I've been sorting broadband problems since ADSL first became available, so here's what to do when an 'upgrade' fails to deliver.

This article appears in the May 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

I rubbed my hands with glee when I heard that my 2Mbps (megabits per second) ADSL connection was being upgraded to ADSL Max, which promised up to 8Mbps. Of course, the key words here are 'up to' – I have never, ever, had 8Mbps from my connection.

ADSL Max is rate adaptive, meaning you get the maximum ADSL bandwidth that your phoneline can support. Your line is continuously monitored and the bandwidth is adjusted to an optimised level.

Sounds good in theory, but in practice it's a different story. Combined with a poor contention ratio, I often get less than 2Mbps of bandwidth – and this despite my house being only 900m from the exchange. I seem far worse off after this so-called 'upgrade'.

Accordingly, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about troubleshooting and optimising an ADSL connection. As a foreword, keep in mind that while it is tempting to think that any problem always lies at your end, the odds are that it doesn't. You should check your ISP's network status page to see whether there are any reported problems.

And it's a good idea to restart your ADSL modem or router. Pull out the power lead, wait 30 seconds and then plug it back in again. It may sound like a rather pedestrian solution but, seven times out of 10, it will fix your connectivity problems.

Look at all the devices plugged into your phone circuit at home and try unplugging and plugging them back in one at a time. You should track down your 'master socket' and plug the ADSL router directly into that. If this fails to make a difference, try the tips outlined in the May 07 issue of PC Advisor.