Saint Albert in a can
June 20, 2006 7:51 AM   Subscribe

I got a prank call in the middle of the night. The weird part is that my modem was connected to the net at the time.

As with almost every night, I set up a bunch of stuff to download while I slept. At about 1:30 I got a dumb prank call, hung up, hit the talk button to foil the inevitable immediate call back, then called *69 to try to get the pranker's number (which was blocked). About thirty seconds later I figured I'd hit the Talk button again to possibly foil a second callback, but this time heard the modem instead of a dialtone. I went to check and sure enough, I was still connected. So how did the pranker get through and I get out, with the modem connection in place both before and after?

The only thing I can think of is that my downloads had been complete for a long time by this point, so maybe the telco switch is smart enough to recognize this and allow voice connections through. But I'd think it would drop the data connection, as it has never been shy about doing that before with even less provocation.

Or... since my home box is very insecure, could it relate somehow to being hacked? Obviously, since I was half asleep and watch too many horror movies, I figured the caller was inside the house (he knew my name).

Any Qwest telco engineers out there?
posted by BruceL to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Been a while since I used a modem but I seem to recall some of them would disconnect for a call waiting beep. Your download software probably then re-connected on it's own.
posted by bondcliff at 7:58 AM on June 20, 2006

Yep. Most newer modems can put the modem on hold for call waiting and reconnect after the call, as part of the V.92 spec.
posted by yeoz at 8:07 AM on June 20, 2006

Just to back up bondcliff, you can set up modems to drop offline when a call comes in, and then reconnect once the line is free. I also remember in my modem days that when a second call would come in and the line would beep, it would almost always kick my modem off. Since most internet connection software is set to automatically connect to the internet when something is trying to send or receive information, it probably just waited until the line was free again, and reconnected.
posted by chrisroberts at 8:08 AM on June 20, 2006

or, you could have hallucinated the phone call and woke up when you picked up the phone again.

I wake up in the middle of the night and do bizarre things (locking doors, stacking chairs, etc.) because I am still dreaming.

It's not terribly uncommon and would fit your story.

If you weren't asleep at 1:30 disregard me.
posted by Megafly at 12:49 PM on June 20, 2006

not to pick nits, but isn't it Prince Albert in a can?
posted by ab3 at 1:31 PM on June 20, 2006

posted by electroboy at 2:10 PM on June 20, 2006

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