• Learn how to fix your broadband problems yourself
  • Fix slow or stalled broadband lines
  • Decide when to call your ISP

Broadband connection slow, unreliable or just downright failed? There are quite a few places where an ADSL connection can go wrong.

The internal wiring in your home; the phone jack, the filter or splitter if you have one; the modem and your computer can all affect the quality of your connection. Your broadband provider should be able to take you through a series of steps to identify where the problem lies, but here are a few common problems and their solutions.

My broadband just stopped working

If your ADSL connection suddenly stops working, the chances are there is something wrong with the modem, so this is the easiest place to start.

1.    Reboot your modem
2.    Enter your username and password
3.    If this doesn't work, check all your connections. Try connecting the modem straight into the phone jack without going through the splitter to see if there is a fault with the splitter
4.    If you don't have a splitter/filter and you are using a landline phone, this could be the problem
5.    If you have easy access to another modem, you can always try a different modem on your connection. You will need to enter your username and password

Modem problems can often be solved with the classic 'switch it off and switch it on again' but sometimes need a little more attention. It may need some software updates, it may need resetting to factory settings and configured again, or it may just be time for a new one. If it looks like the modem is the trouble, consult the manufacturer for advice.

My ADSL is really slow

Broadband speeds are affected by a number of factors. If your connection has always been slower than you would like, it could be you are located quite far from the exchange.

When there is a sudden and drastic drop in speed, it's likely that you have used up your data quota for the month and you have been shaped. You can find out if this is the case by logging onto your account (providers don't normally count their own website in the quota so you can do this at normal speed) and check your account.

If you haven't been shaped, it could still be the modem, or a dodgy phone line, or you could have too many people on your wireless network (especially if it's unsecured – your neighbours may be using it too!). A call to your provider should help you identify the problem.

The broadband stops when I get a phone call

If you use your landline, you will need a filter on every phone in the house, otherwise the ADSL connection and phone service will interfere with each other. This could result in a crackly phone line, dropped calls, or your ADSL stops working. Make sure you have filters on all the phones, and they are all working correctly.

It's not the modem

If it's not the hardware, it may the internal wiring in your home. First, it's important to call your broadband provider and check there are no problems at their end.

Sometimes there are problems with the exchange; floods, thieves stealing copper wire (it happens) or any number of faults can temporarily knock out the broadband connections to you and your neighbours.

If your provider tells you there are no problems at their end and they are still sending a signal through to you, there could be a problem with either the copper wires coming in from the street, or the wiring inside your home.

The service provider is only responsible for the wiring on the street. Once it reaches your home, it's the homeowner's responsibility. That means if you ask for a technician to visit, you will be charged a call-out fee if it turns out the problem wiring is within your home and you'll have to pay to fix it yourself.

It's certainly worth going through all the troubleshooting suggested by your provider before going down this route.

My ADSL is slow or stops when it rains

Chances are this is because somewhere along the line to your home, the copper wire has lost some of its insulation and the moisture is reducing its effectiveness. Your speed should pick up again once the rain has stopped – if it doesn't, try rebooting the modem. Let your Internet Service Provider (ISP) know there is a problem.

I'm still not happy

If you have been through the troubleshooting process and identified the problem but you weren't happy with the level of service you received, you might decide it's time to switch broadband providers. It's always a good idea to check the market if you have been on the same plan for a while anyway, as broadband plans do get better as providers compete with each other for customers.

Bear in mind that if it is a technical issue with the copper wires, you may be taking the same problem over to your next provider – unless you are switching infrastructure, for example, going from a Telstra line to an Optus line.

But customer service and prices certainly differ between (ISPs) and you can search for a provider who better fits your expectations. If you need advice on choosing your next ISP, Compare Broadband can outline the options in your area. Give us a call on 1300 106 571 for more information.