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my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

nox
Hooked
Posts: 7
Registered: 07-12-2016

my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

I went crawling in the space under our floor to check how our telecomms is set up. It all works, by the way (landline + ADSL). The drop cable runs under the floor heading for the master socket in the hall. However, it's been cut a few metres before it gets to the master socket and is split, using gel crimps, into two wires of white, 3-pair cable.

Wire 1 goes to the master socket, which is an LJU1/1A socket. It works but we don't use it.

Wire 2 goes to an LJU2 (secondary line jack unit) on the skirting in a room. This LJU2 has the jack socket covered in white PVC tape. The wire from this box goes to the alarm box communicator and, from there, on to all the phone extensions in the house, one of which we use for ADSL.

So, the system works but it seems weird to me. I expected to find a single drop cable going to a master socket, after which it would be over to the end user (me). I didn't expect all the wiring to come through an LJU2 with surge protection coming from the paralleled LJU1.

I think the wiring should be rationalised so there's one drop cable going to a master socket. Is that fair comment or is the current set-up not that unusual?

Thanks for any comments.

nox.

17 REPLIES
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Registered: 16-10-2014

Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

@nox - A picture paints a thousand word so if you are able to take some pictures and post them it would be most useful.

 

nox
Hooked
Posts: 7
Registered: 07-12-2016

Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

Thanks for a very quick response, Mook. I took photos at the time and have just been compressing them a bit. Here is some explanatory text ...

Pic 1: This shows where the incoming drop cable (grey) is split into two white drop cables. It's a bit confusing with a piece of grey wire used to hang the whole thing from a girder. Other photos show the grey drop cable to be connected as follows: Blue => B/W, Orange => W/B, Green => O/W, Brown => G/W.

Pic 2: Here, the white drop cable heading for the master socket goes up to it through the floorboard. Next to it you can see the original (presumably) grey drop cable which is cut at the other end and lies on the ground below the connection shown in pic 1.

Pic 3: Here is the master socket in the hall, above pic 2.

Pic 4: Here is the inside of the master socket in the hall. This is live and the wiring is correct. Pin 2 is -50v with respect to pin 5.

Pic 5: The other white drop cable goes to a room and comes up through the floorboard to the junction box on the left. This is the junction box that has been taped across the socket. Below this junction box a white cable comes out and goes to the box on the right, which goes off to the alarm communicator and then back down to the jack socket on this box from which cables go off to all the extensions.

Pic 6: This shows the inside of the junction box. The incoming drop cable goes to all six IDC connectors. The outgoing cable just comes from pins 2, 3 and 5 as one might expect.

That, along with my first post, sums it up. Any thoughts extremely welcome.

Cheers,

nox

Community Veteran
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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

Jeez @nox, you've got a whole art gallery here. Thumbs Up

Community Veteran
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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

It'll probably work to a degree, but I expect it's far from optimal. What are your current ADSL stats, and how do they compare to your estimated speeds?

I suppose you have three options:

1. Sort it out yourself.

2. Pay Openreach to install a new master socket and sort it all out for you.

3. Have a fault, and have Openreach attend and sort it all out for you free of charge. Having old sockets and a mess of wiring would probably not in itself be classed as a fault though.

nox
Hooked
Posts: 7
Registered: 07-12-2016

Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

Thanks, ejs. My current ADSL stats are as follows and, from memory, I believe I should expect up to 16 Mb/s. Using a speed checker from a browser, I get 9.5 Mb/s down and 0.8 Mb/s up.

  Upstream Downstream
Current Rate (Kbps) 1004 10768
Max Rate (Kbps) 1004 11500
SNR Margin (dB) 6.5 4.1
Line Attenuation (dB) 10.5 29.3
Errors (Pkts) 0 0

I'm considering moving to fibre (FTTC) but wouldn't want poor wiring to limit the fibre speeds. So I would like to move to an NTE5 master with an interstitial vDSL splitter. It was while planning that setup that I noticed that I seemed effectively to have two incoming drop cables, which crawling under the floor proved to be the case.

For the three options you outline:

1. I believe it's not illegal to work on the BTOR side of the demarcation point but it could cost you if you mess things up. I would be tempted to replace the hall master socket with an NTE5 and withdraw the second drop cable at the junction box.

2. I guess I could ask the cost of this option though I don't think I'll like the answer. To sort it out, the engineer would need to scrabble around under the floor but maybe they're used to that. It also needs a certain degree of slimness to slip through the modest gap available.

3. Fair comment that the current arrangement may not constitute a fault though it's a bizarre arrangement and I'm still amazed if this was done by a BT/BTOR engineer.

Cheers,

nox

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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

If it pre-dates DSL, then a star wiring arrangement would have been perfectly reasonable (possibly even advantageous in the amount of cable used, or in that some sockets might still work with some wires to other sockets broken).

You may be able to improve the ADSL a fair amount by disconnecting the bell wire (from terminal 3 of the master socket). This wouldn't help so much for FTTC.

I think you'd need to cut off the crimps and re-crimp the incoming cable onto only one cable to sort it out properly, especially for FTTC. Disconnecting it inside the taped-over socket wouldn't solve the problem entirely, only shorten the wires.

glloyd
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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

What a mess. Someone has been having some fun with that lot and I bet it's not been BT.

nox
Hooked
Posts: 7
Registered: 07-12-2016

Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

ejs, That's an interesting point about star wiring. I didn't give any distance information in my description but in fact the branching in the drop cable wouldn't have saved on cable. It would have been more economical on cable to preserve the drop cable to the master socket and jump from there to the connection box. Also, if the drop cable to the master socket had broken, the other connection would still work but the surge protection from the master socket would have been lost. I appreciate those were only examples and someone may simply have wanted to change to star wiring but that would seem to me a backward step from the original wiring.

Thanks for suggesting not to leave the disconnected drop cable wiring in place. I guess that would avoid any strange effects from reflections since the wavelength will be a couple of metres. I think one could avoid re-crimping by just cutting off the unwanted wire close to the existing crimps.

All useful comments. Thanks.

nox
Hooked
Posts: 7
Registered: 07-12-2016

Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

@glloyd. Hi. Yes, I did wonder about that but I know that it wasn't the alarm guy. So strange that anyone would crawl under the house to insert a branch in the drop cable when a run from the master socket would have been easier and, to my mind, more logical anyway. Another mystery unresolved.

nox

MattyC
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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

How long have you been in this property? I haven't seen any house moves on your account in the last couple of years or so.

 

1. I believe it's not illegal to work on the BTOR side of the demarcation point but it could cost you if you mess things up. I would be tempted to replace the hall master socket with an NTE5 and withdraw the second drop cable at the junction box.

In some instances, we recommend checking with local electricians to see if they could arrange things for you. A new NTE5 master socket would probably improve the experience.

 

2. I guess I could ask the cost of this option though I don't think I'll like the answer. To sort it out, the engineer would need to scrabble around under the floor but maybe they're used to that. It also needs a certain degree of slimness to slip through the modest gap available.

Because I like making people cringe a bit, I'll tell you the answer. It'd fall under the category of an internal shift, which is £160. Possibly more if the work runs over two hours.

 

3. Fair comment that the current arrangement may not constitute a fault though it's a bizarre arrangement and I'm still amazed if this was done by a BT/BTOR engineer.

Just a heads up that you can't bank on this as a resolution. Also, if the fault is internal, there is a £65 charge, so to get it free you'll have to accumulate some form of disconnection/earth contact in the network Huh

ex-Plusnet staffer. Any posts after 28/07/2017 aren't on behalf of Plusnet
nox
Hooked
Posts: 7
Registered: 07-12-2016

Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

@MattyC Been here about 13 years but only now looking at how the house is wired for telecomms because of thoughts of upgrading to fibre (FTTC) and wanting to check that the wiring is up to it.

Thanks for your comments and information. Taking a deep breath, I assume the £160 is for turning up and doing the job and that the supply of a new NTE5 & backbox would be an additional materials cost. In which case, do you know whether an engineer would insist on fitting a BTOR branded NTE5+backbox and, if so, what the charge for those would be? A BT-compatible NTE5 on the other hand would cost less than £20.

Thanks,

nox

MattyC
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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

In honesty, the only service that we provide that isn't provision/repair is the internal shift. This is generally for when somebody needs their master socket moving to a different location. The last one I processed was when somebody had an extension done. The price that we're charged is the same as the price we charge you, so consequentially we advise asking a local electrician first.

 

In past times, we have been able to manipulate the internal shift to get Openreach to do different tasks, and this could probably fall into the same bracket. I think that they'd provide the branded NTE5 socket.

ex-Plusnet staffer. Any posts after 28/07/2017 aren't on behalf of Plusnet
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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

I suppose it's quite typical - if you ask nicely, you'll have to pay. So you might as well sort it out yourself otherwise Openreach will blame your wiring.

A 4th option would be a managed FTTC install, which includes an engineer home visit to fit a modern master socket, but Plusnet no longer offer that, because FTTC self-install is cheaper.

MattyC
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Re: my drop cable splits into two wires - is this normal/ok?

Plusnet no longer offer that, because FTTC self-install is cheaper.

It is also a much better customer experience too, I'm really glad that people no longer have to take their days off work. Granted, there are rare exceptions such as this one.

ex-Plusnet staffer. Any posts after 28/07/2017 aren't on behalf of Plusnet