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    Randomly poor line attenuation

    This is a discussion on Randomly poor line attenuation within the Sky Broadband help forums, part of the Sky Broadband help and support category; Hi all, I (well my landlord) signed up to Sky BB around the end of February. I originally had a ...

    1. #1
      shelduck's Avatar
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      Randomly poor line attenuation

      Hi all,

      I (well my landlord) signed up to Sky BB around the end of February. I originally had a problem with DLM and had been capped, but I called Sky to remove the cap and have (sometimes) been chugging along happily with about a 16000kbps sync, with 28db line attenuation (SNR floating around the 7db mark).

      However, pretty randomly this can change. I'll get a disconnect, then resync somewhere around 3000kbps, with 49db line attenuation. The numbers have been pretty constantly one or the other, with not much by the way of inbetween values (never 36db attenuation for example). I haven't noticed this happening at any particular time of day, it really has been random. If lucky, it might resync sometime later at the faster speed with 28db attenuation, but more often than not I've got frustrated and gone to investigate.

      The strange thing I noticed was that physically manipulating things around the NTE5 master socket seemed to have an effect in getting the speed to resync and to change the attenuation. At first I suspected a loose connection between our adsl filtered faceplate and the master socket, because it was just sitting in the socket without screws to secure it. I have however bought a new filtered faceplate with screws, and it hasn't resolved the problem.

      I've also tried an extension filter directly into the (test?) socket behind the faceplate, but after running with that for a while, the random switch in speed/attenuation still happened.

      Then I accidentally noticed the landline going into the top of the master socket seem a bit loose, and wiggling it a bit sometimes caused the speed/attenuation to switch. However, it didn't work all the time, as hasn't for the past 2 days, where I've been stuck on 2443kbps and a rubbish line attenuation.

      So I'm left suspecting that the master socket, or the line into it, have a fault. But I don't know for sure, and it could just be a coincidence that my physical manipulation of things caused things to happen. Alternatively, I've wiggled things about so much that any fault is now permanent.

      I've followed the landline out of my flat to see if anything looked suspect, and nothing did (though I don't know what I might be looking for). The cable just goes along the wall into a small silver box, which my immediate neighbours' cables also go into.

      Or could it be something else entirely? I tried plugging in an old router, and whilst it couldn't authenticate the adsl, it did show poor statistics of around 2000kbps/50db (I don't know if the authentication would potentially improve that, but I don't think I can authenticate with this spare router as I can't MAC spoof, assuming I've understood things correctly).

      Does anyone have any suggestions? Many thanks.


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    3. #2
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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      You're on the right tracks.

      Any extension must NOT be connected to the back of the NTE5 socket. If should only be connected to the IDC connectors on the faceplate. You, or your landlord, should invest in an IDC tool to do this correctly. These can be picked up on-line or from somewhere like Maplins. Then you can correctly fit the extension.

      The other issue I would be inclined to double check is whether or not the telephone cable is broken. If it runs under the carpet, for example, it must be protected from feet, otherwise it will become damaged.

      I would also be inclined to double check how well the telephone line is connected to the back of the NTE5 socket. If you can wiggle the wires, then there is a good chance that they aren't tightly fitted.

      A few months ago a member found that he had a burglar alarm fitted behind the NTE5 socket. This actually caused his connection speed to be constantly low.

      Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro: Connected at 80,000 kbps / 20,000 kbps
      Previous ADSL2+ Speed 19999 kbps 1153 kbps, Line Attenuation 17.5 db 6.9 db, Noise Margin 7.5 dB 8.7 dB
      Speedtest: 17.15MB/s 0.97Mb/s Ping 31 ms

    4. #3
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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      Take off the faceplate, then remove the 2 other screws that are revealed. Carefully pul out the inner plate and check the connects to the A and B terminals. Check they are only one on each terminal and that the screws are tight.

      TomD


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


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    5. #4
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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      Thank you both for the replies.

      Scubbie, I hope I was clear. I didn't mention anything about extensions*. As it happens though, I have previously bought an IDC tool, and tried with both the extension wires punched into the faceplate's connectors, and without. Tonight I have once again completely removed the extension wires, just to make sure that is out of the equation whilst we investigate things. All that is now connected is the ADSL faceplate, with the router directly connected to that.

      The phone cable going in is overhead, so shouldn't be subjected to any fatigue on a daily basis. It does have a lot of stuff on the cable sleeve, which looks like a bad paint job over the top of it.

      As for the movement of the outside phone line going into the socket, there's a good inch of movement in and out of the box, and maybe half an inch going from side to side. The external line in certainly isn't tightly secured.

      Isitme, am I allowed to open up the screws under the faceplate? I understand the faceplate is my property, but I was under the impression that what is underneath is BT's property, and illegal for me to tamper with?

      If I am allowed to do it, is there any safety issues I should be aware of? I don't want to go getting electrocuted :S

      Thanks

      * EDIT: reading back, I mentioned an extension filter. I just meant the sort of cheap filter you get with a new router, instead of the filtered faceplate.
      Last edited by shelduck; 10-08-11 at 11:30 PM. Reason: clarification

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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      I'll also add that the bit of wiggling I've done tonight has brought the speed down to around 1700kbps

      Which somewhat reinforces my idea that the problem lies with the connection between the external line and my master socket. I'm thinking that it's just all out of wiggle.

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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      Whilst it is the responsibility of your Line Provider to maintain the line between the test socket and the telephone exchange (they in turn contract BT Openreach to perform the work), if you are careful many people be able to check these things.

      As for the electrical side of things, be careful not to short anything and perform the task with the telephones unplugged.

      It is also important to advise you at this stage that after the test socket, you (or your landlord) are responsible for the wiring. If any fault is corrected there, you would be charged for it.

      Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro: Connected at 80,000 kbps / 20,000 kbps
      Previous ADSL2+ Speed 19999 kbps 1153 kbps, Line Attenuation 17.5 db 6.9 db, Noise Margin 7.5 dB 8.7 dB
      Speedtest: 17.15MB/s 0.97Mb/s Ping 31 ms

    8. #7
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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      Do you have a phone plugged into the line and does it work?

      With the large change in attenuation it sounds like you have gone one-legged.

      As Isitme suggests carefully remove the backplate of the NTE5 and check that both wires are firmly connected.

      Andy

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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      Thanks again for the replies.

      I did open up the back plate, but nothing seemed amiss. I did unscrew the 2 wires and reseated them just to be sure though.

      Plugging everything back in, the attenuation was still high at 47db, and the sync speed around 2800kbps.

      Then I went to check there was a dial tone. In the past few months whilst I've been having issues, I've been through various stages of having the phone plugged in, and not. I've always had a dial tone when plugged in, and no obvious noise (whenever I have thought there was noise, it normally ended up being my chin stubble brushing against the mic). For the past couple of weeks I haven't had any phone plugged in.

      So into the faceplate the phone went. I picked it up, and there was a dial tone (which I was expecting).

      Then I heard a single pop sound through the phone, looked at the router and saw it had disconnected. I listened for further pops or noise, but there weren't any.

      Checking the router, it had reconnected with 28db and over 16000kbps. Bizarre.

      Whether it will remain this way remains to be seen, as in the past it has been intermittent, sometimes remaining stable for many days.

      I would take the popping sound with a pinch of salt too, as I had the whole phone - base unit and handset - in my hands. They were knocking about, so the pop might not have been signal noise but rather vibration from it knocking about. But I couldn't say either way for sure.

      Does anyone have any ideas what is wrong? (or hopefully what *was* wrong, though I'm skeptical all is well).

      Cheers

    10. #9
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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      What you have described is indicative of a high resistance fault. That is a poor connection somewhere which the phone, in sending its signal bridges and in doing so improves the broadband connection. If your speed drops again, pick up the phone and dial a number, your own will do, if the broadband picks up again, that will prove my theory. If it does, you need to get your phone rental provider on the job.

      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.





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      Re: Randomly poor line attenuation

      Thanks for the swift response. No idea when it will happen again, so watch this space

      I'll report back in due course.

     

     

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