Weather disrupts local business again?

The heavy rain yesterday appears to have caused faults on at least three phone lines in Horsham Lane, and the temporary loss of associated broadband connections. Water was seen gushing from a BT manhole cover, and a BT van was spotted on Cranleigh Road, although we have not yet had any official response to the reported faults. Both my phone lines were dead for most of the afternoon, and Andrew suffered from severe crackling and poor broadband performance. I think that this is the first time both my lines have gone down together, except when the problem was a widespread one. As far as I know this fault is very local, and the two lines are with different service providers to minimise the risk of both failing. With mobile phone signal also very intermittent, I was completely cut off for a while and unable to work effectively for several hours. All services appear to be working again this morning, but broadband connections are still suffering and some crackling remains. From past experience, it seems most likely that the fault was caused by water ingress into our old aluminium cabling and leaky junction boxes. The only sensible solution at this stage will be to replace it with fibre. Until then we can expect the frequent faults to continue, and FTTC alone is not going to help this issue one little bit.

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8 Responses to Weather disrupts local business again?

  1. David Nye says:

    Neither BT nor O2 have got back to me yet. I’m guessing that quite a few people logged faults on Wednesday, so they are either still catching up, or just not bothering to contact everyone. I’m not impressed! Orange did call Andrew at 3pm yesterday to check his line; crackle was gone, but also the dial tone!

    Doing the quiet line test here, the crackling seems to have gone, and my Zen connection has been stable for nearly 24 hours, so I guess they’ve fixed my problem, or the water drained away by itself.

  2. Walter says:

    These types of problems will continue until the whole infrastructure is replaced with fibre which sadly is not being considered at present. The small area in Lancashire that is installing a fibre-only network continues apace.

    http://b4rn.org.uk/a-b4rn-storming-media-week

    We could start such a project here too !

  3. David Nye says:

    I suffered another outage most of yesterday; crackling line and intermittent broadband. This time my backup line was not affected, so I only lost a couple of hours work time while trying to diagnose the fault, trying but failing to report it to BT, and switching connections and email settings.

    The BT automated line test, on the one occasion it worked, showed “no fault”, but when I then tried to book an engineer online I just got “Sorry, we are not able to test or provide an update on this line. Please contact us on 0800 800 151 (Residential) or 0800 800 154 (Business) for further assistance.” Needless to say there were long queues on the 0800 number, so I gave up on that. I also got the same “Sorry” message at other stages in the procedure, so I guess it’s just a generic page you get if there’s any “internal” error (code 200) on their web server (typically caused by overloading i.e. too many people trying to use these web pages at the same time).

    Anyway, by the evening the lights on the router looked more healthy, and when I tried the line this morning it has become quiet and stable again, for now…

    The fault profile seems to fit rain water having got into the cables again somewhere, but it also seems too coincidental that BT engineers were working all over the village!

  4. David Nye says:

    My office line fault as above has recurred intermittently since then, but never for long enough to warrant booking an engineer. I’ll keep the Routerstats logs in case we need to check the outages later (although the fault has caused Routerstats to crash a couple of times). When the connection is up, it is achieving its usual up/download speeds, even sometimes when I can hear quite loud crackling, presumably thanks to the 2wire router/modem and Zen service.

  5. David Nye says:

    Andrew reported a similar fault on Wednesday (bb from Orange):

    “Just had a load of crackle on our voice line causing the BB to drop as well. Haven’t had that happen for about 6 months – in fact since BT replaced a duff DSLAM card in the exchange. Now resync at very low upload speed 100Kbs compared usual 350Kbs so playing havoc with VPN which seems to need a good upload speed.

    Also ran a speed test on broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk and roved across the map to see that someone at Rowley apparently has a BT Infinity line recorded as tested on 14/9/12.
    Download: 9.33Mb
    Upload: 0.52Mb
    14/09/2012 18:32:53

    That compares to c 5.Mb/0.5Mb for other connections in that area. i.e. the download is almost double but the upload is little different.”

  6. David Nye says:

    This week the fault on my office line is much worse. I’ve just been listening to the 17070 option 2 quiet line test, and notice that the crackling is often accompanied by electronic tones in the background, which appear to be the 2wire modem trying to re-connect. I have no idea if that is significant!

  7. David Nye says:

    I’m using my office line for broadband this week, its performing well most of the time. Andrew’s connection was very slow yesterday (0.4Mbps down, 0.1 up, making it unusable for his VPN work.)

  8. David Nye says:

    Yesterday and today my office ADSL connection has been up and down from power-up at around 7.30am to around 9am. I cannot be sure of the start time since the system has been powered down overnight, and I cannot give an accurate end time since the problem eventually crashes both the router and Routerstats, so logs are lost until I reset the router. The line appears to be “quiet” when the router is disconnected, but crackles when the router is trying to connect. [Edit] Connection fine the following morning (29th).

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