Troubleshooting site loading times on BSNL broadband

My parents got a BSNL fibre connection in Bangalore recently and promised speeds were in the double digit Mbps range. However, the connection was very erratic with many sites like facebook loading ok once and then just refusing to load properly. The speed tests were all ok giving results in the 10+ Mbps range and ping and traceroute from the router also didn’t indicate any issues. Even changing the DNS servers to Google didn’t make any difference.

The problem was persistent across all our devices ranging from laptops to phones & tablets, and faced both on wifi and wired connections. Finally came across this old post recommending an update to the MTU size settings to 1460 (it was set to 1480 for me) and sure enough, things speeded up and seem to be working fine. It seems to have been caused by some changes in the BSNL server setup.

MTU size setting under the PPPoE advanced options on a TP-Link router
MTU size setting under the PPPoE advanced options on a TP-Link router

So, if you have a BSNL connection and are facing a similar issue, just go to your router connection settings and update the MTU settings to 1460. In case you would like to do some more granular troubleshooting, check out this post that lays down the steps to figure out the ideal MTU settings by trial & error.

Modem settings for MTNL broadband

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited

I finally got an MTNL broadband connection at home (Mumbai). Since I decided to get my own TP-LINK modem+wi-fi router (a good value for money model that I plan to review after a couple of months of use), I had to do the modem settings on my own. The settings for some models are available on the MTNL site, but it was missing for my particular model. The modem’s default PPPoE dialer settings did not seem to work, so I decided to check out one of the MTNL documents, and here’s the configuration that I found:

Username: <phonenumber> OR <phonenumber>@a E.g. 12345678 OR 12345678@a

Password: <CA number> (you can find this from your bill, or by calling 1500 from the landline) E.g. 4567890123

VPI: 0

VCI: 32

(The VPI & VCI settings chosen by my modem were different due to which it failed to connect & I had to change them manually to the above settings)

Connection Type: PPPoE LLC

MTU: 1400 bytes (another setting that had a different default on my modem)

MRU: 1492 bytes

Default route: Enabled

NAT: Enabled

Firewall: Disabled

You can also set the DNS servers manually to point to OpenDNS (208.67.222.222/208.67.220.220) or Google’s DNS servers (8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4) which should prevent ISP level DNS blocking of sites, and most likely provide better lookup speeds.

Below is the D-Link modem settings from the MTNL document from where I have picked the settings.

MTNL modem settings

As for the wi-fi settings, you can stick to the defaults – just don’t forget to secure your network using a passkey to keep away free riders.

Magic Camera Settings by Thom Hogan

Can’t get more concise than that I suppose:

The best, most concise instruction manual in the modern world comes on the back of shampoo bottles: lather, rinse, repeat. So here’s the camera manual equivalent: learn, experiment, control, repeat. Pick one feature or option to learn about, experiment with it to see what the range of things it does might be, figure out how you want to control it, then repeat the process.

via Magic Camera Settings by Thom Hogan.