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In June 2005 I finally got ADSL installed on one of my phone lines; contrary to the fears expressed in previous outage reports, the line quality was more than ample. The Linksys AG241 gateway that I got has a web page showing the line status (see the DSL stats page for more details).

Watching this page proved to be useful: on 21 June, at about 10 pm, I discovered that the upstream/downstream margins had deteriorated to only 6 dB upstream, which also caused the upstream transmission rate to diminish from 256 kb/s to 160 kb/s. Here's a time line:

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

At about 22:00 I called up Telstra and spoke to Julie, who at first didn't want to know because the ADSL service was with Internode, but I pointed out that this was a line fault and that the line was from Telstra. She tested and confirmed problems with the line and raised fault 116269434. Like everybody else, she seemed to have difficulty with the concept that I had more than one line. She did call back and remind me that I needed to raise separate faults for the other two lines, which are with “Call Australia”, a company so low-budget that they don't even appear to have a web site. I started monitoring line quality at regular intervals.

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

To my surprise, the lines didn't go down in the night, though there was a bit of the noise in the phone lines. Called “Call Australia” and spoke to somebody who didn't understand the issues, and who wanted me to disconnect the ADSL line so that he could test the (unrelated) phone line. I wish I understood the problems that people have in understanding that more than one phone line is involved. Spoke to Janice, his supervisor, who also took 5 minutes to understand that three different lines were involved. She still made me disconnect all lines except the one I was talking on, but then didn't do a test.

First thing this morning, of course the phone lines were still down. Called Telstra, spoke to Becca, and was given a new repair date: 1900 tomorrow, Saturday 25 June. Put in a complaint, number 1-48335559, and wrote yet another letter to Alexander Downer; I doubt he cares.

At 9:45, even the ADSL line died. Prepared to go into town and do something else, but to my surprise it came back again at 11:10:
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Obviously that was the time they needed to actually splice the cable. When it came back, the margin values were back to normal, but it only took 15 minutes for the downstream margin to drop by 5 dB. I wonder what caused that. Went and had a talk to the linesmen, but of course they didn't know either.

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