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Reading the test results on your phone line.

Preface:

In the image above, you see that digital information from your modem is converted to analog patterns, and transmitted over the copper phone wire to the local phone company equipment. On the right side of the diagram, the phone connections between Hyperconnections and the phone company are purely digital. Digital connections do not fluctuate in quality like analog connections do. It is either ON or OFF with no “in between”. For this reason, ISP’s can say with confidence that slow downs are not related to their modem lines. If it were, the modems would not be able to connect at all.

The speed of 56kbps requires a very clear phone line at the home users end. Speed limitations and possible problems are also even more visible at speeds higher than 33.6kbps (i.e. randomly dropped connections)

Factoid: FCC regulations prevent analog modems from reaching over 53kbps on the standard line.

Reading the results:

The results are going to be similar to reading a foreign language. The chart below shows 2 important ranges to note.

Range A (in blue) - is the range that is most important up through 14.4k to 33.6k connections. You will notice that the top blue range is from 0600 to 3150. You also will notice the blue range on the side is from 20 to 25. If the graph you received from your test does not report similar findings or is outside this range, you will most likely have trouble attaining any speed greater than a 26.4K connection. If you do happen to get a higher connection, your modem will likely spend a lot of time "retraining" (jumping up and down between a faster and slower speeds) during your connection. This many times leads to a randomly dropped call (1 minute into call or 36 minutes in to the call. Completely random.) If you are below average in Range A, Range B will not be an issue for you because there will most likely be no way for your phone line to fall within Range B or ever attain 56k connections.

Range B (in green) - is the range that is most important for 33.6k to 53k connections. You will notice that the top green range is only 3600-3750. You also will notice the green range on the side is 36-38 at its lowest. If the graph you received from your test does not report similar findings or is more than 40 on the right side, you will most likely have trouble attaining any speed greater than a 33.6K connection. If you do happen to get a higher connection, your modem will likely spend a lot of time "retraining" (jumping up and down between a faster and slower speeds) during your connection. This many times leads to a randomly dropped call (1 minute into call or 36 minutes in to the call. Completely random.)

Test results that are similar to the graph above will usually attain 49K or 51K connections with no problem.

Why does my graph not look like the one above (a curve), but looks almost like a flat line or like it bounces up and down?

It sounds like you have a loading coil on your phone line. Don't worry it is not an explosive :) Loading coils are used to increase the high frequency response at the expense of lower frequencies. The high frequencies look good, but everything else (level and flatness) are all wrong. Without the loading coil, the frequency response would drop like a rock starting at 1350 making the line useless for voice or data.

If your graph bounces up and down rather than looking more like a straight line, you should first check your in-house connections and then call the phone company and tell them that your phone line needs to be tested and fixed. Let them know that you have run an independent test, and that it looks like a faulty loading coil is on your phone line.

Usually the phone company would put a loading coil on your line either because you live too far away from the closest telephone company equipment, which would render the phone line useless without the loading coil, or they just never removed an old loading coil, which if correctly rewired, would no longer be necessary. The latter explanation happens more often than you might expect. Our residential telephone infrastructure in the United States is almost as antiquated as the electrical power grid. Why do you think they have to "test your line" if you want DSL? And, if your house is too far away, they cannot provide DSL to you. Get the picture?

What can I do if my phone line is poor quality?

Scream, yell, curse, "go postal", move somewhere else? Many people have actually done those things.

Instead though, you are better off checking to make sure that all of your in-house connections and phones are working correctly. Many times, this is the problem, and the phone company would charge you to come out and fix it for you. So check to make sure that is not the problem first.

Once, you have determined that your in-house connections are working fine, you can call your telephone company and ask them to test your phone line, but if they tell you there is nothing wrong, then you are stuck. The residential line you buy from the phone company only requires them to provide "voice quality service". Data quality is not required. They would be happy to sell you a much more expensive service which would guarantee the data speeds.

You can always give them a really hard time and end up hating them (like most people do) and I hope that helps fix the problem, but, once again, don't hold your breath!

To check your in home wiring, go to testing the "in-house connections".

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