Landline woes

Over the last few weeks my landline broadband connection has been getting slower and slower, and dropping out occasionally, and causing modem issues, prompting some of the work mentioned below. Today it got beyond a joke, and I contacted Telecom. A very nice lady on the other end of the phone talked me through some things that I was convinced would have no effect, mainly because the issue seemed to be with the actual line, being crackly and noisy especially on wet days. However, I disconnected everything from the jacks, and plugged everything one at a time, with and without the filters. Without the modem plugged in, everything was a lot quieter, and it seemed the phones and the filters were not part of the problem. In the end, I had to move the modem a couple of feet nearer the jack, and remove a short telephone extension lead, which meant that the modem could be plugged in directly. This apparently has fixed the problem. The phones are much quieter, and the line tests showed it was a lot better.

After a bit of hassle getting all my connections up and running again, mostly because I decided to remove an unused server from the network, and change the DHCP settings to suit, I ran some speed tests  on my various machines. Bear in mind that I had been getting speeds as low as .23 Mbs  when it had been working recently, and that these new tests were done between 17:00 and 18:00 on a weekday (peak times for the internet around here).

On my Acer netbook, connected wirelessly, I got download speeds of 4.00 Mbs,

On my Acer Ubuntu home entertainment centre machine, also connected wirelessly I got 4.09 Mbs.

On the 1GHz PIII  desktop machine connected using an ethernet cable, I got 3.86 Mbs

For comparison, using the Ubuntu machine, I got  2.92 Mbs on the XT T-Stick, and 2.75 Mbs on the Vodem.

In addition, it appears that existing customers are able to upgrade their modem for free, as long as they resign up for a 24 month period. As my D-Link modem is  a few years old, I am having a Thompson modem and a couple of filters delivered for free in a few days time.

UPDATE – after a couple of hours the system reverted back to the same state, slowing down and dropping out. So this morning I tried some other options, firstly I changed the filter/splitter on the modem input, but within 30 mins it reverted again. The pattern was the same whatever I did, OK for a short time, then reverts back to the same issue. That made a difference for a while then reverted.

I went round all the sockets in the house and checked the wiring, and in the garage downstairs I have a telecom box which originally was down at floor level, and merely served to join the exterior quality cable to the interior quality. That area of the garage had been very damp for a number of years before I moved in, and recently I had spent some time making taht area of the house dry again. At the same time, I moved this box to the top of the wall to avoid any further damp if it ever occurred.  When I came to look at it this time, the connectoors were green with corrosion, and the copper wires were very fragile, two in fact broke while I was looking at it. I did a quick repair of the wires, and rang faults to get someone to come out and check the wiring. They took some persuading, but the next day someone came round and made good the wiring.

Almost immediately the line speeds went up to 7 Mbs, and once as fast as 10.3 Mbs! Unfortunately, the line still went down after a period of time.

A pattern was beginning to form in my head, basically if the modem was turned off for a period of time, it would take a couple of hours before the line would start to drop, and the rate of dropping would get more frequent as time went by. I wondered if the modem was overheating, so took the top of the case off the modem, dropping the temperature immediately. Now I got serveral hours before the first drop, and they seem to be  a lot less frequent, and less catastrophic (DSL Out of Synch comes up farly often on the log, but does not degenerate into DSL carrier down  so frequently. However, this morning it is back to the way it was before. I suppose it could be the firmware in the modem.

To confuse the issue the Thomson TG585 V7 modem arrived, which I struggled with for a number of hours, reverting back to the D-Link each time I got too fed up with it. Thats another post though!

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