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The 'up to 8Mbps' ADSLMax Nightmare

Posted: 15th May, 2006 By: MarkJ
The prospect of being able to go faster, usually without any additional cost, has certainly been the driving force behind BT's rapid ADSLMax uptake. Sadly, while most had little to no trouble, many others have suffered.

Things all seemed so clear; at least they did prior to the initial upgrades at the end of March. Go to your ISP, see if they had an 'up to' 8Mbps ADSL product regrade (*upgrade*) on offer and take it. For many the speed boosts were also offered free, a highly motivating factor.

Unfortunately problems soon arose, with many upgrades causing a great deal of connection instability and wildly fluctuating speeds. Feedback from ISP's indicated that it could take upwards of 75 minutes for the software to determine a lines best speed (training), hence the problems.

However, for an unknown number of Internet users across the spectrum of BT based providers, difficulties remained. It wasn't long before a new statement came out, this time pointing to the need for a 3 day training period, which later became 10.

Today many users are still suffering these problems, with their lines having failed to train properly, resulting in wildly fluctuating speeds and causing random disconnections. We understand that ISP’s have been collecting complaints and brining them to BT’s attention.

One such provider, NewNet, was kind enough to post a statement about it on our forums (here):
------------------------------------------
A number of issues have been identified with ADSL MAX and BT has now indicated plans to resolve them.

It appears that there are problems where some lines have seen their BRAS profile revert back to the profile of the service they regraded from. This will cause delay in setting the MSR/FTR. This is expected to be resolved by the end of May.

We have seen problems where their is no visibility of end user MSR/FTR at the 10 day training period. This will not affect the service as the line will continue to operate at the highest stable rate that it can. BT are working to resolve this issue. Faults will be accepted where the line sync rate falles below that for the service that the user regraded from.

For new lines, BT will accept fault reports where the line sync rate falls below 288 kb/s until MSR/FTR are set.

To date there are some 5360 exchanges providing MAX service to 140,000 plus end users.

At this time I have no further update as to the speed throughput issues and continue to await BT's response.

------------------------------------------

We’d disagree that the issue “will not affect the service” because it’s not merely a matter of fluctuating speeds, with many reporting random disconnections too. On Wednesday last week I myself saw no less than 30 disconnections within a 2 hour period during the evening, which was while using Nildram. The line would appear to spike in speed (beyond its ability) and then fail (disconnect).

Much of the frustration also comes from another angle, with users that had previously been in envy of their stable 1Mbps or 2Mbps connections, suddenly finding their speeds remaining at a persistently low (around 256Kbps) throughput.

BT has been working to address these issues and we understand that some were resolved around Thursday last week, when a new software update was deployed. I’m pleased to report that my own problems have since vanished, with the connection now remaining stable at 2.5Mbps as opposed to the 1.1Mbps I had before.

Sadly the same can not be said for everybody, with others still suffering from many of the same issues. Those still contemplating an upgrade to ADSLMax might be well advised to hold off for a few months until the issues have subsided.
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