pairgain equipment and modem speed

Old 01-16-03, 03:19 PM
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Question pairgain equipment and modem speed

I'm in the process of debugging a slow dial-up modem connection (28.8K max with a 56K modem and ISP), and I recently asked my phone company via e-mail about a line test (how much it costs, how to get it, etc.). I received the following reply from them, which was kind of surprising:

> Thank you for your correspondence. The dial tone on telephone number
> [my number] is served by pairgain facilities. Pairgain systems were
> added to the area so that more customers could receive telephone
> service. While pairgain facilities are the industry standard for
> superior voice-grade service, they only allow one speed for data,
> usually between 24.4 and 28.8k. These lines are sold as voice-grade
> service by tariff which means a minimum bandwidth of 300 to 300Hz.
> This means that only 14.4k is guaranteed on voice-grade telephone
> lines. The speed you are receiving is consistent with a pair-gain. If
> you have any further questions, please contact our Repair Office at 1
> 800 XXX-XXXX to discuss this with a representative.

I don't know whether to believe this explanation or not. A quick internet search on "pairgain" yields conflicting results -- some that say it refers to a brand of DSL equipment, others that say pairgain equipment is incompatible with DSL -- but nothing about such equipment in conjunction with a dial-up connection or data transfer rates.

I can't tell if there is some truth to this, or if this is standard stonewalling with esoteric telecom terms thrown in for good measure. If anyone (particularly you moderators) can vouch for or against the statement above from the phone company, please do so. Thanks in advance.
Old 01-16-03, 03:43 PM
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Phonetek will know more about this than anyone, I would think. But basically what they are saying it that with their equipment (not matter what type it really is) is not guaranteed for more than 14.4k connections, being as it is a voice-grade line. So really it doesn't matter if what they say is true or not, they don't have to do anything about your connection speeds - and more importantly, they probably won't. Your best bet, if you want a better connection, use broadband. I know that's not what you want to hear, but that's just the way it is. Voice-grade lines (or POTS lines) simply are not made for data connections, so the phone companies are not going to do much when it comes to data connections.

Good luck!
Old 01-16-03, 08:14 PM
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What exactly is Pairgain? Well, it's basically a piece of equipment that takes cable pairs into it and allows more cable pairs to come out. For example say there was only one cable pair available for your home to use and you wanted to order 3 more phone lines they can add PairGain to allow this. One pair goes in and depending on the circuit card in it many more can come out. This is a common practice these days. Reason being is because around 100 years ago when telephone cables were buried and ran on poles ect. they never anticipated that by the year 2003 that it would be common practice for most homes to have 2+ phone lines. Not to mention business swallow up many more lines as well. In the 70's it was extreme for a business to have 5 telephone lines, today that is considered a small business. So since keeping up with demand and installing more cable is a long tedious and expensive process they do what they can to keep up. Unfortunately maybe not enough so that's where we rely on technology to take up for the shortfalls. However, with do that there are some disadvantages. One being that your connection speed to the internet may suffer. Since they only guarantee 14.4 for your connection speed, if 28.8 is what your getting it's not too bad. You certainly can try to complain to the phone company about it but I don't think they will do much for you. You MAY be able to order a second line and REQUEST straight copper but it still depends on the amount of facilities they have available. If it is totally driving you crazy that is one option otherwise check into your high speed internet options if any. You may be in the same situation as many of us playing the waiting game for someone to bring us the technology. Hope this answers your question and good luck. Let us know how it turns out!
Old 01-17-03, 12:03 PM
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In most cases, if your on pair gain you live quite a ways from the telephone central office. If your over 18kft form the C.O. you are unable to get dsl for the most part. Pair gain runs through electronics called a digital loop carrier which does what Phonetek said earlier. DLC's are fed fiber optics or a copper t1.
The point in you situation is the more electronics you phone line flows through, the slower your dial up will be. If you live way out in the sticks, your phone line will contain load coils which will slow your modem speed as well.
Next time you see a phone tech at a box in your area, ask him or her if your is fed by straight copper and if it is keep calling the phone company and tell them you get dropped off all the time while you on the phone. You may get lucky and swithch you to copper.
Old 01-21-03, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for the input everyone. Looks like I'm stuck with 28.8K for a while.

I'm not exactly out in the sticks, but the part of town I'm in has had such explosive growth over the last 5 years that it's probably a challenge for the phone company to service everyone. (Our area now has a new second area code which covers the same area as the old one.)

I'm told DSL and cable aren't available yet where I'm at, and I don't want to pay the price for satellite internet. Who knows, though -- the popularity of the area might drive the advent of broadband services.
Old 01-21-03, 05:32 PM
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You may want to see if you have a "Wireless" internet provider. It seems to get confused with satellite internet but it is different. It works on a similar premise as a cell phone except you have an antenna on your house. It is based on line of sight microwave technology instead of shooting into space. It works well and is half the price of satellite.
Old 01-23-03, 05:52 AM
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I've looked around for these "wireless" internet providers that use a microwave link, but I haven't found one locally. Those that I have found seem to be in less populated areas. Is there any reason that such a system couldn't work in an urban/suburban area, or are RF/microwave frequencies just too heavily used there?
Old 01-23-03, 09:54 PM
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The reason the Wireless internet providers are in the more rural areas is because people like myself have no other options. They are the only fish in the sea at this time. They are doing it in the rural markets because the DSL and Cable providers don't feel that the rural areas are worth their time and that there is much money to be made. Of course they are wrong at least I feel because I'm sure I'm not the only person living in a rural area who is interested in an alternative to dial up.
Since there is a market there for the wireless providers they figure they have no competition this way. I have asked the CEO of "Big Skye Wireless internet" why they only service the rural areas. He stated that there is more than enough to do to service the rural community and they really don't have to be competitive in their pricing if they stay out of the larger cities. When there are providers giving away DSL for 20 bucks a month why bother trying to compete. Another words it is better to tap the untapped market. I tend to agree being one of the forgotten rural community myself. I would take wireless over nothing and for sure over dial up!

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