Test the quality of your phone line

I just moved into a small town in the mountains and now work in telecommuter heaven. But data transfers with my V.90 56Kbps modem are definitely slower here. Sometimes I can't get a connection at all. Is there any way I can test the quality of my telephone line?

- Cheri Gordon

In general, telephone-line quality is very good in Australia. But poor connections do exist in some rural areas (a fact borne out by a spate of letters in recent editions of Readers' Forum). Poor line quality can dramatically affect modem performance.

To determine whether poor line quality is responsible for your modem's slow performance, do the following. First, if you have other devices connected to your modem's telephone line, such as a fax machine or other telephones, remove them and see if the situation improves. Extra wire from other devices can degrade the modem's signal, and cheap phones can add "noise" (basically an extraneous signal) to the line.

Try attaching a phone to the modem line, pick up the receiver, and listen while you dial a single digit (to remove the dial tone). If you hear static, crackling or hissing after the number's tone, you may have excessive line noise. If you do, call Telstra on 13 2203 and ask the operator to check your phone line. On a normal voice line, Telstra will only test for voice quality and low data quality, so a successful test does not guarantee that your line is completely free of noise as far as your high-speed modem is concerned. If your line passes Telstra's testing, and data transfers are still slow, try lowering the speed of your modem. In most cases, a slower modem speed will result in a more reliable connection.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?