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Mountain Cabin DSL Saga, Part 2

So our story picks up after where we last left off in the DSL saga at the cabin. Residents in town were waiting for many months (a couple of years actually) for additional DSL capacity, since there are no other viable internet alternatives. Then last September, I was finally able to upgrade from 1.0 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps!

But when I last posted, I didn’t have any long term experience as to how the speed upgrade worked out. Since then, I noticed that my Speedstream 4100 modem would lose sync frequently. I thought that might have been due to EMF interference from the UPS being too close.

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So I moved the UPS further away from the modem. Also, my ISP told me that the Speedstream 4100 was connecting only at ADSL1, so at the same time, I replaced it with a Dlink DSL-2320B, which can connect at ADSL2+. However, I didn’t have time to test any of these changes afterward.  (And therefore, no time for the “after” photo.)

We were up at the cabin this weekend, and what stood out on the speed test of the Dlink DSL-2320B was the pitifully slow upload speed!

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I found this thread showing I wasn’t the only one with slow upload speeds with this modem. And I also found this post about this modem being slow in general.

Then I switched out the Dlink modem out and replaced it with my old Speedstream 4100. I instantly got my advertised speeds!

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So all was well with the Speedstream 4100 until it lost sync Saturday night. Sunday morning I also tried the DSL-2320B. Neither modem would sync.

Then, just for kicks, I unplugged the UPS from the wall and let the modem run off UPS battery power. The DSL-2320B instantly synced! I repeated this a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Furthermore, it was also able to sync when plugged into the wall rather than the UPS. There was definitely a correlation between power source and modem sync for the DSL-2320B. Though when I tried those same tests for the Speedstream 4100, I couldn’t get it to sync with any of them.

My original speculation was that power from the battery or directly from an outlet was “cleaner” than the power from the UPS. Upon further research, perhaps the unregulated DC power adapter is introducing noise (see third concept explanation) into the DSL modem.

Since any internet connection is better than none, for the moment I have the DSL-2320B directly plugged into the wall, no UPS, and getting the 1.45/0.06 speeds above. My next steps are:

1. For a nominal one time service charge ($17), I can lease a modem for free from my ISP. So replacing the modem is a no-brainer.

2. Dig into the issues regarding power supply: UPS vs. no UPS, possibly a new circuit for the modem (not difficult for where the modem is located), a new regulated power supply, or any other ideas.

Update 11/22/13:

This week I received the new modem (a Comtrend CT-5072T) from my ISP. Last night I went up to the cabin, plugged the modem into the UPS, and it synced up right away.

The speed was a little slow on initial sync, but I’ve heard that DSL modems have to “learn” to get to full speed!?!? So first thing this morning, I did a speed test, and I was running at full speed!

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However, a snow storm had come into town. Then the snow really started falling, and the connection had multiple dropouts, and whenever it came back up, it was slow.

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I’m thinking this is temporary due to the weather. Especially when a neighbor was also having problems with her connection today too. We shall see after the storm clears out.

To be continued (again)….

3 Comments

  1. Jesse Gomez says:

    Brian,

    I too have a cabin in Wrightwood (weekender) who would install an attenna at my cabin? I would gladly be happy with one of the major networks just so I have access to news when I visit.

    Jesse

  2. BikingBrian says:

    I can’t think of anyone, but maybe Rick the handyman might know someone who would. I’d suggest just a VHF antenna which could get 7, 11, and 13, but no guarantees. Don’t bother with the UHF antenna, that’s even more of a crap shoot.

  3. […] up the story where we last left off (again), I leased a new modem from my DSL provider, and after installation my service immediately […]

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