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mfd
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 1 of 18

Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

Hi folks,

I have an open fault for this with one of the social media team but wanted to ask for ideas here as this one has me stuck.

Morning of Saturday 21st Aug, my daughter complains that the "iPlayer Kids" app won't open on her android tablet (disaster!) From there, it seems like I'm getting slow or unresponsive performance on some things, but not most things. It's mostly certain apps on Android mobiles/tablets. Switch to 4G and it works immediately however.

Here's the detail:

HotUKDeals App (Android) very slow to refresh
BBC iplayer (Android) slow/wont complete initial load of content
BBC iplayer kids (Android) slow/wont complete initial load of content
BBC Sounds app (Android) slow/wont complete initial load of content
My BT app (Android) slow to complete initial load (about 40 seconds vs 5 seconds on 4G)
Twitter image loading unreliable
XBOX app not loading images
Google home devices show connected but unreliable response to certain voice commands (e.g. "add x to my shopping list" doesnt seem to work, but asking for the weather does)

However lots of other apps are fine including similar data dependent apps like YouTube and Netflix.

Wired connection seems unaffected.

I've tested over two android phones, one android tablet, laptops, TVs and PCs and it's only the android apps and google home responses that are affected.
Tested using two different Smart Hub 2s (had a spare from a trial).
Tested with and without Complete WiFi discs connected.
Tested with and without additional wired switches connected (got home wiring to a number of switches in my home).

Tried connecting the tablet via WiFi but to a 4G hotspot from my phone, worked fine.

All line tests/speed tests show fine (it's FTTC running at about 73/18).

All apps/services work fine via cellular 4G on mobile.

WiFi to laptop when opening things like iplayer via browser is fine.

Tried turning off BT Web Protect to see if that was doing something, no impact.

Tried playing with DNS settings, no change.

I have a second BT Business line (SOGEA). Initially I though it was working fine, but it also has the same problems now!

No obvious changes in home setup that could explain it as a wifi interference issue (but even if it was, why are things  like the YouTube app fine).

 

So that all points to something in the BT network, right?? But why only certain services. I can't think of anything else!

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Keith_Beddoe
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Message 2 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

@mfd 

Are you a BT Business customer, or is the line that is affected, a residential one?

Have you remembered to turn off Smart Setup on the home hubs?

If wired connections are not affected, then its jus a wifi problem, possibly some local wifi interference which is usually worse on 2.4GHz connections.

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mfd
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Message 3 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

@Keith_Beddoe 

The primary line is a BT residential/consumer line, that's the one with the open fault. My other line is BT business.

Smart Setup is turned off.

I'll try turning off 2.4 but doesn't make sense that it's only certain apps/services and the change was so sudden and complete on Saturday morning.

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Keith_Beddoe
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Message 4 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only


@mfd wrote:

The primary line is a BT residential/consumer line, that's the one with the open fault. My other line is BT business.

Smart Setup is turned off.


Then its probably just wifi interference. Lots of non-broadband devices use the 2.4GHz wireless band, and some of those can cause lots of problems. Also SkyQ is known to cause issues, so perhaps someone nearby has just had it installed? You could try a different wireless channel to see if that helps.

Using a wifi analyser app can sometimes help to locate an interfering channel.

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mfd
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Message 5 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

I don't think that's right, given all the troubleshooting I've been through to try and rule that out. I live in a detached house so even if the neighbour got Sky Q the distances make interference unlikely. Tech support have already done all the standard stuff like change wireless channels. I'm now on 2.4, I'm sat next to the hub, it's not making a difference.
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Keith_Beddoe
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Message 6 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

If wired connections are fine, and speeds are slow on 2.4GHz wireless, then initially I would suspect a faulty home hub, but you said you tried another one.

There is nothing on the BT network which would cause Wi-Fi issues, without affecting wired connections. Is there anything you have bought recently, that may be causing Wi-Fi interference, as some device can occupy multiple channels causing very slow connections?

The fact that it affects both your broadband connections, would point to something causing  Wi-Fi interference, so you may have to look at what you have within the house, perhaps turning off individual electronic devices.

Most Wi-Fi checking apps can only see channelized signals, and not wideband interference.

Has anything new, like a mobile phone cell site been installed nearby?  

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mfd
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Message 7 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

I know BT's network can't affect my WiFi, but that's why I don't think it's WiFi, it's seems to be certain types of traffic are being affected.

I live in a rural village, in a detached house, there are no interference causing changes inside my home and I'm pretty sure no one has put up a new mast that mean suddenly and consistently certain types of traffic are slow or unresponsive,  whilst others are fine, and I've never had a fault or issue like this in 4 years.

I've just tried switching off every piece electronics in the house apart from the consumer broadband line, it didn't make a difference.

If it were interference, you'd expect degradation of service on things like netflix and youtube, but they're both fine, whilst the iplayer app is not. On the XBOX app, it specifically the images (which are tiny) that aren't loading, but the rest of the app is fine.

I know it's a weird one, hence why I'm here, but I don't think the evidence is pointing to WiFi interference.

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mfd
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Message 8 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

I've been troubleshooting this again today and made a few more discoveries.

For reference, my main mobile phone is a Samsung Galaxy S9 running Android 10. The tablet is a Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2016) running Android 8.1.0. Both are having problems. There's also a Pixel 2, and another Samsung phone, so all Android, but at least two different versions.

The consumer broadband is FTTC, and I've tried two different Smart Hub 2s. The enterprise line is SOGEA and has a BT Business Smart Hub 1.

All combinations of the above have problems with network functions on certain apps, and I can't currently issue google assistant commands to my 2x Nest Hubs or 2x Nest Minis. Location in house, proximity to hub, other electronics, and use of complete wifi discs doesn't seem to have any impact.

HOWEVER - if I connect these devices to the BT WiFi network being broadcast from my own hub, all the problematic apps work fine. The devices are in the same locations, the hub hasn't moved.

I've also tried installing an Android emulator on my PC, no problems with apps there via wired or wireless connection to my PC, but I don't know how the Android emulator is interpreting that.

As previously said, connection via 4G is fine, and WiFi hotspot from 4G is also fine.

Tomorrow someone with an Apple device is coming to my house, so I'm going to run a few tests with that. I'm also going to have one more go at disconnecting everything from my home network, powering down everything in the house, and move the hub as far away from any possible interference causing equipment, to see if that achieves anything.

I tried asking my neighbours for any similar results, responses were limited, one person said they were also having problems with the BBC News app on an Android device, but it's just one report and I don't want to rely on that as part of figuring this out.

Unfortunately none of this helps me understand exactly what is going wrong, but, I think it's further evidence pointing to this not being a wireless interference issue.

(For what it's worth, I've previously worked on the launch of a number of BT's hubs and on aspects of broadband diagnostics. I am by no means an expert, my role was not especially technical, and this problem is beyond my understanding, but I have a reasonable understanding of the 'own domain' problems that would affect WiFi signal, and that's partly why I have some confidence that's not what's going on here. I am open to being challenged on this though - if anything that would be an easier conclusion!)

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mfd
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Message 9 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

Test with an iPad yesterday, 5th gen running iOS 14.7.1, positioned directly next to one of my 'problem' devices, worked without problems.

Additional apps that are having network problems on my android devices:

BBC Weather

Pocket Casts (podcast app)

 

I haven't been naming all the ones that appear to be working fine, but for what it's worth here are some that are not having problems:

The Guardian

Netflix

YouTube

Facebook

Google Maps

LinkedIn

Google Play Store

RBS

 

Later today will do further tests to eliminate wireless interference.

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mfd
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Message 10 of 18

Re: Slow speeds on certain apps/services only

Ok final update for now, tried swapping the hub again, two new complete wifi discs, and tried powering everything down in the house and moving router to minimise interference, but even in this setup and with a device right next to the hub, the problem remains.

In good news, google voice commands seem to be working again, not sure what has changed, other than I've just added them all to the new WiFi network on the replacement hub.

 

So here's the summary of findings;

Problems with data/network access on certain apps, across three Android phones and one Android tablet, all different models and at least two or three different versions of Android. Services either fail to load, take a very long time to load (minutes instead of seconds), or partially load (e.g. text but not images). Lots of similar apps (e.g. other video streaming apps) working as normal however.

Problem is affecting both my Consumer BT line and my Enterprise BT line.

Have tried replacing SH2 and Complete WiFi discs on the Consumer line.

Have tried powering down all electrical equipment, moved hub, etc, to minimise any possibility of wireless interference, no change.

Line tests and speed tests all show no problems.

Problem did NOT occur on a iPad with a couple of apps tested (primarily BBC iPlayer Kids).

Problem does NOT occur on Android devices when connecting via the 'BT WiFi' network broadcast from my SH2.

Problems do NOT occur on Android devices when connected to cellular 4G.

Problems do NOT occur on Android devices when connected to a WiFi mobile hotspot via Android mobile.

No problems detected with wireless performance on Windows and Apple laptops.

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