Modems, Analog Lines and ... Electrical Lines?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Sens Fan Happy In Ohio, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. About a week ago I was asking about a situation where my modem for a dial-up
    account was losing the signal or getting "no dial tone" response from the
    analog line. At first I assumed it may be noisy lines from too many people
    on a network of analog lines. But now after today we have another theory
    that seems to have merit.

    For three straight days the phone line I had this computer plugged into was
    working fine and getting between 37.8k and 40.0k connections to a dial-up
    account. Suddenly today the connection ceased to function and would not
    register a dialtone in the analog line. This happened at the exact same
    time as some workers were running electrical wiring into a junction box in
    the false ceilings above the area where the phone lines are run for this
    computer and a few others that are capable of using these analog lines. The
    credit card machines still worked fine, but this PC would not get a dialtone
    out of any of the lines I took it to in that part of the building.

    So can this be a possible explination? Electrical wiring ... causing some
    kind of "feedback" that's loud enough to cause a modem to stop being able to
    receive a dialtone? One of the people that was around when the initial
    phone wiring was being done said, "The installers made sure the lines did
    not rest near any electrical lines." But now we think that may have
    changed, not only today but also a few days back when these same people came
    in and were messing around in the ceilings adding and moving lines.

    Any thoughts and/or solid knowledge on this would GREATLY be appreciated!

    --
    Kyle

    Reply address is fake. Please send all praise, abuse, insults, bequests of
    $1million US dollars to sensfan_luvslisa (at) yahoo (dot) ca. Change the
    obvious to the obvious. Oh, and if you must abuse or insult, don't expect a
    reply. Money gets faster attention ;o)
    Sens Fan Happy In Ohio, Aug 5, 2004
    #1
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  2. Sens Fan Happy In Ohio

    John Smith Guest

    I can say that I have seen this happen. We had a setup on a dedicated line
    that was used to place orders with a supplier. We had a IBM PC running
    Windows, and an external US Robotics Sportster Modem connected via standard
    serial cable.

    There was one faulty ballast in the lights above the room. When the ballast
    was acting up enough to cause the lights to flicker, we could not get the
    modem to connect.

    Good Luck

    Fred.

    "Sens Fan Happy In Ohio" <> wrote in message
    news:41119983$0$5430$...
    > About a week ago I was asking about a situation where my modem for a

    dial-up
    > account was losing the signal or getting "no dial tone" response from the
    > analog line. At first I assumed it may be noisy lines from too many

    people
    > on a network of analog lines. But now after today we have another theory
    > that seems to have merit.
    >
    > For three straight days the phone line I had this computer plugged into

    was
    > working fine and getting between 37.8k and 40.0k connections to a dial-up
    > account. Suddenly today the connection ceased to function and would not
    > register a dialtone in the analog line. This happened at the exact same
    > time as some workers were running electrical wiring into a junction box in
    > the false ceilings above the area where the phone lines are run for this
    > computer and a few others that are capable of using these analog lines.

    The
    > credit card machines still worked fine, but this PC would not get a

    dialtone
    > out of any of the lines I took it to in that part of the building.
    >
    > So can this be a possible explination? Electrical wiring ... causing some
    > kind of "feedback" that's loud enough to cause a modem to stop being able

    to
    > receive a dialtone? One of the people that was around when the initial
    > phone wiring was being done said, "The installers made sure the lines did
    > not rest near any electrical lines." But now we think that may have
    > changed, not only today but also a few days back when these same people

    came
    > in and were messing around in the ceilings adding and moving lines.
    >
    > Any thoughts and/or solid knowledge on this would GREATLY be appreciated!
    >
    > --
    > Kyle
    >
    > Reply address is fake. Please send all praise, abuse, insults, bequests of
    > $1million US dollars to sensfan_luvslisa (at) yahoo (dot) ca. Change the
    > obvious to the obvious. Oh, and if you must abuse or insult, don't expect

    a
    > reply. Money gets faster attention ;o)
    >
    >
    John Smith, Aug 5, 2004
    #2
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  3. Sens Fan Happy In Ohio

    Pennywise Guest

    On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 22:20:46 -0400, "Sens Fan Happy In Ohio"
    <> wrote:

    |>So can this be a possible explination? Electrical wiring ... causing some
    |>kind of "feedback" that's loud enough to cause a modem to stop being able to
    |>receive a dialtone?


    Installing a phone system, I had one line I just couldn't get to pass.
    It ran right across a florescent fixture. Couldn't route it far enough
    away for it to ever work without noise.

    Not sure about getting a dialtone, but any modem connected to it would
    have a real problem staying connected.
    Pennywise, Aug 5, 2004
    #3
  4. Sens Fan Happy In Ohio

    Pennywise Guest

    On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 22:20:46 -0400, "Sens Fan Happy In Ohio"
    <> wrote:

    |>So can this be a possible explination? Electrical wiring ... causing some
    |>kind of "feedback" that's loud enough to cause a modem to stop being able to
    |>receive a dialtone?


    Installing a phone system, I had one line I just couldn't get to pass.
    It ran right across a florescent fixture. Couldn't route it far enough
    away for it to ever work without noise.

    Not sure about getting a dialtone, but any modem connected to it would
    have a real problem staying connected.

    Canceled last message to add:

    There might be a work around...
    edit your modem string to include S10=255
    This will increase the time a modem will wait before disconnecting due
    to errors.
    Pennywise, Aug 5, 2004
    #4
  5. Sens Fan Happy In Ohio

    w_tom Guest

    First, what kind of phone wire is in that ceiling?
    Information will be printed on that wire maybe every 18
    inches. If no such printing, then wire is defective. If wire
    is conventional four wire phone wire, then that wire must be
    replaced - no more discussion. Currently, all phone wire must
    be CAT-3 or better. Cat-x wire makes adjacent interference
    irrelevant.

    Second, open wall jack to examine connecting wire colors.
    If incoming two or four wires is colored red, green, yellow,
    and black; then it is defective wire. Wire no longer
    acceptable for conventional (POTS) phone service.

    Third, put a conventional phone on that connection. Does
    the phone work normally - no noise or hum. Anything that
    can interfere with a modem can also be heard by a
    conventional (POTS) phone. Every other phone line must be
    working; still not interfere with or create noise on a POTS
    phone conversation.

    Some other factors. Is the phone line connected to the
    correct phone jack on modem? One says "Line". That jack
    connects to wire in ceiling. A second jack says "Phone".
    That is where the POTS phone is connected to verify phone
    line; to listen for noise.

    It remains possible that the modem has a failing internal
    component. Test that modem on another phone line AND test
    that credit card machine on the suspect line.

    There is no solution until basic facts have been provided.
    Do not try to fix this problem yet. Spent more time first
    identifying a reason for problem - as demonstrated by above
    procedures.

    Sens Fan Happy In Ohio wrote:
    > About a week ago I was asking about a situation where my modem for
    > a dial-up account was losing the signal or getting "no dial tone"
    > response from the analog line. At first I assumed it may be
    > noisy lines from too many people on a network of analog lines.
    > But now after today we have another theory that seems to have
    > merit.
    >
    > For three straight days the phone line I had this computer
    > plugged into was working fine and getting between 37.8k and
    > 40.0k connections to a dial-up account. Suddenly today the
    > connection ceased to function and would not register a dialtone
    > in the analog line. This happened at the exact same time as
    > some workers were running electrical wiring into a junction
    > box in the false ceilings above the area where the phone lines
    > are run for this computer and a few others that are capable of
    > using these analog lines. The credit card machines still
    > worked fine, but this PC would not get a dialtone out of any
    > of the lines I took it to in that part of the building.
    >
    > So can this be a possible explination? Electrical wiring ...
    > causing some kind of "feedback" that's loud enough to cause a
    > modem to stop being able to receive a dialtone? One of the
    > people that was around when the initial phone wiring was being
    > done said, "The installers made sure the lines did not rest near
    > any electrical lines." But now we think that may have changed,
    > not only today but also a few days back when these same people
    > came in and were messing around in the ceilings adding and
    > moving lines.
    >
    > Any thoughts and/or solid knowledge on this would GREATLY be
    > appreciated!
    >
    > --
    > Kyle
    w_tom, Aug 6, 2004
    #5
  6. Sens Fan Happy In Ohio

    Fan Guest

    On Thu, 05 Aug 2004 20:17:12 -0400, w_tom <> wrote:

    > First, what kind of phone wire is in that ceiling?
    >Information will be printed on that wire maybe every 18
    >inches. If no such printing, then wire is defective. If wire
    >is conventional four wire phone wire, then that wire must be
    >replaced - no more discussion. Currently, all phone wire must
    >be CAT-3 or better. Cat-x wire makes adjacent interference
    >irrelevant.
    >
    > Second, open wall jack to examine connecting wire colors.
    >If incoming two or four wires is colored red, green, yellow,
    >and black; then it is defective wire. Wire no longer
    >acceptable for conventional (POTS) phone service.
    >


    This is good advice and I wish to elaborate on it.

    To be a bit nit-picky, the described wires are obsolete. They might
    not be defective, but they are old enough that it is worth replacing
    them if the other diagnostics don't give you a solution.

    I have some wiring in my house that is from the late 1930s and it
    still works fine. There are also several splices at various point in
    the wiring and several abandoned lines. I saw no reason to replace it
    since I get around 50K on dialup when I use it. If you saw it, you
    would be shocked that it works at all, but it actually works
    perfectly.

    > Third, put a conventional phone on that connection. Does
    >the phone work normally - no noise or hum. Anything that
    >can interfere with a modem can also be heard by a
    >conventional (POTS) phone.


    Again, nit-picky, but the amount of noise/interference that it takes
    to cause problems for a modem is much less than would irritate a
    human. You should pick up the phone, dial a single digit to clear the
    dial tone, and listen. There should be no pops, crackles, hiss, people
    talking, etc. on the line.

    >Every other phone line must be
    >working; still not interfere with or create noise on a POTS
    >phone conversation.
    >


    What he means is that you should have some noise on the other lines
    while you are doing this test. I often take a phone in another room
    off the hook, dial another extention, and place a radio next to the
    phone. You will then listen to the line that you are testing. You
    should not hear the radio on that line. If you do, there is something
    called crosstalk and that can cause you problems.

    > Some other factors. Is the phone line connected to the
    >correct phone jack on modem? One says "Line". That jack
    >connects to wire in ceiling. A second jack says "Phone".
    >That is where the POTS phone is connected to verify phone
    >line; to listen for noise.
    >


    Most modems will NOT disconnect that "Phone" jack when the modem is in
    use. That is why it is a good place to plug in your regular phone to
    do the above tests.

    Another test is to get ready to dial your ISP, pick up the regular
    phone, then commense dialing your ISP. You should hear a dial tone,
    then the seven beeps as the modem dials the ISP, then ringing, then
    the ISPs modem picks up the call and it starts
    buzzing/hissing/squeeking/spitting etc.

    It sounds like musical tones and someone clearing their throat and all
    sorts of unusual sounds like that. Those last five to fifteen seconds,
    going back and forth with different sounds. The technical term for
    this is "handshaking". The two modems are "talking" to each other
    deciding on a mutually agreeable way of communicating with each other.

    Then it settles into a constant hissing sound. That is the two modems
    actually doing their work. Caution, with you listening in on that
    other phone, the two might not be able to complete their handshaking.
    If that is the case, hang up when the ISPs modem answers.

    If the modem disconnects the "Phone" jack on the modem when the modem
    is in use, use a regular phone plugged into another jack with the same
    line or use a splitter.

    > It remains possible that the modem has a failing internal
    >component. Test that modem on another phone line AND test
    >that credit card machine on the suspect line.
    >
    > There is no solution until basic facts have been provided.
    >Do not try to fix this problem yet. Spent more time first
    >identifying a reason for problem - as demonstrated by above
    >procedures.
    >


    If the problem is one of speed, the quality of the line and the
    crosstalk are important factors to check. If the problem is no dial
    tone, it is actually a lot simpler problem. If you hear the dial tone
    in the regular phone, but the modem says no dial tone, replace the
    modem.

    If the problem is one of speed and the tests prove that the line is
    crystal clear and quiet, you may have a major problem. That is because
    it may be a signal strength issue with the phone company. If it is,
    you are screwed. Most phone companies will not even talk with you
    about these issues.

    The reason is that it is a technical problem and you will almost never
    be allowed to talk to anyone who has any engineering knowledge. They
    exist, but the public is not allowed to talk to them. With my EE
    background, I can communicate well with them, IF I'm allowed to. It is
    telephone company policy that the customer service people can solve
    all problems. Okay, maybe that isn't a written policy, just an
    attitude.

    The last time I had a problem like this, the guy I FINALLY was allowed
    to talk to said that he would change a setting for me. He said he
    would be in trouble if they found out because it would place the line
    outside of specs. All I know is that it give me 50K with that "wrong"
    setting and 24K with the "right" setting.

    It took weeks of harassing them before I could talk to him. They kept
    repeating that they guarantee only 2400 baud. That is the company
    policy. They couldn't understand the theory behind a 56K modem and how
    it actually looks a lot like a 2400 baud modem. It was very
    frustrating, but probably has NOTHING to do with this problem. I'm
    just venting, sorry :)

    >Sens Fan Happy In Ohio wrote:
    >> About a week ago I was asking about a situation where my modem for
    >> a dial-up account was losing the signal or getting "no dial tone"
    >> response from the analog line. At first I assumed it may be
    >> noisy lines from too many people on a network of analog lines.
    >> But now after today we have another theory that seems to have
    >> merit.
    >>
    >> For three straight days the phone line I had this computer
    >> plugged into was working fine and getting between 37.8k and
    >> 40.0k connections to a dial-up account. Suddenly today the
    >> connection ceased to function and would not register a dialtone
    >> in the analog line. This happened at the exact same time as
    >> some workers were running electrical wiring into a junction
    >> box in the false ceilings above the area where the phone lines
    >> are run for this computer and a few others that are capable of
    >> using these analog lines. The credit card machines still
    >> worked fine, but this PC would not get a dialtone out of any
    >> of the lines I took it to in that part of the building.
    >>
    >> So can this be a possible explination? Electrical wiring ...
    >> causing some kind of "feedback" that's loud enough to cause a
    >> modem to stop being able to receive a dialtone? One of the
    >> people that was around when the initial phone wiring was being
    >> done said, "The installers made sure the lines did not rest near
    >> any electrical lines." But now we think that may have changed,
    >> not only today but also a few days back when these same people
    >> came in and were messing around in the ceilings adding and
    >> moving lines.
    >>
    >> Any thoughts and/or solid knowledge on this would GREATLY be
    >> appreciated!
    >>
    >> --
    >> Kyle
    Fan, Sep 2, 2004
    #6
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