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wratterus
14-03-2013, 06:31 PM
Sorry for the essay that I'm sure is about to be written...

I'm getting a bit sick of the sub-standard DSL at our place, along with disconnections that Telecom swear aren't their fault, and decided it's time to install a master splitter. Crack open the demarc box, straight away things are looking pretty daunting. (See the first image.)

After some more investigation, it would appear things aren't quite as bad at it first seems. The 2 pair cable with the red/black and blue/white goes directly to one point (happens to be behind the TV) and only the blue/white pairs are being used. Unfortunately the modem can't go there - there is ethernet cabling wired to a different location in the house that I don't fancy extending (no ceiling crawl space, high ceiling in that part of the house, also brick walls and concrete floor, so next to impossible).

The two core bit of cable that looks like speaker wire goes up the same bit of conduit, but then into the ceiling space that a mouse could barely fit into, then seems to disappear, never to be seen again, so where that cable goes is a bit of a mystery. I don't know if it's even plugged into anything. (see image 2)

I went hunting in the ceiling and found many weird and wonderful things, such as a small Cambodian child, and phone cables being extended with stranded speaker wire and being joined with chocolate blocks. It was about at this point I felt a little silly for blaming Telecom for the disconnections. (And called Tear Fund.)

There are 4 jackpoints in the house, and one out in the shed out the back too, but I can't really see where the cable for the shed even comes from, so that's another problem. Because the cables are extended so much, I can't even make heads or tales of which cables are going where inside the house.

My one hope, one particular jackpoint (which just happens to be where the modem is situated now) has some proper two pair phone cable going to it, with only one pair in use, and the colours match one of the cables that is in the demarc box, so my first question is this. Is there likely to be two two-pair cables coming onto the property from the cabinet, or is there likely to be just one of the yellow/black brown/white coming in, and the other two pair cable of that colour going somewhere else in the house?

I can see the two-pair that I'm hoping goes from the demarc, back underground to a different part of the house come out of the ground and into the wall of the house, but I can't tell if thats going from the demarc into the house, or from the house out to the shed. It's a bit of a mess.

Any help would be appreciated. :p

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wratterus
14-03-2013, 07:07 PM
Edit - After some further investigation, it seems the two pair cable I was hoping came from the demarc into another point in the house actually goes from the house out to the shed, and the point it splits off from seems to get it's signal from a cable that runs down to the opposite end of the house!!! That is the one extended with speaker wire and chocolate blocks...this is not looking good.

So I assume there are two two-pair cables going to the demarc from the road? Is there any way of checking that? If that's the case, then it seems the whole house is basically being fed by one bit of what appears to be solid core speaker wire. Gets better and better. :p

My main concern, is I can't see how on earth to get a new cable from the demarc to anywhere useful in the house.

coldot
14-03-2013, 07:48 PM
Is there any chance of contacting the previous owner/occupant? (Some variety of mad scientist?)
Otherwise I think you may have to invite Chorus around.
If you start disconnecting any of those mystery cables I suggest you check the bare ends first with a tester to make sure they're not carrying mains power. If they don't light up put a phone across them to see if that's your incoming line. But keep track of them all in case your phone goes dead.
(Afterthought - could that small Cambodian child shed any light on the cabling systems?)

coldot
14-03-2013, 08:08 PM
Start by describing the house. Basement for access? Any roof space for access? How about access around the house under a weatherboard? Better post a plan showing where you want to have your filtered and unfiltered outlets.

CYaBro
14-03-2013, 10:07 PM
The cable that looks like solid core speaker cable will be the original old wiring that would have been installed originally.
Are you paying the wire maintanence fee on your phone bill?
If you are might be easiest just to log a fault with your ISP and get them to send someone to your place to check it out.
Can't tell from the photo but does the speaker wire looking cable actually have anything connected to it at the demarc box?

wratterus
14-03-2013, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the reply, unfortunately the Cambodian only spoke very broken english so that didn't go far. No idea about the previous owner. The floor is a concrete pad, the ceiling in half of the house is very high and there is no ceiling access whatsoever. This is the same part of the house with the demarc point on it. The rear 2/3rds of the house does have ceiling access, this is of limited use though as it's 10m+ from the side of the house with the demarc point on it.

I'll try and do a little sketch. Imagine you're looking at the house from above. I know a little, but this is way over my head... I was thinking it's time to call Chorus too.

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I can't see how it's possible to get a new line from the demarc into the house, there is nowhere for it to go, no ceiling, can't go under the floor.

wratterus
14-03-2013, 10:33 PM
The cable that looks like solid core speaker cable will be the original old wiring that would have been installed originally.
Are you paying the wire maintanence fee on your phone bill?
If you are might be easiest just to log a fault with your ISP and get them to send someone to your place to check it out.
Can't tell from the photo but does the speaker wire looking cable actually have anything connected to it at the demarc box?

Yeah we do have the wiring maintenance charge.

It certainly does, hopefully these pics might make it a bit clearer. one of the two pair phone cables goes right into that speaker cable stuff, although it is connected to the other two pair in part too with gel splices, which is the main thing confusing me at the moment.

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nedkelly
14-03-2013, 11:33 PM
Poor Wrat, what a mess.
Shame no crawl space in the ceiling, do you know anyone that trains mice? Or someone good with micro-electronics who can build a small device to crawl through for you?

wratterus
15-03-2013, 08:48 AM
Trained mice is the best idea yet. I'm thinking that running either some Cat5 or two pair phone cabling around the outside of the house and into a different location would be an option and just use that for the DSL jack, not try and fix the rest of the house wiring.

CliveM
15-03-2013, 09:01 AM
Trained mice is the best idea yet. I'm thinking that running either some Cat5 or two pair phone cabling around the outside of the house and into a different location would be an option and just use that for the DSL jack, not try and fix the rest of the house wiring.
Around the outside would certainly be the quickest and cheapest option. One of our experts will comment on the legalities of doing so no doubt.

Chilling_Silence
15-03-2013, 10:08 AM
Yeah always keep the DSL router as close to the demarc as possible, use something like a Draytek DV120 and just run a single Cat5 from the back of it to the rest of your network. Gives better connectivity / reliability.

coldot
15-03-2013, 10:12 AM
As far as I know the only issue is whether you have "maintenance" from your provider. That's the monthly charge around $2 which covers your internal wiring. From those photos I suspect that you don't have that charge on your account - and if you have been paying it then you're not getting good value for your payment. I have looked after my own phone wiring for years without any problems. However, without the cover I may be charged $100 to $200 if the wiring fails.

CYaBro
15-03-2013, 11:16 AM
Around the outside would certainly be the quickest and cheapest option. One of our experts will comment on the legalities of doing so no doubt.

No problems running CAT5 cable on the outside, just make sure you get the UV protected stuff and don't use the standard cable as it will break down over time from the sun.
If you think the cable may also sit in water for long periods then you may want to get the gel filled stuff to stop water ingress.

wratterus
15-03-2013, 11:43 AM
Thanks for the info guys. Seems I've opened a bit of a can of worms, but I am pretty confident that this is what's causing the DSL issues now, so that's positive.

Is there somewhere that describes exactly what the line maintenance charge covers?

dugimodo
15-03-2013, 12:04 PM
Even for the guys who do that for a living that's a mess to try and sort out, if you are paying the maintenance charge do as someone suggested and see if you can get them to come sort it all out. I only see black external type cables in the demarc being used for everything and what you describe happening further on is even worse.
They have tools most of us don't, like a tone source and a probe that can find that tone on the other end of the cable to save manually tracing things.

The skinny cable with the red "lollipop" style connector on it is aerial cable usually used as an overhead lead-in from a pole, the brown/white yellow/black is an older style external lead-in cable usually buried which has very little twist in it and is not great for broadband, and the blue/white red/black is the newer type of cable that replaced that old cable when broadband came along and is also usually a buried lead-in. So it looks to me like as the lead-in has been replaced at various times the old lead-in has been re-used to feed phones somewhere, maybe due to the difficulty of running new cables.

How frequent are the disconnects? what I would do if I was looking at it is seperate all the cables, identify which is the lead-in (blue/white red/back I'd hope), connect a temporary piece of homelan or cat5 cable to that with a jackpoint on the end, and test the modem on that with nothing else connected. the downside is your phone will be out of commission while you test but if you have the master filter already you could wire it to the other cabling while you're at it. If it's stable like that you've proved it into the bodgy looking house wiring and can take steps to fix it.

You want a direct line from the lead-in to the modem using good quality twisted cable and the only other thing connected to the lead-in would be the input of the splitter with everything else feeding of the output. In theory this should stop the house wiring effecting the modem or at least improve things.

Agent_24
15-03-2013, 12:29 PM
And I thought my phone wiring was old and weird...

wratterus
15-03-2013, 01:17 PM
How frequent are the disconnects? what I would do if I was looking at it is seperate all the cables, identify which is the lead-in (blue/white red/back I'd hope), connect a temporary piece of homelan or cat5 cable to that with a jackpoint on the end, and test the modem on that with nothing else connected. the downside is your phone will be out of commission while you test but if you have the master filter already you could wire it to the other cabling while you're at it. If it's stable like that you've proved it into the bodgy looking house wiring and can take steps to fix it.


The disconnects aren't that bad, maybe 5 a week, but it's more the line speed (or lack thereof). Houses close by are getting 10 - 15mb/sec easy, we are stuck down at 8, also attenuation is a lot higher than it should be.

I do have a master splitter and had thought of this. I'm a little hesitant about touching anything in that lot of wiring, but as long as I label everything I should be right. Got a heap of Gel splices so that's not a problem.


And I thought my phone wiring was old and weird...

"Our house wiring...making other house wiring look good since 1962" (or thereabouts)

Peter Coleman
15-03-2013, 05:35 PM
There should be only 1 cable from the road(black/yellow,brown/white)and that will attatch to the solid copper cable going up the wall to the original point of entry by the roof.The other cable(blue/white,red/black) will probably have been run by sky to the jack by the tv(thats the other cable running along the eaves the other way from the solid copper one)To be honest you could just ring your isp and get a tech out,but no guarantee they will actually rerun all the wiring,depends a lot on who you get and how nice he feels.You could also just run a new cable around the outside,the chorus tech would probably have to do the same anyway,but using standard cat 5 is not the best as it will break down in the sunlight after a while.hope that helps some.

wratterus
16-03-2013, 02:01 PM
Thanks Peter.

One further question - what colours match up with what when I'm testing with the master splitter. I assume it matters?

I will start with the yellow/black pair from the cable that I assume is the main phone cable, and temporarily wire the splitter in there, however I'm not sure which colours should match up to which.

On the demarc side of the splitter I have orange/white that needs to go into yellow/black. (For a start anyway.)

On the house side of the splitter I have blue/white that will go to the phone, and green/white to the modem. I'm just going to lop one end off a couple of RJ-11 cables and temporarily wire those on to test the phone and modem - these are obviously red/green wires, which way around do these go to join to the splitter?

Thanks.

CYaBro
16-03-2013, 04:01 PM
Polarity doesn't matter with phone / broadband so just wire them any way you like. :)

Agent_24
17-03-2013, 09:24 AM
Polarity doesn't matter with phone / broadband so just wire them any way you like. :)

According to an article I read in Silicon Chip it actually does. Get it the wrong way around and your line rate will be slower, apparently.

wratterus
17-03-2013, 12:02 PM
Interesting. Thanks guys. It's actually raining today (thanks goodness) so I'll give this a go next week at some point and let you know what's happened. Thanks for all the help. ;)

dugimodo
18-03-2013, 09:30 AM
Yeah polarity isn't supposed to matter but in practice it sometimes does. Also it needs to be the same everywhere - not swapping between jackpoints because that can cause problems too. My money is on the Blue/White, Red/Black being the lead-in from the street because it's the newest cable. My guess is 3 lead-in cables have been run in at various times in the past and the oldest 2 have been re-used to feed jackpoints and the 4th cable is a feed to the shed installed at some point. I'm probaly wrong though, guessing that nightmare from a photo is almost like picking lotto numbers.

wratterus
18-03-2013, 11:23 AM
Yeah polarity isn't supposed to matter but in practice it sometimes does. Also it needs to be the same everywhere - not swapping between jackpoints because that can cause problems too.

I would certainly keep things uniform everywhere. I guess I can just test the DSL with both polarities are see if there is any change in sync speeds/attenuation.


My money is on the Blue/White, Red/Black being the lead-in from the street because it's the newest cable. My guess is 3 lead-in cables have been run in at various times in the past and the oldest 2 have been re-used to feed jackpoints and the 4th cable is a feed to the shed installed at some point. I'm probaly wrong though, guessing that nightmare from a photo is almost like picking lotto numbers.

Blue/white red/black is going to the jackpoint for the sky decoder, sorry to disappoint. ;)

I now know for a fact the feed for the shed comes from a different jackpoint in another part of the house, so it's none of those cables. I'm 99% sure I know which one is the lead-in now, but I'm still a bit mystified about the second two pair, the same colour as the lead in. Think I'll disconnect it and see if anything stops working. :p

Looking forward to playing around with this actually, hopefully I don't stuff anything.

coldot
18-03-2013, 11:39 AM
.... but I'm still a bit mystified about the second two pair, the same colour as the lead in. Think I'll disconnect it and see if anything stops working.
Keep an eye and an ear on the neighbours to see if anybody screams that his 'free' internet has been cut off!