Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar
I’m sorry the site’s been down. My DSL modem has been really bad about picking up a signal and even worse about holding on to it when it finds one. Out of desperation I unplugged my Speedsteam and pulled out my old Alcatel that I had in my apartment. The Alcatel didn’t see a signal at all. At least the Speedstream usually saw a partial one. So I pressed the Speedstream back into duty.
But it’s been reliable for the past 7 hours, which must be some kind of record.
Bell swears the Speedstreams are completely reliable and the old Alcatels were junk. I never had problems with my Alcatel, and as far as I know, neither has Steve DeLassus.
I suspect some of the problem is my wiring. The jack in this room was wired sloppily and cheaply with what looks like doorbell wire. Half the jacks in the house never worked at all. I think I’ll have to get a friend to help me pull some CAT5 in here soon, and wire the jacks properly.
I know the phone in this room doesn’t work all that well. I remember the couple of times I’ve dialed up from here, I’ve gotten really low connection speeds, like on the order of 33.6 or lower. I could almost always get 53K from my apartment, less than a mile away. But my apartment had pretty good wiring. (Good thing, because about the only other thing that place had to offer was four walls and a roof.)
Meanwhile, hopefully the site stays reliable. I’ve got the MTU on my web server set below 1500, which fixes the other connectivity problems we’ve had.
And barring all else, maybe I’ll just move my equipment into a different room. But I hope it doesn’t come to that.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.
2 thoughts on “Time for more potshots at SWBell”
Dave, you might try the Alcatel again. Remember that they’re wired differently than standard RJ-11 in the States; it’s got that funky French wiring that swaps inner/outer pairs. When I moved, I forgot that the tech had wired a new jack for the DSL modem at the old house, so I had to wire up a custom cable to make things work at the new place. You might check that you’ve got the wiring right and give it a shot.
If you rewire your house for DSL I suggest using CAT3 rather than CAT5. CAT3 has less impedence and if your signal is marginal, CAT5’s higher impedence may prevent your modem from locking.
I did run into this issue with a friend’s DSL connection. We tried a lengths of CAT5 run directly from his modem to his NID but couldn’t get a link. I didn’t have any CAT3, but I had a length of regular silver satin phone cord, which is of course not twisted-pair. This actually worked for him.
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