Will AT&T U-Verse fix my noisy DSL line?
July 13, 2012 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Will AT&T U-Verse fix my noisy DSL line?

I have a DSL line through AT&T that is pretty poor. At best, I get d/l speeds of 500k-700k/sec. I am paying for something like 3MB/sec. I think the line is noisy - recently I have been getting a lot of dropped syncs and restarts from the modem. The voice line (AT&T copper, same wire) also has problems - frequently when someone calls us, it rings twice at our house but when we pick up the line is dead. The person calling us gets a busy or a fast busy after a few rings when this happens. Occasionally there is crackle noise on the voice line.

I have had AT&T send someone out twice times, but the repair guys have not been able to find an issue. They have said the line is clear from the jack outside my house. They then say that the problem is inside my house or that it relates to our home alarm. I think they are wrong because the problems are intermittent - sometimes everything will work great for weeks at a time - no dropped calls, top speed on DSL. Then the problem will come back but with different severity - sometimes we get a ton of dropped voice calls and modem resets, sometimes only one or two every few hours. It would seem to me that if it was our alarm the problem would be consistent. But - whatever the case - they haven't been able to fix it.

AT&T is now offering U-Verse in my neighborhood. I am wondering if I can just cut through all of my issues by moving my service to U-Verse. Maybe then AT&T would basically be installing a new circuit to my house that would avoid whatever problems are going on? But, if I understand U-Verse correctly, at some point the fiber line is switched to a copper loop to my house. So maybe I would still have the same problems with my copper line?

Any thoughts appreciated on (1) whether U-Verse will probably solve my problems; or (2) what I should do to fix my crummy service. Thanks
posted by Mid to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
When we had the same issue with our DSL, it did indeed turn out to be our home alarm system. Once the AT&T guy disconnected the alarm wiring from the system, our DSL problems cleared up immediately. However, it took two different guys coming out to diagnose this. Like with any other company, some employees are more competent/conscientious than others.

We also had a similar problem caused by a land-line phone going bad. Once I replaced that, everything worked again (until the alarm wiring went bad).

We switched to U-Verse a few months ago, and I'm happy with the speed, but when we switched our DSL was working fine, so I have no input as to whether or not U-Verse will fix your existing DSL issue.
posted by ralan at 7:30 AM on July 13, 2012

I had this exact same problem with AT&T's DSL years ago, and never was able to get it fixed. I finally just gave up and went to cable internet and never had a problem.

(And let's not even get into the fact that AT&T was convinced that I lived in a completely different part of Brooklyn that I've never heard of for the duration of my service with them. Feh.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on July 13, 2012

Our AT&T DSL was a nightmare. I couldn't stay connected to my work VPN. We switched to UVerse and that went away. UVerse is better, by far.

When the guy came to do ours, well, some guy with an iPad was walking the neighborhood, and he was like, installation is free, and when they installed, they put in cat5 (or whatever). The thing that got us though: the installation was not *supposed* to be free, but the documentation we got from the sales dude was explicit. So when we got hit for it, we had proof of what we'd agreed to, and it was waived. So, keep your records.

But - UVerse is superior to DSL. I had a hard time believing it b/c we'd struggled with shitty DSL for so long, but there you have it.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:53 AM on July 13, 2012

If they are actually installing new lines to the house, it may well help.

I fought with my local AT&T for many years over the old and noisy lines in my area... no need to guess, I still had a landline phone to hear it on. They'd come out, declare the line good, and refuse to just run a new one no matter how much I insisted that moisture had to be getting into the lines (the noise always showed up when it rained, and then lingered for a few days afterward). I finally bit the bullet, and rebuilt my home network to switch to cable internet... but I kept the landline, not wanting to lose that number.

Two months later, I've got AT&T at my door begging me to switch to U-Verse and claiming that NOW they're going to re-run all the lines in the area. I laughed them off, of course, but I have to admit that as soon as they laid new lines on the poles behind my house to support that, the "lingering days of noise" on my landline went away.

I do still get it when it's raining... but the line from the pole to my house wasn't replaced, either.
posted by Pufferish at 7:59 AM on July 13, 2012

If I understand how U-Verse works correctly, rather than running a line (an "F1") from their central office (CO) to the bbox (that big green box on a sidewalk somewhere in your neighborhood), and then patching from that to a line that runs from the bbox to your house (an "F2"), they run fiber to the bbox (or a similar box, I think the U-Verse-only boxes are smaller and white), and have ADSL2+ head devices in those.

So U-Verse gives you two potential savings: First, it eliminates the F1 run, second, it dramatically shortens the distance between the ADSL head device and your modem down to the length of the F2. I don't know whether i t also replaces ADSL1 (20KHz to 1.5MHz) with ADSL2+ (to 2.5MHz or thereabouts, I think), or whether AT&T already had ADSL2+ in their COs.

My impression is that they're not replacing your F2, and that's likely where the crackles are.

However: I'm the sort of geek who, when I first moved into my house, re-ran my phone line from the grey box on the side of my house (MPOE) to my one phone jack inside. I did it wrong, and it wasn't 'til i started working for an ISP and running some experimental hardware that a rep of the company testing the hardware came out and pointed that out to me. So I would strongly recommend that you re-run the wire from your MPOE to your single phone jack with the right twisted pair wire, making sure that you use the opposite sides of the same pair for your line, to a single jack, and make sure that you have DSL filters in the right places and that your alarm system is appropriately filtered.
posted by straw at 8:53 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had a similar problem, only it wasn't my home alarm -- it was my automated water meter, which would call home at seemingly sporadic intervals due to a defect. When we had the meter replaced, the problem disappeared.
posted by dwbrant at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2012

In the Bay Area, U-Verse used to mean something about the quality of the lines and what lines were used. That is no longer the case. They are happily using the U-Verse name without making any changes to the sucktacular lines they have laced under and over the streets. Sometimes moving to U-Verse helps. Sometimes it doesn't around here.
posted by fief at 6:26 PM on July 14, 2012

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