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Line Noise Issues

Static or other noise on your phone line may be a minor nuisance when speaking on the phone, but for internet services running on the same line (dial-up or DSL service) noise is a significant problem that can make establishing and maintaining a connection next to impossible. It is important to find the source of the noise and eliminate it to prevent issues such as slow speeds and disconnects.

Identifying line noise

To listen for line noise pick up a phone (ideally not a cordless phone) and press 1. The dial-tone sound should cease and you should hear clear dead air. If you near any form of hissing or crackling sounds you likely have a line noise issue.

Resolving line noise issues
The key in resolving line noise issues is eliminating possibilities. Below are steps to follow which will help you nail down the problem source:

  • Check if the noise is present on a corded phone. It is normal for many cordless phones to pick up some noise
  • Check if the problem is present on all phones, if so it suggests the noise is being generated by a device on the line or a wiring issue. Unplug the devices one by one to see if you can eliminate the noise. Ensure you disconnect:
    • fax machines
    • answering machines
    • phone cords running into computers or external modems
    • splitters, dsl filters, surge protectors
  • If the noise source has not been narrowed down to a jack, phone or phone cord or device there should be only one internal test left to perform. If you know where the phone lines come into your premises (typically the ‘Demarcation point’) you may have a phone jack you can test from at that location. If you plug in a corded phone at that location and still hear noise then the issue is very likely with the phone line external to your premises.

External Sources of line noise

If you have narrowed the problem down to an external source you will need to contact your telephone provider for repair. If the problem only occurs under certain conditions (after raining for example when moisture may be affecting the external line) it is a good idea to communicate such details to your telephone company’s representative. When the problem started is another detail that is good to pass along if known (for example after a second phone line was activated).