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This is insane!

September 18, 2004, 11:53 PM

This is definitely an unusual journal entry that I’m writing right now. Instead of writing this directly into the Web site, I’m writing this in Windows Notepad, and then I’m going to manually add this entry into my journal online later. The time at the bottom of this entry, in case you’re wondering, does reflect the actual time of writing – not the time it was manually added in online. Wondering why I’m doing this? Let me explain…

For some time now, we’ve been having phone problems. We have two lines at the house. One line for voice (let’s call it Line 1), and the other line for Internet (which we’ll call Line 2). Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of interference and cross-talk on the two lines. If we’re on the Internet using Line 2, we’ll get bumped off periodically, or the line will go dead, leaving Windows showing that we have an active connection, but nothing will go through. No Web, no Instant Messenger. Usually I can tell when that happens when all my IM services (AIM, MSN, Yahoo) will go dead, one after the other. Usually MSN drops first, followed by Yahoo, finally followed by AIM. Web service is also disrupted, though it’s not as noticeable. There’s also the occasion where the modem actually drops the connection, with the audible “click” of it disconnecting, and the computer indicating that it lost the connection. We were quietly blaming this on Velocitus, our ISP, for some time. We figured it was a problem on their end. But not so.

We figured out it wasn’t Velocitus when we started getting cross-talk from Line 2 on Line 1. When someone was connected to the Internet on Line 2, we would hear the modem sounds in the background. Very bothersome. Then something else started happening. Whenever a call would come in on Line 1, or someone would make a call on Line 1, it would disrupt Line 2’s connection. So thus if the phones rang and my strobe started going off, it was bye-bye Internet, and the connection would either die or it would drop entirely.

Now tonight, and the real reason that I’m doing this entry in Notepad rather than online, is because a buzzing noise has started on both lines. This makes it very difficult to hear a caller on Line 1, and is causing problems with the Internet connection on Line 2. So as a result of this interference, I can’t connect to the Internet.

It just so happens that about a week ago, I had talked to my friend Susan, who works doing repair calls for Ntelos. She and I had worked together back when we were both at CFW Information Services (later Telegate USA) doing directory assistance. She was telling me about all the steps you have to take to diagnose a phone problem over the phone. Check this, unplug this, try this, etc. So with my problem tonight, I remembered what she said, and did a little troubleshooting myself. So I checked all the phones in the house. The noise was present on all of them, both corded and cordless. Okay. We’ve established that the noise exists on all the lines. Next step was to disconnect all the phones from the jacks. So I ran around the house, disconnecting all the phones. I waited a few minutes for anything that might have been connected to clear. Then I plugged a corded phone back in. More interference. So I plugged everything back in.

Now this is where we really get resourceful. I remember reading at one point some years back in an old Bell Atlantic phone book about the telephone network interface box. I remembered about how to check to see if the problem is in the wiring in the house or if it’s the telephone network. So I grabbed a corded phone, and went out behind the house. I found the little box and opened it up. Inside I found where the lines from the telephone network connect with the wiring in the house. It actually connects via a standard phone jack. Cool! So I proceeded to unplug the connectors for both lines, remembering which went where so I could put them back. I took my corded phone, and plugged it into Line 1. Crystal clear. Good. I then undid that, and plugged it into Line 2. Also crystal clear. So that means it’s not the telephone network. It’s the wiring in the house. Oh, lovely… that means it’s our problem. So I plugged everything back up where it was supposed to be, and closed up the box.

Still, this is why it pays to read the stuff in the front of the phone book. I wouldn’t have known to check the interface box if I hadn’t read in there one day when I was bored. That means that a call to Verizon would have done us no good, since it’s our problem and not theirs.

So I have successfully diagnosed a phone problem in the house. See? I am resourceful! I have isolated the problem somewhat by finding out what it isn’t. It’s not any one extension. The problem lies before it breaks off into the individual extensions. It’s not an active connection, since I disonnected everything. That also rules out a problem with either my computer, or any handset. It’s also not the telephone network, with my having checked directly at the interface box. So it’s somewhere between where the lines enter the house and before they break off into the different extensions. I consider that pretty darn good. Now I know what to tell Dad about where the problem is located.

Of course, now comes the tricky part. We have to fix it.

Web site: I can't get online to find one, so here's mine!

Song: Opblaaskrokodil, by Ome Henk

Quote: "Well, now we know where it isn't."

Categories: House