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(Post Link) post #1 of 30 Old 24-09-12 Thread Starter
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Internet dropouts on wifi

This is an issue which has been going on for 2 years, dunno why I'm only just posting about it. It's a bit of a long one I'm afraid.

It all started when a god chewed through my phone cable. This got replaced by BT.

The dog then chewed through the new one. I replaced it myself (and later found I'm not supposed to, which explains why I could only source internal cables.)

Some time later, I realised that I was getting some drop-outs, and instantly thought of the new cabling. Looks for chewed bits, but it seemed fine.

Eventually, problem got bad enough, and I got annoyed enough that I called out the engineers again, who did replace my cabling with the proper stuff, did checks, declared it all fine.

Dropouts continued, but fell to maybe once per day for just a minute or two. Called engineers again. This time, did a check and said that an error count called 'FEC' was gradually rising on my line whenever anything happened (such as a phone call). When this reached a certain level, this caused the internet to drop out while it reset. He diagnosed this problem as being off site, and changed the cable pair which I was on between my house and the local box.

No improvement, but further attempts to get a proper fix met with less useful support and less useful engineers. Basically Tiscali and BT couldn't agree on ficing something expensive and at the exchange. Eventually I got fed up of the hassle, accepted a 5 second dropout once a day, and gave up.

More recently, my dropouts have increased again. It seems to have happened at the same time as swapping our cordless phones for a different model.

So yesterday, I disconnected and switched off all the house phones. Bit of a limited test time, but no drop-outs during that period.

So, are the phones causing the problem?

And if they are, is it because of this mystical 'FEC' - in which case there's nothing I can do about it?

Or is it the DECT technology interfering with my wifi signal? If so, will changing wifi channel fix it? (and how do I do so without everything crapping out!?
The symptom of the dropouts is that the router stays green-lighted. The computer seemingly stays connected to the network, but claims the network has no internet connection. Could that still be a network issue, despite reporting as an internet issue?

Thanks if you've been willing to read this essay. Thanks even more if you can help!

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(The FEC (Forward Error Correction)you mention rising is a way of attempting to avod re-transmissions of data, in your case, errors are being detected. I would be surprised if the drop-outs in your WiFi are linked, as the BT and Tiscali are only bothered about the link from the HUB/ROUTER back to the exchange equipment)

Recently had to redo my CCNA and one of the most common questions is along the lines of what disturbs WiFi networks in offices.
The typical answers are cordless phones, filing cabinets and microwaves.
I would try using a different channel initially. Or move your phone into the microwave and dump them both in the filing cabinet.

Is it definately just the WIFI dropping out?

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(Post Link) post #3 of 30 Old 24-09-12 Thread Starter
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Never had any issue with voice calls.

The problem with the FEC thing is that there have been attempted fixes since that was measured, so I have no idea whether it is still the case - it might be that it is no longer happening / rising.

During these dropouts, my router lights are all still on as usual. My computer reports that it is still connected to a network, but with 'limited connectivity'. Internet can't be accessed, but the Router set-up page can. So it definitely seems to be only internet, not the entire wifi signal.
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Tonight I just disconnected from the phone line, didn't turn them off, and no dropouts again.

This leads to two questions:

1) Will DECT phones still be trying to communicate with each other (to try to enable a connection I guess) when the main one isn't plugged into the phone line?

2) Do phones send some signal down the phone line even when a call isn't being made? (The reason I ask - If this 'FEC' is the culprit, I can't understand how removing the phone could make a large difference, we hardly ever use it anyway.)

I will continue to experiment.
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Just a few random thoughts.
Have you tried a hard-wired connection to your router and, if so, do you still get the same problem?
Have you tried just having one phone switched on to see if it's a particular handset?
Have you tried a different router?

I don't know if you need micro filters with the DECT phones but, if you do, could you have a duff one?

This sounds like there is some interference somewhere, sounds similar to this
 
(Post Link) post #6 of 30 Old 25-09-12 Thread Starter
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Ah. That's a point - I have had it wired before, and still suffered problems.

The phones are new, and the problem existed with the old ones - I just think it might have got worse when the new ones arrived.

I have tried a different router, and different network adaptor, and different micro-filters.
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(Post Link) post #7 of 30 Old 25-09-12 Thread Starter
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Given the suddenly remembering the wired experiment, back to thinking it's the FEC thing - which my provider are basically refusing to fix (or even acknowledge.)
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Something I read mentioned double-filtering when using DECT phones, it may be worth googling that.
Have you tried doing a quiet line test? You connect a wired phone to the BT test socket and call 17070 option 2, more details courtesy of my ISP here
 
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Bazza, what sort of extension wiring do you have around the house? I used to have issues until I disconnected all extensions and plugged the dect base station and the router into the master socket.
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The main DECT is plugged into the main BT socket.

In the past I have tried having the test socket open (so disconnecting everything else in the house) and having the router and home phone plugged straight into that.

At that point, I still got dropouts with this setup - but I can't remember whether that pre-dates the cable pair swap which the engineer performed.

I haven't actually noticed a dropout for the last 2 or 3 days for some reason.
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i just put a similar reply in the other broadband thread, but i was getting exactly the same, full wifi signal, connected to the router with limited or no internet access.

It was either a new wireless mouse i got or the neighbours new wifi interfering with it.

I changed the channel from automatic (6) to channel 4 and it has worked perfectly ever since.

It can't do any harm to try doing this.
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I think you're quite right - can't hurt.

Do I just need to change the channel at the router end? Or do I need to make changes at the computer end too so it can still detect the router?
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Just the router. The PC will scan for the channel and connect.
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You change the channel on the router, just turn your wireless off and on again on your computer and it should pick up the change automatically.
 
(Post Link) post #16 of 30 Old 27-09-12 Thread Starter
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Cheers. I'll give that quiet line test a go when I have a chance too - although I don't hold out much hope, since whenever my ISP do a line test from their end, they happily inform me I don't have any errors.

Had a dropout again tonight (hadn't disconnected the phones).
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Who is your provider? Sorry if you've already said.

I've currently got a complaint against TalkTalk - slow speed and dropouts at certain times of the day.
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It is talktalk (was tiscali.)

I had a dropout this afternoon, so took the opportunity to change the channel. As soon as my network adaptor re-connected to the network, I had internet again. Could be a coincidence of course - might have recovered during that time. But I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Still can't quite work out why an interference problem would give this symptom of a seemingly working network with no internet. Perhaps on recognising the interference the router automatically shuts down the internet so it can send the minimal network traffic with no corruption, rather than all network data with everything corrupted?

Sounds a weak theory to me! I'm confidently expecting to see the dropouts continue - but I'll keep my fingers crossed that I'm wrong!
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One thing I've had on various routers is that the default security is WPA/WPA2 auto. I would get regular dropouts either just a few seconds or on some routers needing a power off/on. Forcing either WPA or WPA2 cured the problem. Some older routers get hot and trip out running WPA2 so I had to drop to WPA for reliability (sod security, I'd rather it worked )

Now on BT Home Hub 3 and this works well WPA2 only (WPA/WPA2 still occasionally drops out)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TI-ger boz View Post
One thing I've had on various routers is that the default security is WPA/WPA2 auto. I would get regular dropouts either just a few seconds or on some routers needing a power off/on. Forcing either WPA or WPA2 cured the problem. Some older routers get hot and trip out running WPA2 so I had to drop to WPA for reliability (sod security, I'd rather it worked )

Now on BT Home Hub 3 and this works well WPA2 only (WPA/WPA2 still occasionally drops out)
Interesting must try this.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazza View Post
It is talktalk (was tiscali.)

I had a dropout this afternoon, so took the opportunity to change the channel. As soon as my network adaptor re-connected to the network, I had internet again. Could be a coincidence of course - might have recovered during that time. But I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Still can't quite work out why an interference problem would give this symptom of a seemingly working network with no internet. Perhaps on recognising the interference the router automatically shuts down the internet so it can send the minimal network traffic with no corruption, rather than all network data with everything corrupted?

Sounds a weak theory to me! I'm confidently expecting to see the dropouts continue - but I'll keep my fingers crossed that I'm wrong!
I've tried more than once to report this issue to TT but their support people are dire. Why does everyone seem to have Mumbai tech support these days. The last time it took me and the lady on the other end about 5 minutes to establish I was using Ethernet cable, not wireless the call didn't last long.

I've used 3 different routers, microfilters and with the phone connected and disconnected, plugged directly into the test socket.

It's definitely an external issue and I can't help thinking this started in the last couple of months since TT had a major campaign in the area doing a really good 12 month deal, tieing people in for a year. But I'm just cynical.
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(Post Link) post #22 of 30 Old 29-09-12 Thread Starter
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Yep, tech support rubbish. Every time I rang, I had to start from the very beginning again. I requested a case handler so that they would know all the background every time, but it never happened.
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Just out of curiousity, are you able to list any readings from your router config pages? I had regular dropouts recently and in the end got a BT engineer out to fix them - they did the quiet line test though the noise was only slight. The main issue he noticed was that the Signal to Noise Ratio was too high and was a result of the fault on the line - he disappeared for a few hours (including, I think, climbing up the pole at the front) and it's all good again - just took a few days for the BB to get back to speed again. I'd also tried changing routers, phones, settings, microfilters, etc. with little success.

Best to do all the tests you can before calling the engineers back out.
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Thanks, but little point with Talk Talk, they insist on giving the same spiel everytime you ring. I once got a call back from an engineer days later while i was on the motorway - he said he couldn't call back some other time and rang off.

Apart from speed, I'm finding the best policy is to stay with BT.
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Talk Talk have always been rubbish...
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