Noisy phone line--resolved!

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
7 posts Page 1 of 1
by virtualmike » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:20 pm
I've had several issues in the past where my phone line was noisy, and only a visit (or repeated visits) from AT&T resolved the problem. In one case, a bridged tap had to be removed, in another, AT&T had to change something in the B-box (neighborhood cross-connection box--the big vault on a street corner near me), and in a third, AT&T ended up switching the pair connecting to my house. In all cases, we started by checking the wiring inside the house to eliminate that variable before AT&T was called.

In the past couple of weeks, I've been hearing static on the line, and several times, my effective transfer rate dropped from around 1.1 MB/sec to around 700KB/sec. Based on my previous experience, I figured AT&T had done something with the lines again, and I was dreading having to go through the process. Even though technicians are so great to work with, the AT&T people aren't always cooperative regarding appointments.

Sunday night, I started the process of checking the wiring in my house. The wires in the wall jack were solid, but I could hear the static with my test phone, so I moved to the MPOE. I unplugged the RJ11 jumper, plugged in the test phone, and made some test calls. The line seemed clear. Mystified, I plugged the jumper back in, went back to the wall jack, and voila--the line was clear!

Having touched nothing at the MPOE other than the RJ11 jumper, all I can figure is that the little connections in the test jack must have acquired a little bit of corrosion, which was removed by simply unplugging and replugging the jack. The MPOE is in the garage, protected from water and wind, so I'm surprised that there'd be any issue, but whatever.

Moral of the story: the troubleshooting process does make a difference. When's support folks go through the checklist, things like this will be found without having to roll a truck (with those expenses).
by virtualmike » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:12 pm
I posted this story too soon. A few days later, the noise returned. I thought I'd be able to simply unplug and replug the jumper in the garage.

But noooo! The noise didn't go away.

So I plugged a test phone into the MPOE, and sure enough, there was static on the outside lines, not in my inside wiring.

Unfortunately, the static stopped just a few minutes later, so I could not get to Support soon enough for the tech to hear it.

Since then, I've had several more instances of static that lasts just a few minutes. I suspect there are other instances that I've not heard, but have caused the modem to have to resync, at about 60% of the cap.

Support has checked the modem stats, and can see where it was humming along on a very clear line (well within tolerances for my sync rate), and then the modem resync'd at the considerably lower rate. After that, the line was perfectly clear again.

Strange. I wish I knew what AT&T keeps doing to my line!
by theyipper » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:16 pm
I was also getting sporadic noise on the line. I went through the usual diagnosis, removed all phones except my 1 new phone, swapped phone lines, swapped dsl modem. The static was still there, but I had slightly better throughput because I had a newer/better dsl modem.

Eventually (maybe 2 weeks after I had contacted Sonic and determined everything was clear at that time) the noise disappeared. I didn't do any modifications.

Maybe a few months pass and just a few days ago the static returned but only for that day.

Very strange!
by dane » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:00 am

Likely an outside plant wiring issue - a bad ground, imbalanced pair, etc. We can engage in further dispatch and test to resolve, so do call support!
Dane Jasper
by virtualmike » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:16 am
Thanks, Dane. Once I was certain that it's an outside plant issue, I did contact Support and get it on the record. The problem is that when the noise is not occurring, the line tests clear and everything looks good for my loop distance. If there are no symptoms when AT&T is on the case, there's not much it can do to resolve the matter. Support is watching the modem stats, however, so that we can try to build a pattern (though I haven't been able to detect anything in the last few weeks).
by dane » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:36 am
We do have stats graphing over time, so the team here can see intermittent issues. Resolving them though can be another matter, and is often challenging. Please be patient with us.
Dane Jasper
by virtualmike » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:11 am
Totally understood! To make it clear to everyone reading this thread: Support, as always, is exceeding my expectations on dealing with this issue.

My point, when I originally posted, was to note that the problems aren't always in the outside plant. Unfortunately, the symptoms I first noticed led me to believe it was my inside wiring, but I reached out to Support once I had proof the issue wasn't on my side of the MPOE.

I am completely satisfied with Support's handling of this situation. Until we can identify a pattern or the problem changes from intermittent to full-time, calling AT&T would result in sending the techs on a wild goose chase.
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