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Tips (DSL)

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This is an unordered collection of tips and how-to snippets relating to DSL, with emphasis on informatino specific to NCF that might not be elsewhere on the internet, or of special interest to NCF mebmers. If you have something that should be added, please mention it to an NCF office person.

Similar sources of information are the NCF DSL discussion group and the NCF Help Desk discussion group.

Using a ST516 with router: De-activate your router's idle timer

If you have a ST516 DSL modem connected to a router, it's best if the router's idle timeout feature (if it has one) be disabled. Otherwise your DSL connection may go up and down every five minutes.

To see if you have the problem, log into the NCF StartPage and then click on the link "Your recent DSL use" ([1]). Scroll down to 'Connection details'. If there are many session of short duration (eg., 5 minutes), you've probably got a router with an idle timer running. Read below how to fix it.

There is a router setting usually called something like "Maximum Idle Time" which will cause the internet DSL connection to be dropped after a period of no internet use. As long as you are using the internet, this setting does nothing, but when you stop using the internet, after the period specified by this setting, your router will tell your DSL modem to disconnect and reconnect. This usually is pointless but OK, but often causes grief for members. It's best to stop it. Change the number to something larger than 3 days (eg., set it to 5000), or, on some routers, you can disable it altogether (try entering 0).

So if you are getting regular DSL cuts, check that your router idle time is set to
a large number of minutes (eg., 5000). Some routers may have an "always connected"
setting which would override all of the foregoing and leave your DSL connection in
permanent connect mode - perfect!

You can check that it worked by waiting a day for the DSL use page to be updated (it is updated nightly).

2010-Feb-23 (thanks, Bob)

SpeedTouch modem name change

The SpeedTouch brand of DSL modems was developed by Alcatel, who sold that product line to Thomson. Thomson carried on with the SpeedTouch name until 2009, when they started naming newer models "Thomson Gateway". The model numbers reflect that, for example, the ST585 became the TG585.

DSL modem firmware upgrades

Thomson, manufacturer of the Thomson Gateway and SpeedTouch line of modems, says they are committed to maintaining the value of their older modems by providing firmware upgrades to fix problems that are found after release to market. That's great!

Thomson is a wholesaler and does not deal directly with the public, but they provide information to their distributors (which to NCF has access) so that they can provide updates.

Here's how things stand as of Feb 2010: NCF office people aren't aware of any must-do upgrades for any of the modems sold by NCF. Being up to date is a good thing, but it comes with risks (finger problems, modem problems, etc), and there is some wisdom in if it isn't broken, don't fix it. Therefore NCF hasn't been recommending upgrades.

However, if you are comfortable doing updates, NCF can provide release notes (so you'll know what updates are available for your modem hardware, and what changes in each update) and the update firmware load.

The most recent software loads are listed below:

  • ST516 (all NCF-sold hardware versions): no update available
  • ST585 / TG585 (all NCF-sold hardware versions): 8.2.6

(information current as of Feb 2010)