Could neighborhood electrical interference, or other exterior factors, be slowing my dialup connection?
February 25, 2004 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Line Speed. . . .I am on a dialup. There are periods of days when my connection speed can be anywhere from 4 to 20 kps.

My local ISP reports no problems during this time, and they are a freenet who are usually very forthcoming about stuff that is going on.

My phone line passes over a couple other houses on the way to the pole. Is it possible that stuff going on in those houses, electronically, could cause some interference? Are there any other physical or electronic factors that would slow my connection down (usually it stays between 50 and 52 kps) between my computer and the ISP?
posted by Danf to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I don't know if this helps, but a friend of mine reports the same problem here in the UK, using freeserve. At first, I thought that it was just his PC miscalculating the download times and giving the appearance of peaks of higher kps, but apparently not seeing as you're both having the same problem.

Although i have no idea how this happens, at least you're not alone!
posted by triv at 8:49 AM on February 25, 2004

Dial up? I've gone hungry, I've gone without heat, but I can't live without my DSL and cigarettes.
posted by Grod at 9:24 AM on February 25, 2004

It's far less likely to be something happening on the tiny portion of the line near your home and your neighbors -- it's much more likely to be the vagaries of connection quality in the subsequent several miles between you and your ISP's modem bank. Sometimes you're just better off dropping the session and redialing.
posted by majick at 9:48 AM on February 25, 2004

Response by poster: Sometimes you're just better off dropping the session and redialing.
posted by majick at 9:48 AM PST on February 25

Thank you. We do that all the time and it seems to go on for a number of days, then clears up, and it always coincides with a lot of static while talking on the phone. Always clears up, but when a lot of my daughter's middle school homework is on the school website, well, it can be a drag.
posted by Danf at 12:29 PM on February 25, 2004

How good is the phone wiring in your house? To your house? Intermittent static can be caused by dodgy physical connections.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:12 PM on February 25, 2004

I've had similar problems. Turns out a filter somewhere in the line had gone bad. It was actually this problem that caused me to call Bell Canada "M@#$king C#@*&suckers, as they took two weeks to get my phone line going (and they only came out because I threatened to squeeze the $60 per month of non-service Bell Canada has to pay you out of them).

Get a fax machine and see if it malfunctions the same way. If it does, you can call Bell and make them fix your line. If you tell them your modem speed is bad, they will laugh at you.
posted by shepd at 3:40 PM on February 25, 2004

if you get phone static you need to have someone from your phone company come out and look through the line. make sure they're thorough, too, because i had this kind of problem before (mad static would show up every once in awhile on the voice line, and i'd get reduced throughput seemingly randomly) and one guy tried to tell me it was in my apartment's wiring (ie, was good until the minimum point of entry -- it wasn't) when the next found out that there was some loose nuts at a substation a few miles away.

the big problem is when it's intermittent, which it sounds like yours may be. just keep calling out the phone company. if you have your own house, you may want to spring for the line insurance -- if you rent, in some places your apartment complex is required to provide wiring to your apartment (whereas the phone company is only responsible to the apartment complex posts.)
posted by fishfucker at 6:54 PM on February 25, 2004

I agree with ff; I had a similar problem with a crackly line. Turned out some of the wires in the junction box up the road hadn't been put back together properly after an engineer had been in there. Pester your phone provider not your ISP.
posted by Blue Stone at 7:14 AM on February 26, 2004

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