Our house is somewhat isolated, and until quite recently was too far from our nearest exchange to be able to get ADSL broadband.
Since we did get broadband our connection speed has been somewhat dissapointing varing from 300-600kb/s, and peppered with frequent (though usually short) outages. Similar problems have plagued our neighbours but we’re grateful for what we can get!
I’ve already tried a few different modems to try to improve the reliability or stability of our connection, and although there was a definite variation between different models the connection only varied between slightly dodgy to downright awful.
I was intrigued therefore to hear that BT wholesale had released a new device called an iPlate. This is a small hardware device which attaches to your master socket and is supposed to improve the reliability and speed of your connection. When I heard this I was (as I usually am) sceptical. From my understanding the limitations on our connection were due to the distance our signal had to travel, and it seemed unlikely that there would be a simple and cheap way to improve this – otherwise why wouldn’t they have been doing this before. However – the initial reports I read about people who had tried the iPlate were universally positive. People were reporting anything from a 20% to 50% increase in connection speed, which in our case would be a big improvement.
I therefore decided to take a punt on this being real and bought an iPlate from Tamar Communications (no affiliation), which cost a grand total of £12.33 (including postage and VAT). It duly turned up the next day.
Fitting the iPlate is dead simple. The i stands for ‘interstitial’ because the way you fit it is to unscrew the front plate from your master socket (leaving the wires connected!), you plug the iPlate into the backplate of the socket, and then plug the original front plate into the iPlate. The whole thing took about 2 minutes.
Upon reconnecting my modem it reconnected almost instantly (previously establishing a connection took around 2 mins). Looking at the stats page my connection speed was 2Mb/s (a 6-fold increase on our typical connection speed!), and it’s stayed there ever since. To my mind this is one of the best paybacks I’ve ever had for a piece of tech.
I suspect that we’re the ideal candidates for the iPlate, those with weak or noisy connections are likely to see the best increases – if your connection speed is already good then the difference may be negligible, but for houses like ours it’s been a godsend.