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Why is Tech Support so Poor?

Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 28 of 28

Since Friday morning, my normally pretty stable wifi has been all over the place with regards to speed and reliability.  I tried to use Chat to see what could be done, but because of my poor connection, I lost the chats twice.  Spoke to an agent (eventually) who remotely changed my wifi channel on my hub, and to monitor the results.  This seemed to do the trick, until Saturday afternoon, when it reverted to wildly variable download speeds.  I tried again on chat on Sunday afternoon...and again failed.  I spoke with another agent, who I could not hear because of the background noise in the call centre (with people shouting).  I asked him if anything could be done about this, and he moved to quiet (-er) locations twice.  After a long exchange it was decided that an engineer visit would probably be useful.  I explained that I would be out of the country working from Tuesday until Saturday night of this week.  He kindly checked that a slot could be booked between 1200 and 1500 today (Monday).  However, his booking system was apparently 'down' so couldn't confirm anything.  He did, though, undertake to call back on all this on 0900 today.  This didn't happen, so I initiated chats again, with two aborted sessions, so spoke again (eventually) with an agent.  I essentially had to start the whole process again. He agreed (after some tests) that an engineer should visit, but of course (because of my absence) that would have to be done next week.  I undertook to follow up next Sunday, but the agent stated that as this was over 7 days after the incident opened, it would probably be closed by then.  I made it clear that would be unacceptable, and not particularly customer-leaning, so I think he is going to try to make sure that I don't need to start from scratch again.  Given my experience here, I am not confident that will be the case.  However, he was trying to be pretty helpful.

 

I think we all know that the support staff are largely ineffective and by no means forward-leaning or customer-focused.  So here I am, having expended many hours with agents and on aborted chats since Friday, but effectively am no further forward.  They really need sorting out.  Are there any performance improvement programmes in place for these people, or are we stuck with it?  Regards

27 REPLIES 27

Message 1 of 28

Hi @Muddymedic - Thanks for keeping us updated and thanks to @KeithFrench for all your help 🙂

 

Team Work 🙂

 

Debbie

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Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 2 of 28

Good evening @KeithFrench . All that makes sense, and I will look at following all your recommendations over the weekend if and when I get chance to do so.  This has been outstanding support from you over a very complicated time for me.  To me, this demonstrates the immense value of this Community.  Please 'stand-down' over my issue.  Best regards, mate.

Message 3 of 28

Hi @Muddymedic 

 

The problem is that until there is a firmware update for the extenders, they will always interfere with each other, as they each use two channels (40MHz). Hence, this is why things improved when you turned one of them off.

 

Do you have 5G capable devices that connect to either one of them, if so, you could disable the 2.4G band on that extender?

 

I can't see your neighbours networks on your screenshots, so they must be too low a signal strength to cause any problems.

 

What follows is really aimed at getting the best reception from a router, by ensuring it has an optimal location, but equally applies to the extenders.

 

This is the best router location, but obviously, this is not always practical & a compromise has to be reached.

 

The general rule is to keep it away from:-

 

  1. Cordless phone (DECT) base stations
  2. TVs
  3. Loudspeakers & any sub-woofers (including those used with a PC)
  4. Computer monitors
  5. Electrical appliances – they often transmit their own signals that can interfere with Wi-Fi signals.
  6. Bluetooth devices – they operate on the same Wi-Fi frequency as your broadband, which can cause signal problems.
  7. Mirrors – they actually reflect Wi-Fi signals, stopping them from passing through walls and reflecting them back into the room.
  8. Anything containing large amounts of water – things like fish tanks and boilers can absorb Wi-Fi signals like a sponge.
  9. Large metal objects – radiators, for instance, will have the same effect on your Wi-Fi as mirrors. If you have a tower PC case with an internal WiFi card, the metal of the case can block signals to & from the antennae if they are located behind the tower case.
  10. If you are using a USB Wi-Fi adapter, use a USB socket on the front of the PC, as there is more open space around it than at the rear. If a USB extension cable is used, try to ensure that it is fairly short, so as the power from the computer is not attenuated. Long extension cables can cause the adapter to not have enough power from the computer to work correctly.

 

As a very general rule, the signal travels best on the same floor as the router and to the floor below. It does not always propagate very well to a floor above the router. However, with more modern routers, if they have a higher specification, they may be able to get the signal upstairs OK, but your ability to receive it also depends on your device's network adapter being of a higher specification, as well as its age.



Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
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Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 4 of 28

Hi @KeithFrench Sorry for silence on this for so long, but yesterday was very long.  You are correct about the typo:  the router is definitely on Channel 11 on the 2.4 Band!. Wifi signal strength and speed appear to fluctuate greatly both upstairs and downstairs.  With regards to the latter, things became so bad at one point that I actually switched off the downstairs extender...and things improved for a while!  I am also seeing a number of networks (particularly on my laptop) which I'm pretty sure are from my (not very close) neighbouring property.

 

I have attached today's Acrylic scans, to see if that can shed any light on what's going on, and perhaps look at possible ways forward.  Although I am sending you this late on a Friday afternoon, this is a reflection of my availability, and I would not expect you to look at this with any increased urgency, or even over the weekend.  I can just about use my wifi to send and receive emails, with fairly large attachments.  However, it is likely that (from next week) I will need to be involved in teleconferences via ZOOM, and I'm not sure that my wifi would be able to manage that at present.

 

I cannot begin to thank you for all your support and advice thus far on this issue.  Regards.

 

TALKTALK59981_2.4_Quality.PNGTALKTALK59981_2.4_Strength.PNGTALKTALK59981_5_Quality.PNGTALKTALK59981_5_Strength.PNG

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Message 5 of 28

Hi @Muddymedic 

 

Maybe it is just a typo, but the router should be on 1 not 11, that way you have them split up over channels 1, 6 & 11.

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
TalkTalk support and Community Stars - Who are they? 

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Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 6 of 28

Good morning @KeithFrench .  Got in very late last night from the day-job, and put (I think) all the changes in place that we agreed yesterday.  Seemed to be great at first, but it's a complete mare this morning.  I'm almost back to my starting point, I think.  I've even had issues with the extender network, with connectivity occasionally dropping-out.

 

I have to go back out very soon, and do not know when I'll be back home, but will monitor the community just in case.  I do not have the time to carry out an Acrylic set of scans, but will do so when I can.

 

My current settings are:

 

Extender Settings  Upstairs:  2.4G.  Channel 11.  5G. Channel 36.

                               Downstairs:  2.4G.  Channel 6. 5G.  Channel 52.

 

Router  Set to:  2.4G.  Channel 11.  5G.  Channel 40.

 

If there's anything clearly bonkers about any of these settings, then please let me know.  This is not a reflection of your excellent guidance and advice, but probably some action carried out by me.  In my defence, I am quite weary, and a little stressed with work, and my time is not my own.  Regards

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Message 7 of 28

You could try channel 52 for one of the extenders, but not all 5G compatible devices actually work on 52 & above, so it will be case of trial & error.

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
TalkTalk support and Community Stars - Who are they? 

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Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 8 of 28

Hi  Many thanks for your analysis.  The router is downstairs in my wife's office.  My study is upstairs, hence the Extender.  It's not just the distance here, but we also have very thick walls.  

 

I did not carry out a reset on the other Extender, but will try that tonight (I have to go out again this afternoon).  I will also re-instate 5G band on the router (any particular channel?), and start to load devices onto it.  Should I also try to change the channels on the other extender and the router to those you originally suggested?

 

Thanks again for persevering with all this, but at least I now have a seemingly stable and pretty fast service on the 2.4G Band.  Regards

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Message 9 of 28

For some reason, the Extender is on channel 1 and the router is on 11. It would be easy to think that the Extender is not even showing on the 2.4GHz channels graph, although it is in the AP view at the top, due to the colour that Acrylic has decided to use for it? 

 

Where is the router located (I don't think you mentioned that in relation to this PC), as that signal strength is low, but of course this could be the very reason that you have the extenders. Disabling the 5G will have no impact on the 2.4G at all. If at all possible you want to get as many devices on the 5G band as that is much less affected by interference.

 

Did you try a factory default of the extender that you can't log in to?

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
TalkTalk support and Community Stars - Who are they? 

Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 10 of 28

Good afternoon  I have attached the Acrylic scans from today.  Last night I disabled the 5G band on the router, which I set to Channel 1 (although it seems from the scan to have moved to Channel 11).  I also reinstalled one of the extenders and allocated it a channel as you suggested. I am using that one to provide me with a wifi connection upstairs  As I mentioned last night I h\ave not been able to log onto the second extender, so have taken it off-line.

 

The speed is pretty good, albeit with a few fluctuations over this morning.  The connection is (I'm very glad to say) stable.

 

Do I need to do any more?  What about the second extender?  Many thanksTALKTALK59981_2.4_Quality.PNGTALTALK59981_2.4_Strength.PNG

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Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 11 of 28

Hello Mate.  I got back a bit (actually, a lot!) earlier than I thought, so had a go at all this.  All went pretty well really (thanks to your guides) and things seem quicker and more stable.  I will, of course, monitor all this overnight and tomorrow and get back to you if necessary, if that's ok?  I'll try to look at doing some more Acrylic scans late tomorrow morning and get them off to you.

 

As a strange aside, one of the extenders has a MAC ending in CC94, and I have been consistently unable to log-in to edit its settings.  Any ideas, please?

 

I am now going to have a VERY large malt and get my head down.  As a piece of advice that (or port) is a very good prescription as a gargle if you have a sore throat, but the secret is NOT to spit it out!  Chin-chin.

Message 12 of 28

No worries on the timescale front, whenever will do. Let's hope they don't close your school then!!

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
TalkTalk support and Community Stars - Who are they? 

Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 13 of 28

Hi @KeithFrench Brilliant.  I think I understand all that and what I now need to try to put some improvement in place.  Regrettably, the 'day job' means that I will not get chance to do this until probably tomorrow morning.  I will, though, do so, and get back to you.  The Acrylic exercise was clearly worth doing.  Every day is a school day!  Best regards.

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Message 14 of 28

Hi @Muddymedic 

 

Thanks for the screenshots they are fine. However, in the 2.4G band, everything is interfering with everything else!

 

There is a problem with the current firmware of the extenders in that they use 40MHz channel bandwidth and can not be set to use 20MHz instead. This means that each channel configured in the extender, will use two channels. Set to 20MHz & it will use one channel only, which is essential. This should be fixed in the next version of firmware, but no date has been published for its release.

 

Your best bet & it won't be brilliant until the new firmware is out, is to set the router to use 20MHz only channels in the 2.4G band and use channel 1 not Auto (and make sure it stays on that one). See my guide for details on how to do this. Then put one extender on channel 6 & the other on 11. 

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
TalkTalk support and Community Stars - Who are they? 

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Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 15 of 28

Hi @KeithFrench .  I also meant to say that the guide you linked for me is spot-on, and very helpful.  👍

Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 16 of 28

Hi @KeithFrench I have PM'd you with what I THINK are the screenshots you wanted.  With thanks.  Regards

Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 17 of 28

Many thanks.  All clear.  I'll get back to you later.

Message 18 of 28

First off, keep up the good work, we all need people like yourself.

 

I will PM you a link for a guide of mine on Wi-Fi interference & initially look at the section called "Are you suffering from interference – prove it first". This section includes full details of Wi-Fi analysers that I recommend for Windows, Windows phone, Android and Apple operating systems. However, I have no way of testing the Apple product. Do not worry about interpreting the results, I will do that for you.

Please post the screenshots that I have requested in my guide (no photos please they can be difficult to read as text can get out of focus when zoomed), from the analyser you are using (also in my attached guide). Please ensure that the analyser window is maximised (if Windows) before taking the screenshots & upload them via the "Insert Photos" button on the post editor's toolbar as large images. If they are too small, I will not be able to read them & although I can enlarge them, this just puts the text out of focus. If you prefer PM them to me. If you do PM me, then please add a link in there to this thread, so as I can find it easily.

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
TalkTalk support and Community Stars - Who are they? 

Muddymedic
Super Duper Contributor
Message 19 of 28

Hi @KeithFrench .  Thanks for getting back to me on this, and for @Michelle-TalkTalk signposting you to me.

 

To answer your questions:

 

  1. The hub is a SAGECOM FAST 5364-3.T.8.
  2. I have two D-LINK DHP- W61 OAV Extenders:  one is downstairs in our drawing-room.  The other is upstairs in my study.  These are fed by a D-LINK DHP- P610AV in my wife's downstairs office.  These are used to connect most of our devices, as the internal walls of our house are pretty thick.
  3. I am accessing our wifi via a combination of Windows 10 desktop and laptop, and also using my Android smartphone.

Please let me know if you need any additional information.  I am afraid that I may not be in all day.  I am directly involved in COVID-19 surveillance and control (my profile name is a clue!), so am pretty busy currently.  This is the main reason I'd like to get to the bottom of all this.  Regards, and thanks again for your support.

Message 20 of 28

Hi @Muddymedic 

 

Michelle has asked me to help you with this, can I just confirm a few quick things though:-

 

  1. The hub that you are using, is it the Sagemcom or the Huawei one?
  2. You mention an extender upstairs what one is this & I assume you are connected via Wi-Fi to this?
  3. What sort of device are you connecting to it with?

Once I know this I will get you to use a WiFi analyser (I will talk you through everything & if you use the ones that I suggest, they are free). 

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please set Accept as Solution from the 3 dot menu.
TalkTalk support and Community Stars - Who are they?