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PHONE LINE NOISE

The quality of your phone line, and its connections, has a huge impact on download speeds

The scale of elements controlling a Internet Connection is a startling reminder of the complexity of using the 'Net' at the present time.

A poor phone line will result in a slow connection plus many erroneous transmissions with resultant resends, slow downloading, and perhaps even frequent disconnections.

The phone line provider is unlikely to accept responsibility.
He may, however, be responsible for the line quality required to transmit Fax - keep that in mind if you find you have line noise!

You first need to determine whether or not the noise originates within your own dwelling and, if so, eliminate it.

NOISE

Excessive Line Noise

Line noise is a huge throughput killer. Some noise always exists on a phone line. Excessive noise causes increased errors from garbled signals and increases re-transmissions. Very slow downloads result and, when severe, can cause disconnections when the sending Server simply gives up on the bad connection.

Most residential homes have televisions, radios, microwave ovens, VCR's, computer, fridge, and others. All these devices radiate radio waves that can (and often do) get into the phone lines and cause noise. Electric motors and mechanical dimmer controls can introduce noise into the electrical wiring in your house and cause problems.

If your line noise problem does not go away after repeated hanging up and calling back, then you may be suffering from one of these household problems.
First of all, turn everything OFF and see if the noise persists. If it goes away, then start turning things back on one-by-one, checking each time until the noise start up again. You identify and eliminate one particular demon.

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MORE ON NOISE

• Telephone companies are not required to supply a phone line with the clarity of signal required for a modem. However if you also use Fax on that line, then the company may be more responsive to a complaint!
• When off-line listen to your home phone (the same line your modem is on). First dial 1 to clear the dialling tone, and turn off the television, stereo, etc. If you hear anything other than a clear dialling tone or absolute silence, you have line noise. This is not foolproof so it may be best to phone a location known to be noise-clean and listen carefully.
• There is always some noise (even if inaudible to us it may be a problem) on a phone line. The quality of telephonic reception depends on the Signal-to-Noise ratio. A high noise level will cause transmission errors with subsequent re-sends, slower downloads, and even disconnections - first investigate it yourself; then ask the telephone company to run a test on your line. A co-operative telephone company may increase the ratio on your phone line - just very little or you will have to ask for it to be changed back!.
• If you feel you have a localized problem, consider replacing old cords with new phone-specific cords - use a solid conductor cord. If your modem phone line is noisy and another home line is not, then check the connections and/or replace that cord. If your neighbour's line is clear and yours is not, then the problem is likely to be in your home.

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IS NOISE THE PROBLEM?

It may be that line noise is slowing your Net usage. There are, however, very many other factors to consider. Don't jump to conclusions, just check it out as best as you can.
The scale of elements controlling a Internet Connection is a startling reminder of the complexity of using the 'Net' at the present time.

Elements controlling the Internet connection

• The software, and its settings, that sends and receives Internet data (Web browser, telnet, FTP, others)
• The OS (operating system), and dialling software (like DUN) that manage the connection
• The PC hardware: CPU, memory, video, hard disk, serial I/O device, phone plus phone line and phone service, the modem and its supporting cables
• The entry point to the Internet (your ISP), all the Routers encountered, and their hardware and software

It is surprising that it works at all - most of the time!

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LOOK FOR

What to look for

That home phone cable can be the cause of line noise and poor signals resulting in slow downloads and disconnections. Set it up correctly and safely

This Site can not address all the potential line problems that may have a detrimental effect - there are too many variables involved, too many location possibilities.

It is necessary to think of all likely (and then the unlikely) causes that could exist for you - your location, your phone supplier, the location of your modem in your home, any item that might interfere with the transmission of a clear and clean electrical signal from your computer to your modem, then to the phone entry box, then to the kerb, and on to the phone exchange!!!

It sounds like a minefield. Fortunately the cause is often within the home and is relatively easy to locate.

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CHECK

Check the Connection

• Ensure the modem is properly connected - computer and phone line

• Use the purpose-built serial cable that came with the modem

• Avoid using extra-long telephone cords, or long serial cables

• Check the integrity of the telephone connection

• Uncoil the telephone cord connecting your modem to the wall socket

• Remove phone headsets, phone, splinters, or others, that may reduce line power

• Beware high voltage items near the modem or its connections

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IDEAL HOME PHONE CABLE

That home cable can be the cause of line noise and poor signals resulting in slow downloads and disconnections. Set it up correctly and safely

1. Take the shortest practical route. Avoid crossing (or near) any high-powered electrical item (or its electrical wires). Avoid possible damage by furniture (or people). Avoid loops anywhere in the cable.

2. Use a new thin solid-core 2-wired shielded continuous cable with just one connector. Ask at an electrical shop for shielded (phone) cable that gives high conductivity combined with low resistance
3. Hardwire the new cable into the first terminal block - make a good connection by firstly twisting the new wire and phone wire gently together
4. Connect the other end to a (new) phone connector box (over the skirting board near the PC - clear of that hover!). This is the first and only real 'connection'. The only cable link you will have is the connector box-to-PC (or modem)
5. Be sure your modem cable is away from any other electrical cables or wires - at least a few inches
6. Do not allow a Serial cable to loop around the PC's electrical cables.
7. Finally, make sure you use the correct Serial Cable (original, or a new one) when you connect the PC to the modem (external modems)

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

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