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    Frustrating intermittent fault

    This is a discussion on Frustrating intermittent fault within the Sky Broadband help forums, part of the Sky Broadband help and support category; This is really starting to annoy me. Most of the time, I have an excellent broadband connection - typically around ...

    1. #1
      James67's Avatar
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      Angry Frustrating intermittent fault

      This is really starting to annoy me. Most of the time, I have an excellent broadband connection - typically around 17Mbit down and 1Mbit up. I can do the quiet-line test on the phone and it's completely clear - no crackling, no popping, no hiss.

      But every few days (and there really is no pattern to it) something changes. The router drops its connection and resyncs at about 12Mbit down and 500kbit up. That doesn't sound too bad, you might say, but the effective throughput of data is near zero, with the router indicating massive numbers of errors. If I pick up the phone, I can hear a high-pitched hissing which is sometimes so loud, it's hard to hold a conversation with someone. If I force the router to resync, the speed stays at about the same values, still with no effective throughput.

      And then maybe a few minutes or maybe a few hours later, the noise on the phone line goes, the SNR values on the router shoot way up and data flows through the router once again just fine. If I force the router to resync at that point, it goes back to 17Mbit down, 1Mbit up.

      Anyway, the problem occurred again this morning and I called Sky Technical Support. The could hear the fault and they tinkered with the line, with the ADSL connection going up and down several times. They asked about microfilters and I told them I was using a BT-installed ADSL faceplate, so they then asked me to use the test socket with a microfilter. And of course, bang on cue, the noise went and the ADSL connection went back to working normally (albeit at a capped speed of 15.2Mbit down - was that really necessary?). "Ah, there you go! It was the ADSL faceplate. Because that was fitted by BT and your line rental's with them, you'll need to get in touch with them to get a new one."

      Five minutes later, with the microfilter still plugged into the test socket, the problem's back, exactly as before. So I phone Sky again and get told, "You need to change the microfilter."

      "I've already replaced my ADSL faceplate with a microfilter and I'm getting the same problem as I originally reported," I said.

      "You need to change the microfilter."

      "So you think that the BT-fitted ADSL faceplate AND the microfilter I'm using now are both faulty."

      "You need to change the microfilter."

      So now I'm using microfilter no. 2, plugged into the test socket, just waiting for the fault to reoccur. I'm pretty sure it WILL reoccur, because I can't see how one ADSL filter device could cause this kind of intermittent fault, let alone two.

      Has anyone else experienced this kind of problem? If so, how was it resolved? Did it need a TPS?


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    3. #2
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      Nice to hear from you again James, pity its about a fault.

      Have you tried getting BT to check your line? If you are getting noise on the voice line then it is possibly a line fault.

      I know you had several routers at one time, have you tried one of them, just to rule out a faulty router? There have been a few reports of the old GTs giving up the ghost recently, maybe yours is too.

      TomD


      Please note the views and recommendations in my posts are my own and in no way reflect the views of SkyUser.


      Useful Utilites

      http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wifi_information_view.html/ TCPOptimiser /Test Socket

      Note - When downloading always select the Custom install or you will end up with stuff you don't want.





    4. #3
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      Is the noise still apparent with the dsl cable unplugged? If so, you're looking at a PSTN fault and BT faults (0800 800151) will have to look at it. Otherwise, if it's only when the dsl cable is plugged in, then if you do have a spare router and dsl cable handy, then swap it over and monitor it.

    5. #4
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      I was the same with my parents when I was a student. I wouldn't write, I wouldn't phone, for weeks at a time, but as soon as there was a problem, I was straight back to them asking for help!

      The BT automated fault checker claims there's no fault, even when the line's noisy. I did consider getting a BT engineer out anyway, but if the line happens to be quiet while he's here, I don't know if they'd be willing to do anything.

      The noise is definitely broadband-related. If I disconnect the router while the line's in its noisy state, the noise goes after a couple of seconds. If I then reconnect the router, the noise will usually come back after a few seconds. That time lag suggests that it's an exchange-end problem - I'm thinking, how can a router cause noise on the line, even if it's just for a couple of seconds, if it's not physically connected to? But I ought to get a spare router configured, ready to swap over for when the problem comes back, just to be sure.

    6. #5
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      I had the same sort of problem, noise on the line but my broadband cut out when the phone rang. I rang sky to enquire about the problem they could hear the noise, turn router off noise gone. The tested the line all ok. They recon it was a faulty router so they sent me out another router FOC and so far its all ok no noise and the broadband dont cut ouy. (i hope i didnt speak too soon).

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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      If anybody can try a differant router it is you James, so assuming it's not that then before you get on to Sky/BT have a look at the connections to the master socket and any joint boxes there may be, this problem is very likely to be a poor joint somewhere so you may as well make sure any you can get at are o.k.

    8. #7
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      I've done some research into this kind of problem and I've found several posts, claiming to be from various Openreach broadband engineers, which give a possible and genuinely plausible explanation of the problem.

      Right, when the fault is showing up on the line, I can hear a clearly audible noise on the line. It's a hissing noise but not simple white noise, it sounds rather like a high pitched version of a dial-up modem signal. If I disconnect the modem, I continue to hear this noise, at the same volume, for a couple of seconds but then it stops. That suggests to me that the noise is being generated by (even if not specifically caused by) the ADSL equipment at the exchange end.

      But even the lowest ADSL frequencies are well above what any human can hear, so why am I hearing something? The suggestion is that there is a high-resistance fault on just one of the pair of wires between me and the exchange.

      Now I don't know if anyone here has ever built a crystal radio set, but I did when I was young. At the heart of that device is a piece of coke and a length of thick copper wire. Coke conducts electricity, but not very well. Copper, of course, is a very good conductor. It's very fiddly, but if you get the end of the copper wire to touch just the right bit of the coke, you get a connection which allows electricity to pass more freely in one direction than in the other. It is in fact a hand-made semiconductor diode, and the effect of a diode on a broadband signal - whether in the form of multiple AM radio signals, or in the form of an ADSL signal - is to demodulate that signal. The crystal set lets you hear AM radio stations (actually what you hear is every AM radio station, all at the same time) and with a ADSL broadband connection, what you hear is digital noise.

      A high resistance fault can end up acting as a diode if that fault is at a joint which has some corrosion such that a good conductor comes into contact with a not-so-good conductor. The end result is digital noise on the phone line, a degraded ADSL signal and a very difficult and usually intermittent fault for BT to try to fix.

    9. #8
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      I had a high resistance fault a few years back, it was at the cabinet, the engineers said back then that it is nearly always either at the cabinet or the pole, the cabinet is most likely due to another engineer pulling the cable by accident when working on someone elses line.

      The hard part is getting BT out to look at it, fortunetly, I could make the fault happen just by picking up the phone and watching the NM drop.

    10. #9
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      Hurrah! I've finally managed to get Sky to call a BT engineer out. To be fair to them, they do have to eliminate the possibility of obvious faults like bad microfilters, etc., but it's taken a lot of effort to get to the point where they had to concede that an engineer visit was needed.

    11. #10
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      Re: Frustrating intermittent fault

      ...and of course the engineer comes whilst the problem's not showing up. He did lots of tests, but couldn't find anything wrong, and so made no changes whatsoever.

      This is just never going to get fixed, is it. Well, unless it deteriorates to the point where the problem is continuous.

     

     

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