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Steve White is an independent computer and telecoms engineer providing broadband, computer and telecoms repair for domestic and commercial, home and small business in the Peterborough area. You may find useful hints and tips here on this page, else please call for free no obligation advice or assistance. See also: FAQs

Broadband Repair

Broadband and/or Internet Failure

If uncertain as to the precise cause of your broadband failure, consider first checking with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They will perhaps confirm that your supply is okay, in which case the problem will then almost certainly be with the modem/other peripheral device, and/or PC (including software/Windows issues), and/or wireless adapter/other internal device, and/or the internal wiring (broadband/telephone cabling) and/or the user.

Cabling and filters can of course breakdown, and it's also not inconceivable that there has always been an underlying issue, and that the supply may have simply worked, unawares to you, to some extent. If the quality of service has been on the cusp perhaps due to poor cabling in the home, it can then take little to impact on the end supply to the computer.

It is possible that one or a number of factors, e.g. distance from the exchange, aluminium 'underground' cable, internal wiring and/or PC issues have only provided a quality of service, and maybe also that the end-user is none the wiser because the supply has of course nonetheless been consistently much better since dial-up.

PC issues are also a probable cause or a factor to your Internet not working properly. One can lose a connection for any number of reasons, not least because the importance of maintaining and optimising the system to sustain performance is not always appreciated. Consider that a computer must be fit for its purpose or may simply be in need of a service.

Broadband Install and Repair | Wireless Broadband

PCWorkspace will gladly install your broadband, extend or fit BT specification standard, Cat 5e/6 or shielded data cable, sockets, power-line adaptors and/or Wi-Fi achieving the best conceivable bandwidth. BT, Cable (Virgin) and other provider (Mobile; AOL; o2, Orange; Plus.Net; Sky; TalkTalk…), incorporating Wireless broadband.

Broadband including wireless (Wi-Fi) service is fixed at £30.00 (£25.00 OAP (includes complimentary maintenance)). Wi-Fi only may be less, please enquire. Wi-Fi adapter and installation from £30.00, please call.

Broadband Speeds

Broadband speeds can vary and are influenced or impacted by the distance to the exchange, the quality of your telephone wiring as well as worldwide peak internet usage times (5pm through 12am GMT) which can also slow speeds at other times during the day. See also: Broadband and Telecoms Advice below.

Broadband and Telecoms Advice

An ADSL (None cable) supply to your modem/modem router will preferably be from the master BT socket. All filtering should be at source, e.g. the frequency splitter (ADSL Filter) plugged into the telephone wall socket(s). Where a dedicated filtered broadband master socket has not been installed (BT ADSL V10 or equivalent (No filter required)), all telephone sockets on the ADSL/broadband line accommodating equipment must be filtered, e.g. answer machines; facsimile; Sky; telephones etc.

No one device should pass through more than one ADSL filter and, where necessary, ADSL broadband (not separate PSTN (STD)) lines providing additional remote services such as an Alarm System, Calor Gas or Water may also need to be filtered. Clients should contact their provider of these services for further advice.

Note that ADSL broadband requires BT specification broadband high tension (HT (FAST)) cable or a broadband extension (See also: REN). Where broadband is activated and the router switched on and in use, internal wiring and/or wrongly placed filters can impact on the broadband and in some cases the telephone service, as can telephone extensions, e.g. coms cable/old telecom and/or telephone extension kits or faulty equipment…

…Unsuitable wiring or extensions may provide a quality of services only, and therefore a client, for example, who is in transition to broadband from dial-up may be none the wiser of a poor service but they will almost certainly experience a bandwidth loss ranging from 1 to 8Mbps or higher, and conceivable telephone interference.

Where the high frequency (digital) broadband (not low frequency (analogue) telephone) supply to the master socket, e.g. from a junction box in the attic, is limited through poor cabling to a now obsolete telecom socket, then there may be little point to upgrading or adding an internal extension for broadband use specifically, unless the source (old telecom or coms) cable and socket are also upgraded.

Note in some areas, particularly where fibre optic broadband (Infinity-1, 2) is not available, BT may switch the broadband output to 21CN (Twenty-first Century Customer Network (ADSL2+)), increasing say from 8Mb to 20Mb redressing loss over distance from the exchange, and therefore increasing the supply to the end-user (maybe doubling, say from 2 to 4Mb), perhaps providing sufficient bandwidth for vision, albeit through old telecoms cable.

In many cases where the supply to the building is good but there are conceivable internal wiring issues, a wireless connection or power-line adapters facilitating the transfer of data on an existing electrical circuit, may prove to be the best solution as long as there is access to an electric point near the master telephone socket/modem and, were applicable, there are no major Wi-Fi obstructions.

Hard-wired (non-filtered at source) low frequency telephone extensions will also potentially impact on the bandwidth before it can reach your computer, and further lead to poor service and/or interference.

A broadband connection will perhaps be as much as 160 times faster (8Mb) or greater (320 times faster (16Mb)) and therefore more open (vulnerable) than a dial-up account. Where a computer base unit (consumer unit (body)) with a new broadband connection does not support a licence and/or a genuine operating system installation, i.e. where the installation does not marry with the licence affixed to the body, the operating system may not validate and consequently become progressively if not rapidly unstable.

Power-line Adapters
If opting to use power-line adapters, ensure where possible to plug directly into a mains wall socket. If you must plug into an extension, first of all if at all possible, limit to the one extension and secondly, ensure that it's not a surge-protector.

New to broadband clients will likely be behind with the all important Windows and Internet security requirements and/or updates simply because of the time needed to download critical updates, i.e. a down-stream requiring as little as one minute on a good broadband (ADSL or Cable) connection may take three or more hours on a 56K V92 (PSTN) modem.

Clients should also be aware that third-party installations may not be fully maintained as a consequence of a mostly off dial-up connection and therefore may be flawed increasing the likelihood of malicious threats; the advantages of broadband clearly outweigh disadvantages nonetheless. New to broadband users will perhaps all the same consider this and make some allowance as it may take some time to a) induct an individual and b) subsequently process updates and ensure pre-requisite Internet security is in place…

…We ensure that clients have Internet security, and further do what we can to induct where necessary, however this is not reflected in pricing and consequently may be subject to time constraint – please ask us about this. We will of course be more than happy to advise perhaps arrange a return visit and/or private tuition if required.

Albeit a computer is always checked and routine maintenance carried out to ensure that the client has access to the Internet, a faulty computer does not mean that broadband cannot be installed to premises, as this is typically carried out on the engineer's laptop, i.e. the broadband profile is configured on the remote server and therefore a working computer at the home or office is not essential…

…If the PC doesn't offer a gateway to the newly installed broadband, again this doesn't mean that the broadband hasn't been installed and configured, more simply that the computer may require a service – where a computer, perhaps in need of maintenance, will not support a broadband installation, the unit may need to be returned to the workshop for bench testing, service or repair which is clearly not included as part of the broadband installation.

Cable Works / New Extensions / Telecoms Repair

PCWorkspace undertake broadband, telephone and network, new installations, extensions and repairs. Cable, Ethernet and BT specification (telephone and broadband) indoor surface mounted and external cabling starts from £30.00 an hour (£25.00 OAP), minimum £40.00 (£30.00 OAP) plus materials. Please call for no obligation advice or assistance, perhaps instead complete the 'quick contact' form found on the home page. Please note that some telecoms questions are addressed on the FAQs page.

Fibre Optic Broadband – BT Infinity / Virgin Media

Glass fibre cable does not run to the home or enterprise, but instead will run to the CAB box (or PCP housing the DSLAM)) on the street corner perhaps alongside the ADSL green box if available, then the data switched to copper for the remainder of its journey to the end-user. Broadband loss over distance underground from the exchange to the client area is consequently addressed, therefore offering a much improved bandwidth for some.

The ways that these Internet services are provided differ between BT and Virgin Media. BT Openreach will replace their master socket for a broadband specific socket and VDSL unit linking to the wireless hub. The client may opt to have an extension run to another room (though external Ethernet cabling may not be available or within the remit of the visiting BT broadband and/or vision engineer). As for power-line adapters, if you must plug the VDSL and Hub into an electrical extension, it should not be a surge-protector. See also RJ11 below.

Infinity differs in that the main socket is filtered and subsequent 'telephone only' extension sockets do not require a splitter – request a broadband extension kit if you need to move the hub away from the master socket/VDSL unit (max. 30 metres). Seek advice if running an extension off a junction box that is before the master socket.

*Where a VDSL box (Infinity/fibre optics) is fitted, existing telephone sockets will no longer carry the broadband signal, however, broadband only can be extended from the Master socket, to relocate the router and provide an *RJ11 point for Smart TV for example.

If a telephone extension is fed perhaps from a junction box before the supply (new broadband only master socket), this would need to be filtered (ask Openreach about this when they install your VDSL unit).

New to BT Infinity clients may also find that they will require Wi-Fi for a PC – which may not be available from Openreach. Most laptops are of course wireless-ready, but not all consumer units have this facility and will almost certainly need an adapter if not already the case. Please enquire on (01733) 777878 if you think that you may need help with this.

Virgin Media largely continue to supply their service from the street corner through broadband quality coaxial cable. See also:

Help Setting Up

If you would like someone to install your broadband or vision, or would perhaps like some help with your broadband or telephone cabling, please call: Peterborough (01733) 777878. Modem services are currently charged a fixed fee of £30.00 (Inc. Wi-Fi and Security Essentials (£25.00 OAP)) subject to precise mandate. For more in-depth advice on broadband frequency, internal wiring or troubleshooting bandwidth problems, see: Broadband and Telecoms Advice above.

Local Loop Unbundling (LLU)

Historically owned and maintained by British Telecom (BT), LLU means that other companies can access the telecoms exchanges, best describes de-regulation of the former BT exchange network which enables third-party access local to the broadband clients' premises. The 'Local Loop' describes the wires and equipment that connect the client to the local telephone exchange. BT (Openreach) takes responsibility for and oversees continuity.

Wireless and Broadband Installation

Internet is reinstated as standard, and a pre-configured Wi-Fi connection qualifies for re-configuration free of charge where a system has been returned to a client following repair or upgrade. Otherwise, broadband including wireless (Wi-Fi) service is fixed at £30.00 (£25.00 OAP (includes complimentary maintenance)). Wi-Fi only may be less, please enquire. Wi-Fi adapter and installation from £30.00, please call (01733) 777878.

A wireless broadband modem/router provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) will be secured by default, and therefore the Internet cannot generally be accessed through the device other than by the client who is further provided with a wireless modem/router specific WEP or WPA key to unlock the encryption.

Those with an unsecured wireless network have perhaps purchased a third-party modem/router, one that has not been provided by their ISP, which has possibly not then been configured correctly, if at all – possibly because the third-party device is not supported by the provider and/or one is simply unaware that it's unsecured, unmindful that it will not have a unique SSID and, unless it's configured to the broadband profile, their Internet may be accessed (in breach of the law) by anyone in the immediate area who has a system fitted with a Wi-Fi adapter.