TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Can You Help ID This Problem: Caller Speaks up; Nothing But Noise

Re: Can You Help ID This Problem: Caller Speaks up; Nothing But Noise

Steven Lichter (
Mon, 09 Oct 2006 23:46:11 GMT wrote:
> Hi,

> We have 8 landlines in an office in San Diego. Local & Long distance
> services are from AT&T. All the lines are connected to a phone system
> (TalkSwitch, to be more specific) I tested all the lines and
> extensions one by one, calling from my cell phone with no
> problem. AT&T also tested from their end and saw no problems what so
> ever.

> Here is the annoying problem: Once in every 9-10 calls, caller's voice
> is so bad we cannot understand anything. The line itself sound very
> clear, but caller's voice is all staticy. Sounds like a radio that is
> little out-of-frequency. No static/humming on the line itself, but
> it's the voice that is terrible. When we tell them to call us back
> again, and if they do, there is no problem at all (even if the
> receiving line and extensions were exactly the same as before)

> This suggests either phone system is bad/configured wrong and acting
> randomly, or long distance calls have problems. I don't know if this
> question sounds stupid but, is it possible to have such a bad
> connection because of some switch/circuit that is available for that
> particular call between point A and point B (like recalling the ISP to
> get the next available modem to eliminate the bad modem)

> My knowledge is limited about phones and I am expected to troublshoot
> this, but I don't know exactly where to start. I also have some
> settings on the phone box that can be set for the lines (600 ohms, 600
> complex, 900 ohms, 900 complex -- set to 900 complex by itself -- not
> sure what it is).

> Thanks in advance.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Your problem, that of intermittent
> noise, is a very difficult one to diagnose, but here is a starting
> point, based on a real-life experience of mine from thirty or thirty
> five years ago. I would make calls wherever, late at night, and every
> second or third call I made, this god-awful noise and rattling sound
> came back at me right after I dialed the seven digits but before the
> call had set up. Not _every_ time, but 'only' every second or third
> call attempt. No set pattern, and all I could do was abandon the
> call and dial again. Bell never could figure it out (nor did they
> try very hard, IMO) but I finally got to speak with a tech in the
> local Bell office one day. His question to me was, don't you have two
> lines there? I said I did, so his response to that was, the next
> time this happens, do me a favor; keep that line 'up', put it on
> hold and use your other line to call me at (a direct number to reach
> him in the frames). It happend again (admittedly I tried to make it
> happen) and when that terrible noise started, I lifted the plunger
> on my phone (I had one of the old two-line/life the plunger/twist
> the turn button style phones) and called this technician direct as
> he had asked. Good, he said, now stay put a minute, I am going to
> trace your line here in the office. When he came back with the
> report about five minutes later, it really surprised me. He said
> there was a bad line 'selector' between the office where I was
> located, and the office I was attempting to call. He continued
> saying the 'bad' equipment was the 'first choice' in a group of
> several trunks running from the one office to the other one. He
> further said that during the daytime hours, only quite rarely would
> someone land on the first selector (the one which was in trouble),
> they would get the same noisy conditions, hang up in disgust and
> dial again. But in the middle of the day -- the busy hours -- the
> troubled first selection trunk was having repeated seizures by
> various subscribers; no one ever managed to land on it twice in a
> row; no way to pin it down. When the subscriber dialed a second
> time, naturally their call would hunt right past the troubled
> selector (which had then been seized by some other subscriber) so
> of course their call went through normally.

> But, he said, you, Mr. Townson, insist on making your calls during
> the off hours, very late at night, time and again you are going to
> land on that first selected trunk line, and get the trouble over and
> over. I have 'busied it out' at my end, now _no one_ is going to
> land on that line, until it gets fixed. Sure enough, that was the
> end of my troubles. Keep the above in mind, please.

> Now you talked about modems and your 'phone box'. Is there any order
> or organization in which your inbound calls arrive, sort of like a
> 'first selected trunk', etc? Load up all your incoming lines with
> calls, somehow isolate the line with the noise and investigate that
> line completely. Try to detirmine if the trouble is at your end or
> if it is arriving from AT&T on one of their incoming lines. If you are
> able to isolate the disturbance _on your own equipment_ using this
> method, then do whatever you need to do. If you find that the trouble
> continues even when your own equipment is out of the way on that line,
> then the problem goes to AT&T. But be prepared to have the troubled
> line 'up' or in use when you notify AT&T about it, so they can zero
> in on the trouble.

> Yes, I know you shouldn't have to go to that much trouble, of
> isolating the specific line, etc, but you know most telco repair
> guys are _not_ going to do anything about it otherwise. And anyway,
> it may well turn out to be your 'privately owned equipment' in
> trouble, so you may as well eliminate all that so Bell has no
> excuses for fixing the trouble it it turns out to be their problem. PAT]
You may have a bad circuit in the CO, it may only be hit a times when
the others are busy, it may have nothing to do directly with your line.
You have to get to a tester, not the people handling the incoming
repair calls. Are the calls coming from the same person or same calling
office, then it could be a trunk circuit between offices.

We had a problem where we could not call one number in an office and
they kept closing the ticket with no trouble found, that is until I
got a tester who understood me, I'm retired telephone company, within
a short time they found that it was a single translation in the switch
and fixed it. You have to get to a person within the company who
knows the trunking, not just some of the computer geeks that they have

The Only Good Spammer is a Dead one!! Have you hunted one down today?
(c) 2006 I Kill Spammers, Inc. A Rot In Hell Co.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: But Steve, basically you told him the
same thing as I, but with more work involved for him. Whenever there
is any complexity to the problem at all, telco is _always_ going to
pass the buck. It helps a lot if the subscriber can put his finger
directly on the trouble when requesting repair service. PAT]

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: "Re: Can You Help ID This Problem: Caller Speaks up; Nothing But Noise"
Go to Previous message: US Telecom Daily Lead: "Google buys Web video phenomenon YouTube"
May be in reply to: "Can You Help ID This Problem: Caller Speaks up; Nothing But Noise"
Next in thread: "Re: Can You Help ID This Problem: Caller Speaks up; Nothing But Noise"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page