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FTTP - Router Options/Settings?

Diggory

Casual Member
Hello all,

I am very new to the delights of FTTP, as until last week I only had access to FTTC. I was wondering if any of you, more knowledgable, types might be able to answer a question for me: "What 'settings' do I need for my router to correctly use the FTTP service that is provided by OpenReach via my ISP?"

First of all, perhaps I should state what my (probably somewhat inaccurate) mental model of the set-up is and what I have observed, and then someone could explain what I've missed or misunderstood...

Mental model: OpenReach provides a physical connection via the fibre network which terminates at their ONT in my premises. This ONT then provides an ethernet port to which I can connect my router and network. The logical layer uses PPPoE - my router authenticates via a username and password and gets an IP service via ethernet (from the ONT.)

So - am I right in thinking that, as far as the end user is concerned, the service is pure Ethernet from the ONT - all the configuration needed is that PPPoE auth?

Here's what I have observed:

1 - My ISP (Zen) provided a pre-configured FritzBox router.
2 - On installation of FTTP and the ONT both the OpenReach engineer and I were surprised to see poor speedtest results: fine upload speeds (30mbps as expected) but terrible download speed (about 20mbps). He stated that "usually you just plug in the router and it hits the speeds straight away."
3 - I phoned Zen's tech support and a very nice man suggested that I set some settings in the Fritz Box (a couple of fields named 'throughput' up and down.) I did and this solved the problem.
4 - Later I wanted to use my own router instead (a Ubiquiti Edge Router) - this only had two settings for the PPPoE link (auth and MTU). Initially it worked very well, but after a few hours it fell back to download speeds of about 70mbps.
5 - This page (https://community.ubnt.com/t5/EdgeR...th-UK-FTTP-PPPoE-to-BT-Openreach/td-p/2224875) suggested that altering the MTU would get correct speeds. Adjusting the MTU did indeed get better speeds 130mbps (almost as high as the Fritzbox 150mbps but not quite.)

So - my question is this: What are the 'throughput speed' settings on the Fritzbox (I've never seen this kind of setting before) and why didn't the FTTP service work correctly without them? Are they just a different way of setting the MTU? Are there any settings to do with FTTP that a router should provide that my Edge Router doesn't?

Thanks
 

Freeola

ISP Rep
You don't state what Fritz!Box model you were using, (a 7530?) but the OS is pretty much the same across all current models so as long as the 'Connect via' setting was set to external via LAN 1 then it needs to know the expected throughput for things like QoS and the pretty graphs :). The EdgeRouter is a lot more capable and should work fine. You may need to turn off Smart Queuing or bear in mind the wth Smart Queue enabled the actual rates are 95% of the throughput, so check the throughput under QoS in the GUI or
Code:
show traffic-control smart-queue <queuename> upload rate
show traffic-control smart-queue <queuename> download rate
via CLI I think.
.
 

Diggory

Casual Member
You don't state what Fritz!Box model you were using, (a 7530?) but the OS is pretty much the same across all current models so as long as the 'Connect via' setting was set to external via LAN 1 then it needs to know the expected throughput for things like QoS and the pretty graphs :). The EdgeRouter is a lot more capable and should work fine. You may need to turn off Smart Queuing or bear in mind the wth Smart Queue enabled the actual rates are 95% of the throughput, so check the throughput under QoS in the GUI or
Code:
show traffic-control smart-queue <queuename> upload rate
show traffic-control smart-queue <queuename> download rate
via CLI I think.
.
Thanks very much. Yes, it's a 7530.

Thanks for the tip, re: Smart Queueing.

I still don't quite understand why the FTTP connection would provide less than the expected speed though (when using the FritzBox without the throughput settings applied.)
 

Freeola

ISP Rep
A couple of things: I wonder whether the energy saving mode was on for the LAN ports on the FritzBox. There is an option to set them to power mode, which enabled full 1Gb/s, otherwise they are 100Mb/s. Setting the internet connection downstream higher than 100Mb/s might auto change this setting.
When in DSL mode the router doesn't allow manual setting of the MTU, it uses MSS clamping to auto determine the MTU. So I expect the manual speed settings are something to do with this and you're correct that it helps the router determine the correct MTU. A few tests with ping and disabling packet fragmentation (ping -D -s 1492 host) might help confirm this.
 

nfrengle

Member
I have had the Zen 900Mbps FTTP tier since it was offered in September, but I have only now been able achieve that speed with any consistency. I have been round the houses with Zen support, and also have a FritzBox! 7530. If I restart it, I can, for a couple of hours, get around 700-800Mbps using the http://fast.com speed checker, but not on speedtest.net, which usually maxes out at about 300-400Mbps. In the last conversation Zen could only sugget that I restart my FritzBox! regularly. They did try to help, but I was pretty sure that wasn't the answer. So, I bought a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 3 Lite on eBay. Perfect! It's been on all night, and I am getting the full speed from ALL speed check sites. I am purely using it as a PPPoE modem, in the sense that it is connected to the BT ONT on ETH0 using PPPoE, and my home network on ETH1. For that it seems to be a much better device than the FritzBox in terms of performance. If I had been using any of the FritzBox's multitude other services like VoIP or VPN or anything, I could have just connected that to the network, but I don't really use it for anything other than my edge router, so I have just connected ETH1 to my switch instead.
The reason I went with this is that posters on American forums mentioned that PPPoE involves a lot of overhead on the router, and so lower-powered routers didn't handle fast connections very well. I am not sure that I buy that explanation, but the FritzBox! 7530 really doesn't seem very capable in this role. And Zen really should source a better device than the FritzBox!
 
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