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Old 03-19-2012, 10:15 AM   #1
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Telephone Problems


A tree and telephone pole outside my home were struck by lightning. My home phone and DSL line were offline for about a day. It randomly started working again after that, but now the DSL is very slow and disconnects pretty frequently. There's a very low buzz on the phone and it doesn't ring.

The DSL is a Westell Wirespeed and the phones are Western Electric 2500.

I'm totally at a loss on how to begin fixing this.

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Old 03-19-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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Telephone Problems


Have you contacted the phone company yet?

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Old 03-19-2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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Telephone Problems


The phone company is responsible for everything leading up to the interface box on your house. Call them and have them come fix it.

It's possible your modem got fried but not likely. If it had, it almost certainly would not work at all. Either way, the phone company would replace it free of charge I imagine. It's not an expensive piece of equipment.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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If you have multiple land line phones in the house, the first thing I would do is go around the house and unplug everything that plugs into a phone jack, including routers etc. Then plug them back in one by one checking for the problems as you go. It is possible one fried phone can affect the rest.

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The phone company is responsible for everything leading up to the interface box on your house.
True. We used to have problems with our phones in Oklahoma. I would open up the interface box, unplug the jack inside and plug an old fashioned corded phone in there, making sure it was a good phone, not suspected of problems. (Dad worked for MaBell for 30 years so I had plenty.)

If the issues were still occurring on that phone, I knew the problems were before the interface box and responsibility of the phone company. I'd call, tell them the problem was "At the box" and they'd come out and fix it.
If everything functioned properly, that meant the problems were in the house and the phone company would charge a service call to find or fix the problem, so I'd keep looking.

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Old 03-19-2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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True. We used to have problems with our phones in Oklahoma. I would open up the interface box, unplug the jack inside and plug an old fashioned corded phone in there, making sure it was a good phone, not suspected of problems. (Dad worked for MaBell for 30 years so I had plenty.)

If the issues were still occurring on that phone, I knew the problems were before the interface box and responsibility of the phone company. I'd call, tell them the problem was "At the box" and they'd come out and fix it.
If everything functioned properly, that meant the problems were in the house and the phone company would charge a service call to find or fix the problem, so I'd keep looking.
Good advice ^^
My interface box doen't have a jack, the wires are just nutted together. If yours is the same, you will need to undo one leg and hook your test phone to the incoming lines.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:54 PM   #6
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I'm totally at a loss on how to begin fixing this.
DSL works based on proximity to either the central station or a remote booster. I bet the booster station took a hit if you have service but it is dramatically slower. It will not hurt to check your internal lines though and as mentioned they are your responsibility. The phone company is responsible for the service lines though.

Funny, I haven't thought about it in ages but have not had a landline now in well over a decade. No cable either. My wireless internet service is cheaper, so much faster and more reliable than either cable or DSL. Now that wireless phones have accurate GPS and an emergency system, I have no need for a wired phone.

This natural lightning strike gives you a good excuse to shop around a bit.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:55 PM   #7
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Telephone Problems


What's this box you're talking about? The phone lines come in from the telephone pole, through a hole in the garage wall, and are spliced right onto the two cables running to the two telephone jacks. There are no boxes, unless you're referring to the DSL filters.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #8
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Telephone Problems


If I have trouble I plug my modem in right where the cable or phone line comes into my home if it still acts up then I give them a call. If it works there I check all my connections. Problem is now they don't bury the cable deep enough anything that burrows in the ground just a few inches can chew through the insulation easy. Moles are a big problem around here so I am going to bury it deep in conduit when I do mine.

EDIT: If you don't have an interface box I would suggest they add one. Used to be when I had phone if you called about trouble they would ask you to plug a phone into it and check for dial tone. I have not had a phone for many years though.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by michaelson View Post
What's this box you're talking about? The phone lines come in from the telephone pole, through a hole in the garage wall, and are spliced right onto the two cables running to the two telephone jacks. There are no boxes, unless you're referring to the DSL filters.
This is on the outside of our house. It has two jacks because the PO had two lines.

I would start with unplugging all the other landline phones in the house. Especially any cordless ones. It is a quick and easy trouble shoot..
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Telephone Problems-101_1080.jpg   Telephone Problems-101_1081.jpg  

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Old 03-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #10
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Telephone Problems


Usually they say plug something in and there is a stay out of here section and one time I kept having intermittent trouble and tech had been out a bunch of times. Would check the pole and check the wires in the box. I finally got brave and opened that part removed the wires cut some off and put them back in. The box had a weird gel filled wire and the terminals are gel filled and just pierce the wires when you tighten them. Never had any trouble after that.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by michaelson View Post
What's this box you're talking about? The phone lines come in from the telephone pole, through a hole in the garage wall, and are spliced right onto the two cables running to the two telephone jacks. There are no boxes, unless you're referring to the DSL filters.
If the phone company comes out at all, they are probably going to install and interface box, which is one of several slight variations on the one pictured. The phone company likes these because they provide convenient "demarcation point" between what is their responsibility and what is yours, and allows for easy testing. If they do a service call to your house, they are as a matter of policy going to install one, I suspect.

In any event, if you call them and they come out and determine it is in "your" wiring, they are not going to charge you unless they do the work to fix it, and 9 times out of 10 the tech will tell you what is wrong and how to fix it before he goes.

In any event I would unplug all your phones and DSL filters except for one phone and see if that changes anything. Then try the other jacks, one by one, then leave the phones unplugged and do the same with the DSL filters. You want to determine if a surge fried something in your wiring just enough to be causing intermittent problems.

That said, if you are having throughput performance problems on your DSL then I'm going to bet that the problem is at the switch on your local loop. DSL as noted is distance restricted and so there is an amplifier or repeater no more than @ 3000 ft from your house. A local lightning strike could have easily toasted it.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:13 PM   #12
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Telephone Problems


Okay, I purchased a new telephone and connected it right into the jack after unplugging the DSL, the filters, and the other phones. Still the annoying hum and the phone doesn't ring when called (although the call is "there" if you happen to lift the receiver at the right time). The DSL doesn't work any better even when it's the only thing plugged in.

I've got an appointment with the phone company to come out and have a look at it.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:14 PM   #13
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Still the annoying hum and the phone doesn't ring when called (although the call is "there" if you happen to lift the receiver at the right time).
All three are symptoms of a damaged surge protector located where their wires meet yours. Typically only one of the two 'carbons' have shorted. That explains the hum, no ring, and a DSL with a poor signal to noise ratio (a number you can view in a server in the Westell's status page at 192.168.1.1).


When they get it fixed, confirm by viewing a good S/N number from the Westell's server.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:15 AM   #14
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Westom, there should not be any carbon protectors, since this is DSL. No, the only way that the OP can get this fixed, is by filing a trouble ticket. It irks me, that the first thing people do now days, when they have problems with a service like CATV, Internet, cellphones, is head to a Internet forum, vs. contacting the people they are paying for service with.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:20 AM   #15
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Westom, there should not be any carbon protectors, since this is DSL. No, the only way that the OP can get this fixed, is by filing a trouble ticket. It irks me, that the first thing people do now days, when they have problems with a service like CATV, Internet, cellphones, is head to a Internet forum, vs. contacting the people they are paying for service with.
Those guys are always out they don't charge anything to check your lines outside for trouble. As soon as I notice I have trouble with communications and I can't get a better connection at the interface box or where the cable line comes in. I give them a call and if I figure it out before my appointment I call and cancel it.

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