Why does my internet connection keep dropping??
October 21, 2006 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Wierd adsl connection problem. My google-fu has failed me. Please help - I'm tearing my hair out!

Ok, so I have broadband internet from Tiscali in the UK. At the beginining, I had no problems. I could log on whenever I wanted.

I've been with them about a year now, so I can change if I want. When I've tried to connect recently, more often than not I just can't get a connection. The LAN LED lights up on my adsl modem / router, but the adsl light just keeps flashing and won't stay solid. I try rebooting, check all the cables, etc etc but no joy. So I generally give up.

The thing is though, if I use my telephone, the adsl light will go solid, and I can temporarily get a connection. If I cut the phone off, sometimes the connection stays, and sometimes it goes.

Sometimes I can get connected, then the connection drops after about 10 minutes.

I called Tiscali, who were less than useless (asking me to reboot my machine, plug in the usb modem etc etc), and eventually I gave up, as using the telephone had gotten me a connection anyway.

Is there anything else I should be looking at? Is this a common Tiscali problem? Why will the connection work if I use my telephone, but not just connect automatically? Should I just give up on them and change to another provider?? Or is this likely to be a problem with my line?

Any help gratefully appreciated!
posted by lemonpillows to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh - the modem/router I'm using is a 'conexant hasbani' (from the setup page). Have used it with no problems for a year - problems only started happening the last three months.

And using the USB modem they supplied causes problems - the connection constantly drops and I want to be able to boot into Linux now and again - can't do that with the usb modem thingy...

posted by lemonpillows at 12:02 PM on October 21, 2006

I had a similar problem (though without the phone magically making it work) and it turned out to be line noise related to corrosion at the jack and at the switch box outside. Can you get them to send someone out to test the line?
posted by myeviltwin at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2006

Your problem is that your modem can't line-sync unless the phone is in use. Call Tiscali back, explain it in those terms, and ask to be escalated to a network engineer. The first-line guys trying to make you reboot, etc are just a form of hazing to weed out people whose problems aren't really serious. Tell them there's no point in rebooting, etc, since you're on the phone with them and the problem isn't going to manifest while you're on the phone but only when you're off it.
posted by evariste at 12:21 PM on October 21, 2006

I had very similar behaviour with DSL at my apartment, and it turned out to be the telephone wiring.

In the US, the junction box on the outside of the house is designed to allow you to bypass the house's internal wiring. I bought a long cable and ran it directly from the junction box to my modem. My connection problems went away. I then examined the junction box a little closer and noticed that there was a line running from the telephone pole to line two of my internal wiring. That line used to be live, but no longer had service. When I removed that connection at the junction box, my problems ceased.
posted by mzurer at 12:30 PM on October 21, 2006

Yep, thirding the notion that you have a marginal signal due to poor wiring somewhere, and something just recently pushed it over the margin. (This can be ANYTHING, btw, and not necessarily in your house, either.)

The "bypass the house wiring" is a good troubleshooting step, and it would also be helpful if your modem has the ability to report signal quality somewhere; this will help you quantify any signal strength issue.

By the way, the correct 'net resource for help is http://www.dslreports.com/forums/all, and you probably want the UK Broadband forum.
posted by trevyn at 2:40 PM on October 21, 2006

I don't know if this is of any help to you, but I had the same EXACT problem with my connection (demon). It went away when I replaced the microfilter as recommended by them.

Perhaps you can borrow one and try it.
posted by gadha at 5:57 PM on October 21, 2006

Has Tiscali upgraded your line to "max" speed ADSL by any chance? I got my line onto a 8 meg plan after being on 512K for ages and it turned out we were far from the exchange and as such there was too much noise on the line to sustain anything above 2Mbps or so. Our ISP (Freedom 2 Surf, who are very good, by the way, should you want to move to someone with half-decent customer service) capped the line speed at 2 megs and it works pretty much OK now.

Might not be a factor at all, but my router behaved in pretty much exactly the same way when we were having our problems and since we got the speed capped things are a lot better. But definitely see if you can check the noise levels on your line through your router, as well as your distance from the exchange (Tiscali should be able to do it for you, or there are tools online available to do this).
posted by terrynutkins at 5:14 AM on October 22, 2006

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