Posts Tagged ‘bt’

Fitting an ADSL faceplate to your BT line box

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I’m going to talk about how to fit an NTE5 compatible ADSL filtered faceplate to your BT master socket. This will allow you to plug your broadband modem router directly into the BT master line box, rather than having to use an ADSL micro filter.

bt master socket with adsl microfilter

Broadband reliability problems

I’ve previously written about some of my broadband problem in my post about understanding signal to noise ratios, and my post about finding the best WiFi channel with Vistumbler.

These didn’t solve my problems so I decided to buy an ADSL faceplate which fits directly onto the BT master socket. By removing the need for a separate ADSL micro filter the theory is that the broadband signal quality will be improved.

Buying a new NTE5 ADSL faceplate

I ordered the ADSL faceplate from this link on Amazon, and a few days later it arrived. This is what is in the package:

adsl faceplate package contents

  • The NTE5 compatible ADSL faceplate.
  • 2 screws.
  • 2 cable ties.
  • An instruction leaflet from BT explaining how to fit the faceplate, and how to re-wire any telephone extension cabling you have.
  • A piece of paper with some supplementary information.

Here is a close up of the rear of the ADSL faceplate. You can see the plug that will go into the BT test socket on the left, and the connector for any extension cabling is the blue section in the middle.

nte5 adsl faceplate back rear

Fitting the ADSL faceplate

The first thing I had to do was to get the bottom plate off the BT line box. As a previous resident had painted the line box I had to use a Stanley knife to cut the paint. I then used a small screw driver to remove the two screws.

stanley knife screwdriver

This photo shows the bottom plate partially removed from the line box. I don’t have any extension telephone wiring, but if you do it will be attached to this bottom plate, so you’ll have to take care when pulling the bottom plate out.

bt master socket removing bottom plate

Plugging in the NTE5 ADSL faceplate filter is very simple. You can see how the plug on the new faceplate lines up with the test socket in the BT line box.

bt master socket and adsl faceplate

After it is plugged in, your master socket will look like this with a connection for your phone, and a separate connection for the ADSL cable. This ADSL faceplate is designed to be the correct size so it blends in with the BT line box.

bt master socket with adsl faceplate

There is a minor problem with the supplied screws. They need to be longer than the original ones as the new faceplate adds width to the BT line box. But the new screws have a thread size that is completely different to the original screws. You can screw them in, but that will damage the original thread of the line box meaning you won’t be able to properly put the original screws back in if you wanted to go back to using the original faceplate. For this reason I’ve not screwed the new faceplate in yet.

original vs new screws for adsl faceplate

ADSL faceplate review

I’ve been using this ADSL faceplate filter for over a week now. I was impressed with the speed of delivery after ordering from Amazon. It was very easy to install, but I think they should supply screws that match the thread size from the original BT line box.

Before installing the faceplate my signal to noise ratio was an average of 8.6dB / 27dB (downstream / upstream). After installing the faceplate the signal to noise ratio was still an average of 8.6dB / 27dB. So it made no difference to the signal to noise ratio. I therefore think that my low downstream signal to noise ratio is not related to my original faceplate or my original ADSL filter.

However I do believe that it has reduced the frequency of dropped internet connections. I can’t give any definite measurements to support this, but I do feel like I’m resetting my modem router less often now.

In terms of appearance it does look better with the new ADSL faceplate as opposed to having my original BT faceplate with the ADSL microfilter sticking out of it.

bt master socket with adsl faceplate and cables

Do I recommend it? Yes – but it isn’t essential. I don’t think it will perform miracles, but it may improve the quality of your connection, and it will make your BT line box look more modern, tidy, and up to date.

You can buy this ADSL faceplate direct from Amazon.

Stopping junk post, annoying phone calls, and unwanted faxes

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

If you are in the UK and receive unsolicited post, phone calls or faxes there are several services you can sign up with to reduce these unwanted disturbances to your life.

There is the telephone preference service, the fax preference service, and the mailing preference service. There is also a baby mailing preference service if you receive baby related mailings. They are all free and run by the same people.

Telephone preference service website

I’d recommend signing up the telephone, fax, and mailing preference service. Sign up for the fax one even if you don’t have a fax – if you get silent calls, or calls where you hear beeps then it may be a fax machine calling you.

Since signing up several years ago the amount of junk mail and calls that I’ve received has dramatically reduced.

Free caller ID

If you get your telephone service from BT then you can sign up for free caller ID. You’ll need a phone which supports this feature. Just sign up to the free ‘BT Privacy at Home‘ service. Caller ID is usually £5.25/quarter so this gets you a premium service for free.

Find out the cost of calling any telephone number

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Often you will see UK telephone numbers with codes such as 087xx, and a price for calling that number will be listed. How do you know that the price is actually correct?

I would have thought the BT would have a simple page where you can enter a telephone number into a box and be told instantly the correct cost of calling it. I’ve been unable to find such a page but I have (after a fair bit of searching) managed to find out how to get this information from BT’s web site. I wanted the information from BT’s website as it is more likely to be accurate and up to date than from any other site.

I was prompted to find out how to do this as I wanted to be sure of the cost of an access number for calling a Japanese mobile phone. The web page of the dialing company told me it would cost 7p / minute.

0871 call cost

Looking up the price seems to be a two stage process. You need to find the Tariff Guide on their Products and Services page in the Personal section of their site.

You need to click on the Residential and Business special number call prices PDF link under the Pricing information heading.

This document has a large list of the starting codes of all phone numbers. You need to search through this list until you find the one that matches the number you have. You then need to make a note of the ‘Type of call’ code. In my case it is ‘g13’.

telephone number lookup

Further down the document you will find another table that tells you the cost of calling each ‘Type of call’ number. By cross-referencing these two pieces of information I’ve confirmed that the number is correctly advertised as costing 7p / minute.

call cost table