adsl line problems

Another dumb question coming up.
My mates broadband connection has stopped working. If he plugs a telephone into the adsl socket, should there be a dialling tone on the line?

If he plugs a telephone into the adsl socket

He has a separate socket for ADSL? Are the line-filters dongles connected at each wall socket?

should there be a dialling tone on the line?

Mine does. I don’t think it’s required. I believe the phrase is “dry loop” if there is no dial tone.

This house is old and the wiring house is a mess. There are two almost inaccessible old fashioned UK style phone sockets located together behind a desk. The phone plugs into one and this works ok, the broadband is the other socket, but I don’t know if it is on the same wire as the phone. If I plug the phone into the broadband socket it is silent, no dial tone. I can’t find the BT master socket to test the connection from there.

Have you tried plugging a microfilter into the working socket, then connecting the phone and adsl modem to that?

More thoughts…
Does your mate run a business from his house? If there really are 2 phone lines, it could be an ISDN modem. Ooooh. Expensive!
Has he done any DIY recently?
Does he have a rodent infestation?

It is definitely an adsl line. Yes I have tried a new microfilter, new modem and swapped the phone / modem lines over but, still no connection.

This stuff was all installed 10 years ago and nobody can remember what is connected to where, and to put it in perspective, I could fit my whole house into my friends private study, if the study wasn’t so full of ‘stuff’ that it is difficult to turn round once you are in there.

Rodent infestation?. Yes! I guess you have seen this before. The little b*ggers chewed through a plastic water pipe in the loft a few months ago and I considered this, but I can’t understand how all the phones are still working on what seems to be a line shared with the net connection.

The broadband company were supposed to call me back 24 hours ago about possible problems with any of their equipment, but so far, nothing!

You seem to have covered all the bases.
Looks like an external problem. Poke the supplier :wink:

I’ve never heard of an ADSL only line, so you should expect a dial tone. If you don’t get a dial tone the socket is dead.

First, unplug everything from the phone line.
Trace the wire leading to the socket back to where the line enters the house. Find the first socket (there may only be one).
Unscrew the front of the socket, there may be another socket inside. If there is, remove the front plate and try the secret socket inside (this is your master socket).
Try equipment that are known to be working (filter, cable and modem). If you have a spare set of equipment try them too.

Once you’ve done all this phone the ISP and say that you have a problem with the line, you’re not getting a dialtone and you have tried a known to be working modem and filter on the mastersocket with no other devices plugged in to the line. You should get a decent response then.

In my experience your ISP will run a line check which will report no faults, it’ll get passed to BT wholesale and it’ll start working in a couple of days. You most likely won’t hear back from the ISP. You almost certainly won’t hear from BT Wholesale.

Edit: I’ve presumed you’re in England. If not I suspect you’ll need to do exactly the same but replace BT Wholesale with whoever owns the lines, or if you’re in England and LLU’d it’ll be the ISP’s own equipment so you should get a better response.

they do offer only dsl lines, I used to have one with no phone service, and my experience with our dsl provider’s tech support ended with me switching to cable

I got a DSL when it was first offered in the Chicagoland area. It was a very big modem and required a separate line. It had all sorts of problems. It would only work about 70% of the time and would never work in the middle of the day. Most likely due to the sun heating up the outside lines and causing some sort of issue. I have not really had too many problems with newer DSL equipment/lines. They seem to have figured out how to adjust pretty well for line conditions.

So no one but your ISP or phone company can tell your for sure if there should be a dialtone. Also if it is on the same line as the phone, just because you have a dialtone doesn’t mean the line is good enough quality to handle DSL. It not only depends on the quality of lines in the house but also the quality of lines and equipment going to the Central Office.

I am not sure how it works in your area, but usually they send out a technician (within a day or 2) that will test the lines from the outside of the house for free. Inside wiring is another story.

What is the model of the DSL modem? What lights are lighting up on it? Maybe the issue could be with the computer or router.

they do offer only dsl lines, I used to have one with no phone service, and my experience with our dsl provider’s tech support ended with me switching to cable

I can’t comment on other countries, but if you’re in the UK and you can get cable I’d thoroughly recommend it.

VirginMedia aren’t perfect but the price is good and it’s more reliable than DSL. It’s also faster - their lowest speed is 10mbps, which is higher than ADSLMax’s top speed of 8mbps. You’re also likely to get 10mbps, unlike ADSL which drops off over distance from the exchange.

Thanks everybody. Yes I am in the UK. I guessed there should be a dial tone on the line (I switched to cable years ago) and I also think there are 3 lines coming into the house.
I have now found two (very old) master sockets (no internal test sockets) on which the phones work ok but the modem will not connect, this just leaves the mystery dead adsl socket which should be connected to somewhere, but I don’t know where and it is going to mean removing large parts of a large house to find out.

Edit: I am with Virgin myself, this whole house demolishing episode is for my mate who calls me whenever anything goes wrong :-?

Have you called the ISP? It’s worth a shot, they might be able to spot a problem from their end before you start ripping things up.

You don’t need to have a dial tone with ADSL but it’s possible to have it.
If you have it you need a splitter box between the modem and the main incoming socket.
Otherwise you can leave out the splitter and connect the modem to the main incoming socket.
You need to have shortest possible wire from the main socket to the modem.

If possible move the modem to the other socket add a splitter and try again.
Also some modems have loopback tests for the adsl single build in the web interface, which is great as sometimes you don’t get an dns server address from the provider.