How to troubleshoot ADSL Randomly dropping out – Intermittent internet connection issue

Hello again, so I got Virgin media installed at my new home back in mid march, it wasn’t a smooth install. But that wasn’t the cause of the internet dropping out intermittently.


Internet randomly drops out


It could be a wiring issue. Now what do I mean by a wiring issue. Well when your telephone gets installed the line has already been connected at the exchange but not made live. Now depending on your provider a number of things could happen.

1. You already have a line connected to your house.

2. You don’t have a line and BT will run a cable and connect to the nearest telegraph pole.

3. You don’t have a line and Virgin will run a cable to your house.

External wiring

Any of the above connections could have faults, and if it is an external wiring fault, you will have to ring BT/Virgin/Other to run some tests on the line.

Internal wiring fault

However most problems are caused in the home and here are a few things you can try to fix your problem:

1. Check you have connected your ADSL filter. Normally a router will come with an ADSL filter. This essentially allows you to use a phone and internet simultaneously. If you don’t use a filter and plug your modem/router in directly, when the phone rings your internet will cut off. This also happens on outgoing calls.

Used to filter ADSL / voice trafic

2. Extension cables. Telephone extension cables are usually used becasuse there isn’t a phone socket close to where you cant to use your phone. Unfortuately these cables can get pulled around and damaged, so if you have any of those remove them as they may be causing a fault.

3. More phones means more potential problems. Having a lot of phones on a line can cause a few problems (such as phones not ringing) so you could try removing all phones from all the sockets, just leaving the modem/router connected to the main/master socket in the house. The master socket is located where the telephone line first comes into your house, usually in your front room or one of the downstairs rooms.

4. And lastly it could be an internal wiring fault in one of the sockets. This was the case for me. After checking the line with virgin they asked me to use the test socket in the master socket of the house, removing all other phones. The test socket is actually behind a plate on your telephone socket.

The following advice is taken from the BT website on locating the test socket:


  • If your main socket looks like this socket (with a horizontal bar across the front template).
  • main socket

  • Carefully unscrew the 2 small screws and the bottom half of the faceplate should slide out. On the right hand side is a test socket. This connects you directly to the telephone line and bypasses any extension wiring you may have.
  • main socket open

    Plug the corded telephone into the test socket as above. Check for the line ringing once and stopping or not ringing at all by making test calls.
    Note if your main socket does not have a horizontal bar across the front and looks like this:

    old style

    Do not unscrew the face plate


    When I opened the main socket in my house this is what it looked like. You can see the test socket with the ADSL filter connected for testing purposes.

    Master Telephone socket


    This picture above is actually a picture I have taken more recently; Originally the white wire was hanging loose on the connector plate. I had to borrow a telephone kroner tool from a friend to push the wire back into the right place as it was causing the fault.

    Krone tool

    Needless to say with the router connected directly to the test socket things worked fine and it was the socket installation that was faulty. The internet is much more stable now the wiring has been fixed!

    Other possible causes

    If you are using wireless the following could affect you:

    • Using the same wireless channel as a neighbour
    • Microwave oven
    • Fluorescent lights
    • Cordless phones
    • Bluetooth devices,
    • Wireless video cameras
    • Distance is too far from the wireless point
    • On a shared wireless system someone is “hogging” the bandwidth


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