Sunday, 1 December 2013

that's not in the least bit suspicious

Our internet connection at home travels along the same piece of wet string as does our phone line.  (I’m assuming it’s wet string, based on the bandwidth it achieves.)  Recently it’s been a bit glitchy, dropping out at random moments.  Then the other day I spotted a correlation: it drops out when the phone is in use.  This hasn’t always been the case: I’ve been on the phone to support while using my machine, so this is something new.

We spent a while trying to narrow the problem down. Was it answering, being connected, or hanging up the phone that triggered the event?  No, it was simply calling the number.  Was it one of the filters separating the phone and internet signals?  We tried swapping in and out these gadgets.  Eventually we had pared the system down to a single filter, with no handsets even connected.  Same problem.  Either all 7 filters are broken (not totally implausible, they are cheapo dinguses, all over 10 years old), or the problem lies elsewhere.

What will probably look weird, if not downright suspicious, to anyone monitoring us (not that anyone would do such a thing, obviously...) is what was visible from outside.  To see when the network went down, we watched the blinkenlights on the router.  To load the network during tests, we downloaded a YouTube video, let it play about halfway through to check the network was stable, then called the landline from a mobile, which stopped the network.

The result of this is that we downloaded the same YouTube video, and interrupted its download halfway with a call from a mobile, about 20 times. Moreover, because the network connection dropped out, it would re-establish with a different IP address each time, as provided by our ISP.

Oh, and what was this ultra-suspicious video?  Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, obviously.


  1. I strongly recommend good quality ADSL filters, having suffered exactly the same problems as you on an ADSL line. I was recommended these and have been very happy with them - instant fix, no further problems. Do you have 7 extensions off the same line? If so, do make sure you have a BT NTE5 faceplate installed at the Master Socket to isolate the noise from the extensions impacting the ADSL signal to the router - see .. Hopefully you have the router connected via the master socket rather than via an extension.

    Mark V

  2. Mark -- many thanks for your suggestions -- we'll certainly follow up on them.