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A few weeks ago my ADSL connection started dropping out on me after two years of problem free usage. My new best friend the blinking orange LED on my router constantly reminding me that my connection had dropped … again. After two days of this pain I decided to find a the cause and possibly the solution myself.

Exchange Equipment

Your ADSL connection is only as good as the equipment your exchange is using. The ISP or host telephone company that provides the base internet service is responsible for the hardware used in the exchange. The technology in the broad band industry is constantly changing and out-dated equipment in the exchange can cause intermittent breaks in connectivity. Nothing much we as the users can do here.

Home Equipment

A quality broadband router can make the world of difference. For many people there is a noticeable improvement of their Internet performance when they try a different modem or router. Speeds and quality of the ADSL connection can often improve as a result of this change. Now that many of the home devices using WiFi a better WiFi router or modem will provide not only an improved signal quality but also show vast gains with the range of the WiFi signal coverage. Remember most service providers will supply a budget or entry level router as part of the package, some will even restrict you to their modem/router as Sky do.

Distance from Exchange

The physical distance between your dwelling and the telephone exchange that provides your ADSL connection is the single most important factor in determining speed of access and clarity of connection. So the further you live from the exchange is significant in determining both speed and clarity of your connection.

Distance to the Router

The further your router is from the main connection box in your home the more likely the chance for some performance loss. Often the connection box is not located in a convenient place for our ADSL routers. What we tend to do is run long lengths of cable extensions from the main connection box and the router. This can result in significant signal degradation.  As can the quality of the extension cable used. This is the single largest cause of ‘noise’ on your line.


If noise levels are too high they can cause your ADSL connection to drop out. Noise can be caused by a problem or fault on the line into your dwelling and most of the time your ISP will be able to check and see where the fault is located from their side. And in other cases the noise is located in the dwelling; on the users’ side and here we can do something about it. A good micro filter and short distances between the main ADSL connection box and the router is ideal. If that is not possible a quality extension cable between the connection box and the router will go a long way to reduce noise.

Junction Box

Check the state of your junction boxes that are used, as if improperly connected or in a poor state can cause crackling and hissing on the line. Moisture and dust are a serious problem that can result in continues resetting of your modem.

Extension Sockets

Make sure your extension sockets are in good condition, noise and crackles will result if not properly installed.

Contention Ratio

The number of people who are using the same ASDL Broadband signal with you. The more people who are on the same signal will mean more traffic on the same signal and can be a cause of connection problems with your service.

Other Wireless Equipment

If you have wireless connectivity there might be a conflict between the components used in the home, for example the cordless telephone and the router might be on the same frequency and that can cause your connection to be noisy and cut out.

Network auto-speed detection

Auto-detect confusion happens when two devices at both ends of a network connection are trying to auto-detect at the same time. The detection mechanisms can conflict with each other and cause one side to get it wrong. The detection algorithm can also be affected by the actual data going across the wire, or electrical noise.

A new micro filter sorted my noise issue out, now all I need to do is find two noise filters for my girls…

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