Jan 23, 2012

DSL Adventures

When we bought our house, it was listed with "high speed internet available". We neglected to ask just what the source of that internet was. Turns out it was satellite. Given the reviews I've seen, that was a non-starter.

We tried dial-up for a while, and it was so frustrating (25-28k connections) that I preferred to have NO internet than a horribly unreliable connection.

Verizon had spotty service but we tried a mobile hotspot via cellular. The Palm phone I had worked sometimes. The tablet I have now works better but still isn't 100%; certainly not enough for streaming anything and high ping times.

At the end of December the phone company sent us a letter saying DSL would be available soon. I called and put my name on a list for notification. They called earlier this month and we got on the install list...

This past Saturday, the tech arrived, asked where we wanted the modem, and plugged in the filter and modem. It took a minute but did connect. The wireless router I had (a Belkin product) flatly refused to work properly.

I took the router back to BestBuy and came home with a Netgear, which connects to the laptop and modem with no issues... but the modem won't stay connected.

Given that we've had some issues with static on the phone lines, I decided that the first step would be running a clean line from the Demarcation Point to the jack we're using. It's been a while, but phone wiring is pretty easy - just match colors. Whoever ran the lines in the house in the past had done some funky stuff, but it was easy to drop all but the one run I needed. That wire was verging on antique, so I pulled it out and ran a fresh piece of Cat5e with a new jack on the end. (I wasn't able to get to the DMP, as the wire to it runs in a crawlspace too small for Kate Moss - but the junction block it feeds is easy to get to and the wire looked good.)

Plugged in the modem and router and it connected almost instantly and stayed connected for a solid 30 minutes. I thought I was home-free. Cleaned up, put away my tools, and found that the modem had dropped connection and wouldn't reconnect.

Picked up the phone and sure enough, heavy static on the line. By this time it was dark and windy and going outside to fiddle with the DMP seemed like a bad idea. I'll poke at it again this afternoon. Once I know I've got clean lines from the DMP to my jack, it becomes the phone company's problem. If the DMP has a test jack, I'll plug the modem in directly...

While it was working, results were favorable - a solid 1.5-1.7Mb download speed, and Hulu worked fine.

(Also noted some reviews indicating heat issues with the modem they provided, so that's worth considering as well...)

It's been a while since I've done this stuff professionally, but it all comes back. ;-)


dakotared said...

Same issues. Try the Netgear modem/ router and be sure to have filters.

Old NFO said...

Good luck with that, static may NOT be coming from the demarc... Another issue may be your distance to the SLA. Too far and you could be getting hits from everything and it's brother...