BT Engineer visits for intermittent line noise and broadband dropouts, now using the phone cuts broa

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by Java Jive, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Java Jive

    Java Jive Guest

    As per title ...

    I live out in the wilds of Scotland.

    Around a month or two back, a neighbour using a mower cut through all
    the local lines in a cable which was never buried properly, and left
    lying on the verge. For a week or so we used connections remade in a
    plastic bag resting on the verge. This has now been fixed, and that
    section of the line has been buried rather more effectively, but much
    of the line is still running above ground along the verge, and
    inspection boxes have broken covers and have water in the bottom of
    them.

    Until about then, I had solid broadband, albeit slow, but since have
    had intermittent noise on phone line and broadband dropouts. A week
    ago had a BT Voice Engineer call. He did some tests, declared the
    line healthy, and left after about an hour of tests. Since then, I
    have been unable to use the phone. Connecting the BT Cordless phone
    base station brings down the broadband immediately, connecting an
    old-fashioned phone is fine until one tries to dial or simply replace
    the handset, when that too cuts the broadband.

    Any ideas what the engineer may have done?
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    Java Jive, Nov 11, 2014
    #1
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  2. Java Jive

    Graham J Guest

    Almost anything.

    However, if using a wired phone breaks your broadband, your ISP can call
    out Openreach to fix the problem. Whether your ISP will, depends on the
    ISP.
     
    Graham J, Nov 11, 2014
    #2
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  3. Java Jive

    Java Jive Guest

    An engineer is due to visit on Thursday, but I've been warned if
    nothing wrong is found, that a charge of £60 will be applied.
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    Java Jive, Nov 11, 2014
    #3
  4. Java Jive

    Andy Burns Guest

    Assuming you've eliminated your own wiring (by using a microfilter +
    wired phone + router plugged into the test socket) it sounds like simply
    lifting the receiver will demonstrate a fault ...
     
    Andy Burns, Nov 11, 2014
    #4
  5. Java Jive

    Woody Guest

    Eh? That's cheap. I've been dealing with a loss of sync
    problem for an elderly neighbour with P.O. Boradband (i.e.
    Talk Talk) who warned that the charge would be £130 if the
    call was NFF. It turned out to be NFF but they never imposed
    the charge. We are now on router 3 all of which have had
    different problems, but an Echolink (Huawei) router that I
    recovered from the local tip seems to work perfectly.
     
    Woody, Nov 12, 2014
    #5
  6. We don't always pass on the full charge.

    Regardless, and as Andy has mentioned, as long as the OP has carried out
    all the tests we've asked of them then there's little to worry about.
     
    Plusnet Support Team, Nov 12, 2014
    #6
  7. Java Jive

    Robert Guest

    Sounds almost as if he has removed your ADSL filtering.

    Did you have a standard master socket voice faceplate to which you
    attach external filters, or an ADSL faceplate with internal filters and
    an ADSL and a voice socket on the front?

    If you had external filters (the sort that dangle from the voice socket,
    with your phone cable plugged into the open end) - has he replaced them
    and do they work? If you have spares you can try (even borrow a
    neighbours?) that might diagnose it.

    If the filters are internal inside an ADSL faceplate then maybe he has
    disconnected something inside the faceplate and "broken" the filtering.
    You are allowed to remove the faceplate and fiddle with wiring attached
    to it - but you are NOT allowed to fiddle with wiring inside the master
    socket box itself.
     
    Robert, Nov 14, 2014
    #7
  8. Java Jive

    Java Jive Guest

    The plot has moved on and the waters muddied considerably, but,
    however obscure the reasons for the previous problems described above,
    at least I now have both a working phone and ADSL.

    I'd tried two routers, two phones, and three filters, with broadly
    similar results. Connecting and/or using a phone dropped the ADSL.
    Accordingly, I left neither phone connected, as, having a mobile, the
    broadband connection was much more important to me.

    I waited in all yesterday morning, but the BT Engineer didn't show, so
    I suggested to Plusnet that it would be appropriate for me to charge
    them at their standard rate under such circumstances, £60.

    An engineer rang my mobile this morning, said he was testing my
    landline connection at the exchange, and would be along to my home
    shortly. Needless to say, by the time he arrived and began checking,
    the phone problem had somehow disappeared! He couldn't get the
    cordless phone to work at all, but claimed that using the
    old-fashioned phone, he rang his mobile in the van three times,
    without dropping the broadband, and demonstrated to me that this was
    so.

    So I don't know what he did to fix it, which is worrying, in case it
    happens again, but at least the problem is fixed.

    Next we turned our attention to the cordless handset. I tried the
    second phone, which I hadn't thought to try before, and it worked. So
    I simply tried removing the batteries of the faulty one, and
    re-inserting them, which also I hadn't thought to try before, and that
    fixed that, except that it seemed the batteries had almost lost their
    ability to hold charge. So I changed them for new ones, and that
    fixed that.

    Next we looked at the line between the socket and outside, as he'd
    noticed that the line apparently coming in from outside was internal
    wiring, and when he checked the external terminal box the incoming
    line leaving that was external, so we concluded that the pillocks who
    had put in the wall lining and/or the double-glazing had hidden the
    original master-socket behind the wall-lining! Jeez, if only I could
    get my hands warmly grasped around a DIY-botching neck or three!

    So I have no idea what type of master socket I actually have, it could
    be almost anything from the entire history of BT sockets ...

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    Java Jive, Nov 14, 2014
    #8
  9. Java Jive

    Graham J Guest

    Do let us know whether Plusnet pay you any money.

    Under similar circumstances Zen have refunded mondy to me.

    The moral of this is to always test with the most basic wired phone you
    can find. You can get one for about £7 from Curry's.
    Always ask the engineer what the thinks he did to fix it. If he can't
    explain clearly, then he has not in fact fixed it, perhaps only made a
    temporary cure.

    In your case I would suggest that he avoided using your cordless phone.
    Did you in fact confirm that the fault previously existed with the
    old-fashioned phone? You are not explicitly clear on this point. If it
    did exist, and later the engineer found it worked OK, then he must have
    done something else.

    In general, if your internal wiring is all kosher, and you have a
    correctly-installed BT master socket, the problem of incoming and/or
    outgoing calls causing the ADSL to drop is well known.

    It is caused by a diode-like joint (poorly crimped, and corroded,
    possibly between dissimmilar metals - aluminium & copper) somewhere
    between your master socket and the exchange. When the phone is off-hook
    some dc flows (nominally 25mA) and this change in current can
    dramatically alter the AC performance of the diode-like joint -
    injecting noise into the ADSL spectrum. This forces the router to
    re-sync. So you often get a re-sync event as a call starts, and another
    one as a call ends.

    The problem further aggravated by the ringing current announcing an
    incoming call. This is 17Hz at up to about 75v rms so depending on the
    impedance of the bell circuit the peak current could be well over 25mA -
    again, this can inject noise via the diode-like joint. So sometimes it
    is only incoming calls that break the ADSL.

    You can sometimes hear the effect of the diode-like joint. Power off
    your router, and dial 17070 option 2 for the "quiet line test". The
    line should be completely quiet - if you can hear any noise report it to
    your voice provider, and don't mention broadband (it only confuses
    them!). Now power up the router. Ideally there should be no increase
    in noise. If there is, but it is at the threshold of detectability, you
    can tolerate it. Anything more needs attention - first try a known good
    microfilter.

    In theory the visiting Openreach engineer knows about this and will hunt
    down the diode-like joint. In practise you might have to explain it ...

    You may also find that the line tests the engineeer has to run, together
    with making and receiving several calls, will cause the diode-like joint
    to heal - temporarily! So the problem may come back.
     
    Graham J, Nov 15, 2014
    #9
  10. Java Jive

    Ted Guest

    Yup. I had this problem for years at my previous house.

    Each time the line was tested or someone rang the line the crackling
    noise immediately disappeared, sometimes for a few hours and sometimes
    for several days, but it always came back, causing the ADSL to re-sync
    at lower and lower speeds.

    Now... Apparently no-one at BT had ever heard of, or had any
    understanding of, such a fault ever existing (or that's the way they
    presented). Each time they would just say "we have tested the line and
    it is ok. If we send an engineer and he can't find a fault you will be
    charged £90" (or whatever). They did charge me on two occasions but I
    vigorously disputed it and got it refunded.

    As ringing the line would stop the noise for a while, I developed the
    habit of regularly calling my line each morning from a mobile and just
    letting it ring (ringer on phone off) for as long as it would.

    Despite numerous letters with a detailed history included, and phone
    conversations with "senior managers" and "technical troubleshooters" the
    problem was never resolved.

    When I moved house, I was so pleased to find my new house had a
    perfectly quiet line and ADSL synced solidly at full speed!!!
     
    Ted, Nov 15, 2014
    #10
  11. Java Jive

    Java Jive Guest

    Oh, I think it is almost certain that they won't.
    I'd demonstrated that there was a problem with two different phones,
    including an old-fashioned one that ran off the line voltage. That
    seemed good enough to me.
    I would say that the following was explicit enough for most people ...

    Well, yes, but he didn't say what, so either he did something
    consciously, and was lying, or he did something unconsciously. All I
    know is that the previous day I'd tested that the fault still
    occurred, but after he'd furtled around in the exchange, and then came
    here to test it himself, it had gone. That is all that I know.
    That's all very interesting and useful, and I'll save it for future
    reference, but this was a voice engineer, called on the basis that
    sometimes I'd heard crackling on the line when there were dropouts,
    and I'd understood that it was better to call a voice engineer in the
    first instance. However, he was able to test the broadband, and
    declared it to be 1.1Mbps.

    He also compared the line characteristics between the visible socket
    inside, and the terminal block outside. Unfortunately, there was no
    difference, otherwise he'd've installed a new master socket, and cut
    the invisible one buried beneath the wall-lining out of the loop.

    Another factor is that I'm 6mi from the exchange, and he said that
    that is around the limit that broadband can be expected to work at
    all.
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    Java Jive, Nov 15, 2014
    #11
  12. Java Jive

    Woody Guest



    In the days of Strowger and I think the early days of
    Crossbar also it was (nominally) 50V 17Hz ringing, but I'm
    pretty certain that with later Crossbar and then System X it
    was and still is 25Hz. I remember back in the 80's when we
    were on Crossbar and moved over to a System X remote unit
    the ringing 'sound' noticably changed.

    I am however willing to be corrected.
     
    Woody, Nov 15, 2014
    #12
  13. Java Jive

    Graham J Guest

    Java Jive wrote:

    [snip]
    You can measure the ADSL sync speed by looking at the status nformation
    in your router - unless you have a very crippled router.

    It is useful to note this every few days. You should get about 80% of
    the download sync speed when measured using any of the popular speed
    test websites, provided that you test with one computer connected to the
    router by wired, not WiFi. If not, challenge your ISP.
     
    Graham J, Nov 15, 2014
    #13
  14. "Ted" wrote
    noise immediately disappeared, sometimes for a few hours and sometimes
    for several days, but it always came back, causing the ADSL to re-sync
    at lower and lower speeds.
    understanding of, such a fault ever existing (or that's the way they
    presented). Each time they would just say "we have tested the line and
    it is ok. If we send an engineer and he can't find a fault you will be
    charged £90" (or whatever). They did charge me on two occasions but I
    vigorously disputed it and got it refunded.
    habit of regularly calling my line each morning from a mobile and just
    letting it ring (ringer on phone off) for as long as it would.


    I had that problem and noted it here under the subject "sales calls can be
    useful" many years ago.

    I used to use BT Line test Ringback facility 17070/1 every now and then when
    my dialup had problems.

    I still use that facility since it updates my phone's clock from the CLI
    data
     
    Michael R N Dolbear, Nov 15, 2014
    #14
  15. Java Jive

    Flop Guest

    On 15/11/2014 09:47, Graham J wrote:


    ......
    ......


    Check whether all your phones are mains powered.
    If they are then it is worth investing in the above to allow you to
    send/receive calls during a power failure.

    As I discovered :-(
     
    Flop, Nov 15, 2014
    #15
  16. During the time I worked in tech support (not for Zen, Pusnet or BT)
    we were told not to do this. It always seemed unfair to me to expect
    the customers to be charged if they failed to keep an appointment, but
    no payment to be made if the company failed to keep one, but
    apparently it was company policy. Maybe it's the same for all ISPs.

    Rod.
     
    Roderick Stewart, Nov 15, 2014
    #16
  17. Java Jive

    Java Jive Guest

    Yes, that's the main reason I still keep the old line-powered phone,
    but it can also be useful as a second check of the line.

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    Java Jive, Nov 15, 2014
    #17
  18. Java Jive

    Flop Guest

    It may not be equitable but it would be interesting to know how often
    these charges are actually applied.

    Remember that it is not the ISP imposing the charges but BTOR and the
    ISP passes them on.

    Similarly, I have always had it described as an attendance fee where a
    customer-sided fault is found rather than a BT-sided fault [or words to
    that effect].
     
    Flop, Nov 15, 2014
    #18
  19. BTOR were not involved in any of the cases I dealt with, as it was
    cable, therefore all the same company.

    Rod.
     
    Roderick Stewart, Nov 15, 2014
    #19
  20. Java Jive

    Graham. Guest

    The old "wetting current" ploy.
     
    Graham., Nov 17, 2014
    #20
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