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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 3
    • Chef1980uk
    • By Chef1980uk 5th Nov 08, 11:04 PM
    • 218 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    Chef1980uk
    Interesting article. I'm sure some will see this as "the fix" to their poor speeds even though its probably obvious the drop is from line distance for example but still nice to know of another fix.

    Couple of questions/statements though when determining if this might be what is needed.

    1. If my speeds vary randomly between 20% and 85% of my quoted speed, but never reaches above 85% could that be because of this issue?

    or is it more likely.

    2. I always only get 50% of my quoted speed, could that be because of this issue?

    50% meaning a constant figure percentage.
    Speed being measured using speed tests and various download sites.


    For me, i've always been in the (1) statement. I'm on ADSLMax so know i should get up to 8mbps but have never got above 7mbps and usually only get 3mbps with occasional drops to 1.5mbps. The exchange is roughly 1.5km away. ISP = Freedom2Surf (23.99pm), using no more than 65% of my Gb allowance in any one month.

    The one constant i do have is my ping to game servers hosted 200 miles away and thats a steady ping of 40 if that counts for anything.
    • matt83uk
    • By matt83uk 5th Nov 08, 11:17 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    matt83uk
    There is no need to spend money to do this and it may not even work. Those of you using Vista will have your speed determined by Windows. This limits you to having more than two or three connections at one time. Vista will also try to balance your download speeds. There is a patch to increase the number of connections to up to 200 this works very well with peer to peer such as limewire and emule. Another FREE progra that will double your speed is TCP optimizer which adjusts your settings automatically. Also try reget pro, free to try and $10 dollars for a lifetime licence, well worth the money.
    There is a command you can run to adjust or rather disable the automatic optimization of the tcp/ip stack that vista performs. Generally though the settings are fine and you'll see only minor increases with this and the likes of TCPTweak etc.. Don't patch anything lowlevel like tcpip.sys/dll with unauthorized patches - this is just asking for trouble - and can you guarantee the authenticity and trust of such patches?

    Use these to squeeze an extra few percent, not as a solution to connectivity issues.

    The 2 connections per host limitation is guided by an RFC, in firefox you can override it in about:config or with FasterFox and I believe you can do for IE (and programs that use the same abstraction to the network interface - i.e. any .Net program etc..) using the registry, careful though.


    So in conclusion... Don't bother unless everything is already bloody good and you know what you're doing - don't swallow everyone else's placebo. Seriously I don't bother anymore, unless you got a VPN with a strange MTU don't mess with your TCP/IP settings it's not worth it.. If you're using Limewire you've got bigger problems and a look in the mirror will point you to source of your dog slow experience
    Last edited by matt83uk; 05-11-2008 at 11:20 PM.
    • Chef1980uk
    • By Chef1980uk 5th Nov 08, 11:18 PM
    • 218 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    Chef1980uk
    lol, i've just read back page 1 and 2 properly to see the orange wire test.

    Regarding the wire, i've removed the faceplate and tested using the test socket and took a speed test. I'll stick it back on and do another test to see if the results are the same.

    EDIT::

    LOL i get better results with the normal plate ON



    PLATE OFF, USING TEST SOCKET



    Not much difference though. So am i right in that the orange wire isn't causing me any problems then if the test socket gives the same speeds within 2%?
    Last edited by Chef1980uk; 05-11-2008 at 11:23 PM.
  • harryhound
    There is a computer at the exchange that tests your connection and caps your speed so that you get a reasonably reliable service without drop outs.

    It can take 3 - 4 days for the computer to convince itself that you now have a "low noise" line, so don't expect to see an immediate improvement in speed. Your router should give you a "sync speed". It is this that indicates that you have the potential to be upgraded to the next step (or two) up in speed by the exchange.
    If you regularly monitor your speeds using "thinkbroadband", the resulting graph will show the speed steps involved.
    • timbo1234
    • By timbo1234 6th Nov 08, 7:35 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    timbo1234
    I've installed 2 two of these at home. Had them running about 1 month.

    Line 1: No real change, download speed dropped ~1/4Mb
    Line 2: Download speed dropped ~1/4Mb as with the other line but upload speed doubled from ~450Kb to almost 900Kb.
    • newsgroup_monkey
    • By newsgroup_monkey 6th Nov 08, 8:52 AM
    • 816 Posts
    • 997 Thanks
    newsgroup_monkey
    I don't know if anyone's mentioned it yet, but Broadband Buyer are now selling these for 9.99 + 1.80 postage to the UK Mainland.
    Order 2 and the postage is only 1.99.
    The smaller the monkey the more it looks like it would kill you at the first given opportunity.

  • SwissToni

    Anyone doing DIY phone wiring I'd suggest buying a cheap Krone/IDC insertion tool. This will make pushing the wires back on the socket blades that much easier and professional, much more importantly without damaging the thin wires. Most places stock this, Maplins or just google shop for one.
    http://www.google.co.uk/products?q=idc+wire+tool&btnG=Search+Products&hl=e n&show=dd&scoring=p
    http://www.google.co.uk/products?q=krone+tool&btnG=Search+Products&hl=en&s how=dd&scoring=p
    Many years ago I wired the whole house up with phone sockets using the tool and it made things so much quicker and easier, even put right what the cable company later totally screwed up.

    Oh, if you're going to do a lot of wiring buy a metal one, if it's just the odd socket a cheap plastic one will last, otherwise buy a few spares.

    Step by step pictorial bell wire removal instructions here:
    http://www.jarviser.co.uk/jarviser/bellwirenutshell.html
    More socket info here:
    http://www.jarviser.co.uk/jarviser/broadbandspeed.html#type5
    Last edited by SwissToni; 06-11-2008 at 9:16 AM.
  • espresso
    I don't know if anyone's mentioned it yet, but Broadband Buyer are now selling these for 9.99 + 1.80 postage to the UK Mainland.
    Order 2 and the postage is only 1.99.
    Originally posted by newsgroup_monkey
    But no real MSEer would order one!

    :rolleyes:
    Blue text on this forum usually signifies hyperlinks, so click on them!..
  • shammyjack
    Another problem to look out for is if you have a small lozenge shaped box on your incoming drop wire before the BT main box.

    If you have take off the faceplate and look on the circuit board inside, If it says RF2 then you have a major problem .

    This Radio Frequency filter is pre ADSL and adds around 30Db attenuation to an ADSL line, dramaticaly dropping the speed you sync at .

    It should be replaced with a RF3 filter which allows full pass through of the ADSL signal or removed and allow a good quality filter like the ADSL Nation face plate to filter out any Radio Frequency noise .

    shammy
  • John LG
    Another problem to look out for is if you have a small lozenge shaped box on your incoming drop wire before the BT main box.

    If you have take off the faceplate and look on the circuit board inside, If it says RF2 then you have a major problem .

    This Radio Frequency filter is pre ADSL and adds around 30Db attenuation to an ADSL line, dramaticaly dropping the speed you sync at .

    It should be replaced with a RF3 filter which allows full pass through of the ADSL signal or removed and allow a good quality filter like the ADSL Nation face plate to filter out any Radio Frequency noise .

    shammy
    Originally posted by shammyjack
    This is an interesting point - we live in a 1930's house, with a very old 'lozenge' that has so much fluff in, and very brittle wires, that it must be poor. However, I'm only reading this thread out of greed - I don't have any speed issues, and get quite close to the 8mb quoted speed. In saying that I'm wireless at the moment, from a 54mbps router, and getting 5739kb/s download and 235 upload. Obviously much more if I was wired. I guess I'm lucky, and may be close to my exchange? Still the idea of squeezing a bit more is tempting...
    Last edited by John LG; 06-11-2008 at 11:38 AM.
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    • sassi
    • By sassi 6th Nov 08, 11:36 AM
    • 4,975 Posts
    • 17,266 Thanks
    sassi
    my dad is sorting mine for me - his mate works for bt
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  • stevenorf
    If you are one of the lucky few who already have an ADSL master socket (it normally has ISDN or ADSL on it and has 2 sockets one specifically for the broadband/pc connection (cat5 plug not a phone plug) and a seperate socket for the phone, adding one of these new plates will make no difference at all and you should not replace the BT installed one which does exactly the same job.
    • miss_corerupted
    • By miss_corerupted 6th Nov 08, 1:19 PM
    • 3,474 Posts
    • 28,654 Thanks
    miss_corerupted
    this sounds really good. How do you check your speed?? Want to do a before and after.
    Also we got 2 extensions and a big bell attached sound we disconnect those as well??

    thanks
    I have dyslexia, so get used to my spelling and grammar
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  • SmilingPete
    Before attempting any of this (wire snipping or fitting the new plate) One should establish what your "local loop" ADSL speed is. This is the speed your modem/router connects to the local exchange at. The various on line speed tests etc. are not actually measuring this directly, they are measuring the over all speed that you are achieving. Other factors can bottleneck your speed even if your local loop speed is at the max (usually 8mb/s). The ISP can cap the speed even if your LL speed is at the max. In this case these bell wire modifications will make no improvement.

    I am only half a mile from my exchange. My LL speed is connected at the full 8mb/s yet I never ever get more than 2.8mb/s transfer speed throughput measured with on line speed tests. This is simply because my ISP (talktalk) caps the connection at 2.8mb/s no matter how good the LL signal path is. So no amount of LL signal improvement will get my connection any faster. This bell wire issue will probably be more useful those who are some distance from the exchange when the LL signal to noise ratio is poor to start with.
  • harryhound
    this sounds really good. How do you check your speed?? Want to do a before and after.
    Also we got 2 extensions and a big bell attached sound we disconnect those as well??

    thanks
    Originally posted by miss_corerupted
    Snap.

    Get to know your connection by using "thinkbroadband" for (say) 10 days.
    Then check my links above to the MAAF thread.

    If you can manage to live with it, try plugging only the router and the initial main phone in the house to the master test socket, hopefully with short wires. As shown above, this is inside the first BT socket's faceplate. IE filter then one phone and router only, other extension phones and big bell will have been disconnected by the removal of the face plate. If you get a step improvement in speed within a week, your home is causing the interference/noise and disconnecting the redundant wires should make an improvement. When you plug the extensions and bell back into their filter(s) and into the extension sockets you should keep the improvement.
    However this does not protect you from dodgy connections in the future somewhere between your home and the exchange.
    Last edited by harryhound; 06-11-2008 at 2:00 PM.
  • Kabeer
    If I disconnect the bell/ring wire from the Master socket downstairs., would this be sufficient in my setup?

    My setup is; extension cable from master socket downstairs, running upstairs to the wireless router.

    Or would I need to remove bell/ring wire connection from BOTH the master and the extension wire?

    Thanks
  • espresso
    If I disconnect the bell/ring wire from the Master socket downstairs., would this be sufficient in my setup?

    My setup is; extension cable from master socket downstairs, running upstairs to the wireless router.

    Or would I need to remove bell/ring wire connection from BOTH the master and the extension wire?

    Thanks
    Originally posted by Kabeer
    Only at the master socket.
    Blue text on this forum usually signifies hyperlinks, so click on them!..
  • Kabeer
    Only at the master socket.
    Originally posted by espresso
    Thanks .

    Well I just tried the test socket under the master plate. And it syncs at pretty much the same speed, maybe a tad faster (16,333 rather than 16,200-ish).

    Im on O2's 16mbit service, but trying a speed test with either the test socket or like normal with the router upstairs I only seem to get about a 8.3mbit connection (http://www.speedtest.net/), even though the router sync's at a much higher speed.
    (I am under the assumption that as the router sync's at this speed, I should be able to get the full 16mbit...?)

    Any idea why this might be? Or are my assumptions wrong....

    Thanks.
  • espresso

    Any idea why this might be? Or are my assumptions wrong....

    Thanks.
    Originally posted by Kabeer
    See post #46
    Blue text on this forum usually signifies hyperlinks, so click on them!..
    • loggo
    • By loggo 6th Nov 08, 2:42 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    loggo
    Just removed bell wire - a 2 minute job. I checked speed before and after and it increased from approx 1.2 meg to approx 2.2 meg immediately. Brilliant!!!
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