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ADSL Troubleshooting

This document will provide some advice on troubleshooting and expediting the repair of ADSL circuits.

Caveat Emptor

It probably bears mentioning that some of this information will be specific to working with TELUS in Northern BC, Canada. :)

Account information

Before you pick up the phone, make sure you have the appropriate account information. 

  1. What phone number is the ADSL service on?
  2. What type of entity is paying for the ADSL? Is it a business account or a residential account?
  3. What is the billing address of the ADSL service?
  4. What is the TELUS account # and account ID?
  5. What is the OCA username and password for the account?
  6. What kind of plan is the ADSL? Dynamic addresses, static addresses?
If you're calling TELUS about an account, you may wish to pretend that you're the account holder. This simplifies things from their perspective. Your mileage may vary. I don't endorse lying about things but there's a time and a place.

Absolute basics

Always always always:
  1. DO reboot the appropriate equipment including DSL modem, router, workstation
  2. DO confirm physical connectivity:
    1. Where does the telephone service terminate? 
    2. How does it get to the jack that you're plugging into? 
    3. Is there a microfilter installed? 
    4. Is there a POTS splitter installed?
    5. Does the jack that you're using have POTS service?
    6. Can you hear the high end DSL hiss on the line?
    7. Does the telephone service have jacks anywhere else in the building? Each needs to be filtered whether with a microfilter or a POTS filter. *If not then the DSL service forms a line loop through the unfiltered jack and the DSL modem will see two DSL services coming in out of phase with each other. Which will cause the link to be lost intermittently.*
    8. What type of DSL modem do you have?
    9. What are the lights on the DSL modem indicating?
  3. If you can, swap out the phone line going to the DSL modem and swap the DSL modem itself. Best bet to purchase a DSL modem is to see ABC Communications as they are a TELUS reseller and stock them.

Define the problem

  1. What is occurring? 
  2. Are you getting a solid DSL link light?
  3. Are you getting a solid ethernet link light?
  4. Is the router pulling an IP address?

If the router is pulling a 10.x.x.x address, then the MAC address needs to be registered with the OCA service. This is available at . Give OCA 15 minutes to propagate submissions.

  1. If the router is getting an IP address, can you ping your gateway?
  2. Can you ping other internet resources by IP address?
  3. Can you ping other internet resources by hostname, i.e. DNS resolution?
  4. Can you browse to websites and similar?

Calling in the issue

Call 310-4NET. You want internet technical support. You want an agent.

Ask the customer rep to repeat their name and note it for your records. Note the start of the call. Keep a notepad handy so you can note any comments made by the rep. Always note your ticket number.

Explain what is occurring. Recognize that the TELUS rep will automatically want to go through their checklists. This is normal and they have to on their end. Your best bet is to give them the summary of all the basics (i.e. I've power cycled equipment, I get a DSL link light, I've swapped the phone cord and I'm using a 6' cord, the phone connection comes from the demarc into this jack, I do not have a filter in front of my DSL modem, I cannot pull an IP address, I've tried multiple computers with the same negative result).

If the rep says something that doesn't make sense, question them. If they escalate the issue to the NOC and they test things out, ask for specifics. What did they check? What were the levels at?

If you're not satisfied with the process, escalate the issue. There are some things that can only be handled by tier 2/3 and by default the customer reps will not want to both them if they can avoid it. Go on the default that you're smarter than them.

Ask if they're checked the port at the CO. TELUS has a tool called Synapse that will let them check the port loss and error rates. Sometimes if the port sees intermittent errors it will train down the line which will cause your signal quality and speed to tank. They will retrain or reprogram the circuit at this point.

Have them swap the port at the CO if needed. Ports can go bad, particularly if they've been static discharged. They will not want to do this by default.

The on site visit

If they need to send a technician out to look at the lines, be there with them. Ask what they are doing? Generally they will check the demarc point and physically inspect the BIX block to see what extensions are tied to this phone. If there isn't a POTS filter installed, have them install it as it's a two second operation and it should be there.

When they test the circuit, they will check the "bits in buckets". Ask for these numbers. What kind of loss are we experiencing? Is there any reflection or refraction in the DSL signal?

Resolving the really hard ones

Worst case, you can always fall back on the ELEANOR department. This is the TELUS Loyalty and Retention department. They're empowered by the head honchos at TELUS to make sure you stay with TELUS. They can bypass the normal queueing and call CO's directly to dispatch and test. You can reach them through customer service. Start by complaining about the ticket filed and give specifics - who you talked to, when, what was the result, what you want them to do. Emphasize the mission critical nature of your internet connection. If customer service isn't doing what you want, say that you want to speak with the loyalty and retention department as you're having serious doubts about using TELUS vs Shaw. Say that Shaw can be out and have new service in place before TELUS can fix this issue.