Problems with Broadband speed - AOL or Me?

  Mathrin 22:08 13 Jan 2010

Hi guys. I've had terrible problems with my Broadband speeds between 4pm till anywhere between 12 and 2am, every day without fail. Outisde of these hours its normal 6-7mb speed, with Usenet able to get up to 750kbps, and youtube, games working fine (Although games are now constantly in the 2-300ms range).

However during these times, the speed drops to an unbearable level. Any streaming programs are unuseable. Speedtests can give anywhere between 600 and 900kbps speeds.
I have seen a similar thread from last feb/march (click here) And have checked the exchange page, to which it is showing VP capacity is green, with no problems (click here)

I am planning to phone BT tomorrow to see what they say as all the people I've spoken to on AOL tech support basically tell me its either the fact im using a Linksys router, try to tell me my PC is not up to it even though it's a gaming grade pc I built myself (funnily, they couldn't understand that I build my own pc), It's because I'm not running the AOL software, its a problem with the wiring in my house (How would I get full speed in other times if it was?).

I have my MAC code, but for the sake of my parents who have been using AOL since the dial up era, I would rather get it sorted than making it hard for them by relearning how to use the internet outside of the ***** AOL browser.

I have 2 setups in which the same occurs, both an ADSL router - a WAG54GS, and a BT Speedtouch modem connected to a WRT54GL Router. This router has the same situation with both stock firmware and Tomato installed.

Really don't understand what is going on. Our exchange isn't LLU enabled, so our choices for any new ISP's are severely limited.

Sorry if its a bit muddled, I tend to go off on tangents :x.

In short, I'm asking what I can do about this with the given information. If its an AOL problem, who is the best ISP I can currently get?

I've been looking at plusnet but the 20gb monthly cap on the pro bundle puts me off, as I download a lot of games from Steam, Xbox live and the PSN, and the whole family uses youtube and BBC iPlayer quite a lot. Cable is sadly a no go, as cable stopped being laid annoyingly at the bottom of our road about 10 years ago, and there's been no signs of Virgin continuing.

Thank you for any potential replies.


  Mathrin 22:10 13 Jan 2010

Forgot to say, We've had the problems with youtube and iPlayer between 4-12 for a very long time now, its only recently come to encompass the whole of the net connection however.

Also, I am in Gloucestershire, Postcode GL513WL, if this is relevant at all.

Many Thanks


  MAJ 23:38 13 Jan 2010

It sounds as though they are throttling your speed, Mathrin, a lot of ISPs do that at peak hours, especially if you're a big user, as you sound to be.

  MAJ 23:52 13 Jan 2010

P.S. I would try O2 click here but bear in mind that most ISPs have a "Fair Usage" policy.

  Mathrin 10:05 14 Jan 2010

Normally I would agree with that, however I've not downloaded anything for over 3 weeks now, after crossing both a new billing period and a new month, this leads me to believe it is not traffic shaping.

  RobCharles1981 11:12 14 Jan 2010


Can you post up your full line stats from your router if possible please?

  Mathrin 11:15 14 Jan 2010

Of course, They are as follows.

Status: Up
Downstream Rate: 7584 Kbps
Upstream Rate: 448 Kbps

PVC Connection
Encapsulation: RFC 2516 PPPoE
DSL Modulation Mode: MultiMode
Multiplexing: LLC
PCR Rate:
SCR Rate:
Autodetect: Disable
VPI: 0
VCI: 38
Enable: 1
PVC Status: Up

I've checked these during lag, and currently now, where a speed test achieves 6mbps, There are no changes in the up/downstream rates.



  jack 11:20 14 Jan 2010

1.Contention Ratio
2.Your distance from the exchange
3.The state of cabling - both in the ground and in the house.

1. The nimber of users using the same LUL equipment at any one time.
A Very busy and popular ISP as yours TalkTalk/AOL/Tiscali + a few more, means a lot people ard doing what your are doing and therefore the capacity per line is reduced.
The further away from the exchange, the slower the link- and bear inmind the cable underground may not be 'As the Crow Flies' but will follow main road routes.
And the 'In home connection to the main port.
Last but not least- Cold weather- water in access points in the cable route.

All those thing will affect the reception you get. none of which you can do anything about.

  Mathrin 11:26 14 Jan 2010

LUL equipment?

  MAJ 12:24 14 Jan 2010

"...however I've not downloaded anything for over 3 weeks now.."

Everytime you open your browser, watch a youtube clip, watch streaming video on the BBC iPlayer, play online games, you are downloading, Mathrin. Your ISP wont look at your usage month by month and decide what to allow you for the following month, they look at your usage over a period of time, maybe the past year or so, If they decide to categorise you as a heavy user, they will penalise you. Contention ratios, as jack above mentions, are also another reason why they throttle speeds at peak times, it appears that a combination of heavy usage and contention ratios are your problem.

  rdave13 17:59 14 Jan 2010

'I have my MAC code, but for the sake of my parents who have been using AOL since the dial up era, I would rather get it sorted than making it hard for them by relearning how to use the internet outside of the ***** AOL browser'
One way to make it easier would be to make AOL the homepage on firefox. There you can sign in and check your email etc. Nearly like the real thing but you will be with a better ISP :)

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