GENERAL FAULT ADVICE

Firstly, its important to know, independent telephone engineers are only allowed to repair faults within your premises, and beyond the NTTP, (network test and termination point) usually the D.P or NTE master socket, we are forbidden to work on telegraph poles and underground external line plant in the public domain, as this is only currently Openreach or their contractors responsibility.

Every part of your wiring and telephone points, inside your property are usually your responsibility, the MASTER telephone socket is normally the ISP’s, however you may be laible for charges if damaged or broken through circumstances other than ‘fair wear and tear’

You would expect a charge from your service provider with situations e.g Lightening damage (classed as ‘ACT of GOD’), malicious damage, dampness etc. The RESIDENTIAL callout fee BT currently charge is around £130 plus parts and hourly rate thereafter, this varies from different providers, the BUSINESS rate is much higher, these cost’s may escalate out of hours or weekends.

You may also be charged if there is damage to the wiring BEFORE the MASTER socket, this would apply if within your ‘boundary’ i.e wiring cut (gardener,strimmer, building work, new windows or doors etc), wiring damaged, damp etc, if normal wear and tear, the ‘TEST POINT’ behind the ‘master socket’ is the demarkation point. The NTE5 is the master socket which the BT/Openreach line is terminated to and in most cases they will repair or install lines to only this socket.

*There is currently a newer version of this NTE5 which is about to be released, below in the ‘useful links’ you can click on the hyperlink for more information.

Non branded self fit NTE5’s (DIY) may also be chargeable if under fair wear and tear. You will be advised by BT when logging a fault of the instances where Openreach may raise a charge.

If you are a customer of BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Plusnet, Zen etc they will all use the external line plant within the BT/Openreach network, only BT/Openreach or their contractors are able to work or repair/install lines within these ‘ducts’, manholes, cabinets (green street boxes) and poles. Independent engineers are NOT allowed to climb BT poles or work on external line plant.

VirginMedia do not use the same infrastructure as BT, they use ‘coax’ cabling for broadband (as a bonded pair of cables) and twisted pair  telephone cable, Virgin cabling is different from BT, as the cabling for phone and broadband is direct from the cabinet to the customer underground, without joints (continuous cable), this is one of the reasons why Virgin cabinets are more prominent than BT as their cable runs are shorter, and cabinets are more local to the customers. BT cabling is distributed from the Telephone Exchange via manholes, joint boxes, primary cross connection points (green street cabinets), and DP’s. Some ‘pillars’ are still around, these serve the same purpose as cabinets, but are a smaller version, usually located in more rural areas.

Business property especially with multilines are more likely to have an NTTP (Network Test and Termination Point) or more commonly known as a D.P (Distribution Point) at the cable entry point to the business.

Telephone equipment and wiring whether business or residential is VERY susceptible to damage if not weatherproof or properly insulated, common noise faults can be related to weather conditions or corroded connections. it’s always worth having as few as possible connections if possible, as the more joints or junction boxes increases the fault liability. The cabling in the Openraech/BT network is sealed within waterproof underground/aerial joints(distribution over telephone pole), the main cause of failures is where poor maintenance or lack of it has allowed the water to enter and corrode. Typical faults on telephone lines are NOISE, RING TRIP, RTNR (ringing tone no reply) DIS (disconnection) or EARTHING, a LOOP fault is a ‘short circuit’.

If you have a fault either with your broadband or telephone service, the first check would always be with your SP (Service Provider) they can test the line or check ‘outage’ in your area, if they deem that their line is ‘OK’ you are able to decide to choose an independent engineer or their engineer, however if the fault is within your responsibility they COULD raise a charge without repairing your internal wiring. It’s wise to complete a check at the test port of the master socket (It will be identifiable by the horizontal indentation approximately  half way, but be wary as you may inadvertanley pull your extension wiring off when removing this plate, especially if un anchored and loosely terminated).

Domestic Telephone cabling;

Over the recent years telephone wiring has changed dramatically, many houses still have lead cable insulated by paper or even cotton and rubber ‘Pernex’ internal wiring, although rare, I see now and again! The most common cable is CW1308 twisted pair, the GPO (pre BT days) originally used ‘4’ wire for most inside wiring installs, colour code was BLUE, ORANGE, GREEN and BROWN and came either in ‘cream or grey!

Later BT changed from solid colours to ‘speckled’ and 2, 3 and 4 pair cable for most domestic installs. The colour code remade the same but added additional colours e.g ‘SLATE’ (light grey) RED, BLACK and YELLOW, Ironically BT/Openreach have recently reverted to using solid colour 4 wire using Blue, Orange, Green and Brown colour coded cable!

It’s more common to find mutlicore wiring in larger installs e.g Business phone systems etc

Unfortunately colour codes may not be standard in your residence, the incoming feed from BT could be ORANGE/WHITE, GREEN/BLACK, BLUE/ORANGE, BLUE/WHITE + WHITE/BLUE or other variations depending on initial setup.

It is more than likely that the telephone line A and B wires are using the BLUE pair (speckled wiring), or BLUE and ORANGE (solid colour) and bell wire is normally ORANGE (speckled) or GREEN (solid), now you may only have two wires terminated in your installation as bell wire is increasingly not used, this also helps ADSL as bell wire interference affects broadband.

External underground cabling

Underground multicore cabling is grease filled, and the sheathing is more resilient and waterproof, the conductor size is 0.5 mm, as with internal telephone wiring. The cables from the telephone exchange to the cabinets (PCCP ) are known as the ‘E’ (exchange) side and the local cables to customer premises are the ‘D’ (distribution) side, wires known as ‘jumpers’ are cross connected from the ‘E’ to ‘D’ side as part of the routing. The main cables from the Telephone Exchange is also pressurised, this is monitored to ensure if accidental damage occurs, water will be less likely to cause faults.

R.E.I.N

R.E.I.N (Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise)  and S.H.I.N.E (Single High level Impulse Noise Event), this is where everyday items in your property cause disruption to ADSL,VDSL etc, power adaptors that are faulty, adjacent telephone cabling to power cables, central heating timers, flashing xmas decorations, Railway power cables and lines, PDQ devices, Street lamps, Roadworks, TV’s, Photo copiers, low voltage lighting, dimmer switches, transformers, fridges (solenoid) cordless phones, Baby monitors are the most common household items which can disrupt or interfere WiFi and broadband signal.

Broadband faults

Most broadband faults are usually within your property, the signal usually arrives at the incoming point where it then becomes ‘corrupted’ either with faulty equipment or wiring, the ideal solution is to always plug the router into the ‘master socket’, however this may not always be convenient. There are thankfully ‘work arounds’ where the router can be relocated in another room to where the master socket is. Personally I prefer the VDSL filter plate on the incoming point (Master Socket) with a RJ45 plug connected directly to the top outlet, with Cat5/6 cabling to a female RJ11 socket which the router attaches. This method will then give a ‘clean’ digital signal to the router, as the analogue signal has been ‘separated’

The worst router connection is where several extension telephone sockets are ‘STAR’ wired, and a filter is used at the distant end with the router, especially if burglar alarms, Sky boxes etc are connected which are not filtered.

Poor quality extension leads, low quality telephone wiring and badly installed cabling all contribute to weak broadband, I have also had experience where cheap cable under the regulation 0.5 mm diameter has been used, this reduces bandwidth and does not terminate correctly, as all connectors are designed to accommodate 0.5mm, so if your electrician has installed 0.4 mm aluminium copper coated wiring then this will present faults.

Obviously ISP’s can also be to blame when broadband faults occur, by plugging the router directly in the ‘test port’ of the Master Socket. you should be able to diagnose the problem, sometimes ISP’s can ‘CAP’ your line, its always worthwhile asking if this has been done, as this may be removed once internal wiring faults have been fixed, remember ex BT engineers understand your wiring and electricians can sometimes inadvertently cause faults, many visits I have attended have CAPACITORS in every phone point, this alone will greatly increase ADSL issues as only ONE capacitor in every installation is required (This is what differentiates a MASTER and EXTENSION SOCKET), this usually happens when plush chrome or designer flush sockets are used!! If in doubt use a new filter in the test port of the master socket (front plate gently removed, beware when removing as extension wiring MAY be pulled apart if tugged!!)

BT have just released the MARK 4 VDSL socket and the NTE5C Master socket, which is more customer friendly and removable without tools….

Connections

Screwdrivers have been replaced by ‘KRONE’ tools, also known as ‘punch down’ tool, the official title is ‘Inserter wiring 2a‘ which works on the INSULATION DISPLACEMENT CONNECTION’ or I.D.C method, where cable is ‘bifurcated’  into the ‘V’ groove of the socket or connection box being terminated.

L.T.O.K

Line test O.K, doesn’t mean you don’t have a fault, NOISE is one problem that can elude testing, its possible to have a line that appears to test correctly, which can still be unusable with excessive interference, the normal cause of noisy crackly lines are poor joints, corrosion or weather related issues i.e rain, also drop wires from poles to homes can work loose from the connections in high wind.

The method of connecting wires externally, is by ‘crimp’, they are small grease filled ‘jelly crimps’ that are squeezed using special pliers that apply the correct pressure to connect. If the crimps become corroded, due to lack of protection i.e junction box lid not replaced etc, a noise fault will occur over time. The same can happen internally to your property, poor connection/dry joints or telephone line jacks that have corrosion (verdi green particularly on copper/circuit boards) are some examples.

Incoming ring faults 

If the phone isn’t ringing on incoming calls, this is not always an internal or telephone equipment fault, check master socket at test point with a known working handset and micro filter, faults can manifest in the telephone exchange equipment where the ringing current (usually about 75/80 volts A.C) fails, the line itself will test o.k but no calls will be heard as the power to activate the bell is not sent, your caller may hear the ‘ringing tone’ but this doesn’t necessarily mean the phone will be heard!!

Wiring faults either internal or external to the premises can also affect incoming calls, the most common are DIS or RING TRIP, broadband can work over faulty wiring, although at a reduced rate, and its not uncommon to have a ‘dead phone’ but working broadband.

LCR and CPS  (reduced cost calls)

Least cost routing (LCR) and carrier pre select (CPS) are methods of choosing alternative carriers for telephone calls, LCR is becoming outdated, early LCR, by means of ‘digit strings’ and ‘route lists’ were more common 10/15 years ago.

Smart boxes that intercept either PSTN (public switch telephone network) or PBX multilines by prefixing dialled numbers are also uncommon. The modern method is via CPS at the local exchange set up by your service provider, however sometimes outgoing dialling faults can occur with third party line providers, a ‘force code’ of 1280 can be used to prove network problems. If you suspect an issue with your provider, prefix your outgoing call with 1280, and this will force that single call through the BT network, therefore diagnosing the problem.

Service providers Fault code abbreviations.

BNR – Bell not ringing    BR – Bell ringing continuous     CDT – Continuous Dial Tone    CO – Cuts off    DRO – Damage Report    Overhead    DRU – Damage Report Underground DRW – Damage Report Wiring    FNT – Faint Transmission    MOD – Modem – Slow internet dial up speed    NDT – No dial tone    NR – No Reply    NSY – Noisy    NT – No Tone    NU – Number Unobtainable     OHR – Overhearing     OWT – One Way Transmission     PET – Permanently engaged tone    RTP – Ring Trip     UTR -Unable to trip ringing    WNO – Wrong Numbers Outgoing    XL – Crossed lines

Ring Doorbell

if you’ve purchased a ‘RING’ doorbell and your experiencing poor quality audio and video, it’s probably due to poor UPLOAD speed of your broadband, typically a minimum of ONE Mbps upload is necessary for this to work properly and without delay.

Home WiFi Mesh examples:

BT Whole home WiFi

Netgear Orbi

Linksys

Google WiFi

ADSL and line length;

The longer the line, the higher the loss (db)

All figures are an approx guide & show how the line attenuation affects ADSL sync speed. Also it can be seen that with a long line (attenuation of 50db plus) 24mbit service is often not faster than an 8mbit service.

It is important to note that download speed will be less than the sync speed.

ADSL2+ (24MBit) ADSL1 (8MBit)

Loss Sync (approx)

10db         24Mbps           8Mbps

20db         20Mbps          8Mbps

23db          19Mbps          8Mbps

29db         16Mbps          8MBps

35db          12Mbps         6.5Mbps

40db          9Mbps          6 Mbps

45db          7Mbps            6Mbps

50db          5Mbps            5Mbps

57db          3Mbps           3Mbps

62db           2Mbps          2Mbps

67db          1.5 Mbps        1.5Mbps

68db May not work at all

 

Number withheld override code is 1470 to temporarily show outgoing (CLI) for duration of that call (prefix dialled digit string with 1470)

YOUTUBE LINKS;

BT NTE 5C and VDSL Plate  YouTube My mate Vince

BT self test  BT Master socket testing

BT wiring checks  BT Wiring advice

BT Openreach Callout charges   Watchdog BBC TV

Plusnet self test   Plusnet Master socket testing

VirginMedia   What to expect

Test links;

Bradband Speed test   speedtest.net

Pingtest   Pingtest

Service Status BT;

BT Service checker  BT Service status 

Sky Service checker  SKY Service status

Contact numbers;

BT  Faults 151 (from a BT landline) or 0800 800 151 (charges may apply)

BT Sales 150 (from a BT landline) or 0800 800 150 (charges may apply)

BT Business 154 (from a BT landline) or 0800 800 154 (charges may apply)

BT Nuisance call contact  0800 661 441

Damage to BT Cables/Poles/Manholes or cabinets  0800 023 2023 (option 1).

Useful info;

BT;   BT help

BT Charges;  BT price list

Plusnet;   Plusnet charges

Sky;  Sky help

Zen; Zen charges

Post Office Phone&ADSL; Post office charges

Openreach website;  Openreach

Openreach what to expect;   Openreach visits

New style NTE5c socket info;  Openreach NTE5c

Broadband checker;  SamKnows

Broadband availability   USwitch

Disability help;   Scope

Nuisance calls and texts   Tackling nuisance calls

Telephone preference service;   TPS   Opt out call registration

Gaming port forwarding;   Port forwarding

Say NO TO 0870;   Say NO TO 0870  Alternative dialling translations

Please press 1 ;  Please press 1  Auto attendant ‘short cuts’

*Disclaimer     *THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS A GUIDE ONLY AND NO RESPONSIBILITY IS TAKEN BY COMMSMASTER FOR ADVICE OR HELP GIVEN

*In no event shall Commsmaster Ltd be liable for any direct, punitive, indirect incidental, special consequential damages, to property or life, whatsoever arising out of or connected with the advice given in these videos or information. The information is a GUIDE only