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Slow ADSL Speeds After Damaged Router - 21/02/2011

A customer had been using their ADSL line just fine for the last few years.  Some time ago I installed an Edimax router to allow certain changes to the network.  Again this had been working fine for over a year.  Then one day it stopped.  I immediately knew the router was dead due to the lack of lights or life from the box.  I replaced the router and the customer was back online very quickly.  

Although they were back online...the internet connection was very slow.  Instead of the regular 3 to 4 meg they get in that area, speeds were down to about 0.1meg according to speedtest.net.  Oddly, the upload speed was around 0.3 meg which is quite normal for this line.  A call to BT was made and I was pleasantly suprised by the knowledge and professionalism from the operator.  I suppose this is because this ADSL line is a BT Business package which must have better service than the appaling domestic service BT and other ADSL suppliers normally have.  

The support techie remoted into the PC, made a handful of tests then agreed there was a problem.  She organised a BT Engineer to visit the following day.  Again to my suprise the BT engineer turned up in the alloted time and proved knowledge and proessional too, even if he was young. 

Now here's what happened.

The router died.
The BT Exchange ADSL kit tries to talk to the router
The router does not reply
The ADSL kit tries a slower speed
The ADSL kit still gets no reply
The ADSL keeps on trying slower speeds yet still gets no reply
When the ADSL kit gets to 0.1meg, it stops dropping at that level
1 weekend passes
I install a new router
The ADSL kit is now fixed at 0.1 meg

It's the last line that's critical.  Because the Exchange can't communicate it tries slower speeds, then fixes at the lowest.  The BT engineer assures me that in the fullness of time the ADSL kit at the exchange will try higher speeds and raise the speed until it reaches the maximum potential.  He did not however offer any timescale that this may happen over.  

The moral of this story is...don't unplug or turn off your router!  I suspect it is possible that if you went on holiday for a week and switched off the router you may find your speed very slow upon return.  That said...I've never experienced this outside of this one job...was the engineer talking twaddle or not...anyone else got any experience?  I might try it next time I go away...

If you notice the image below...I'm no forensic engineer, but it looks like the router had some dubious liquid spilt on it...

Damaged circuitboard from a Edimax Router 

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