@0# #@$% Phone Jacks

A little while back the phone jacks in the house stopped working. I called AT&T who came out and took a look. Seems the trouble is on the inside, so I either pay them $200/hr to fix it or do it myself. Those nifty new boxes have a test jack, so my “temporary” fix was to run a 15 ft cord from there to the inside. There, problem solved. Fast forward a year (see temporary) and the poor phone wire has been abused through repeated window openings and closings. The internet is out and I decide it’s time to rewire.

My father-in-law has an abundance of phone and networking wire, so I borrowed the box and sussed out the situation. Getting into the attic, I see where the wire comes in from the box…waaaayyy over in the corner in a space impossible to fit a small adult female, let alone a hulking example of manhood like myself. Clearly these wires were put in at the time of construction. Using metal fish tape that I used to rewire our last house and little patience, I get the tip in a small hole I drilled near the phone box. I tape on the wire and reel it in. Step one is complete.

I run the wire across to an “easier” location to add the jack, in the front room where there is plenty of space in the attic. It takes me a bit to figure out exactly where to drill in to get it where I want it. I try pushing the fish tape and wire in, only to find this is one of the few walls they put insulation in. The temp is rising and I’m losing my patience. I cut a hole in the wall where the jack is going to go and get the extending handle from one of our mops. I jam and push, wiggle and mash till I have a path for the wire to travel. I start pushing it in hoping to get enough in by luck when I hear my youngest daughter yelling she sees something in the wall. Success. Step two complete.

Next I wire in the jack. Dark blue to red, light blue to green. Do the same at the box and test the phone. No good. Plug the connected wire into the test jack so the new wires are connected and test. No good. Check all the wires, colors match, screws tight. On a whim, I change one set to have the dark blue on green and light blue on red reversing the order of the jack. Success. Step three complete.

Next I move the modem/router to the plug. Of course, I am now short a phone wire. With a little digging I find a tiny 4″ wire so I get it all plugged in. No interwebs. Making the call to AT&T, the router shows there is an error. It could be the power supply or the router itself. Rather than buy those things right away, I check my wire bin to see what I have. I just happen to have a power supply that puts out the correct voltage, but the the connector is the wrong size. I clip the working tip and add it to my new power supply and…nothing. I pull the tip off, reverse the wires (it worked before) and…SUCCESS! The router powers on and shows interwebs. Turn on the computer and waiting, waiting, waiting…low connectivity. AAARGH!!.

To give you a little insight, there is an unsecured wireless signal somewhere nearby. I did not know my router was having trouble for a week because the computer just hooks up to that network. I don’t know where it is, but it always seems to be on and it is pretty fast. I have to assume it is outside of my house, so it is through walls and many feet away. The new jack and my old router are 30 feet away with one sheetrock half wall to get through. JEEBUS!

So, I signed up for Time Warner to have them come out and put some jacks in and have them as my phone and internet for a while.

Update:  As part of my attempt to get the connection working, I installed the updated AT&T self repair tool which also installed their network connection software.  I decided to go back to using Windows to connect and voila problem solved.  Strange that a company’s software cannot work with its own hardware.

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