browsing

Where can I find UK Broadband ISP reviews ?

A: You can find full reviews of UK Broadband ISP's at one of the following sites:
Of course you are also to check out some of the reviews made by site users by looking at the ISP List on this site.

Firewall & Open Ports on BT VoIP (BroadbandTalk/BroadBandVoice)

BT say, that if you have a firewall on your router/modem that you need to open up several hundred ports to enable the VoIP service to function.

In my experience, this is not the case and the only port that needs to be opened is 69.

To save excessive time configuring your modem and potentially creating unnecessary vulnerabilities, set your modem/router to forward port 69 to the IP address of your voice adaptor. Then try to re-configure your adaptor online as shown in your set-up processes.

It's worked for me for 2.5 years with both the Cisco ATA186 and also the current Voyager 10v.