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Monday Howdy


Donster
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Morning. Overcast. Half inch of rain overnight. 37F with a high of 47F under cloudy, windy skies.

Cable company coming back this morning for another attempt at fixing my internet connection. <_<

Prayers to those 45 who were killed and the families who lost their homes in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia since Thursday night to the massive tornado and flash flooding outbreak.

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:rant: Can't anybody fix anything anymore, other than prices? Or witnesses? Different cable repairman out this morning to fix my ongoing cable internet connection issue. He made repairs on the line and out at the main box that the other guys should have fixed, according to him. Ran tests on the line out to the main box. Went online to Speedtest, which showed excellent upload and download tests. Was confident the problems are taken care of. They were, for about an hour and a half. Same problem. Modem reboots itself. Called support back. Got the "we are so sorry" speech. Said that they don't see a problem occouring in the last half an hour. Told him that the other guy last week when I called back for the second time told me the same thing. They put me on the call list for quicker responce, but if they don't call it will now be Friday. About the time he said that I told him the modem was rebooting itself as we speak. He still couldn't see a problem from his end, then said he ran some other test and said it showed an issue that could cause the issue. Uh-huh, sure. I told him the modem has been in my home since 2005, that maybe that is the problem? "Oh, that could be, is quite old." I'm not saying that's what the problem is, but shit, I have to be on call for the week possibly, in case a time slot opens up, for them to come back out. Pisses me off. :rant:
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[Donnie: I just re-read your post (carefully this time) and now I think my entire post below is just a waste of time. If your modem is rebooting; this is, literally power cycling itself, then it may just may be the modem after all. If it's just losing Internet connection; that is, the lights flicker, then go solid again, then my post below may be of use to you.]

Donnie,

I just went through this exact scenario with my ISP.

Did you recently get upgraded to turbo speed (or some other such marketing nonsense terminology)?

My Internet connection (through the telephone company) was great until I got upgraded to turbo. Problem was, I'm at the end of the line, the furthest you can get from the central office (or CO, as it's called by the linemen). Because of that extra distance (and some other factors I'll get to below), there's more noise (attenuation) on the line. It gets worse in the mornings just before people go to work (everybody checking their emails, the weather and road conditions), and at 5 or 6 pm when people get home (people Facebooking, emailing, watching movies, downloading pr0n ;)).

All the extra traffic in the morning and evening causes more attenuation, and that causes the cheapo modems that worked great with lower speed Internet connections to lose sync (or synchronization) with the higher speed service. Here's how the scenario usually plays out: the DSL light start to flicker, then the Internet connection light goes out and it resets. It'll keep doing this over and over until the line noise subsides, usually around 9:30 am when everyone goes to work or at 10pm when people start going to bed.

I had 5 techs out trying to fix my line. Everything from re-installing the "drop" from the pole to the house, "clear capping" the pair which means to terminate it at my house so the signal can't continue down the line and bounce back off the terminal end thereby causing a reflection interference, to installing new POT splitters in my house, to giving me a special video tv modem/gateway. Nothing worked. One resorted to accusing me of bad house wiring, but I showed him that was a non-starter when I connected the modem directly to the feed where it entered the house and it still failed.

I had to get the cable company to come in and install their Internet just so I could have a connection. Ask Gunny and Madman what life was like on our gaming nights with my crap connection ... :lol:

Finally got it fixed when the telco lineman changed the "pair" leading from the CO to my house. Normally, there's plenty of spare "pairs" going down the telephone line, but since I'm in such an old neighborhood, they only had one spare pair (insert Seinfeld jokes here if you like).

Why did the new pair work better than the old pair? Because the old pair had what's called a bridge tap in it, and the new one doesn't (at least I don't think it has a bridge tap). What's a bridge tap?

A bridge tap is just a splice leading off somewhere else so that one copper pair can be used in several different locations. It's an efficiency thing because if every single copper pair heading out to the suburbs was an uninterrupted "home run" from each home to the CO, the main trunk lines would be massive. As it is, even with bridge tapping, the main copper lines heading into/out of the CO are still huge and have to be hauled into the CO with diesel-powered tuggers.

Bridge taps are great in terms of efficiency, but bridge taps create extra attenuation on the line. The extra noise isn't a big deal if you are relatively close to the CO, or you're just using it for phone service or low-speed Internet, but if you are way down the line like I am, and you need hi-speed Internet service, those bridge taps put the line noise over the limit. How does a bridge tap create extra noise? Glad you asked, because I'm a pedantic bastard and love to explain stuff like this.

Only one phone line / number can be connected to a pair, even if it's bridge tapped off to 2 or more locations. So, once your phone is connected, those unused branches just remain unconnected, but they are still there and your Internet signal still travels down those unused branches. When the signal goes down those unused branches, it hits the end and reflects back up the branch onto the main copper line, but now it's out of sync ... and that, my friend, is extra attenuation or noise ... all that out-of-sync garbage data.

So, now that I have a new pair connected from my house to the CO, my hi-speed Internet service is stable again. To be honest, even my voice line was crackling and hissing before they made the switch, so it could've been just a bad pair and the bridge tap wasn't the issue, but my feeling is they probably switched the pair AND removed any bridge taps on that new line as well.

I plan to call the telephone company tomorrow to ask for a 2 month credit for the bad service ... I'll report back with my results (I'm not holding my breath). :lol:

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[Donnie: I just re-read your post (carefully this time) and now I think my entire post below is just a waste of time. If your modem is rebooting; this is, literally power cycling itself, then it may just may be the modem after all. If it's just losing Internet connection; that is, the lights flicker, then go solid again, then my post below may be of use to you.]

Donnie,

I just went through this exact scenario with my ISP.

Did you recently get upgraded to turbo speed (or some other such marketing nonsense terminology)?

My Internet connection (through the telephone company) was great until I got upgraded to turbo. Problem was, I'm at the end of the line, the furthest you can get from the central office (or CO, as it's called by the linemen). Because of that extra distance (and some other factors I'll get to below), there's more noise (attenuation) on the line. It gets worse in the mornings just before people go to work (everybody checking their emails, the weather and road conditions), and at 5 or 6 pm when people get home (people Facebooking, emailing, watching movies, downloading pr0n ;)).

All the extra traffic in the morning and evening causes more attenuation, and that causes the cheapo modems that worked great with lower speed Internet connections to lose sync (or synchronization) with the higher speed service. Here's how the scenario usually plays out: the DSL light start to flicker, then the Internet connection light goes out and it resets. It'll keep doing this over and over until the line noise subsides, usually around 9:30 am when everyone goes to work or at 10pm when people start going to bed.

I had 5 techs out trying to fix my line. Everything from re-installing the "drop" from the pole to the house, "clear capping" the pair which means to terminate it at my house so the signal can't continue down the line and bounce back off the terminal end thereby causing a reflection interference, to installing new POT splitters in my house, to giving me a special video tv modem/gateway. Nothing worked. One resorted to accusing me of bad house wiring, but I showed him that was a non-starter when I connected the modem directly to the feed where it entered the house and it still failed.

I had to get the cable company to come in and install their Internet just so I could have a connection. Ask Gunny and Madman what life was like on our gaming nights with my crap connection ... :lol:

Finally got it fixed when the telco lineman changed the "pair" leading from the CO to my house. Normally, there's plenty of spare "pairs" going down the telephone line, but since I'm in such an old neighborhood, they only had one spare pair (insert Seinfeld jokes here if you like).

Why did the new pair work better than the old pair? Because the old pair had what's called a bridge tap in it, and the new one doesn't (at least I don't think it has a bridge tap). What's a bridge tap?

A bridge tap is just a splice leading off somewhere else so that one copper pair can be used in several different locations. It's an efficiency thing because if every single copper pair heading out to the suburbs was an uninterrupted "home run" from each home to the CO, the main trunk lines would be massive. As it is, even with bridge tapping, the main copper lines heading into/out of the CO are still huge and have to be hauled into the CO with diesel-powered tuggers.

Bridge taps are great in terms of efficiency, but bridge taps create extra attenuation on the line. The extra noise isn't a big deal if you are relatively close to the CO, or you're just using it for phone service or low-speed Internet, but if you are way down the line like I am, and you need hi-speed Internet service, those bridge taps put the line noise over the limit. How does a bridge tap create extra noise? Glad you asked, because I'm a pedantic bastard and love to explain stuff like this.

Only one phone line / number can be connected to a pair, even if it's bridge tapped off to 2 or more locations. So, once your phone is connected, those unused branches just remain unconnected, but they are still there and your Internet signal still travels down those unused branches. When the signal goes down those unused branches, it hits the end and reflects back up the branch onto the main copper line, but now it's out of sync ... and that, my friend, is extra attenuation or noise ... all that out-of-sync garbage data.

So, now that I have a new pair connected from my house to the CO, my hi-speed Internet service is stable again. To be honest, even my voice line was crackling and hissing before they made the switch, so it could've been just a bad pair and the bridge tap wasn't the issue, but my feeling is they probably switched the pair AND removed any bridge taps on that new line as well.

I plan to call the telephone company tomorrow to ask for a 2 month credit for the bad service ... I'll report back with my results (I'm not holding my breath). :lol:

Fantastic read. Up there with Old Guy's stories. More technical without being dry. I don't always drink beer, but when I read anything lengthy that you post, I always drink Dos Equis.

Yes, the modem goes down to just the power light. It can take it a couple of minutes to reboot itself. Last night, for instance, all the computers in the house were shut off. Neither Lottie nor myself were using Wi-Fi on our iPhones. I would often look over at the portable phone, and it would show "No Line", which I knew then the modem was rebooting all by itself again. For those of you who don't know I have VOIP phone service though our cable provider, like Vonage. The modem is a Telephony modem, your phone line plugs into it just like your TV cable attaches to it along with the Cat5 or 6 cable to your PC or Router.

I do notice that between 3-6AM, the modem doesn't reboot as much as it does in the 8AM to 9PM time slot. Less traffic I suppose, and if this modem is weak, the stronger, clearer signal early morning, late at night it can handle.

And Doug, you know how recently when you have called sometimes we either can't hear or there has been the breaking up of our voice and you've had to call back. I think it is all related, as yesterday I tried to listen to a voicemail, and the modem started to hang up, then rebooted while I was listening to the message, and it sounded exactly the same as our prior conversations, less the swearing, burping and the "if we get anymore frickin' snow I'm gonna kill someone" talks. ;)

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And Doug, you know how recently when you have called sometimes we either can't hear or there has been the breaking up of our voice and you've had to call back. I think it is all related, as yesterday I tried to listen to a voicemail, and the modem started to hang up, then rebooted while I was listening to the message, and it sounded exactly the same as our prior conversations, less the swearing, burping and the "if we get anymore frickin' snow I'm gonna kill someone" talks. ;)

Effin' frickin' snow, that is :lol:

Sounds very much like your modem is fubar'd, but who knows with these things. Cable coax has amplifiers on the line to boost the signal and equalizers built into the chips on the motherboards inside the modems to deal with the noise. I doubt it's a bad connection or amplifier on the line because then your neighbors would also be complaining and the cable techs would be out there most ricki tick. Might be a bad equalizer on your modem's chip and that's causing the static and the reboots.

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And here I am, sleeping so soundly at nite, safe in the knowledge that my sweet little modem is well and healthy! Thank you, Lord, for small blessings!

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