Friday, 27 February 2009

BT i-Plate

I discovered a new (but rather boring) gadget before Christmas reading through the Think Broadband news. The BT i-Plate could help speed up your ADSL connection so more recently I decided to grab one and try it out. It's marketed through BT Wholesale as a customer installable device so it's very simple to fit and costs less than a tenner to get it to your door. The cheapest I found was £9.29 inc delivery from Broadand Buyer.

Any potential speed improvement results from reducing interference and improving stability at your master phone socket. The improvement seen by some people are staggering so worth a go I thought. The two pictures show before (left) and after (right) fitting. To fit you simply 1) remove the phone cord; 2) unscrew your master socket face plate and remove; 3) slot the i-Plate over the wire to the face plate; 4) plug the i-Plate into the master socket; 5) attach the face plate to the i-Plate and screw in. The socket now stands out from the wall about 1cm or so further than it did. Even with my right hand injured as it is, I managed to complete the installation quickly with one hand.

I did the installation a few days ago (Tuesday) so I've given it some time before comparing results before/after to allow my line speed to be adjusted (this is done automatically on all ADSL lines to keep your speed optimal for current conditions). So the big question is what has it done for me?

Before installation my ADSL router was connected at 5024kbps down and 448kbps up. This gave me an average download speed of 4352kbps and upload speed of 375kbps as measured by Immediately after installation my connection speed had increased to 6016kbps up and 448kbps down, surprising. However, my download speed hardly changed at all. Today my router is connecting at 7008kbps and download speeds are around the 5200kbps mark using the same benchmark. It seems clear then, I've seen some improvement of around a 20% boost for downloads and hopefully a little more to come as my line stabilises with a little more time. Upload speeds remain the same as before on my "up to 8mbps/second" line, my current ISP is PlusNet.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dear Wonky BT

Dear British Telecom, please when you send an engineer to my house to install a second line would you ask them to take as much care over presentation as getting the line working. Thanks, yours very wonkily!

This week we've had another phone line installed at home for reasons beyond comprehension. The young engineer was very concerned to take care to get things working as well as possible. However, he was only permitted to surface mount. That means any sockets or cables have to unsightly on the walls, not hidden or nicely recessed. Strange, as the first socket (on the left and also not straight) installed in our house before we moved in was recessed. I can live with that restriction perhaps, but is it unreasonable to expect better care over the position of the socket? I don't expect all engineers to be armed with a spirit level but this is just so clearly off level it's ridiculous.