ADSL Signal/noise issues...


I have been trying for well over a year to have my ADSL provider solve my issue.


Occasionally - sometimes at regular times, but sometimes not - my ADSL connection drops, and only connects sporadically if I work at it really hard - disable, re-connect, switch the router and/or modem off and back on again, hot-reset the router and/or modem, click on Repair/Close, whatever.

For perhaps 22 hours a day I have a fast connection, then it can just drop out for no discernible reason. I have lost so much time and work with this nonsense that I am now in the habit of Copying an entire email (or Post) to Clipboard before clicking on the Send button, just in case I get a blank screen telling me there is no connection.

I do know that sometimes the signal drops out just after 10:00am, sometimes just after 5:00pm, and is impossible to work with reliably for perhaps an hour, but can be as long as two hours. But that's not every day - there is no absoloutely regular pattern.


I have an ADSL line coming to the south-west corner of the house. I saw that the internal phone wiring goes over ducts, around and over machines, fans, joists, etc., so the first thing I did to try and remove possible noise was to route a new cable for my personal phone line from the external box (BEFORE it entered the house) along external walls and into the house right at the computer location. I used copper shielded twisted-pair telephone wires from Radio Shack, and ensured all of the connections were clean, tight, secure, and shielded from the elements (weather).


The problem was not solved. But for two hours after that I went through various procedures on the phone with Support, who seemed more interested in labelling it my problem than acknowledging that it could be something external.

I then exchanged my purchased "modem", which was still under warranty. The problem was not solved.

Recently I called Support again, who told me they ran a check on my line and the S/N ration was high, and that was probably the reason for my signal dropping. So they persuaded me to RENT another modem and see if the one that was replaced under warranty was the problem. But the problem is still not solved.

I am doing my best to try and figure out WHY I have service the vast majority of the time, but for perhaps two hours a day it all become a pile of crap.


The nearest secondary road to my location is 100 feet, measured on Google Earth, so I can't see traffic being the reason. The distance to what I believe is the neighbourhood terminal (a substantial metal box about 5 feet high, 4 feet wide) is 2,000 feet along the road at the nearest major roadway junction - there are phone "stubby posts" along the way, but I think those are just for connecting the houses to the underground cable.

We did have a HAM radio operator in the area, but he died (and the house was levelled because a subsequent owner/tenant used it as a grow-op). We have not noticed any other antennas in the neighbourhood.

Could the computer fax-card connection be feeding noise into the line? And if so, why for only an hour or so a day?


I am using XP Pro, with a DLink 614+_revB wireless router (with the wireless disabled). That feeds from a Thomson SpeedTouch 516v6 "router", which is connected to the externally-mounted and shielded phone line.

The router also feeds a signal to the power lines for the house network so my stepson downstairs can have access. The username/password combo is embedded in the router, so we don't need to log in every time we boot up. He has some gaming equipment down there, but the times he is using it do not match the times I have these problems.

One other thing... I use a 5.1 Gig portable phone, and Support told me that sometimes these units cause a problem by shorting out the line, which then affects the ADLS signal. I have tried disconnecting the phone line from that phone (no telephone service), but the problem persists. My wife tells me she also sometimes has a great deal of noise on her line (she has a separate voice-only line for the house).


So, any ideas? Any suggestions?
25 answers Last reply
More about adsl signal noise issues
  1. I am willing to help but you have to respond.

    ADSL share line with your phones; it uses different frequency. There are 2 ways to reduce noise introduced by phones:
    1) set up noise filter at each phone
    2) install central splitter at a point where phone line enters your house
    I don't see either filter or splitter mentioned in your post. Do you have any of these?
  2. ADSL share line with your phones; it uses different frequency. There are 2 ways to reduce noise introduced by phones:
    1) set up noise filter at each phone

    --- There are filters on all of the phones

    2) install central splitter at a point where phone line enters your house

    --- No need. The lines are separate (2 different lines, 2 different numbers) and mine is moved from the external telco box, around the external walls, to enter the house where the computer is.
  3. Ok, I am throwing out these in order of likeliness:

    1) ISP being oversubscribed/External Noise
    During normal times, do a "nslookup" and write down its IP address. Issue "tracert x.x.x.x > tracert_date_time.txt" from your computer. It will record results under (normally) C:\Docs Settings\your_user_name. To make sure, repeat this same step w/ different results file at another normal time. Note that tracerouting to another IP might not return since some sites block traceroute packets.

    Do this same traceroute during the times you are experiencing delays. Now compare this problematic results file with the first 2 files. Traceroute shows you how much time is spent between different routers in the path. If ISP or external noise problem, it will show up right after traceroute leave your network. You can use these results file as support when you talk to ISP.

    2) Ethernet-over-Power
    Do you use these adapters? Quote:

    "The router also feeds a signal to the power lines for the house network so my stepson downstairs can have access."

    It is possible that these adapters introduce noise into your network. Can you try disconnecting these during problem times?

    3) Your IP being flooded
    I know you said you reboot your modem/router but sometimes it does not renew the IP. During problem times, try changing MAC address of your router's WAN interface to some other address (not all 0's, not all F's, pick from 0-9 or A-F). Before you change, release the IP, then change MAC, and then renew the IP. If your IP is being flooded, doing this will get you out of it at least temporarily; meaning that as soon as you change it, your problem will disappear.
  4. I will start keeping a log of periodic and trouble-point NSlookup's.

    As to the "adapters", I use a product named Homeplug by IOGEAR, which work very well - my stepson uses it in the basement, I sometimes plug in my laptop in the bedroom, and a relative from far away visits every six months or so and uses a connection in the living room, all using the same connection from the router.

    But if there is no noise from the Homeplug for 22 hours of any random day why would there be noise from the house lines through Homeplug on an intermittent and random basis? There is no correlation between the line noise and devices in the house.

    Sorry, but we are still focusing on what noise is being created locally - there is none, not for 22 hours a day - and it is not even every day. MY wife says there is discernable noise on her phone as well, and that's a separate line which travels through the house (mine stays outside from the external telco access point).

    New equipment??

    I bought my modem rather than rent it (I tend to think long-term) and once I return this troubleshooting rental one I will seriously consider buying a different one (another brand). Do you have any recommendations? Are there different equipment signals from different telcos?

    And do you have a suggestion for a good recent-reliable model router, especially one with a s/n status display? Do any routers help with s/n ratio problems? The one I have now does the authentication for me, that would be a major plus, too (I don't need wireless any more).
  5. Ok, seeing that you just bought a new modem. Here is another likely cause:

    See my 2nd reply at this post, follow the link, read there on why it happen. During problem times, disconnect your router and connect one of your PC directly to the modem and see it disappears.

    No, I do not know any router with status on s/n ratio. For your other Q, dsl has standards and any equipment conforms to the standard should work. It is possible that your ISP might customize a bit and in that case, they should tell you which equipments are only compatible.
  6. Can anyone provide the brand and model number of a router which has s/n ratio monitor and self authentication (username/password) features? I have been asking questions at computer stores here in northern Toronto (Canada) all day and none of the tech sales people have a single clue what I am talking about.
  7. Cisco routers/ADSL modems will allow you to view signal to noise ratios and noise levels in dB. But its all Command line driven and difficult to use if you've never used them before.

    -- I would weigh in and agree with JustAGuy's response that it may be the ISP has just oversold their DSL service and placed you on an overloaded DS3 line.

    -- See if you can find out how far your house is from the CO of the local phone company. Alot of times DSL providers don't pay attention to how far a resident/business is from the local Central Office (CO) and offer service that is out of it's "Usable" and "Recommended" range. Generally speaking ADSL is usally around an 18000 feet limit. And anything over tha you'll see varying speeds when running speed tests and random disconnects.
  8. Thanks for the lead to Cisco.

    Is there any way for ME to determine what kind of line I am on, and whether it is overloaded?

    And how would I find out how far I am from the CO? Is there some way that I can figure that out?

    My provider told me two days ago that I have been on line continuously since February 1, so it's now a week or so without dropping out.

    My ADSL provider is Execulink, who sell me the service over Bell lines and equipment. After a great deal of persuasion, Support finally told me that when next i am having problems how to make sure a request is made to Bell to check their equipment.

    Here in Canada they really love a monopoly - companies, politicians, everybody. It keep prices up and sevice down.

    If it were not for recent legislation, Bell would still be ripping customers off for twice or three times what the average user pays in the US for the same service (or less). PLUS we pay 15% sales tax on everything be buy, INCLUDING postage.

    Well, if nobody here has Cisco routers (and I doubt they do) at least I can buy it from the US and have it shipped.

    I appreciate the info, Zakkas, much appreciated.

  9. What does your ISP rate your service speed. Up to how much? 1.5mb/sec?

    Generally the provider should be able to tell you how far from the CO your house is. Giving them an indication of whether or not service is "Technically not Feasible." used to have a utility on the website that would tell you how far your phone lines are run from the CO. Some regulations prohibit that now and that tool no longer works =/. It was handy though.

    On another note. Go to or Run a couple tests using a server near you and see if your throughput fluctuates a lot. For example see it bounce between 500kpbs and 1.5mb or higher on downstream.
  10. What brand and model of DSL modem are you using?
  11. Also can you post a screenshot of your traceroutes from your PC? Traceroute to or something.
  12. Here are the test results from the first link you provided, from a number of points:

    2142 kbps download speed
    227 kbps upload speed

    2145 kbps download speed
    244 kbps upload speed

    2230 kbps download speed
    403 kbps upload speed

    2134 kbps download speed
    281 kbps upload speed

    I can't see how to upload images of the traceroute results, so there they are on one of my domains (I am also unable to use traceroute on the Telnet or DOS clients on my computer - dunno why not!):

    I'm using a demo version of Path Analyzer Pro...

    I am seriously looking at one of two modem/routers which have both user authentication and the s/n ratio discovery features. Any suggested models would be very welcome to help my consideration.

    Thanks in advance, folks...

  13. Jim,

    What type of modem are you currently using.

    Also this may help you out -- You can try contacting your DSL provider once more and have them place you on Fastpath. Currently your DSL is set for Interleave at the DSLAM at your CO. The DSLAM will put you on Interleave though for a reason (usually becuase of poor signal on your phone line or errors on the DSL). You can see this by the in your traceroutes.
  14. The modem is a Thomson SpeedTouch ST516 v6.

    And I will send my provider an email and suggest the Fastpath option... thanks much.

    Any suggestions as to new modem/routers, anyone? Or will this combo serve me just as well?

  15. Try telnetting to your internal gateway. From your traceroutes that would be Then login if prompted.

    Once at the command prompt issue the command "adsl info" and see if that displays info on your line stats.
  16. Microsoft Telnet> open
    Connecting To not open connection to the host, on port 23: C
    onnect failed


    Didn't work.

    I did send that request to my provider.

    "Your line looks like it should be able to handle Fastpath as well as a bump in the connection speed (assuming that the line is stable). Fastpath will not make the connection more reliable, in fact, it may make it perform slightly worse. Lines are generally put on an interleaved profile in order to stabilize the connection. Essentially it causes the connection to wait longer for the data to be transmitted so that all of the data (packets) can be retrieved. If there are a lot of errors, or a weak signal on the line and you are on Fastpath, the connection may appear to be slower and it may actually drop because of all the lost packets. "

    They say it may leave my line worse than it is now...

    My connection dropped again this evening for about 20 minutes - at about 5:45pm. I wonder if it was because the provider was checking the line...
  17. Hmm. I still think that it is a phone line issue. When you do lose internet connectivity does the DSL Sync or ADSL light on your Thompson modem go out or blink randomly or does it stay solid? YOu can try calling the local telephone company to have them test the phone lines to your house.

    Also next time your contact the provider please try to find out how far you are from the CO. They are able to find this out for you.
  18. When the connection drops, the Power and DSL LEDs tend to stay on, the others - Ethernet and Internet - go dead. Then Ethernet LED starts to blink and eventually comes on solid with the Internet LED.

    When there is traffic the Ethernet LED blinks, the Internet LED stays solid.

    And I will drop a line now to my provider asking that distance question.
  19. Here's the email response from the provider...

    "Our readings are not conclusive at this time. It appears there is something going on with the upstream.

    We need to verify that the mapping we have is correct before we could give you an estimate of the distance.

    In order to do that, we need you to call in and one of our agents can monitor your line going down and coming back up.

    Once we establish the mapping is correct then we can give you an estimate of the distance.

    I can see from your line stats that something is causing a strain on your connection."

    I then called and spoke to the Tech who emailed me.

    She had me disconnect the modem, then re-connect again - to verify that she was looking at the correct line - and said there was some unexplained noise there.

    After some further conversation she said she would initiate an issue with Bell, and that (hopefully) I would get a call in the next two days or over the weekend, and that the Bell Tech (who I know will be an external contractor) may want to have me at home so they can check inside the house - which would be for the THIRD time.

    She also said it appeared the distance to CO was 1.2 Km, but that there were variations in the line which suggested that might not be correct.

  20. Two days ago a Bell tech called and left a voice mail - about 3 minutes long, rambling, mumbling, incoherent French-Canadian "English" - where I got about 4 words total.

    And the 4 words were not together.

    Tonight my provider called and told me I was up to 4 Mbps now and that my line was reasonably noise-free (though not totally). When I mentioned the drop-outs he said I was to call Support as soon as it happened again - if it happened again.

    I'm not so trusting any more...

  21. Today I used the internet fdrom about 7:30am until about 10:00am, then went out to run some errands. When I got back just after noon the browsers (all three) would load nothing, and when I picked up the phone there was loud static. I had all four lights on the "modem".

    I called Execulink Support and my first question was if they could hear the noise on my line. When the tech agreed he could indeed hear the noise on the line I got him to check the s/n ratio and he said he saw lots of noise there too.

    Then he tried to lead me through the FIRST TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS again - towards, I already know, telling me it was my fault (again) - and when I refused to play along he pulled up my account and saw that in the last week or so I had asked for Support and Bell to fix the line (and, I assume, the results).

    I insisted - several times - that the fault was NOT inside my home, it was on Bell's lines. At that point I was told it was not Execulink's equipment or lines and that I would have to call Bell. Unfortunately, I started an argument that it was Execulink who rented the lines and equipment, and it was Execulink who should call Bell. The Tech insisted otherwise, and I gave up.

    I called Bell, and after paging through the interminable voice selections I reached a rep whose accent clearly indicated she was in either India or Pakistan.

    My first question again was if they could hear the noise on the line. When she agreed she could indeed hear the noise on the line, I asked for troubleshooting and line checking on my phone and the ADSL equipment. At this point I could barely hear her because the noise was so loud and was constantly asking her to repeat what she said.

    After extracting the maximum possible useless information again and reminding me that if the Bell tech had to come into the house to fix anything there would be an $80 charge - plus tax - I finally got off the line, and lo and behold I had a connection again! But the noise was still on the phone...

    So I'm forced to deal with Ma "Monopoly" Bell again, and I had better get used to being screwed-over, because that's what I know will happen. After I kicked Ma Bell's Sympatico internet out of my home several years ago I swore never to deal with them again, now that ugly, nasty old bag has sneaked back in through the back door!!
  22. Sounds like a pain. It's too bad that a lot of phone companies are like that. I run into that issue more often that not with DSL.

    But hopefullly the telephone company tech will be able to see the line issues. The best thing you can do is keep hound the phone company or your DSL provider (speak to a manager from support) or look for a new broadband provider (cable or something).
  23. Problem is, everybody else supplying ADSL is using Bell's lines and equipment. We have the same thing going on with gas and power, independent companies buying in bulk and selling to the same market as that main supplier who owns/owned the original product, equipment and lines in the first place.

    When there is a problem, the independent covers by saying it's the main supplier's equipment - go talk to them, and the main supplier covers by saying the customer is buying from the independent - go talk to them. Of course in the meantime the customer is getting screwed over and nobody realluy cares, not even the politicians who enabled the competition in the first place.

    Don't ever come to Canada to live... this is where all the monopolies and uncaring businesses came to prosper. And the government stands by watching the tripoff prices - because they get 15% sales tax on whatever the merchants rip you off with.

    INCLUDING POSTAGE! Even the Post Office scrapes 15% off you here for even posting a local letter. Postal rates are sky-high - I sent a book to the UK air mail, cost me $50.

    Enough of my rant... I appreciate your support and suggestions. Thank you!
  24. Please watch this video and you will find many of your answers regarding dsl.

    Dr Robert O. Becker, M.D.
    twice nominated for Nobel Prize of this research.

    "I have no doubt in my mind that at the present time, the greatest
    polluting element in the earth's environment is the proliferation of
    electromagnetic fields.

    I consider that to be far greater on a global scale, than warming, and
    the increase in chemical elements in the environment."
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