xDSL – What about my numbers?

I’ve been having some trouble (actually – a fair amount) with my adsl line recently.  Currently adsl1 – 8mb.  In doing some research as to what my numbers actually mean, I came across this article. I hope this helps anyone currently experiencing problems with their DSL, and are also having trouble getting any ‘useful’ information.


Noise Margin (AKA Signal to Noise Margin or Signal to Noise Ratio)
Relative strength of the DSL signal to Noise ratio. The higher the number the better for this measurement. In some instances interleaving can help raise the noise margin to an acceptable level.

6dB or below is bad and will experience no synch or intermittent synch problems
7dB-10dB is fair but does not leave much room for variances in conditions
11dB-20dB is good with little or no synch problems* (but see note below)
20dB-28dB is excellent
29dB or above is outstanding

* Note that there may be short term bursts of noise that may drop the margin, but due to the sampling time of the management utility in your modem, will not show up in the figures.

Line Attenuation
Measure of how much the signal has degraded between the DSLAM and the modem. This is largely a function of the distance from the exchange. The lower the dB the better for this measurement.

20dB and below is outstanding
20dB-30dB is excellent
30dB-40dB is very good
40dB-50dB is good
50dB-60dB is poor and may experience connectivity issues
60dB or above is bad and will experience connectivity issues

DSL Rate ***/tx/rx/Rate
The actual service data rate that your ISP has provisioned.

Attainable Line Rate
This is the maximum rate at which your modem can connect to the DSLAM if there was no service provisioning limiting the bandwidth. The higher the number the better.

Occupancy is the percentage of line capacity used. Each DSL line is capable of a certain maximum speed or “capacity” dependant on line distance and other varying factors. The occupancy is an expression of your current sync rate setting over your maximum capacity. There are occupancy rates for both upload and download. The lower the figure, the better. Because of error correction and other factors in the DSL protocols, a margin is required so that a connection can be maintained under varying line conditions. If the occupancy approaches 100%, any interference can cause the ADSL sync to be lost. A useful measurement to monitor when sync problems occur. [AFAIK the billion SNMP utility does not give a direct measurement of occupancy :-( ]


(with due acknowledgment of the other sources/forums that this info was gleaned from) – http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=433293#r14


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