We’ve had very patchy internet access through our DSL line for the past couple of weeks—sometimes with hours of no access at all. But I was very busy, and did not have much time to do diagnostic tests. I did try a number of things: unplugging all phones, so that only the DSL modem was on the line, removing all “cross connects” (wires to unused phone jacks), and borrowing a loaner DSL modem from the ISP (CruzIO). Because the problem was intermittent, sometimes some of the changes would look like they worked for a while, but nothing caused the problem to stay gone.
Last week I authorized CruzIO to contact AT&T to check the line to the house. This is the last test to be done, because if AT&T finds no problem on the wiring to the house, they charge $75 for the service call. (There is no charge if they do find a problem.)
This morning when CruzIO called to check on the status of the lines, they found out I was still waiting for AT&T to check the lines, and they discovered that someone at CruzIO had canceled the request to AT&T—a mistake they apologized for and promised to fix. They then got AT&T out within a couple of hours.
The AT&T person found that the signal at the house was terrible, but at the top of the telephone pole was fine, so he replaced the “drop” (the line from the telephone pole to the house) and the box where the interior and exterior wiring meet. (Both the drop and the box were probably 50 years old or more.)
Now the internet access is working better than it ever did before. We’re getting 6–6.8Mbps download and 0.83–0.86Mbps upload, which is what we’ve been paying for, but not getting in the past (previous download results topped out at about 4Mbps), so apparently the drop has been the limiting factor on our internet access for quite some time.
[Update: 2013 March 26. CruzIO checked on us again and uncapped the speed limits. We’re now getting about 10Mbps download and 0.83Mbps upload.]