Anyone else use HomeCall for their broadband?

    I am getting really peed off with these, now every single night between teatime and midnight my connection slows down to a crawl and sometimes it takes about 90 seconds just to load a web page, some times it does not even load and just hangs on a white screen. I have 2 PC's and it's the same on both so it's not the computer at fault. Once midnight passes it speeds back up again!!!!!

    Does anyone else have this problem?

    Do you think they are throttling the network?

    I really need out!!!!


    Sounds like the ISP can't handle the extra workload of lots of people getting home & logging on; they probably have limited capabilities, and have to limit peoples' connection speed so they can handle all the connection requests - phone your ISP & complain bitterly to them, then transfer to another ISP.

    I've been with Homecall for about a year now and had absolutely no problem with them. I am on the Anytime phone service with 1Mbs uncapped broadband.

    It's probably not Homecall that's causing your problem but the number of people in your location all using broadband in the evening. Residential broadband lines have a contention ratio of 50:1. In other words each line will be shared among 50 users. If only a few of those are online then the speed will be up to the maximum you are paying for. Once the number gets above, say, 30 then things will start to slow down. Most people do go on between 6 and midnight and the problem you quote is very common in populated areas no matter which ISP you are with.

    Business lines have a contention ratio of 20:1 so the maximum number of users is 20 and thus they never really see any slowdown - business broadband does, however, cost a lot more. Horses for courses and all that.

    Oh, we live in a village and I wouldn't expect the number of neighbours on the same line as me to ever get much above 20 as less than half the houses in my immediate area have broadband. Fortunately the exchange is also in the village just down the road.

    If you are on the up to 8Mbs broadband then there are a number of other problems that can cause your system to slow down. That's down to the way ADSL Max works and you might need to get your system recalibrated. When you first connect to ADSL Max the system takes about 10 days to calibrate your line, modem (or router with modem) and PC for the best sustainable speed. Sometimes it gets it wrong and you have to ask them to start again. However, your problem does seem to be more time of day related.

    Another possibility is the firmware in your modem or router. I've just upgraded mine to the latest which has definitely shown an improvement, even on my lowly 1Mbs line. Just go to the manufacturer's website and firmware updates should be listed under support or similar. The reason they provide the updates is to keep pace with changes in the ADSL system or to write out bugs that have been found.

    Original Poster

    Cheers mate, never been a techie with wireless networks, I just bought the router and set it up last year, and to be honest Homecall were great for the first few months but have suddenly gone back over.

    I live in a very small town 12,000 population and I live less than half a mile away from our exchange and I too do not expect my line to be maxed out.

    Must admit since switching over to Firefox things seem to be back to normal so I will give it another few months and see how it pans out.

    Same problem here mate

    Good to hear that Firefox may have sorted your problem. I know IE7 (if that's what you've now got) does cause a number of problems and quite a few people have reverted to IE6 or moved to Firefox.

    If you've had your router for a year then there's a fair chance that there will be a firmware update available. Mine is Netgear and the latest firmware update was only a couple of months old. It all depends on what make it is though. Worth trying however.

    Original Poster

    I will look into it mate, but at present my main PC has a major problem, my ide ports seem to burnt out. I can get power to either my dvd or dvd writer but can not access any dvd or cd on either. I have also tried an old cd/rw and that is the same.

    So i dare not try anything major incase I am left without a pc and that would kill us as the other one is used by the kids most of the evening.

    Original Poster

    Oh well, as soon as I get my main PC sorted out these are going the journey.

    I logged on at 8.15 to play in a poker tourney at 8.30. I forgot that I formatted my hard drive yesterday and re-installed windows so did not have the software on my PC.

    Not a problem I thought, it only take about 60 seconds to donwload, as I have downloaded many times in the past.

    Guess what? I started downloading the software at 8.18 and it still has over half an hour left to donwload!!!!

    It is donwloading at exacltly 1kb, 1 floooking kb!!!! My 20k dial up was faster than this heap of poo company!!!

    They have just lost a customer that pays them over £60 a month for broadband and phonebills the robbing cheating idiots!!!!

    And no it's not my modem becasue I was on for hours this afternoon without any problems whatsoever. They are clearly throttling the network. I will not even bother contacting them because I can't be arsed to put up with customer service BS like it's my fault blah blah balh, I will end up putting my fist down the phone and throttling them, see how they like it.

    Log into your router.

    One set of readings will show you your download and upload speeds for the ADSL line. This will soon tell you whether you have been throttled or not.

    For example on my 1Mbs line the download speed is shown as 1152 k bits and it doesn't seem to vary much. Now download speeds are measured on the PC in k bytes (one byte equals 8 bits) which gives me a download speed of 1152 divided by 8 = 144Kb.

    However, the download speed at the PC is also limited by whatever the visited website can deliver and I usually get 128Kb as a max. Some websites it will be only 32Kb or so but that isn't my ISPs problem - it is the fact that the website is either overloaded or just doesn't have the speed capacity.

    Remember that you will never get 8M bits on the upto 8Mbs service unless you are sat inside the exchange. Most get around 5Mbs or 6Mbs when they are close to the exchange as you say you are - others further away will get only about 2Mbs. That ought to show as the download speed when you log into your router. If its much less then there is either a problem with your line or the ISP. Try logging in at different times of day.

    Those that set their PCs to download massive files throughout the 24 hr period will get throttled by their ISP and I have no sympathy for them as they are robbing the rest of us of shared bandwidth. Maybe all your neighbours are doing that?

    Why are you paying £60 a month for Homecall broadband when their full Anytime service, including line rental and free phone calls plus 8Mbs broadband costs only £29.99 a month? You must be calling a lot of 0870, 0845, 09 or mobile numbers?

    Original Poster

    Mobiles, our lass' mother lives next door and all of her family have mobiles. And she does not have a phone.

    And my speeds are fine during the day, my speed tests are ok, it's every evening that it just stalls. BT was never like this, I only left them to get something cheaper. Looks like I will be going back.

    I will have a good clean out and reinstall everything when I get a new motherboard and update the firmware onthe router. But I doubt it will change anything, my speeds are perfect during the day. Every evening it goes crapper tha crap.

    Thanks for the advice mate.

    And I never really donwload anything. I am not into music, none of my optics are working so I never bother with films. I may download 3 songs a month if that, oh and the last 6 episodes of Lost. That is about it this year. So they can't be picking on me for my bandwidth.

    Ahhh - mobiles, understood!!

    There's not really anything more I can suggest and you may be right that they are throttling you. I am surprised though as I have used newsgroups for the best part of the last year for a good number of downloads and nearly fell into the category of those I was saying I would have no sympathy for. However, I used to do most of it from about 0800 to 1200 each day and I don't think the ISPs worry too much about that. They do tend to get upset if it happens in the evening.

    Interestingly my download speed would be the full 128Kb at 0800 and I could watch it progressively slow down to around 40Kb by 1200 as more people logged onto the newsgroup server which was based in the US.

    Anyway, I hope you get it sorted whatever the cause is and would be interested to know what the solution is when it happens. For future reference in case I ever get caught by it.

    Best wishes
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