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.

Bluetooth and Lumia 720 crashes

I have been quite happy with my Lumia 720 other than the Google contacts problem that I managed to solve recently. However, there is another issue that’s been bothering me – the phone freezes after I have used my Bluetooth headset with it. The sequence of events goes something like this:

  1. I turn on Bluetooth on the phone.
  2. I turn on my Bluetooth headset (Plantronics Voyager HD) and it connects to the phone.
  3. I have some voice calls on the phone through the headset.
  4. I turn off the headset effectively disconnecting it from the phone.
  5. I turn off Bluetooth on the phone and pocket it.
  6. Sometime later (a couple of hours or so) I take out my phone and find that either the screen does not turn on, or the screen turns on, but the lock screen is frozen with none of the usual information like calendar, battery status, signal strength etc. displayed.

The only way to make the phone useable is to reset it by pressing the volume down + power keys for 10-15 seconds. I am not sure whether this issue is specific to my handset or the Lumia 720 or Windows Phone, but have faced this problem quite a few times. My research on the web indicates that Windows Phone can have some issues with Bluetooth, Wifi and Airplane mode. In fact, one of my recent resets after a freeze had the phone stuck in Airplane mode that just wouldn’t turn off. Another reset thankfully set that problem right.

So far the only workaround I have found to this problem (not tested extensively) is to disconnect the headset from the phone through the settings before turning it off. This seems to keep the phone happy. Hope that the problem is fixed in a future OS update (Amber update for the Lumia 720 should be out soon), but till then got to keep in mind that Windows Phone does not like abrupt Bluetooth disconnects.

Have you been facing similar issues? Let me know in the comments section.

Troubleshooting torrent network problems with routers

Wondering why the wifi or LAN connection keeps misbehaving and disconnecting on your shiny new router when you try to download torrents or stream high quality movies on your local network? I was facing the same issue with my TP Link W8968 modem cum wifi router that I got recently for my home broadband connection. Some research through Google indicated that this was not specific to my router model, and was likely to be related to torrents overwhelming the NAT tables on the low end routers. This could happen for both the wireless and wired network, as my experiments.

I finally found the solution through 2 different threads that suggested that the NAT and IGMP proxy be disabled on the router. One was for my specific router model:

Please try to disable : 
“Enable Fullcone NAT:” & “Enable IGMP Proxy:” 
under : Network -> WAN Settings -> WAN Service Setup -> Advance option.
Disabling the above option fix my TD-W8968 freezing problem.

The other was in the Apple forums:

*****Disable IGMP Proxy Setting from your router (Verizon Fios, etc) *****

I tried this, and haven’t had any issues for the last 4 days with the torrents downloading comfortably overnight. Earlier, I used to set the torrents to download and find out the next morning that the wireless network had dropped off and the router had stopped responding. So, give it a shot and see if it works. After all, this is a lot less expensive and hassle free compared to replacing your existing router.