Please note that Engineer visits are subject to potential charges, should BT find no fault present, or that the fault is with your equipment and wiring. There may also be a charge if you miss a pre-booked engineer appointment.

It is not uncommon for a broadband service to lose connection briefly from time to time, however if your connection drops frequently, or stays offline for longer than a couple of minutes then it might be a sign of there being an underlying problem.

Some intermittent problems can be incorrectly attributed to the broadband connection dropping. With home networks becoming increasingly popular and complex, more problems can occur with internal networks, especially those that run wireless. It is important that we first eliminate any obvious signs of an internal network problem before investigating a potential issue with your Broadband service.

If you regularly see messages such as “Limited or no connectivity” or “Media disconnected” popping up in your system tray then it’s likely that you have a problem with your internal network. If you are connected to your router via a cable, try replacing the Ethernet cable to eliminate a faulty wire. If you connect wirelessly try connecting via a cable to eliminate the possibility that your wireless is suffering from some kind of interference.

It is also worth checking that your router is not overheating. The ventilation holes on your router should not be covered, and should be located in a ventilated area away from a direct source of heat (for example, we do not advise keeping your router shut in a cupboard, or near a radiator.)

Basic Checks

If you are confident that the problem is not with your internal network then the next step is to check your Broadband service. The first stage of this is run through a series of basic checks. These checks are designed to eliminate the most common causes of a dropping connection, and should be performed before we raise a fault.

Telephone line

The first basic check is to simply ensure your voice service is working correctly.

Your Broadband service utilises the unused frequencies on your telephone line. If there is a problem with the telephone line, then it is likely you will experience a problem with your broadband.

To effectively test your telephone line we need to connect your telephone directly to the first available socket. Most BT master sockets will look like this:

nte5-small

Notice that the socket appears to be made of two pieces, with two screw holes on the lower piece. If your socket looks like this then you need to carefully unscrew the bottom half of the faceplate, and gently ease it away. The lower half of the faceplate may remain tethered to the socket on the wall via a number of wires, or it may come away completely. If your faceplate remains connected, please be careful not to pull any of the wires loose.

Once the faceplate has been removed you should find another socket, located behind the faceplate. This is known as the Engineer test socket.

If you do not have this type of socket you need to instead disconnect all devices connected to your line, and locate the Primary socket (usually located in the hallway or utility cupboard).

nte5-open

Connect your phone to the test socket, or if you don’t have one, your primary BT socket. Lift the handset and check to ensure you have a nice clear dial tone free of clicks, buzzing, crackles or any other audible interference.

If you are are unable to tell if your line is clear, you can perform a quiet line test by dialling: 17070, and then select option 2 (if you have Caller line ID blocked, or if your calls are not with BT you may need to dial 1470 17070 instead). You should mute your handset during the test, if your phone supports it.

If your voice service is clear, then we need to eliminate your Broadband wiring before raising a fault.

Microfilters

The microfilter is the small device that sits between your telephone line, router, and telephones handsets. It’s job is to split normal voice calls from broadband signals, which allows you to use the phone and Broadband service at the same time.

microfilters

You should have a microfilter connected to every telephone socket in use; this includes Fax machines, Sky (and similar) TV Boxes, PDQ’s, and security alarms.

If you already have a microfilter on each socket then the next thing we need to do is replace the microfilter that your Router is connected through.

Microfilters can degrade over time and even fail completely, so replacing the filter is a must.

The Engineer Test Socket

You should have already identified if you have an Engineer test socket or not when you were checking your phone service in step 1. If you skipped that section please read the instructions in step 1 relating to locating and accessing your Engineer test socket before proceeding.

The next step is to eliminate your internal telephone wiring. The quickest way of doing this is to connect your router, via your new microfilter directly into the Engineer test socket. If you do not have an engineer test socket you should connect directly into the front of the master socket and ensure that all devices connected to any other socket are disconnected for testing purposes.

Leave your router connected to your test socket for some time. If the disconnections become less frequent or stop entirely then it is likely that you have a problem with part of your telephone wiring. In situations like these we recommend you seek the advise of your telephone provider.

Testing an alternative router

Routers, like any piece of electrical hardware, can sometimes develop a fault. If you have access to test an alternative router on your line then we strongly recommend doing this sooner rather than later. It is not uncommon for a router that is developing a fault to become unreliable before failing entirely. If you need help getting your replacement or test router connected then please contact us for assistance.

If your connection is stable with an alternative router then it is likely that your router has become faulty. If your router was provided by City Communications less than 12 months ago then please get in touch, and we should be able to arrange for a replacement.

My connection is still dropping… What should I do next?

If you have performed the checks listed above and are still suffering from an intermittent connection the next step is to contact us so we can raise a fault on your circuit. For ways of contacting us please click here.

When you contact us we will perform line tests in an attempt to identify where the fault may lay. If our tests are inconclusive we will double-check that you’ve done the basic checks before arranging for a BT engineer to visit your premises to investigate further.