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Kate kate_nepveu
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Dumb DSL questions

Say you have two phone jacks in your house. One (A) just has a phone going to it, and it has a wall-mounted DSL filter. The other (B) gets split at the jack. One end of the split (B1) is plugged into a filter and then a phone. The other end (B2) gets split again; one end (B2a) goes directly to the DSL modem, no filter, and the other (B2b) goes into a filter, into an answering machine, and then directly into a phone.

Is there anything about this setup that needs another filter (answering machine to phone?), or fewer splits (we could ditch B1 without too much trouble)? Could this setup account for our getting 100% of our advertised bandwidth up, but only about 10% of our bandwidth down?

(I'll probably end up crawling around on the floor disconnecting things and rebooting the modem—oh, and we have a wireless router too—tonight anyway, but that's tedious and if anyone can assure me whether it's definitely a complete waste of time, that would be nice. Next step, of course, is to contact Verizon. (Oh joy.))

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I don't think you need any other filters, but I'd suggest a different setup:

The best setup is to have a splitter as close as possible to the point where the wires enter your house, with a filter on one side and your whole phone infrastructure after that (without further filters), and on the other side the DSL modem with as little cable as possible (and if possible, replace all the stuff your ADSL signal goes over with Cat5 networking cable rather than generic phone cable. Can't hurt.). Around here, the telco provides you with an "ADSL splitter" that basically has incoming phoneline, internal phones, and ADSL-modem connections and internally consists of a splitter + filter combo.

Having DSL signals go over your entire -- usually crappily cabled, since you don't need better than that for phone -- internal phone infrastructure and only being stopped at the jacks *works*, for certain values of works, but it's suboptimal. Also in how much it costs, since you'll use many more than one filter that way.

It would be possible to do the upstairs jack as you suggest, I think. I haven't the foggiest where the phone lines come into the house before splitting off into the upstairs and downstairs jacks, though.

(Cost isn't an issue, they gave us a bunch of filters.)

Thanks.

(Deleted comment)
(Deleted and reposted because I'm an idiot.)

Yeah, I am so not looking forward to dealing with tech support. I just do not have the mental energy for it right now.

OTOH, 10% of advertised download speeds? Sucks.

briefly

It probably isn't the filter configuration, but the filter configuration IS suboptimal. You'd be somehwat better off filtering B1 and then splitting filtered-B1 into telephone and answering machine legs, or even plugging the telephone into the answering machine into the filter on B1 and plugging the DSL modem into B2. I think that this would be better because it would be simpler (easier to keep track of where things are plugged in), have fewer connectors (less chance of a mechanically broken connection or any other factor which could degrade the DSL signal), and fewer filters.

You didn't mention if the bandwidth down had suddenly dropped or if you had changed the wiring configuration lately. If the bandwidth did drop recently and you didn't make any wiring changes and the dog hasn't been chewing on the cables, it's more likely to be a problem outside your house. Or a problem with the modem or router. Or anything except the internal, unchanged wiring.

But as corruptedjasper noted, Verizon will want you to restart your DSL modem anyway, if only because that's cheap debugging and escalating your problem to an internal technician or an outside craftsperson is expensive.

Re: briefly

It probably isn't the filter configuration, but the filter configuration IS suboptimal. You'd be somehwat better off filtering B1 and then splitting filtered-B1 into telephone and answering machine legs, or even plugging the telephone into the answering machine into the filter on B1 and plugging the DSL modem into B2. I think that this would be better because it would be simpler (easier to keep track of where things are plugged in), have fewer connectors (less chance of a mechanically broken connection or any other factor which could degrade the DSL signal), and fewer filters.

The possible configurations are limited by the fact that the computer and phone jack are on opposite sides of the room, and not easily relocated. We could easily drop one of the two splitters and regular phone lines (B1), but putting the modem closer to the jack (as some have suggested) is non-trivial.

You didn't mention if the bandwidth down had suddenly dropped or if you had changed the wiring configuration lately. If the bandwidth did drop recently and you didn't make any wiring changes and the dog hasn't been chewing on the cables, it's more likely to be a problem outside your house. Or a problem with the modem or router. Or anything except the internal, unchanged wiring.

The answering machine is a relatively recent addition (but didn't change the splitter/filter arrangement), though neither of us remembers when we bought the thing, and whether that's correlated with the bandwidth problems. We used to get good download speeds, but they've sucked for the last several weeks (long enough that I don't recall when that happened, either).

Re: briefly

If your lucky, it's just a wiring problem you can fix. If not, VZ has oversold the DSLAM and you're competing with your neighbors for bandwidth on the trunk feeding it. Telcos, you gotta hate them.

Re: briefly

Thanks--we'll play with the wiring as you & corruptedjasper have suggested, but I have a feeling it isn't related to that either. Just wanting to rule out as much as I could before having to go to the dreaded Tech Support.

(And we've restarted the modem many, many times, alas.)

Maybe I'm missing the point, but why is the wireless router tedious? It seems to me (I don't know how many systems you have running on your network) that this would be a good thing.

...except when you have to reboot the modem umpteen times in one night, then the router becomes a pain in the buttocks.

Wow, if you have to reboot your DSL modem umpteen times, I'd recommend Cable. Who does your DSL service?

I have cable. I was speaking theoretically based on what Kate described - reconfiguring the wires, rebooting, checking; reconfiguring again, rebooting again, etc.

If I may play Devil's Advocate, this is where I would think wireless would be the best thing you could have. That way, you have freedom to move the modem (presuming it's also your wireless router, which most should be) about the room as you please, and all you have to do to check connectivity is ipconfig /renew if you end up having to reboot the router/modem for whatever reason. Also, I suppose, I'm assuming you're using DHCP, but then, who isn't?

The modem and wireless router are separate boxes, and one of the two computers (my desktop machine) does not have wireless capability.