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  • FIRST POST
    Former MSE Lawrence
    BT I-Plate promises to speed up ADSL connections by up to 60%; will it work for you?
    • #1
    • 22nd Oct 08, 2:45 PM
    BT I-Plate promises to speed up ADSL connections by up to 60%; will it work for you? 22nd Oct 08 at 2:45 PM
    What's the deal?

    The 'I-Plate' made by BT sits inside your master phone socket, and speeds up your broadband by reducing interference to increase data flow. It can boost speeds by up to 60%, but for it to work, your house needs to have the right type of master socket (see pic below).

    How to get one cheaply:
    • Having connection issues? If you've been consistently suffering with a slow web connection while you're paying for a fast one, then your ISP should be your first port of call. Phone its helpdesk, say you've heard about the I-Plate and ask if it'll send you one to help improve your connection.
    • Don't mind paying? If you just want one now, or your ISP's not playing ball, it's also possible to buy it yourself from web retailer Broadband buyer for £13.85 inc VAT & delivery. This is the best price I could find, do post if you've found it cheaper.
    • Don't mind waiting? It's likely that we'll see more and more I-Plates given away for free in future, since the faster ADSL 2+ standard (24 Mbps) which is slowly being introduced is even more sensitive to electrical interference than the current standard, meaning the I-Plate will be more a necessity than a speed-boosting accessory.
    How does it work?

    Modern phones have no need for the bell wire which provided old phones their inimitable ringing sound, yet it remains a part of the telecoms infrastructure, so it's likely your phone line has it in spades.

    Unfortunately, bell wire is also an especially good conductor of electrical interference in the home, and the I-Plate seeks to quell this by filtering out the interference.

    If you've had a line (ie the line itself, not broadband on an existing line) installed in the last few years, then it'll already be bell wire free, meaning the I-Plate won't make a difference. If you're not sure, it may be worth running the gauntlet that is BT's customer service to find out before buying one.

    But does it work well?

    So far, feedback from techie forums, blogs and magazines has been very positive on the whole, with many reporting a boost of more than 1Mbps. Yet as ever there's a small contingent for whom it either hasn't worked at all, or has actually had a detrimental effect.

    It seems to work best for people who have their router plugged into a phone socket other than the main one (this is what it was primarily designed for). And not very well at all for people who have a front plate which already separates telephone and broadband signals or a BT Openreach socket.

    If your set-up seems to fit the bill, how much extra speed you can get will depend on plenty of other factors, such as distance from the nearest exchange, line quality etc... Thus, the only way to find out once and for all is to try it.


    Already got an I-Plate? Please let us know how it's working out by posting below.

    Installing the I-Plate

    First check your socket looks like this picture (in the top right corner there should be either a BT logo, or if it's older, the old rounded 'T' logo):


    If you don't have the NTE5 socket with the horizontal split pictured, the I-Plate's not for you. If you do have it installation is simple matter of unscrewing the two faceplate screws, putting the device in, and then screwing the front plate back on with the two longer screws included in the packet.

    Be very careful when moving the delicate phone wires around though; you'll need an engineer round if they break. So only attempt this if you're SURE you know what you're doing.

    BE CAREFUL IF YOU'RE NOT SURE WHAT YOU'RE DOING. DON'T DO IT

    How quickly will I see a speed increase?

    While you may notice an instant, slight speed boost, it'll actually take around a week to see the real results. This is because BT's system limits all connections automatically to what your modem tells it is the maximum attainable speed on the line, to improve connection quality.

    While your router should notice an increase in the attainable speed, BT won't pick it up and extend your limit for a few days (when it notices the maximum attainable, or sync, speed is consistently higher than your current limit). So, if it doesn't work immediately don't be disheartened; it's not supposed to.

    For more info on sync speeds, and how they translate to actual (Mbps) speeds, read Plusnet's useful support page.

    Anything else?

    For a rundown of the cheapest broadband packages, read the Cheap Broadband article.

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by MSE Martin; 05-11-2008 at 11:39 PM.
Page 1
    • penrhyn
    • By penrhyn 23rd Oct 08, 1:54 PM
    • 15,006 Posts
    • 8,056 Thanks
    penrhyn
    • #2
    • 23rd Oct 08, 1:54 PM
    • #2
    • 23rd Oct 08, 1:54 PM
    An alternative, which does involve some wiring is to replace the existing faceplate with one with a built in ADSL filter. It does require the user to remove and reattach their extension wiring though.
    The one I have was purchased from ADSL Nation, however there are others on the market.

    http://www.adslnation.com/products/xte2005.php

    I just noticed that at the bottom of the page in Lawrences link they have the ADSL Nation faceplate, cheaper than the iplate, and IMHO gives a neater result.
    Last edited by penrhyn; 23-10-2008 at 1:59 PM.
    That gum you like is coming back in style.
    • thebyp
    • By thebyp 5th Nov 08, 12:53 AM
    • 230 Posts
    • 128 Thanks
    thebyp
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 08, 12:53 AM
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 08, 12:53 AM
    Does the NTE5 iplate work? - YES!

    The installation is very simple, and generally can be done by most. It really is a simple two screw job, however a note of warning.

    Many people will not 'notice' a change, and if you do, it will be progressive as the line cleans up. So don't expect mirracles.

    Secondly be careful, although its simple, it still requires care. BT will not hesitate in charging you £140 to reattach the 5 bell wire or any of the other cables.. this especially applies to new housing where the installation is sketchy in the first place.

    Well worth the £15 for most.
  • sike222
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 08, 7:37 AM
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 08, 7:37 AM
    or just disconnect the bell wire from your master socket. this can also be done with the older style lju master sockets. The bell wire will always be the wire connected to number three on the socket.

    As long as you have an adsl filter plugged into the rest of your sockets this provides the bell circuitry to make your phones ring.
  • stinky
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 08, 8:26 AM
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 08, 8:26 AM
    Take a photo of where the wires go in the box - before you start. If you do happen to get a loose wire, at least you know where its supposed to go back. As for calling an engineer to do that - NO WAY. This isn't rocket science, they are simply small wires that push into the box and make contact via the two metal sides which cut through the plastic sheath into the metal wire. I've rewired my phone system more times than I care to remember. Its really easy to do. Its not like you're going to get electrocuted or something is it!
    Best Value for Money - NOT just the Cheapest I can buy
  • capejaro
    • #6
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:09 AM
    £7.99 + P&p
    • #6
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:09 AM
    I've just ordered an i-plate for my Dad from here

    http://www.tamarshop.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=109_108&pro ducts_id=691

    He has problems with his broadband dropping out, so hopefully the i-plate will cure his problems and increase his download speed at the same time.

    RE: The ADSL Nation face plate mentioned in an earlier post. I think that you will find that this face plate is just a replacement for a normal filter and does not do the same job as the i-plate bell wire filter.
  • Jennifer
    • #7
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:18 AM
    • #7
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:18 AM
    As mentioned above - simply remove the bell wire - why pay ££ for a gadget that gives the same result?
    J
    • Cougar
    • By Cougar 5th Nov 08, 9:42 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    Cougar
    • #8
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:42 AM
    • #8
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:42 AM
    As sike222 says, all the iPlate does is isolate the bell wire. The bell wire was used historically to make the old-style dial phones ring, and is still used today by some fax machines and analogue (dial-up) modems.

    The problem is that on modern ADSL-enabled connections, the bell wire acts like a dirty great big aerial for all the electricial interference kicking about in your house. If you don't have any of the devices above then you're safe to disconnect it. This will have exactly the same effect as buying the iPlate, and saves you fourteen quid.

    The bell wire is connected to pin 3 on the back of the Master socket, and should be coloured orange with a white stripe unless your phone cabling was fitted by someone other than BT or is really old. (Hit Google for more in-depth instructions).

    The caveat here is if you mess it up, BT will charge you the soul of your first born in order to come and sort it out. This is why the iPlate exists, it's to stop the enthusiastically ham-fisted from trashing their wiring and then complaining to BT that "you told me to do this and now it doesn't work." If the thought of having to wire a plug used to give you a cold sweat, you're probably best off paying for the plate as it's nice and reversable. On the other hand, if you're quite comfortable with a screwdriver, can count to three and aren't orange-green-blue colour blind then there's absolutely no reason to spend money on the iPlate.
  • harryhound
    • #9
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:43 AM
    Concept of the "snip" full explored on the MAAF thread.
    • #9
    • 5th Nov 08, 9:43 AM
    When the concept of snipping my spare wires was suggested to me on the Mad As A Fish thread, I wondered if I was a victim of a prankster - sorry - espresso & Quentin
    (In the days of free "press button B" phone boxes, all sorts of strange offers were made to the unsuspecting).

    Broadband, like a modern automatic car, is a complicated piece of engineering BUT the sellers won't tell you that for fear of scaring you off.
    Just like a car, it can be used without any idea of what goes on under the bonnet, and just like a car you get ripped off if it needs servicing, when you know nothing about how it works.
    Bits of my journey to enlightenment can be found below, or by doing an advanced search in thread tools on my name when already in the thread..
    Harry.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=5074918#post5074918

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=174289&page=55

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=6976191#post6976191





    Last edited by harryhound; 05-11-2008 at 9:58 AM.
    • paulfoel
    • By paulfoel 5th Nov 08, 10:03 AM
    • 5,533 Posts
    • 2,570 Thanks
    paulfoel
    An alternative, which does involve some wiring is to replace the existing faceplate with one with a built in ADSL filter. It does require the user to remove and reattach their extension wiring though.
    The one I have was purchased from ADSL Nation, however there are others on the market.

    http://www.adslnation.com/products/xte2005.php

    I just noticed that at the bottom of the page in Lawrences link they have the ADSL Nation faceplate, cheaper than the iplate, and IMHO gives a neater result.
    Originally posted by penrhyn
    Got one of these. Made a bit of a difference but not a huge amount.
  • g6zru
    IPlate
    As previously stated just cut the bell wire at the master socket. Also be aware that any increase in speed will only be in increments of 500kbps, i.e unless you get a speed increase of over 500kbps (for at least 3 days), your IP Profile, which determines the actual speed, will remain the same.
    Fred
    Hi, we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why please read the forum rules or email the forum team if you’re still unsure.
    • Cougar
    • By Cougar 5th Nov 08, 10:24 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    Cougar
    As previously stated just cut the bell wire at the master socket
    Originally posted by g6zru
    If you're contemplating cutting anyithing, be careful that there's enough wire left to rewire it if you need to. You'd be better advised to pull the wire upwards out of the clip so that you can reverse the procedure. A comms engineer carries a special hook tool for just this purpose.
    • paulfoel
    • By paulfoel 5th Nov 08, 10:59 AM
    • 5,533 Posts
    • 2,570 Thanks
    paulfoel
    As previously stated just cut the bell wire at the master socket. Also be aware that any increase in speed will only be in increments of 500kbps, i.e unless you get a speed increase of over 500kbps (for at least 3 days), your IP Profile, which determines the actual speed, will remain the same.
    Fred
    Originally posted by g6zru
    I thought only older sockets had a bell wire.

    How do I identify the bell wire ???
  • inch71
    Can anyone tell me if these iplates do the same job as the micro filters you have to plug into your phone sockets for broadband. When I joined Sky Broadband, I was sent a number of Micro filters, and was told to plug them into every phone socket that I use.
    A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.

    A young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent,
    the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.
    • notbritishgas
    • By notbritishgas 5th Nov 08, 11:18 AM
    • 2,203 Posts
    • 1,030 Thanks
    notbritishgas
    Can anyone tell me if these iplates do the same job as the micro filters you have to plug into your phone sockets for broadband. When I joined Sky Broadband, I was sent a number of Micro filters, and was told to plug them into every phone socket that I use.
    Originally posted by inch71
    No they do not, you still need a filter in every socket where a phone (or other device) is plugged.
  • reginald
    I live about 4km from my exchange and I could only get speeds of 2meg. BT said it was due to distance. I didn't have a BT master socket only a junction box so I installed a socket with a built in ADSL filter at my first socket by my computer. All the extensions are now filtered from this box no more little dsl microfilters. Speed went straight up to over 6meg. This was due to the interference of the extension sockets being removed. I complained to BT that they should have known for the last two years that I should be able to get a faster speed but the still insist that my line will only receive 2meg ( on their postcode estimate) yet the hub page say 6.5. So BT speed accessment is based on what you get and if you have a fault on your line they will blame it on the distance from the exchange even though your neighbour might be getting double or triple your speed. I would not accept BT saying that this is your line max they stiil get paid the same if its 1meg or 8meg. Ask your next door neighbour what their speed is. Get a ADSL filtered master box. Cut of all wired extensions and use wireless digital phones. It suits BT to have customers on slower speeds as it keeps the overall bandwidth down so they don't need to spend as much on new equipment. Eight people at 1meg is the equivalent one person at 8meg but eight times the revenue.
  • jedge1939
    A couple of things to note before you buy an iPlate or cut the bell wire:
    1. Before you do anything make sure you measure accurately what speed you're getting at several times of day. Performance often varies considerably depending on the contention on the line. A good, and easy to use, site is www.speedtest.net.
    2. As remarked earlier in the thread the iPlate/bell wire stuff only minimises interference in your internal wiring. If you're getting really bad performance you should get your ISP to get BT to check the external factors. I had the cable from the telegraph pole to my house and the cable from the pole to the (green) junction box in the road replaced before they finally sent a proper braodband engineer, who discovered that there was only one cable from the exchange to the junction box and that was a very old and lossy aluminium cable that they weren't prepared to dig up and replace. So I'm stuck on about 1.9Mbps at non-busy times, and considerably less at other times.
    3. For various technical reasons, if you're in a similar situation to me then the fixed rate deal will give you better speeds. With ADSL+ or Max BT will continuously adjust the speed downwards until it reaches a level that gives a stable throughput and then you're stuck there. The only way you'll get back up to where you started is by turning off the router and disconnecting the line for an hour or so, by which time the BT equipment will have forgotten the previous data.
    4. For the reasons just quoted, the iPlate/bell wire stuff is only likely to give you a major speed increase if you are on ADSL Plus or Max.
    • steadynerve
    • By steadynerve 5th Nov 08, 12:58 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    steadynerve
    Hi I have a wireless broadband router and a digital phone plugged into my adsl fitter.

    It works fine but 50% of the time when somone makes a call on the phone I lose the braodband and have to reset by switching the router off and on again.

    Will the iplate or disconnecting the bell wire help with this problem?
    • DatabaseError
    • By DatabaseError 5th Nov 08, 1:18 PM
    • 4,020 Posts
    • 1,776 Thanks
    DatabaseError
    a new filter will help
    are ALL the phones in the house filtered?
    Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant.
    • alahol2
    • By alahol2 5th Nov 08, 1:25 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    alahol2
    The first thing to try is a new filter, it sounds like yours is duff...
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