DSL intermittent - modem drops internet connection

Discussion in 'Networking' started by mamlukman, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. mamlukman

    mamlukman New Member

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    Here is a tough problem I really need help on. I see a lot of people have this problem, but of course there are almost infinite variations.

    My DSL internet comes and goes—either on or off—several times a day. This has been going on for two weeks.

    Here is the background (it’s long, but I’m trying to give all necessary information):

    Since the mid-1990s we’ve always had two computers (Macintosh). One upstairs, one downstairs, connected with Ethernet cable. About the same time we set up internet access. When we switched from dial-up to DSL (a long time ago), I ran a telephone wire from an outlet in the basement to another basement room where we kept the computer (10-15 ft., and yes, I’m aware of a “14-foot” maximum rule). There were no telephone jacks in the computer room. I split the telephone wire, and ran the 2nd wire to the upstairs computer, which is directly above the one in the basement. Currently I have a G4 in the basement and a Mac Pro desktop (2012) upstairs.

    DSL is through Verizon. I use their modem, Actiontec Model GT784WNV. I got a new modem from them in March 2014 and they gave me another one (same model) last week. Both computers are wired into the modem with Ethernet cables, as is the Blu-ray player on the TV.

    So the point is that everything (DSL setup) worked just fine for 5+ years. There have been no changes in wiring, connectors, etc. The only change has been the new Mac Pro two years ago and new modems every few years, and the Actiontec has been there for about 5 years—the last model since March 2014.

    The problem: The internet will just disappear at all hours (I’ve kept a log of when I notice it off). Sometimes it comes back on on its own. If I turn the modem on and off, it comes back immediately. When the internet is off, the “internet” light on the modem goes off, but the DSL light is still always on. The phones all work fine.

    Solution so far: I’ve had two Verizon guys out here to check the connection, wires, etc. outside. Apparently the box on the outside of my house goes to a hub in my backyard (about 150 feet) which in turn goes to another hub about 1000 ft away, which in turn goes to a major hub on a main road. One technician put me on a pair of new copper wires from the main road hub to the hub 1,000 ft. away. So the wiring between the 1,000 ft. away hub to my back yard hub to my house is 40 years old. It’s underground. Both guys tested the signal at the box on my house, and it’s good. (Of course if my internet comes and goes, they could have simply tested it when it was good!)

    After that was done, I still had problems. So I waited until the internet was off (I’m keeping my “network status” window from “systems preferences” open so I can see if the “internet” and “server” buttons turn red). I sat my wife in front of the computer to make sure the internet button stayed red, and connected my 2nd modem (remember, same model…) to the box on the outside of the house. The 2nd modem had a green internet light—at the same time as the one inside the house was red.

    So I’m making the assumption that the problem is not the wiring outside the house. Does that make sense?

    If it’s inside the house, it seems to me there are three possibilities: 1) the wiring from the outside box to the various telephone jacks 2) the wire I strung years ago from the phone jack in the basement to the modem in the basement 3) the modem.

    Since I switched the modems last week and had the same problem, it can’t be (in a rational world) the modem itself. But maybe it could be the modem settings. I had a 40-minute phone call with a Verizon technician in India. He took control of my computer and changed only one setting—the wireless (?!) setting from “auto” to “11.”

    In a previous phone call, a Verizon person said the DSL signal was being “blocked.” The 2nd guy in India said the same thing, but then ran the test again after he made his change and said the “blockage” was gone. The modem default for firewalls is “off” and the firewall has never been activated. I’ve done several speed tests when the internet was working, and the speed is always pretty much what it should be (3 mps).

    And yes, I’ve done (multiple times) the exercise of unplugging all the wires from the modem, “resetting,” etc. Doesn’t fix the problem.

    And yes, the problem affects both computers and all browsers. The connection is lost at the modem.

    And yes, every phone has a filter. There is no filter on the DSL line to the modem.

    Any thoughts???
     
    mamlukman, Oct 1, 2016
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  2. mamlukman

    Cory Cooper Moderator

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    Hello,

    The things that stick out to me are:

    -You stated you "split" the telephone wire and ran it to the upstairs Mac Pro. Maybe that split is causing a signal level loss to the DSL modem?
    -The wireless setting that the Verizon tech changed from Auto to 11 shouldn't affect anything that is connected using Ethernet. That sounds like the Wi-Fi protocol - 802.11n, which would probably be selected anyway using the Auto setting.
    -I agree - it's probably not the outside wiring, it is something with the internal wiring.
    -The DSL filters sound like they are installed on the correct device lines.
    -Do you have ore than five DSL filters installed in your house? That can affect the quality/connectivity of the Verizon High Speed Internet service.

    My understanding of ideal DSL setup is as follows:
    -DSL line from the street to a protector/surge panel, then the main patch panel/MPOE box (either on the side of the house or in the basement). The signal is split with separate data and voice lines in the junction box itself and run to various wall jacks.
    -Connect DSL modem to a dedicated DSL data line wall jack.
    -Connect telephones to telephone wall jacks

    But, in many/most installs, lines are just run out of MPOE box to the wall jacks, and phone filters are applied at various connection points, such as in your setup.

    -Did the Verizon technicians inspect and verify the proper setup/wiring from the street to the MPOS box, and the lines split to all the outlets in your house?
    -Have you tries using a single DSL modem in the basement, and using Ethernet cables running from it to the Macs, instead of trying to use two DSL modems and the split telephone line? Maybe there is a conflict with two DSL modems trying to "fight" for the same IP address/connection with the service?

    I hope my understanding of your setup is correct,

    C
     
    Cory Cooper, Oct 1, 2016
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  3. mamlukman

    mamlukman New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I said one thing wrong: I said I split the telephone wire—yes and no. Both computers are connected to the modem directly by their own Ethernet cables. I did split the telephone wire coming into the basement computer room, but 1 wire went to a telephone and fax machine (with a filter) and the other to the modem (no filter).

    There are only 4 telephones in the house, and 4 filters.

    I think the 2nd Verizon guy did what you said in your ideal setup—he changed out a little box in the outside telephone box that had “data” on one part and “phone” on the other. Before it didn’t differentiate. But that hasn’t made a difference.

    And yes, both Verizon guys tested the wires from the outside to the box on the house. The two people I talked to on the phone seemed to test that, too.

    I am only using one modem. I only mentioned the other one because I used it to test for the outside signal when my computer was showing a dropped connection. But everything hooks up to one modem.

    But why would everything work for about 5 years and then all of a sudden have dropped connections??? That’s the question!
     
    mamlukman, Oct 1, 2016
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  4. mamlukman

    Cory Cooper Moderator

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    OK, thanks for the additional information and clarification.

    Not sure why it would simply stop working after five years...my gut feeling would be that some of the wiring has simply failed - either the telephone or Ethernet.

    -Any signs of critters chewing on any of the wiring?
    -Have you tried swapping the telephone/fax machine jack with the DSL modem jack?
    -Good there are only four. Five seems to be a recommended "limit."
    -Good you are only using a single DSL modem. Two could cause additional issues.

    C
     
    Cory Cooper, Oct 2, 2016
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  5. mamlukman

    Jeff George New Member

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    Jeff George, Oct 4, 2016
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  6. mamlukman

    Jeff George New Member

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    Hello,

    I see from your description that the Verizon guy set it to Channel 11.

    This may the cause of your DSL dropping out - see below...

    Non-Overlapping Channels
    Each channel on the 2.4 GHz spectrum is 20 MHz wide. The channel centres are separated by 5 MHz, and the entire spectrum is only 100 MHz wide total. This means that the 11 channels have to squeeze into the 100 MHz available, and in the end, overlap.

    [​IMG]

    However, there are three channels that don’t overlap: 1, 6 and 11, as you can see in the image below. Co-channel interference is where devices take turns talking, so the more devices on one channel, the longer it takes for a device to talk since it has to wait for its turn.

    [​IMG]

    Armed with the above information, you’ve narrowed your selection down to three channel choices (1, 6 and 11) without using any software! I would try Channel 6 and see if this improves things.
     
    Jeff George, Oct 4, 2016
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  7. mamlukman

    mamlukman New Member

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    I'll give it a shot. Meanwhile, the dropped connection has gotten less frequent--twice a day. But still, in the previous 5 or so years, no dropped connections at all!
     
    mamlukman, Oct 4, 2016
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  8. mamlukman

    Cory Cooper Moderator

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    That is a good suggestion to try another channel for the wireless, especially if you have any new devices in your home that may be introducing some form of interference somehow.

    Let us know,

    C
     
    Cory Cooper, Oct 4, 2016
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  9. mamlukman

    mamlukman New Member

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    Switched to channel 6, an hour later lost the connection....
     
    mamlukman, Oct 4, 2016
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