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No ADSL - Christmas lights!

N/A

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

2 weeks of frustration have just led me (with the help of the fantastic PN help desk - thanks everyone) to discover what caused a problem with my ADSL line dropping for long periods since the 3rd December. Perhaps others out there may be having a similar problem.

I was finding that I was only getting a connection from the hours of 10.00 hrs to 16.00 hrs and 0.00hrs and 06.00hrs. Outside these hours I got absolutely no connection whatsoever then bang on time it miraculously came back. Having contacted PN they performed a line check and came back saying that there was a lot of noise on the line and my margin was low (didn't mean a great deal technically to me but sounded plausible). Anyway, before going to BT and possibly being charged for the privilege, I read a few forum topics and all those cynics towards PN implied that something sinister may have been going on at PN as I only seemed to be getting a connection in off-peak hours (although I am not one of those people who use over 100GB a month) – so I asked them straight and they answered no.

Then I got another response from someone called Jonathan at PN customer support who suggested that, as strange as it sounds, Christmas lights could be the problem and sure enough it dawned on me immediately that I had some outside lights on a timer and, yes, the timing matched exactly. I still didn’t believe it as it sounded so stupid that this could cause the problem but I was getting desperate to find a solution so I turned the timer off and sure as ‘eggs are eggs’ my ADSL came back on line. Turn the lights on again and it immediately drops.

Unbelievable to a non-electrical ‘techie’ like myself but true – Christmas lights can affect your broadband.

Hope this helps somebody out there.
9 REPLIES
LiamM
Grafter
Posts: 5,636
Registered: 12-08-2007

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

As strange as it may seem, you are indeed spot on.

The number of people who report random disconnections and sync problems during this time of year goes up for this very reason. And most people don't believe that it could actually be christmas lights creating line noise.
N/A

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

They must be creating some sort of interference then - somewhat like microwaves are supposed to be able to interfere with cordless telephones...
glloyd
Rising Star
Posts: 1,652
Thanks: 20
Fixes: 1
Registered: 06-04-2007

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

I think it's possible the inteference could be generated through the electricity supply. One cure could be to switch the socket the lights are plugged into but a better suggestion would be to connect them to one of the power surge type sockets and do the same with the router if you are using a router. Another move would be to fit a ferrite ring or clamp to the telephone lead going to the modem/router in case the lights are generating RF, which they should not be. I believe you can buy RF filters to fit between the telephone socket and router. Also check it's not the time switch itself causing the problem as some of them are known to cause inteference.
prichardson
Grafter
Posts: 1,503
Registered: 05-04-2007

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

Hi,

RF filtering your phone line is a poor idea, if not done properly.

ADSL is in effect an AM signal pumped over a copper wire, rather than broadcast via an ariel. This is the whole reason it is very prone to signal loss when RF is present.

Additionally, RF is one of the reasons why lines are enabled on demand and not bulk enabled and simply switched on to an ISP. The more lines you enable, the more cross-pair talk that occurs.

Essentially, this means the more people that get ADSL enabled, the more risk you have of having connection problems in general. Unfortunatly, the law of physics prevents a cure to this siutation.

During training, we are inducted on the faults diagnosis process. Christmas tree lights are specificly mentioned in this. We even have a proven case that electric fences have caused hell in the past.

Kind Regards,
glloyd
Rising Star
Posts: 1,652
Thanks: 20
Fixes: 1
Registered: 06-04-2007

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

Any filtering is a bad idea if not done properly but can help a great deal if done properly with the correct filters. I run 8 radios TXing 24/7 within feet of my router and telephone line (And TV aerial) and get to interference what so ever.

Using poor quality cables to connect computer/ADSL equipment can and does cause problems. With the case of flickering Christmas lights causing problems it's more likely they are causing multiple spikes on the electricity supply and using a good quality main surge protector (filter) on the lights and computer and Router will help.
adambsmith
Newbie
Posts: 8
Registered: 31-07-2007

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

At my previous house, I lost the ASDL sync whenever the heating system decided that it need to change between hot water and hot water/central heating. So when the electronic valve did it stuff - it caused interference which could be heard on my radio. So winter time saw quite a few losses of sync :x
N/A

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

Has anyone run an AM radio over the back end of there pc near the power supply?

U dont really see much, if any interfearence on good quality power supplies, but cheap generics that coust £5~10 or come with £25~30 cases are terrible for it.


I had a case around a year ago, where a m8 had terrible disconnection problems. Swapped the power supply for an antec, and problem solved.

Hell i had a generic in the first pc i built. It was replaced after 2 weeks of being able to recieve no am radio in the pc room, and having bad interfearence through the rest of the house.

So really. The point is that. it pays to buy quality, and when its comes to xmas lights, it pays err not to buy flashing lights. I think normal lights are relativly ok in terms of interfearence
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

Hi,

I've been working in this industry nearly 6 years now and in that time seen quite a few strange problems affecting people's broadband connections.

December to January every year brings up a load of problems caused by Christmas lights, seems to increase in numbers year after year.

As Phil says there's been one with an electric fence. I've seen another where the broadband went off at lunchtime everyday because they were in a flat above a chip shop and they were cooking pies in the microwave.

Street lights, central heating and security lights have also been known to cause problems for some people.
N/A

No ADSL - Christmas lights!

maybe because customer numbers have been increaseing at a somewhat alarming rate dave Wink