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R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

4 edits

[Homephone] An odd, recurring interactive "glitch" on a landline

downloadlandline_gli···7.48.mp3 104,907 bytes
An example from March 15, 2014
I've been experiencing an unusual issue with my landline. Before I speak to Bell, I'm hoping someone here may have an idea what's causing this quirk. Have you experienced anything like this, or heard of something similar? Even If you're not sure what could be going on, but are willing to speculate, go ahead. At this point I'm more interested in trying to figure out what might be causing this thing than having it fixed right away (assuming it can be fixed).

(I'm not in a hurry to contact Bell because my line seems fully functional, which makes me think the telco may not take this issue seriously. Besides, even if Bell can correctly diagnose and fix the issue, they're unlikely to let me know exactly what caused the problem. That's been my experience in the past.)

The "glitch" occurs on average 3 times a week, at random dates, around 5:50 PM (between 5:47 and 5:51 PM). It happens when the line is idle. Ever since I noticed this anomaly, I've been monitoring my line 24/7, and have captured this phenomenon every week during the past several months. Whenever the event is taking place, the audio recorder connected to my line registers a sequence of 5 distinct clicks (at irregular intervals), lasting between 4 and 9 seconds. At the same time, my phone's "extension-in-use" light turns on for a second, indicating a brief drop in line voltage that the phone interprets as an extension having been taken off the hook.

Now, If I pick up the receiver when the "hiccup" is taking place, I can hear the clicking in real time through the receiver. Interestingly, picking up the receiver while the glitch is occurring influences its behaviour: the pattern and frequency of the sounds deviates from the usual pattern (instead of the usual 5 clicks, there are 7). Significantly, the clicking activity on the line prevents my phone from drawing dial tone. Dial tone can only be heard after several seconds, once the clicking noise has stopped.

The glitch has another odd, interactive property. Although the phenomenon normally only happens once a day (and not every day), whenever I pick up the receiver while the clicking is occurring at its usual time (around 5:50 PM), the effect then reoccurs approx. 14 minutes later (just after 6 PM), as if in response to my earlier action.

In case you think this might be relevant, I own two telephones, both of them corded types (I don't use cordless ones), and in good working order; both are located in the same room, and connected to the same phone jack (I only have one jack in my home). Both phones react to the glitch identically: their built-in line-in-use indicators register a brief voltage drop on the line (nearly) simultaneously. No one else has access to these phones, and there are no other extensions on my line. Also, I don't subscribe to a DSL service, so any interference on the phone line from this source can be ruled out. Except for the weird anomaly, my line seems to be working fine.

Check out a typical example of the glitch in the attached audio file at the top of this post. If you experience issues with the attachment, try one of my links below. If you can't get the file, email me through this site and I'll send you this short (7 seconds) audio sample.

- FLAC:
»www.hidrive.strato.com/lnk/flUrNiLe
- MP3:
»www.hidrive.strato.com/lnk/B60rNjva
- MP3 - mirror 1:
»www.hidrive.strato.com/lnk/Hu0rN0aA
- MP3 - mirror 2:
»www.hidrive.strato.com/lnk/2iULNxEa
- MP3 - mirror 3:
»www.hidrive.strato.com/lnk/au0rtXUY

I encourage you to open the MP3 in an audio editor software and examine it visually. I've got some comments about the nature of these noises, but would prefer to hear what you have to say about them first.

This is a long post, but I thought that the more info you guys get, the more likely you might be able to help me figure out what the heck I'm dealing with... (I also tried to anticipate some questions you might have.)

If you reply, please bear in mind I'm severely technically challenged, and my understanding of telephony, electronics, etc. is rudimentary at best.

Any thoughts, folks?
R. K.


Glen1
These Are The Good Ol' Days.
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
GTA Canada
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Bell Fibe

1 edit

Do you have an alarm system at home and on this line? Do you live in an apartment building where there is an entry system attached to the line? Do you have Expressvu TV service?
--
My Canada includes Quebec.
Disclaimer: If I express an opinion, it is my own opinion, not that of Bell or its related companies.



R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

4 edits

said by Glen1:

Do you have an alarm system at home and on this line? Do you live in an apartment building where there is an entry system attached to the line?

No alarm, and no entry system attached to the line, Glen. I live in a duplex. (My neighbour doesn't have an alarm system either, BTW.) But I hear where you're coming from; these are reasonable hunches. Thanks for the input.

I knew this was gonna be a tough nut to crack... Apart from the curious regularity with which this thing appears -- lately it's been happening exactly at 5:48 PM every time -- it's the interactivity that puzzles me the most. What sort of fault/tech issue can "react" to my taking the receiver off the hook? And the second "reaction" -- the reoccurence of the glitch on the same day -- is delayed by some 12-14 minutes. I tested this a bunch of times; I assure you this is not a mere coincidence. The quirk never happens twice on the same day unless I "catch it in the act" the first time around...

I should post a few more audio samples that include some extra sounds. Maybe those could give you, and others, a slightly better idea what's going on. I'm not optimistic, but I've got nothing to lose.

I'll be offline 'til the evening, but will respond to any replies then.


R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada
reply to Glen1

said by Glen1:

Do you have Expressvu TV service?

No. The only Bell service I subscribe to is landline phone.

kyphos

join:2014-03-26
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to R_K

I suspect your line is being put into test mode at the CO. It sounds like the loop is being disconnected from the SLIC (Subscriber Line Interface Chip) on the DMS line card and connected to the loop test head at the central office. When that happens, you lose the 48V battery feed and what's known as 'loop supervision'. That's why you don't get dial tone.

The test equipment can measure noise, impedance, balance, and other degradations that occur (shorts to other subscriber loops, water in the cable, etc). It's been a long time since I worked on DMS, but the clicks you're hearing/recording sound like test signals being injected by the test head to measure the characteristics of your loop.

As for the "interactive" behavior you described: this is entirely a guess, but I surmise that the test head was designed to notice if the subscriber goes off hook, aborts its testing ('sorry to have troubled you...'), and reschedules another test pass 15 minutes later.

The question is why is it happening during the day, and why is it happening repeatedly at the same time of day. Routine testing generally happens in the dead of night when customers won't notice. Bell has a major program underway to "groom" the outside plant - they are tiding up years of sloth in maintaining and managing millions of copper pairs making them "fibe-ready". It's plausible that they are testing individual loop parameters from the CO to identify circuits that require a tech to go up a pole (or down a hole) and make repairs. Though why they'd have to test your loop repeatedly over several months is a mystery. That makes no sense.

Perhaps there's a bug in the scheduling algorithm that drives the DMS line testing equipment. Or maybe it's simply that the NSA has moved north...


btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11
reply to R_K

Are you involved in any terrorist activities or threats to national security? Lol I'm just joking. Sounds like a bad line card in the co, a quick f1 pair change by a technician should resolve that.
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.



R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

4 edits

said by btech805:

Are you involved in any terrorist activities or threats to national security?

LOL. If I went to the dark side, I'd probably be an even more inept jihadist than the infamous "underwear bomber"...

said by kyphos:

I suspect your line is being put into test mode at the CO.

said by btech805:

Sounds like a bad line card in the co.

Great food for thought, kyphos & btech. These are exactly the kinds of responses I was hoping for. I realize you can't diagnose the issue over the net, but you gave me a general idea about the sort of thing I might be dealing with. You're basically saying this is most likely a problem at the CO. Good to know.

I'll continue this thread in the next several days. There may be a few more potentially relevant facts worth mentioning. And I have a few more questions that only pros like yourselves could help me with. If you can, please check back here next week.

I really appreciate your taking time to shed some light on this strange issue, guys.

btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11

The only other thing that I see causing that would be the phone cord itself from the phone jack, if it is moving. However I'm assuming you have cordless phones like most people nowadays so that only leaves CSIS and the RCMP listening to your phone calls lol
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.


kyphos

join:2014-03-26
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1
reply to btech805

I agree 100% with btech (and after all, he is a B tech, so he knows whereof he speaks). If you can get your phone line swapped over to a new line card in the CO, I'm sure your mysterious problem will vanish.

However, I'm not so sure it's a "bad" line card. I think the line card is doing what it was designed to do (at 3500 Carling). I can't imagine a failure mechanism that would cause a line card to spontaneously seize your line at 5:50ish every day or three and inject clicks on it for several seconds. There's a programmatic element doing it.

Call 611 and get them to sort it.


btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11

"Bad" might be the wrong word but if a testing protocol on the dms card ia behaving strangely then it is probably failing, or soon will. The fact that is happens at nearly the same time every day lends more credence to a card "error" of some sort. There are testing protocols and what have you the card is meant to do but nothing that you should hear or notice on your end, except of course a silent switchman test.
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.



Glen1
These Are The Good Ol' Days.
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
GTA Canada
kudos:8
reply to R_K

Change the OE and see if the trouble goes away. Do it by "trial and error".



R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

3 edits

(OE = originating equipment, right?) Good idea. One basic test would be to disconnect both phones from the line, and see if the quirk will still pop up. I'm fairly sure I know what the outcome of this test would be, but I need to be positive.



R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

4 edits
reply to Glen1

said by Glen1:

Change the OE and see if the trouble goes away. Do it by "trial and error"

Today I unplugged both phones from the line to see what would happen around 5:50 PM. The only device left connected to the line was the recording adapter with the recorder attached to it. Predictably, the change of the setup didn't prevent the glitch from appearing at 5:48.

Now, I can't see how the recorder could be the culprit, especially that on a few occasions I caught the anomaly with another recorder, too. So, the only variable remaining on "my end" (that I can think of ) is the recording adapter itself. But this crude gadget probably has no ICs (of any kind) that could enable the "scheduled" behaviour I witness. IMO, kyphos and btech805 are right on the money suspecting that the origin of the issue lies with some sort of electronic component at the CO.

BTW, I forgot to mention earlier that the timing of the glitch was correctly adjusted for DST starting April 9th.


R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

4 edits
reply to R_K


An example from March 15, 2014
Click for full size
An example from April 27, 2014
Typical-looking Glitch Waveforms

These are waveform graphs of two typical examples of the glitch. The first one shows the audio clip from March 15 attached at the top of this thread as an MP3. The second graph represents yesterday's recording (mentioned in the previous post). Both images show the usual sequence of 5 clicks, with the volumes of corresponding clicks being proportional. Both graphs look nearly identical, except for small variations in the length of the intervals between the corresponding clicks. Practically all the recordings I've made look, and sound, exactly like these two. (I'll mention two samples that break out this pattern soon.)

After listening to my recordings, anyone familiar with various sounds that normally occur on phone lines will recognize that the recurring pattern of noises I capture is not a random burst of static/crackle/interference. Instead, the sounds are consistent with a device first connecting to the line, then activating it, and then disconnecting. The line is definitely being seized for a few seconds, as kyphos has suggested.

kyphos

join:2014-03-26
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

Have you called 611 and reported your problems?
- you hear odd noises on the line
- sometimes you go off hook and there's no dial tone
- the extension-in-use light comes on for no apparent reason
- you've tried a different phone & problem persists.

As btech said, it's a simple enough problem to fix.



R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

said by kyphos:

Have you called 611 and reported your problems? . . . As btech said, it's a simple enough problem to fix

Haven't done it yet. I've got a good reason for delaying, though. I'll mention it soon. I've been adding more info to this thread for the sake of others who might be dealing with a similar issue in the future.


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2

said by R_K:

said by kyphos:

Have you called 611 and reported your problems? . . . As btech said, it's a simple enough problem to fix

Haven't done it yet. I've got a good reason for delaying, though. I'll mention it soon. I've been adding more info to this thread for the sake of others who might be dealing with a similar issue in the future.

I suspect that for 99% of the people in the world, this is a) not a serious issue or b) they don't notice it. If their phone line fails, they will deal with it then. Otherwise, they have more important issues in life to deal with.

For a really serious issue, and how I resolved it (and how Bell would not even listen to the local police) read this thread for your enjoyment. »ARRGH! False 911 Calls
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to kyphos

Years ago, when I was with Nortel, I had to troubleshoot a similar issue...

Symptom's were similar; loss of metallic connectivity, clicking on the line; at a predictable time, on a repeating schedule.

It ended up being a bad remote test head on the Accessnode... It was repeatedly seizing a line, then dropping.

Call 611 - given that it's so predictable, they shouldn't have much trouble finding and fixing it...


kyphos

join:2014-03-26
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

said by LazMan:

It ended up being a bad remote test head on the Accessnode... It was repeatedly seizing a line, then dropping.

Yep - the clicks on the line are indicative of TDR signals from a test head.

btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11
reply to R_K

If it correctly adjusted to daylight savings time, then definitely some type of testing equipment. If you line is being seized (busy light) thats usually indicative of either a phone off hook or the "silent switchman" test we use which knocks dialtone in order to test the metallics of a line
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.



Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
reply to DKS

Did Bell ever offer an explanation as to what the cause of that was? I am sure your local police force was thrilled once the false calls stopped.


btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11

Normally the new process is the 911 service will actually alert us to any call issues, whether it be a disconnection during a real call or noise or false calls like this. Usually false calls are a problem within the central office
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.



R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada
reply to DKS

said by DKS:

for 99% of the people in the world, this is a) not a serious issue or b) they don't notice it. If their phone line fails, they will deal with it then.

Agreed. Except there's a bit more to this case than I let on. It's not a horror story like yours, but not as trivial as I've made it sound so far, either. I'm dealing with another (potentially related) issue, too. I'll try to explain soon. Thanks for the link to the thread about the insane situation you had to deal with.

During my past dealings with Bell over the phone, and with Bell techs in person, (e.g. when my line went down on several occasions) I could never get straight answers about what was causing the problems I was having. Bell employees refused to answer any questions at all (and made excuses). Thanks to the people on this forum I actually feel I'm learning something, as opposed to being treated like a moron.

Thanks for your input, Everyone; it's appreciated.
Expand your moderator at work

aereolis

join:2003-06-12
Brampton, ON
reply to R_K

Re: [Homephone] An odd, recurring interactive "glitch" on a landline

From rogers' side, i've put my butt set on telephone lines in monitor mode(bells) when causing tripping issues with our NSL switches and heard clicking noises on lines making differing beeping sounds, to best describe it, it sounds like "beep, boop, bop" at different sound frequencies, and they are fairly consistent, not stopping like yours. Every case i've seen so far they used to have dsl with bell in the past and installing a dsl filter or disconnecting bell in the basement have fixed the issues.
--
Hello


btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11
reply to R_K

PM sent. All answers to your questions, I decided not to reply by email to protect my identity but should you have any more q's feel free to ask.
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.


suggy2004

join:2004-01-07
Conshohocken, PA
reply to R_K

Satellite TV systems used to call home with a phone line
Older tivo systems also used to call home
Our water meeters used to call home before went to RF Meeters

Have anything like that on any line?



R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada

1 edit
reply to btech805

said by btech805:

PM sent. All answers to your questions.

Thanks a million for the long and detailed message answering my huge list of questions about the main -- and pretty serious -- issue I've been having on my line, btech805! (For security reasons, it's best if I refrain from describing this problem here.) You really know your stuff. Bell should be proud to have you as an employee. Your missive contains all the info I've been unsuccessfully searching for on the net for the last couple of months. This issue has caused me a good amount of stress. I finally feel like I know what's going on, and how to go about rectifying it. You've made my day, week, and the month, to boot...


R_K

join:2014-04-11
Canada
reply to aereolis

said by aereolis:

From rogers' side, i've put my butt set on telephone lines. . . and heard clicking noises on lines making . . . beeping sounds. . . Every case i've seen so far they used to have dsl with bell in the past. . . .

I'm a fan of electronic music; I bet some musicians would love to sample the weird noises you've caught on lines and use them as loops in spooky-sounding ambient techno/industrial-type tracks... Anyway, I'm positive the issue you describe has nothing to do with mine. The symptoms are way different, and there's never been a DSL service on my phone line. Thanks for the cool info.

said by suggy2004:

Satellite TV systems used to call home with a phone line
Older tivo systems also used to call home
Our water meeters used to call home before went to RF Meeters
Have anything like that on any line?

Thanks for these perfectly reasonable suggestions. But they can all be ruled out right off the bat in my case.

said by LazMan:

Symptom's were similar; loss of metallic connectivity, clicking on the line; at a predictable time, on a repeating schedule. It ended up being a bad remote test head on the Accessnode... It was repeatedly seizing a line, then dropping. . . . . they shouldn't have much trouble finding and fixing it...

Thanks for your Nortel expertise, LazMan. Good to hear from someone who actually seems to have witnessed this ghostly thing in action. What you describe does closely resemble what I'm experiencing. So this is another vote for the faulty-test-head hypothesis.

I can't believe how quickly people here have hit on the most likely solution to this puzzle. I need to contact Bell soon.


Glen1
These Are The Good Ol' Days.
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
GTA Canada
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Bell Fibe
reply to R_K

When and if you call Bell to report the trouble...don't go into too much detail with the person taking the report. Just tell them there is a strange noise on the line and wait for the technician to come out. It may take a few reports to get someone who will properly diagnose the issue...be patient. This is a strange trouble. If you went to a mechanic with your car and told him to change something...he would and charge you for it but that may not be the actual part that is failing. Keep that in mind when you call in this trouble...describe the symptom and don't try to diagnose the trouble.
--
My Canada includes Quebec.
Disclaimer: If I express an opinion, it is my own opinion, not that of Bell or its related companies.