BT's iPlate is by far the easiest - and cheapest - way to boost your broadband speed - and it should work in the vast majority of cases. It certainly did for us.
Easy to install
Faster broadband speeds
Won't work for everyone
Only compatible with BT NTE5 master sockets
You still need your microfilters
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While the world and its dog are soaring away with ridiculously quick broadband speeds, here in the wild hinterland that is the UK, we count ourselves lucky to have broadband at all.
Of course, there are some lucky souls who live within a nanometre of an exchange who can occasionally - at 3am on Wednesday when there's a full moon and the wind is blowing in the right direction - reach the giddy heights of 10Mbps or more.
Try telling that to someone in Japan - where 93.7Mbps is standard - and they'll laugh in your pasty British face. So what are we to do?
Sadly no-one can guarantee Japanese cruising speeds, but a solution of sorts has surfaced in the BT iPlate (the 'i' is short for interstitial).
What is it?
The BT iPlate is an add-on to your standard BT telephone master socket that claims to boost broadband speed by cutting out noise on your line.
The technology works by adding a bellwire choke at the master socket end, with the aim being to cut electrical interference caused by devices like TVs, ovens and so on.
The BT iPlate is chiefly aimed at those who have their ADSL modem connected to a phone line extension, rather than directly to the master socket.
The BT iPlate doesn't introduce any additional filtering for ADSL, so you'll have to keep using any existing microfilters that you have now.
Installation of the BT iPlate is ridiculously simple. You simply remove the two screws holding the BT master socket cover panel in place, plug the iPlate in, replace the cover panel and use the two slightly longer screws (supplied) to put it all together again.
How well does it work?
On our particularly flaky home broadband we were getting an incredibly slow 0.3Mbps before we installed the BT iPlate,
Fitting iPlate initially yielded negligible results - but that's partly because installing the BT iPlate changes your BRAS profile and it takes a few days for BT to decide what your consistently reliable ADSL connection is.
One week on though and we have to say we're mightily pleased. We're now averaging 1.4Mbps (that's over a three-fold increase) and our results are encouragingly consistent.
We've suffered no more lost connections and our ADSL speed seems pretty stable. Even if you factor in that we were occasionally getting 1Mbps before, even a modest 400Kbps uplift is a very welcome boost.
Should you buy one?
Absolutely yes. Our supplier - Broadbandbuyer.co.uk - has positive iPlate reviews on its site to suggest that the iPlate is working well for the overwhelming majority of its customers.
The BT iPlate isn't guaranteed to improve your connection - and in some cases it may well do nothing at all - but with its miserly price tag, we reckon it has to be worth a punt. The results could exceed your wildest expectations.