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Whats larks,eh?

Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Whats larks,eh?

Hi,
First poster to the forum, but I'll not ask for your patience yet as I may need it later  
Apologies for the length of this, but I wanted to try & get all the information in.
I live at the end of a long rural line and have had various flavours of broadband fun over the years.
However, over the last month things have got really, really silly.
I have been getting multiple random DSL drops/ signal outages up to ten a day.
There is regularly audible noise on the line (like someone scrunching crisp packets) but amazingly, this is never present when BT or PlusNet do an automated line test.
Despite being on holiday, I have not found the time to sit on the line for over 45 minutes to try to speak to a human being about this and the PlusNet webste is absolutely terrible at simply being able to raise a problem, other than by testing/tweeting to 'Jess' or reading the 'How to guides"....
Needless to say, with all the interruptions my profile is now firmly nailed to the floor.
There are many variables (possibly too many) involved in my situation.
There have been works taking place over the last couple of months to enable FTTC, so the local cabinets will have been 'messed with'.
Also the weather has been very hot & sunny as well as torrentially wet and cool.
My home phone setup is a bit unusual.
I have a line from the pole to the house, which ends up just inside the front door where it connects an old block terminal connector (without a cover).
This then leads behind the skirting into the house about two metres, where it enters a line jack unit (not a NTE type).
This has been here since I moved here in 1998.
BT engineers were aware of this as they had to reconnect me after my original cable into the house (quite possibly aluminium) had snapped.
I have fitted an ADSL splitter plate to the line jack unit to separate the phone & broadband cabling.
Overall I have had fairly stable (if slow, max. 2 MBPS) connection for a long time.
Since the latest barrage of disconnections, I have tried over 6 modem routers (BT HH 3, 4 Business hub HGV2700, Netgear DG34G & N300 and a Billion bipac 8800AXL) and changed the splitter plate for a new one along with the broadband cable.
I have been connected to the router at the so called master socket, and to the computer via Cat 6 ethernet cable.
Nothing has made a difference, although I will say that the Billion is a far superior device.
Being a Macintosh user, I don't have access to routerstats, so any information that I can provide is not as comprehensive as I would prefer.
Thanks for your patience in reading this and I would appreciate any assistance that anyone can offer.
150 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,027
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Whats larks,eh?

If, as you say, there is noise on the line you should raise a fault using the Phone Troubleshooter http://www.plus.net/support/phone/troubleshooting.shtml
Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Hi, Thanks for the advice.
Been there, done that (just done it again).
The line test shows no problem, then you get shunted round the automated 'have you tried this' route instead of being able to 'ignore' the helpful generalities and actually raise a fault.
This is why I have arrived at the forums, as the website appears to be an exercise in obscuration.
Just had another two interruptions since I posted, so I may not be able to reply as often as I would like.
Gel
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 1,474
Thanks: 150
Fixes: 12
Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Whats larks,eh?

I too am at end of long line and had recent broadband issue(hopeless latency)  which was identified by Plus Net doing a Broadband line test; PN don't provide my phone service, rather BT do.
PN said I had to raise Broadband line issue with BT, which was problematical as they only had me down as phone client.
Eventually got through to someone in India in BT, on Broadband (AFTER many transfers) , and they checked & confirmed was indeed a broadband line fault.
It was between local BT cabinet & exchange plus a fault on line's battery connection at exchange, and after a few (Openreach) visits they worked on local overhead line & sorted...even on a Saturday morning Cool
Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Thanks.
Thirteen interruptions this morning so far...
I have tried to raise an issue with BT, their tests show no fault on the line for the phone, so they really aren't interested.
They state that if this is a Broadband issue and my phone is also with PlusNet, it is down to the provider to sort it out.

Unfortunately, trying to raise a fault with PlusNet via the website is all but impossible.
See the text from the Support Team page...

Talk to our UK based team via Plusnet Chat or over the phone.
Alternatively, ask a question by choosing from the subjects below. We'll aim to reply within 48 hours.
What's your question about?
General questions
I need a VAT invoice
I've been charged for an engineer visit
Reporting abuse or nuisance phone calls
Newsgroup or Usenet
VOIP Service
Domain & Hosting questions
SMTP, Domains or Fax-2-Email services
My Plusnet Hosting (CGI)
Standard webspace
Domains or DNS
IP addresses


I can't get through on the phone and chatting online is not practical due to the interruptions ( I am having to pre-type these responses in a text editor & paste them in to send).
Also, the list of topics to contact them about is exclusive and unhelpful.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 4,956
Thanks: 419
Fixes: 152
Registered: 01-01-2012

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Sorry to hear your having issues.
Our tests aren't showing any obvious issues.
Aside from calling us you can raise a fault online using the link below
https://faults.plus.net
That'll go through to our Faults team who will look into that.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Matthew Wheeler
 Plusnet Help Team
Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Thanks Matthew, it is much appreciated.
I will do as you suggest and see what happens.
By the way, do you have any way at all of examining or verifying the frequency of interruptions that I have been experiencing?
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,642
Thanks: 635
Fixes: 160
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Whats larks,eh?

There have been a few drops since yesterday, unfortunately I can't easily go back further at the moment:
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Hi again.
This getting a bit more than frustrating.
I did as was suggested in the forum and (I thought) raised a fault over three weeks ago.
On checking in the support page, there was a message stating "Service Notification 12:22am, Friday 4 Sep 2015 Bandwidth usage has been reset"
However there was no record of my fault message having been recorded.
So, I went and tried again this week (Monday 14th).
Each time I tried to submit my comments I got a message, saying 'an error had occurred please try again later'.
I tried three times then gave up.
On checking the Plusnet website I found that the comments had indeed been sent, three times, so I was feeling pretty annoyed and dumb about this.
Still no response from the Plusnet team since Monday and I have yet again been having a series of daily disconnections.
The phone line has been extremely noisy and yesterday there was also a high pitched modulated tone present.
What is pretty weird is that following the latest batch of drop outs today (I'm at home with a lousy cold) my download speed was at about 440kbps.
Two hours later it is back up to 2304Kbps (pretty much max. as I am at the far end of a very rural line) and I have done nothing.
No notification on the website about a profile reset or anything, so I'm puzzled as to how this could have happened.
Nothing else has changed at my end and the only variable is that the weather has been beautifully sunny, torrentially rainy, hot and cold all in the same week (north east england).
Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Re: Whats larks,eh?

OK, at the risk of appearing to be 'bumping' this...
I raised a ticket on Monday 14th 12.25pm.
Then I updated my situation on the forum yesterday.
And still nothing back, zilch, zip, zero.
According to the Plusnet Customer support Stats.
" When a customer raises a query by phone or through the Help Assistant, we raise a 'Question' (also known as a Ticket) on their account. We aim to close all Questions within 24 hours.
Average closure time Target closure time
15 hours, 12 minutes and 55 seconds 24 hours
Last updated: September 16, 2015, 10:04 am
These question handling stats relate to questions directed at our front-line support team. More complex issues, fault investigations and issues that require the help of other departments within the business may take longer to turnaround."


Can anyone on the forum please advise me as to why I should have been waiting for at least three full working days (being generous here) without any form of response. Is this normal? Is it a busy time?
I really am not intending to be sounding bolshy, but frankly I'm seeing the communication process as being like sending a message in a bottle  Sad
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,642
Thanks: 635
Fixes: 160
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Whats larks,eh?

It's likely that the noise on the phone line is the cause of the problems.
I'll reply to the ticket shortly.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,642
Thanks: 635
Fixes: 160
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Can you plug a single handset in to the master (or test) socket and see if there is any noise at all on the line?
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Hi Chris,
Thanks for getting back to me and in responding to the ticket.
My situation is that the noise on the line is intermittent and the BB dropouts coincide with the noise.
So when there is no noise (as at present) there is no noise on the line and the connection is stable.
I fully appreciate that this must be very frustrating when trying to solve such issues.
Another thing that has just happened (honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up) is that in trying to remove the front ADSL/phone separated cover as you suggested in the service response, I find that I can't remove one of the screws  Shocked
The flaming thing is just spinning around!
I think that an insert in the old backplate must have got stuck on the end of the screw.
So at the moment I can't directly connect to the test socket unless I can find a way to get the cover off (hopefully without damaging the installation).
Really sorry about this, it's rather inconvenient to say the least.
Do you have any suggestions as to how to proceed without incurring the wrath (and associated charges) of an Openreach engineer ?
Thanks.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,095
Thanks: 2,461
Fixes: 22
Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Quote from: Kittyfrisk
There is regularly audible noise on the line (like someone scrunching crisp packets) but amazingly, this is never present when BT or PlusNet do an automated line test.
I have a line from the pole to the house, which ends up just inside the front door where it connects an old block terminal connector (without a cover).
This then leads behind the skirting into the house about two metres, where it enters a line jack unit (not a NTE type).
BT engineers were aware of this as they had to reconnect me after my original cable into the house (quite possibly aluminium) had snapped.

Could you post a picture of this please?  There could be a case for requesting (requiring) BTOR to install a proper NTE5.
When reporting the line fault, it is important to stress that the noise is intermittent - it makes then look a bit harder!  Asking the BTOR engineer if they can test the line both from the premises and from the cabinet might prove useful.  I have had issues which did not show up when tested "OK" from the property, but repeatedly reported a fail on the (said to be faulty) automated tests from the exchange.  A good engineer later tested from the cabinet and found (another) fault.
Ask the engineer if you are on the best available pair.
Does the BB drop on inbound calls?
Does the line noise go away after using the phone?  Sometimes use of the phone can 'fix' iffy joints, until they go iffy again!
Kittyfrisk
Grafter
Posts: 69
Registered: 27-08-2015

Re: Whats larks,eh?

Hi Townman,
Thanks for the response and the helpful suggestions.
I have tried to attach pictures of the situation.
Don't judge the scabby white woodwork (on my lengthy DIY to-do list) and the brown stains are just that, after clumsily applying wood stain to the door  Wink
The file "Entry" shows the situation just inside front door at the old terminal block.
I have tried to annotate the pic with red arrows to show the entry point to the house of the black BT cable and the white interior extension cable that goes to the socket inside (see pic " Distance").
The blue arrow shows the crimped joints that the last BT engineer did (years ago, with a promise that it would be fixed later...).

Yes, I have noticed the BB drop whilst on an inbound call, but as this occurred in the middle of a series of dropouts, I didn't really make a firm association with this.
Similarly, I haven't noticed if it is 'fixed' by using the phone or not. Generally if it was down before a call, the BB is still off after the call.
I have noted an association with the weather (possibly wrong), where any kind of extremes of heat or rain/cold seem to coincide with the problem raising its head again.
This has been ongoing for years (and several reports to BT and Plusnet).
The bizarre thing is that every time I get so frustrated that I attempt to raise the matter officially, the problem mysteriously goes away.
So I tend to refrain from pressing the case due to the state of the wiring and who is responsible for fear I get hammered by Openreach's engineer fees.
This time I have just had enough, so it's do or die time.
Hope this is of some help, please don't hesitate to ask for any further detail (this applies to anyone).
Regards.