DSL, Low Bandwidth and a Ratty Phone Jack

So I spent most of Monday pulling my hair out.

Actually, the problems started the end of last week. My DSL speeds have never been all that high. I’m paying for 3M and I was only getting around 300k. But I wasn’t complaining.

My upstairs neighbors were, though. They share my wireless internet with me and were constantly losing their connection. Then I started to as well. I was routinely getting bumped probably 8 or 9 times a day, and my rates were consistently hovering around 50k (about the speed of a dialup modem, and that was down… i was only getting like 8k up!)

Then Monday it was disconnecting for LONG periods of time. So long in fact that I picked up the phone to call Verizon. Not 10 seconds after I dialed the phone, my connection was restored. It was horribly slow, but it was restored. This happened four times in a row. I even joked with Jess that I was scaring it. Then it struck me.

What would cause it to connect only when I used the phone? Well, when I dial out using the phone, the voltage of the signal increases. AHA. I was also noticing SEVERE interference and static on the phone. AHA! I immediately pulled out my screwdriver and took the face plate off the phone jack. Inside was a tangle of wires reminiscent of steel wool, as brittle as desert carcass, connected to nothing in particular. These I cut and threw away. The wires actually connected to the jack were barely doing so. The positive was spliced and held together with a twist and a slice of scotch tape. The negative was spliced and connected through a corroded conductor. Oy.

So I respliced and capped both sides, making sure everything was connected correctly. Put the plate back on, connected the modem and router and tested my speed–1.5M. Ah… Much better.

Haven’t been down since.