Tim Ashford reveals flaw in Telstra's DSL line-fault testing procedures

Discussion in 'Networking, Telephony & Internet' started by BlueRaven, May 2, 2012.

  1. Gunna

    Gunna Member

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    While working at AAPT's call centre this was a known issue for some level 2s and part of thetroubleshooting steps i took with customers and often I would overhear the STC(level 2s) mention a high open fault but back then never knew what it ment.

    We would lodge the ticket with testra but often once lodged i never followed it up

    Often i would ask them to actually make a call and it would get sync, i saw it alot so its certainly not uncommon.
     
  2. caspian

    caspian Member

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    yep, although I think they fall out into a tester queue for dispatch.

    I don't think it catches a lot to be honest, because it's just a basic TADA test, so it won't find anything that's not gross earth or battery, or a device in loop condition.

    then again, did you know the insulation to earth threshold of the test head in an RCM is about 250K? do you reckon that test result is more worth having than two knobs of goat shit?
     
  3. Auriga

    Auriga Member

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    I work metro, If I'm working on a RCM I'm having a [b/]really[/b] bad day :lol:
     
  4. caspian

    caspian Member

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    several in major metro Melbourne that I can think of.

    could be worse, you could score a DCS-20. horrible things.
     
  5. techniciantim

    techniciantim New Member

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    Caspian, unfortunately you seem to have the same incorrect view as the Telstra Wholesale Advisors to the Telstra CEO (Mr David Thodey). I have already advised Telstra that I will make my findings public because they have deliberately fobbed me off or ignored the facts for many years. The CEO is only given the view of his advisors and if their interpretation is not correct or complete then it is very difficult to fix any related issues. That is why ‘this bloke’ has been pushing this issue for years’, correct, how did you know that? Also how do you know that it is not ‘the epidemic he would have everyone believe’ you or Telstra can’t even detect or measure it, and have actually denied its existence. The very basic tests with a PET/TDR (Pulse Echo Tester/Time Domain Reflectometer) are the very tests I am repeatedly saying should NOT be used because the Pulse Amplitude exceeds 10Volts and can’t be varied.(Only the Pulse Duration can be varied) An appropriate Pad or Attenuator would need to be fitted. The distance to the fault can be easily measured accurately without using an expensive TDR. Your ‘Simple solution’ for Spectrum Shared Services is not a solution, and the Telephone must be left Off Hook and hold exchange equipment unnecessarily (Then it will eventually go to Line Lockout). There should be NO requirement for Wetting Current on any continuous copper wires in a cable pair. There are no jacking or switching points in the cable, and if Wetting Current is required then the cable is faulty. SHDSL services do NOT require Wetting Current at all, it is an optional facility provided on DSLAM ports that MAY be applied in the event of a fault (HR) connection and an Audible Tone is never required to monitor or measure noise. Out of the faults cleared Nationally by Telstra as Right When Tested, Found O.K, No Fault Found, Etc. I can reliably say that at LEAST one third will have been the type of fault described by me and disappeared during testing. It is a Testing Axiom that test signals and voltages applied must approximate working conditions with the overall aim of NOT disturbing the nature of the circuit under test. The signal levels for ADSL are only a few Volts and are stopped by HR faults, Telstras testing Voltages for Mandatory Tests far exceed these levels and cause the issues we now have. I deliberately ignored Dielectric Insulation Resistance because it has Nothing to do with this issue, you are alluding incorrectly to Permittivity and Dielectric Strength of the Dielectric which requires High Voltage testing, I am talking of High Resistance joints in series (Longitudinally) with the line which must be tested with Low Voltages (Much LESS than 10 Volts) you seem to be thinking of the wrong problem. Incidentally the Insulation Resistance test from a Lines Test Set 2 only applies 2/3 of the Exchange Voltage – How Silly is that? My simple DC loop integrity test on the LTS-2 Kilohms range is all that is required to detect my High Open fault and If Telstra really wished to save a Truck Roll they would do this test on at least the second visit and stop sending many people many times to the same fault as happened to me off Redfern Exchange where the fault was fixed by Telstra changing a cable pair that they insisted was not faulty even after many visits.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  6. caspian

    caspian Member

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    sorry, Tim - but my point of view is based on real-world experience and on a wider viewpoint where there are more factors at stake.

    the CEO is advised by people who know very well what they are talking about, such as the TRL research staff, and they understand that perfection first time, every time isn't a viable business proposition.

    the presence of wetting current is an industry standard in the entire world, because this problem is not unique to Australia, and it's the response of the industry professionals on the entire planet to a real problem in the face of real world restrictions which business has to operate under.

    while I grant your points have some justification, you need to understand that the world isn't a laboratory, and that there are other considerations besides the ones you are pushing. that's precisely why your point of view hasn't been seriously considered in the past, and won't be in the future, unless you radically reconsider how you go about making it.
     
  7. Gunna

    Gunna Member

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    Surely you guys are mature enough to look past the lack of formatting in the reply and deal with the underlying point.

    Put any of your older tradie Uncles, cousins or grand parents who don't use a pc or write aot and i'm sure a reply to a comment would look very simliar to Tims answer.

    I know bugger all about the comms network, but if what Tim says is true then i actually think its a massive thing he has done with his efforts to bring it to the public domain.

    I only have to ask Tim, why arent more techs coming out saying the same thing as you and why do you seem to be fighting the lonely fight with this topic?
     
  8. chip

    chip Member

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    It doesn't seem like there's much disagreement on the techincal aspect of the problem (i.e. it exists) but how do we know it's massive? Do we know how many people are people affected, the number of service calls people have been wrongly charged for and so on?
     
  9. TRG.dOinK

    TRG.dOinK Member

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    GG copper network.

    Least the guys doing the right thing trying to help out.

    Only issue is he's explaining it to muppets who just say "oh yea, we'll look into it", and have nfi what he's going on about.

    They didn't even want to get him to show them.

    Tim seems very reasonable and willing to work with the issue, but no one seems to take responsibility, or actually want to, seems all too hard
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  10. Gunna

    Gunna Member

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    How may faults do you think are lodged with Telstra annually, i would cop atleast one or 2 phone calls a week when i worked in AAPT's call centre with customers who had an ongoing fault and had paid over 3 tech visits as techs kept claiming no fault.

    At the time it was $110 so thats over $660 in incorrect call out fees, so lets say these tests could resolve one of these faults thats $330 per week Telsta wouldnt be able to charge or $17160 per year**, and thats just the calls I dealt with for one ISP, so I would hate to think how much money they are getting from this if they are charging multiple customer for this fault.

    ** This is on the basis of one customer per week reporting this issue across the whole country..............
     
  11. chip

    chip Member

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    I've got no idea how many faults of this type are repeatedly with Telstra, which is why I raised the question. If AAPT had 110000-odd DSL subscribers (which is apparently what they had when iiNet acquired them), then your anecdote of two customers affected by the issue per week would suggest that it's affecting <0.1% of DSL customers per year. If there are 4 million DSL services in Australia, then that's 4-5000 occasions per year when Telstra unfairly charge the fee. Which, while not massive, is still a substantial number.
     
  12. Auriga

    Auriga Member

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    My personal statistics show otherwise. That of my no fault found jobs cleared, vastly less than 1/3 are even re-reported? Let alone for the problem you describe? Are you sure this "High open" fault is actually the massive big problem you claim?

    Surely maintenance of known cable joints faults and sections of cable faults is a far bigger problem than "high open" faults?

    Does not require, does not mean best practice! I'd rather have 50v there wetting than not.
     
  13. caspian

    caspian Member

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    when I was a DSL tester we used to process in the order of ~5,500 tickets a week - purely for DSL related faults. of those, around one third went to the field for some reason - might have been a line fault, faulty port, needed something done at the customer's premises etc.

    the rereport rate (defined as a second report within a 7-day period of the first ticket being closed) was around 7%, and that was for absolutely anything that the customer logged under their phone number, because I didn't have the ability to filter the report any better. that includes anything from a customer calling back because they weren't home for the previous tech visit, to totally unrelated stuff like a problem with their messagebank.

    I submit that it's not the problem that it's made out to be.

    for starters, it's never been $110. it was $99 when launched, went to $105 and it's now $120 - still not bad when the truck roll costs $200.

    also, if the issue was deemed to be a recurrance of the same fault the fees would be waived, so you're adding up numbers that don't exist.

    finally, if the end user was using AAPT as their provider, then AAPT was getting charged the callout fee - not the end user, because the end user was not Telstra's customer. I know damn well that Telstra's access seekers monitor their callout fees carefully, because I used to do the warranty claims on their for Telstra Wholesale.
     
  14. techniciantim

    techniciantim New Member

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    Thank you Gunna. I totally agree.
    The lack of formatting was time constrained laziness on my part, I was in a huge rush,(I am even doing this at 1:30am) and I use capital letters for emphasis as my statements are often the complete opposite of the conventional perceptions.
    Many Techs are not untethered and in any position to speak out as they wish to keep their jobs. They are very aware of the situation but unfortunately have mortgages and young mouths to feed. I am told that in January this year, over 500 Telephone Exchange Techs had to leave their various jobs with other companies and reapply for the equivalent job offered by another company because Telstra will in future only deal with this newer company for these jobs. These positions apparently are less favourable to the Techs and there were only about 400 positions made available. This was Sydney alone, similar activity was happening nationally. I am 68 years old and can retire anytime and can’t be coerced or brow beaten by the threat of no job. It obviously becomes more difficult to find work at my age and you can no longer get normal contractors insurance etc.
    Companies are also constrained and their only recourse is some legal procedure which is not able to be justified for one customer. The Telecom. Industry Ombudsman has no power to take action.
    The appalling fault finding status is because Telstra only performs DC tests on usual fault tests, and have a couple of technically ridiculous standards that allow faulty lines to pass the testing. For example Telstra passes up to 5Volts on a line. If you halve this voltage, then halve that again, this gives 1.25 Volts, the same voltage as a rechargeable cell. If you connect such a cell across a telephone pair, or from one wire to earth the line is incapable of use.
    The acceptable standard for line loop resistance is up to 3000 ohms, no ULL or ADSL bearer in our suburbs will have this loop resistance. I live in Carlingford and would need to have my line fed from somewhere near Hornsby (several suburbs away) to have this resistance. If a loop resistance is 1500 ohms you definitely have a fault.
    The test voltages currently applied are excessive and are not even close to the signal levels normally on the line. If a Modem/Router or DSLAM power level is +18 dBm (631mW) this is a Voltage of 2.51rms or 3.55 peak, average telephone speech level -15dBm0 translates to 138mVolts or 195mVpeak so why on earth do we test with such excessive voltages? These examples make the ‘Experts’ appear less expert. Faulty lines are passed as satisfactory without having any transmission tests performed.
    Hopefully we can fix this farcical situation before we go to the big telephone exchange in the sky.
     
  15. Auriga

    Auriga Member

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    5V or above is a fail, 4V or less is a pass.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2012
  16. Gunna

    Gunna Member

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    Sorry may have been out by $5, it has only been 8 years so silly me should have a perfect memory :rolleyes:

    You said if the issue was deemed to be a reoccurrence of the same job the fees would be waived, if the techs being sent out found no fault, charged a fee and told the customer nothing was wrong then the customer takes that advice. Waits a while and relodges a new ticket then again and again no fault is found, exactly how would they get reimbursed

    Also to your last point, yes aapt gets charged the fee, but you think they are wearing the cost?? No, your point is wrong as they forward that charge onto the customer and I'm not sure if they added a markup on it either.
     
  17. caspian

    caspian Member

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    so AAPT are happy to just pass the charge along without doing anything to be an advocate for their customer's needs, such as checking if the service is OK first, and whether the charge should be disputed?

    it's a non-event. Tim is trying to justify a position that he can't convince anyone else of by pulling numbers out of his arse in an attempt to sensationalise the issue.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Member

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    One thing worth pointing out is Tim's fairly unequivocal statement that there would be no disagreement or dissent from other technical staff regarding this issue since it was a widely acknowledged problem that, for one reason or another, other technicians have not been able to raise in the appropriate quarters.

    Caspian's and Auriga's responses (to use a couple of convenient examples) suggest that this is not the case, and if two people disagree with Tim's assessment of the severity and frequency of the issue then it is reasonable to expect that others may also.

    I'm not suggesting that such HR faults don't exist (which would be pretty silly considering that Caspian's first post detailed the various circumstances under which they might occur), merely that Tim may wish to moderate such statements in future to avoid being accused of misrepresenting the level of accord amongst technicians regarding this issue. "A house divided..." etc. etc.

    This obviously wouldn't be the first time that opinions have differed regarding best practice/procedure in a technical field and in my experience, those who claim to be speaking for the whole faculty in such situations often wind up with egg on their faces. Whether valid or not, any attempt to get the testing procedures modified (or even have such a change considered at the appropriate level) could be severely hampered by such an occurrence. ;)

    EDIT: Got distracted while writing that, came back to finish and post it and then discovered that Caspian's just made the same point in a much more direct manner. :lol:
     
  19. Gunna

    Gunna Member

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    Correct, if AAPT got charged a call out fee they were forwarding it on to the customers. They didn't have any onsite techs of their own so we were required to do alot of testing on the phone and constantly tell the customer about the charges but more often then not the customer was sick of pulling cables, power cycling modems and getting peppered with questions that i'm sure most ignored the bit about the charges.

    Countless people would call up pissed that they got charged the fee when the issue was still there, so i'm not saying there fault was related to what Tim has mentioned but if the onsite techs are not testing the lines completly and they have the tools to do so then i'm suprised it isnt policy. I'm very sure a small number of people may have this issue annually but if that saves some family an extra hundred odd dollars isnt it worth it purely on the custmer service side of things and chews a techs time by 10 or so mintues(only assuming it takes that long, i have no idea).
     
  20. caspian

    caspian Member

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    ah, an INSP. then. :lol:

    newsflash - it's the service provider's job to manage this. they don't just get to sit in the middle and collect 10% of everything going past.

    and as I've said, the reason it isn't done is because it would benefit a small proportion of users, whom have a failback process anyway, but would substantially disadvantage all users in both time and cost.

    correct, in that you have no idea.
     

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