Troubleshoot the SNR and Attenuation of Your DSL Modem to Fix Your Broadband Internet Speed

DSL Internet circuits may experience problems due to a variety of reasons. Most are related to the individual end user’s connection. And most can be detected through a simple check of Sync speed, attenuation and Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) statistics on the DSL modem. This article will explain why these parameters are important, how to check them and how to improve the values.

It is always advisable to run a packet loss test on any Internet connection before an improvement project starts. The packet loss test should confirm that there is trouble at the end user’s connection and that the Internet Service Provider’s (ISPs) network is not the source of the trouble. In addition, the packet loss test will provide baseline statistics to compare future results against.

Assuming a packet loss test has revealed trouble at the end user’s IP address, it is time to look at the DSL modem and examine it for trouble:

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

According to Wikipedia.org, “signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is a measure used in science and engineering to quantify how much a signal has been corrupted by noise. It is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power corrupting the signal. A ratio higher than 1:1 indicates more signal than noise.”

An everyday example of SNR is listening to music in your car over road noise or other people talking. The louder the radio compared to the other noise in the car, the more clearly you hear the music. The same is true for the DSL modem “hearing” the signal transporting the Internet traffic. When the signal is loud compared to the noise, Internet communication happens at a faster speed with less packet loss. When the signal is not loud enough compared to the noise, speeds slow down causing latency. Packets may be lost or discarded, creating retransmissions of data packets and trouble with real-time applications such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) used by Vonage, Skype and Hosted PBX providers. In fact, any real-time application will suffer including video streaming from Netflix, Blockbuster and others or any type of online gaming.

DSL Parameter Values

The values to check in a DSL modem are Sync, Attenuation and Signal-to-Noise Ratio.

Sync is described in downstream and upstream and is the connection speed in each direction. Downstream is from the ISP to the modem. Upstream is from the modem to the ISP.

Attenuation is the loss of signal over distance. The db loss is not just dependent on distance. It also depends on cable type and gauge (which can differ over the length of the cable), the number and location of other connection points on the cable. Attenuation is listed with both downstream and upstream values.

20db and below = Outstanding
20db-30db = Excellent
30db-40db = Very Good
40db-50db = Good
50db-60db = Poor and may experience connectivity issues
60db and above = Bad and will experience connectivity issues

Like Sync and Attenuation, SNR has downstream and upstream measurements.

6db or below = Bad and will experience no line synchronization and frequent disconnections 7db-10db = Fair but does not leave much room for variances in conditions.
11db-20db = Good with little or no disconnection problems
20db-28db = Excellent
29db or above = Outstanding

SNR will sometimes be displayed in margin or SNRM. This is the difference between the current SNR value and the SNR that is required to keep a reliable circuit at the connection speed. If the SNRM is minimal, the circuit is more likely to suffer intermittent connection faults and slowdowns. High margins are required to prevent bursts of interference from causing connection losses. The target SNRM is usually 6db but could be as high as 12db.

Determining the Values of a DSL Modem

Many DSL modem configuration pages can be viewed at the internal address of 192.168.1.254. Refer to http://broadband.modemhelp.net/dsl_modem_info/index.shtml and look up the specific make and model of the DSL modem or the manufacturer’s manual. The website or the manufacturer’s manual will give the modem configuration page address. Simply plug the address in a web browser of a PC connected to the modem and the page should load. Remember, these values can fluctuate. If intermittent problems are experienced, the values should be checked when all is well and compared to the values when trouble is experienced.

Improving the DSL Modem’s Values

Cabling and connectors are the most common cause of DSL problems. Internal wiring can easily be eliminated by simply plugging the modem into the Network Interface Device (NID) and unplugging everything else. The NID is usually located outside on a house or in an equipment room for a business. If the values do not improve to acceptable levels then the problem is with the modem or the ISPs infrastructure. Here are some things to try and look for:

1. Replace the modem.
2. Have the ISP verify that there are no load taps or bridge coils in their cabling.
3. Have the ISP verify that there are no T1 circuits grouped in the cable bundle serving the DSL (not likely to apply to residential).
4. If problems seem to be weather related especially during rain, have the ISP inspect and bypass any weather worn cabling or find better cabling pairs.
5. If none of the above is successful, have the ISP change the ports on the DSLAM.

If plugging the modem into the NID improved the values, then the problem is in the internal wiring. Check for the following:

1. Cabling from NID to modem is in good condition without any cable splices.
2. All telephone devices pass through a DSL filter.
3. Telephone jacks are in good condition and connectors behind the wall plates are solidly connected.
4. If the modem is plugged into a DSL filter, replace the filter.
5. If none of above is successful, unplug all telephone devices from the wall except the modem and check its values. If the values are acceptable, start plugging the other telephone devices back into the wall one at a time. Check the values as each device is plugged into the jack. When the modem values change back to an unacceptable range, the culprit has been found.

In most cases, the problem has been corrected by one of the items above. If the ISP has been involved, persistence may be required until a technician is found with the knowledge or customer care to fix the issue. Keep in mind, almost all Internet problems can be solved with determination and perseverance.

Leveraging Social Media to Market Industrial Products

Social media has transformed the way most of the industries connect with their customers. No industry is untouched by the phenomenon. Businesses all over the world have realized the power of expression that social media provides and that it can be used as a tactical ally to connect to customers.

Industrial equipment industry is too huge and unknown domain for common man. Even people who are part of the industry at times are not aware of latest equipments, new suppliers, manufactures. And it is here that social media can easily serve as a bridge to connect buyers, suppliers and manufacturers.

Media marketing assists in reaching the target audience across the globe instantly. It helps build collaboration between clients, vendors, manufactures, suppliers and other elements in the manufacturing and supply chain. This has added another point of view in marketing mix. It gives more room to marketers to project the products and service of a company.

Building a blog and a page on social networking site such as Facebook, MySpace can go a long way in establishing rapport with your existing and future customers, and vendors. The focal point of any social campaign has to be about ‘engagement’. For example, Blogs become interactive and engage the readers more when you allow visitors to leave comments and feedback.

Companies dealing in Industrial Equipment must leverage social media to market, build brand image and connect with customers. A traditional or conventional model of marketing is not out dated but digital marketing can definitely help increase the brand recall. A well thought and balance digital marketing strategy that includes right mix of Social media, SEO marketing, SEM marketing can help you stand out the clutter in the online social space.

Virtual groups and communities that can be formed on the social media site such as Facebook, Orkut, My space, LinkedIn have given platform to many social activists and groups to voice their concerns about the industries. We have seen how online campaigns have brought about drastic changes and policy reversal in the reality. Similarly a proactive approach by the industries towards social media can help resolve many issues and also build a positive image about the company, its processes and products.

The ‘instant’ nature of social media has to be considered carefully, the responsibility of an organization increases many fold once it steps into the social networking domain, one communication error can be disastrous.

Like, one time advertising in print doesn’t serve a purpose similarly having a static it identity will not help at all. Internet marketing or interactive marketing (both the terms are generally used interchangeably) requires constant updating of content.

The brand personal projected at any of the social media must be identical to the on-ground brand identity. Social media content should be designed to capture the mind space of online audience. It has capability to help your organization reach a global market; it makes you a part of global competition as well. Unlike other forms of advertising and marketing once on social media you are under scrutiny of your customers and competitors globally.

The opportunities to connect and engage are many in social Networking space, but you have to build a robust strategy to utilize this medium to maximum.

Buying CNC Plasma Cutters

CNC Plasma Cutters use a computer and a special coding language called G-code to program projects. The cutter then carries out the cuts you desire. This type of machine can increase your productivity by 1000% or more. So, what are you waiting for? Oh right! You want to know what to look for when you are buying one.

Recent improvements in technology and manufacturing have created an excellent buying environment. Plasma cutters are cheaper than they ever were and they are also more advanced than ever before.
First, you will want to be familiar with the plasma cutting process, since this will help you understand the different ways to classify plasma cutters. If you know your way around a plasma cutter already, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

In order for plasma cutting to work, plasma has to be created. Inside a plasma cutting torch, plasma is created by firing an electric spark into the torch nozzle while pressurized gas (often air) surges out of the nozzle onto the metal to be cut. The spark heats the gas to 15,000 degrees Celsius at which point the gas turns into plasma. Plasma is the fourth state of matter; it is both a liquid and a gas at the same time (this is analogous to how visible light is a wave and a particle at the same time). The electrical spark is created when the plasma cutting torch is touched to the cutting surface. This closes an electric circuit between the plasma cutting machine and the work piece.

Automated plasma cutting machines come in two flavors: conventional and precision. These classifications are based on the properties of the cutting flame. Conventional plasma cutting systems are slower than precision systems and they produce more kerf (the volume of metal cut out) and bevel. Being the superior system, precision plasma cutting equipment costs considerably more.

Buyer beware, manufacturers often mismatch power sources and machines. The machines come in two parts: the base machine (with the table, computer terminal and bridge or gantry) and the plasma cutter (precision or conventional). The power sources for those two components are separate and they have to be matched properly. The mismatches are often the manufacturer’s fault, but you the buyer have to keep your eyes open to make sure that it does not happen. In the event that you do have mismatched hardware, do not start running it because what will ruin the machines. Contact the company where you bought the equipment and figure out a solution to the problem.

Today’s automated plasma cutter market is dominated by two different models of machine, bridge style and gantry style machines. And the machines are generally made from two types of metal, steel (fabricated) or aluminum (extruded). The extruded aluminum machines are “light duty” and they are found in the realm of the artist and the hobbyist. They are best for doing limited amounts of cutting on thinner metals. The industry-strength machines are the ones made from fabricated steel; they can cut continuously all day as well as devour thick metals.

You will want to decide what sort of drive system you need for your projects. If you are a hobbyist or artist, using a conventional machine, a single-side drive system should be all you need. You may also consider a single-motor, dual-side drive system. The higher level drives increase precision which is not what conventional plasma cutters are built for so you would be throwing your money away if you bought higher-level drives. A precision plasma project will require a dual-side two-motor drive system to reach optimal performance.

You will have to think about what size of motor and gear box you require. If the mass of the motor and gear box are too small compared to the mass of the machine then the motor will not be able to effectively change the direction of cutting. This is important when the cuts go back and forth at high speeds. If the masses are not matched properly it will lead to unimpressive cut results and increase wear on the machinery, which may lead to premature failure.