MPH have the answers
I have identified the common broadband and telecoms issues that people suffer from within their own home or business. These have been digested down into 4 different areas to help you find the relevant issue to you.
Use the quick links belows to reach the appropriate section:
Q. How much experience do you have working in telecoms?
I worked for BT/Openreach as a field engineer for nearly 10 years installing and fault finding broadband and telephone lines on a daily basis, visiting 3 or 4 separate customers each day, all with very different problems or setups. I have encountered almost every type of fault issue and installation. I take pride in my high standard of workmanship, and will consult with you on every aspect of a job to ensure you know exactly what the end result will be.
Q. What areas do you cover?
I am based near Yeovil in South Somerset, so my main areas of cover are all of Somerset including North Somerset, West Dorset, South Wiltshire, and East Devon. This does not mean I won’t go outside these areas, so please contact me to check. I can often travel further depending on what you require!
Q. What are your hours of operation?
My normal working hours are 0800 to 1700 Monday to Friday and 0900 to 1300 on Saturdays. If you need a job completed outside these hours, please contact me. I am flexible so can normally accommodate most scenarios.
Q. Do I have to wait in all day for you to arrive?
Absolutely not. Once you have made an appointment for me to visit, I will give you a phone call when I am on route to your premises. This means I can work around your schedule, whatever is most convenient.
Q. How long will it take to complete my job?
Not an easy question to answer! If I prove the issue out into the BT network, then typically this can be achieved within the first hour, unless it is a complex issue or setup at your premises requiring testing at multiple points. For alterations and additional installation work, I will give you an estimate of how long that will take to complete after discussing your requirements.
Q. What do you charge for your services?
My call-out fee is £80, which includes any basic work including any sockets or cabling required. For alterations or more complex installation work, I will quote a fixed price before commencing work. I do not charge to visit and give advice on telecom/broadband or wifi solutions. Full payment is requested on completion of work. There is no VAT to pay.
Q. What forms of payment do you take?
I take all forms of payment for work completed – Cash, Cheque whilst on site. Paypal, Credit Card or Debit Card payments will be through an invoice sent to you after work is completed.
Q. Surely all my telephone/broadband wiring belongs to BT and they need to fix my fault or complete alterations?
No this is a common misconception. The only part of your telephone line that BT (or other service provider) are responsible for is the cable up to your master point (known as Network Terminating Equipment or NTE). Past this point any wiring within your premises is your property. If a BT/Openreach engineer attends site and proves any fault within your property (including damage or damp issues up to the master) then a charge of up to £130 will be applied to your bill, plus a large hourly rate to resolve the issue.
Contact me before speaking to your service provider, as it could save you a LOT of money!
Q. Why does my broadband work, but my telephone line is dead?
This is a scenario I have come across many times in my career and it always confuses people! The telephone line feeding your property is known as a pair (2 separate wires). This carries a 50 volt signal which is needed to make phone calls. Sometimes a fault occurs on just one of these wires meaning that the telephone line goes dead, but the broadband still works. This is because it is only a data signal, which does not need voltage on the line to operate, just a metallic path back to the exchange so will sometimes work over the one good wire. Generally however, the speed of the broadband will be lower and less reliable.
Q. Do you guarantee to improve my broadband speed?
No, sadly there is no guarantee that your broadband speed can be improved, especially if you are located a long way from an exchange/fibre cabinet. If you have only one socket connected directly off the BT network with no other internal wiring, then chances are you are likely to be on the fastest speed achievable. However, if you have a complex wiring setup with many other telephones connected onto your line, then there is a good chance that I can make alterations or remove unused wiring to improve your overall broadband speed.
Every property is different so it is always worth contacting me for friendly advice.
Q. Do I always need to connect my broadband router to the master socket?
No, you don’t always need to connect your router to the master socket. However, if it is located in a convenient place within your premises, it is always advisable to have it connected there. Internal wiring quality does vary substantially, so can have a huge effect on broadband speed and quality.
Q. Why does my broadband signal drop when I use the telephone?
There are a number of reasons why you will lose signal when using the telephone. The most common is a missing broadband filter from an extension socket with a telephone connected. Check that all devices connected onto the telephone line have filters, including alarm systems and Sky boxes which are often overlooked. If you have checked this and found all filters in place, there is a chance the fault is external to your property and the responsibility of BT. Please contact me to discuss the issue, as I can prove and repair the fault if not in the BT network.
Q. Do I need to connect a broadband filter on sockets I don’t use?
No there is absolutely no need to fit a broadband filter to a socket with no telephone connected. This would be just another location within the premises that a fault could potentially occur.
Q. I don’t even use the telephone, but my broadband is still slow or unstable
It is an increasingly common case that customers use their fixed telephone line purely for the broadband and don’t even have a telephone plugged into it, preferring to use a mobile phone for voice calls. If the broadband is becoming slow or unstable, it is definitely advisable to plug a telephone into the socket to check the line is working (see question further above about broadband working but phone line not) or crackly. Both of these telephone line faults will certainly cause a huge drop in broadband performance.
Q. I switch my broadband router off every night to conserve energy, but have noticed the broadband speed getting slower, is this normal?
A very common problem I have encountered over the years. Routers are designed to be left on at all times. The line is monitored at the exchange end by what’s called a DLM or Dynamic Line Manager, which is trying to keep and maintain the fastest stable broadband speed possible to your router. If this is switched off on a regular basis, the system assumes this as an unstable line, and will gradually drop your connection speed to try and stabilise the losses in connection (this also happens when you have a crackly or dead telephone line).
Always try to keep your router switched on as much as possible, although the system will ignore the odd loss of connection eg during power cuts, holidays etc., as normal.
Q. Why won’t my WiFi signal reach throughout the house?
WiFi is poor at penetrating such things thick walls and metal structures, especially in older houses which tend to be more solidly built than newer houses. WiFi can also be susceptible to electrical interference from a wide range of everyday household electrical items, such as microwaves, baby monitors and cordless phones. Always try to locate your router in a central location within the premises if possible to give the best coverage throughout. If an additional broadband socket is required to achieve this, I can install this if necessary after giving you appropriate advice.
Q. My router is located in the best position in my premises, but the WiFi signal is still poor, what can I do?
If you are struggling to get a stable or strong WiFi signal throughout the premises it may be worth installing additional access points in strategic locations to improve this. Contact me for advice and a competitive quote. There are various solutions I offer from running a new cable to the access point, to using your electrical wiring as a data carrying circuit.
All options will be discussed to find the most appropriate for your situation. The equipment I use is top quality but not the cheapest, as I feel that cutting corners with this is a false economy.
Q. The WiFi signal is strong in my premises, but my connection to the router still drops, what can be causing this?
There are a number of reasons why WiFi can be unreliable within a property. This can be due to interference from other electrical devices within the premises such as microwave ovens, cordless phones and even baby monitors. The most common reason for wireless drops is due to interference from other WiFi networks in neighbouring properties.
WiFi is transmitted from your router on one of 13 different channels, which are universal to all routers in the UK. If there are several signals on the same channel in your area, interference will almost certainly occur. I carry test equipment which will determine the extent of the interference and also which channel is currently the least used in the locality.
This information can be used to change the channel of your router for the most reliable WiFi signal. Please contact me for advice as changing the channel will involve accessing the menu structure of your router.
Q. I have fibre broadband with a speed of over 60mb using a wired connection to my router, but over WiFi this is much slower, what is causing this problem?
A lot of laptops and wireless devices using the signal are unable to process internet speeds above 40mb due to the WiFi receiver built into them only being rated up to that speed. For the best connection speed on a fibre product it is always advisable to use an Ethernet (hard wired) connection to the router wherever possible.
Q. I’m having problems with a phone line order through my service provider, can you help?
Sadly, unless you have a working telephone line within your premises, there is very little I can do to progress an order through your chosen service provider. They are the only ones who can physically connect your line to the network. From experience this can be a very frustrating process waiting for Openreach to complete the work. I am more than happy to give advice and check the problem is within their domain. Please feel free to contact me!
Q. I have a crackling noise on my line, what could be causing this?
A noisy line is almost always caused by connection in the line feeding your property starting to go faulty. Common factors include damp sockets, damage to cables, overhead lines rubbing against tree branches, and corroded connections. Usually the noise will get progressively worse over time and in some cases, lead to the line going completely dead. To establish whether this fault is outside in the BT network, or inside your premises, it is important to try and isolate everything within the property.
This can easily be achieved if you have a master socket with a split front, by plugging a telephone into the test socket. If the noise has disappeared then the fault is certainly within your property. Contact me to locate and repair the fault, or if you don’t have a split front master. I can prove if the fault is internal or external.
A visit from BT/Openreach will be charged at up to £130 just to prove it into your wiring with an additional charge to repair. If the noise is still present in the test socket, then the issue is likely to be within the BT network. It is still worth contacting me for advice or a visit as sometimes the fault will still be within your property and potentially chargeable.
Q. My telephone rings once then cuts out, what is causing this?
This fault is known as a Ring Trip and is quite a common occurrence. It is caused by a part of the wiring putting a partial short on the line making the telephone exchange believe someone has picked up the telephone when the number is called. A majority of these faults tend to be located within the customer’s property, so can often lead to a hefty bill if a BT/Openreach engineer visits. Common causes of this issue are damp sockets, faulty filters or telephone equipment, and damage to internal or external cabling. Contact me for a visit, where I can locate and resolve the issue at a much cheaper price than Openreach.
Q. My telephone line is dead, but my service provider has run a test and say it’s fine, how can that be?
The line system that BT (or your service provider) uses can be quite inaccurate in flagging up fault conditions. Even though when you pick up your telephone there is no dial tone, when a test is run from the exchange to your property, the system can still see the master socket (this is what the test system is looking for) and therefore give a clear line test. I can test the line back towards the exchange to give a more accurate fault location and advice if it is within your curtilage, or proves to be in the BT network, in which case I can assist getting a fault report raised for BT/Openreach.
Q. I have cut/damaged my telephone while carrying out gardening/building work, can you help?
Yes absolutely. Please contact me for advice, where I will either arrange for a visit to perform a temporary repair for BT/Openreach to complete permanently if in their network, or complete a permanent repair to the same (or higher) quality standard they operate to at a substantially cheaper cost if within your property.
Q. Can you fix a fault on my line if it’s proved in the BT network?
No sadly not. Although I spent nearly 10 years working on the network climbing hundreds of poles and working in numerous underground boxes, I am not authorised to now work there. This would be effectively trespassing and could lead to legal action against me by BT. If I visit your premises and prove the fault into the BT network then you will have to contact your service provider to raise a report. I am more than happy to assist with this, as quite often customers get highly frustrated when negotiating the multitude of options when speaking to call centres.
Q. You have proved my fault into the BT network, will I still get a bill from them?
Ordinarily once I have proved that the issue within the BT network, then no further charges will be applied by BT or your service provider. However if there has been damage to their network within your land eg if an overhead wire has been damaged by tree owned by you, or the wire has been brought down by a vehicle on your property then they may charge for the repair, as this will probably involve replacing it right back to the pole. This is outside my control and I will give appropriate advice on my visit.