How I Fixed The Intermittent Connection Problem Of My Smart Bro Canopy

Warning: This is a long and boring post. :D

After moving here in Batangas, one of the first things we have to acquire is internet connection. We have some choices: Globe wireless and Smart Bro canopy. We opt to use Smart Bro since some residents here told us that Globe is slow and intermittent.

We had our Smart Bro connection installed last February 25. Connection was fast. But we had a problem since that day. It was fast, but connection was intermittent. It got disconnected at least twice every hour. This is the reason why I always got disconnected while chatting with some of you. It gets disconnected, and goes back after about 1 minute.

I’ve let it that way hoping that it will fix itself for 3 days. After seeing no improvement, I called Smart Bro hotline and informed them of the problem. They checked their logs and then told me that there was a report that the base station where my Smart Bro is connecting has problems. They told me to wait for 24 hours and call them again if the problem persists.

I called again after 24 hours. They told me to wait for another 24 hours since they are still fixing their base station. They said that they are going to replace some hardware on their base station. So, I waited for another 24 hours.

The next day, they told me that their base station is now OK. BUT, I still have that intermittent connection. Hmm. Then, they told me to remove the router and see if it’s the one causing the problem. After removing the router, intermittent connection persisted.

I called again the other day. Told them I still have the problem. They again checked their logs, asked for my IP address and mac address. They found out that my connection got disconnected when their base station got congested. They said that congestion happens, and they can’t do anything about it. I was like, WTH! You mean I have to pay you Php 999/month for this intermittent connection and you can’t do anything about it??? Why do you accept new users even if your base station is already congested?? The agent put me on hold and told me he still needs to check some logs, and then after a few minutes, my call was disconnected, I don’t know why.

I redialled. They can’t just leave me like that. Another agent answered. I need to tell him the whole story again. This time, this agent has another idea to solve my problem: rehoming. I asked, “What is rehoming?” He told me that it is changing base station where I connect to. I said, OK. He made a report and recommended rehoming as a solution.

The next day, I followed up thru Twitter at Smartcares. They took my account number and told me to wait a few days for someone is going to call me for rehoming schedule. The next day again, someone called. They scheduled the rehoming on March 10. That date is yesterday. So, what happened?

Smart Bro contractor came. They are the same people who installed the canopy here. I told them my problem and the rehoming solution. And then, they told me that there is no other base station available on our area. There is only one base station here. Nothing more. WTH! So, how could we change base station if there’s no other base station available? Then, they told me other subscribers here doesn’t have a problem. So, I asked them, what’s the difference then? Why is my connection intermittent and their connection stable? Then they told me they might be using a different AP. AP? What’s AP? Access Point. Ok. So, your base station have many APs? Yes. Ok, change my AP to the same AP they are connecting to. Then, they scanned the canopy settings to change the AP. There are 3 APs detected. But only one has an acceptable jitter. What is jitter? That’s interference. The lower the jitter, the better the connection. Ok. The current AP I’m using has a jitter of 1. The other two have jitters higher than 10. Which means that I cannot change my AP. Then I told them, can you adjust the canopy outside? Maybe, we can lower other AP’s jitter by moving the canopy. They agreed. They adjusted it, but they can’t get an acceptable jitter on other APs. They said that jitter must only be between 0 to 4 to have a decent connection.

Then, they found something uncommon on my connection. It gets disconnected and started scanning for connection on its own from time to time. They thought the canopy itself is defective, so, they decided to change it. After changing the canopy, they reconfigured it. But we still connected to the same AP since other APs have high jitters. Then, they thought, everything is OK now. I told them to wait for a while to make sure that everything is really OK. After around 15 minutes, the line gets disconnected again!

Then, they gave up. They told me there’s nothing more they can do. They already changed the canopy, it is still intermittent. They already moved the canopy to get other access point, but they can’t get a lower jitter for other APs. They told me they can’t do anything about it. All I can do is to tell Smart Bro to fix my current access point since it is congested. The other guy suggested to call the hotline again and ask them to send other contractors for second opinion. But as far as they are concern, they cannot do anything more to fix my intermittent connection. I just said, OK. If I can’t get this fixed, I’m going to have this s#it disconnected totally and I will not pay any pre-termination fee since I can’t get the quality of service they promised. So, they went and left me disappointed.

Then, I went back to my laptop. I’ve seen all the troubleshooting they did. I saw how they changed settings. I saw how they scanned for new APs. I saw how they configured the new canopy and how they connected to the old access point. They did all the configuration on my laptop’s browser. So, I told myself, let me try it one more time. I scanned for other APs. This time, 3 APs are still detected. But the jitters of the last AP is now low. It’s between 4 to 8. Mostly showing a jitter of 5. My current AP is still 1. Ok, 4 to 8. If what’s acceptable is 0 to 4, what will happen if I use that AP with a 4 – 8 jitter? They told me it won’t work. Connection will be worse. But I tried it anyway. I changed my AP to the one with a jitter of 4 to 8, mostly 5. Rebooted the canopy. And BAM! Connection became stable. For the past 12 hours, I’ve never had a single disconnection. Update(July 30,2010) : Here’s the detailed step by step guide of what I did.

So, I decided to write this blog post and tell you my experience. My Smart Bro connection is now stable. The speed is still fast. Not getting disconnected anymore. So, it seems that a jitter of 4 to 8 is still acceptable. Although they said it will not work, it works for me. So there you go. If you have a Smart Bro Plan 999 using a canopy and is experiencing intermittent connection, ask your tech support to change your access point. Tell them that a jitter of 4 to 8 still works!

Here are some test results after switching access point.

Speedtest:


Speed Test Result

Pingtest:


ping test result

That’s all.

Marhgil Macuha

Marhgil Macuha is a Computer Engineer by profession. He is a professional network marketer in the Philippines, with business partners all over the world.

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