How to Detect a Bad DSL Line

Bad copper wiring can degrade your DSL signal.
... Chad Baker/Photodisc/Getty Images

A bad DSL connection can result from an issue with the phone company or the wiring in your house. You can find out whether you have an issue with your wiring by viewing the lights on the DSL modem. The distance between your home and the server also has an effect on the reliability of your connection. In general, the speed of your service declines from a maximum speed of 24 Mbps to speeds as low as 2 Mbps for houses 3.1 miles or more from the server.

1 General Troubleshooting

2 Check the front

Check the front of the lights on your DSL modem. You should have a Power, Service, and Broadband or Link light. These lights should stay solid and not blink.

3 Check to ensure you

Check to ensure you have no loose connections between the DSL modem, router and your telephone jack. If you need to make changes, unplug the power to all of your devices before adjusting cables.

4 Install a filter

Install a filter between your phone line and telephone. If you don't have a telephone line, you don't need to install a filter. Check to make sure you have phone service by listening for a dial tone. If you don't hear a dial tone, then you also have a bad DSL line.

5 Shut down your computer

Shut down your computer and turn off your modem, router and any other devices connected to the modem. Wait up to two minutes, and then plug your devices back into the wall and power on your computer.

6 Check DSL Speed

7 Press the Win-R'' keys

Press the "Win-R" keys, type "cmd" into the text field, and then press "Enter" to access Command Line.

8 Type ipconfig''

Type "ipconfig" (omit the quotes), and then look for the IP address listed in Default Gateway.

9 Enter and then enter the username and password

Plug the IP address into your Web browser's address bar, press "Enter," and then enter the username and password to access the administration console. In most cases, either the username, password or both fields use the word "admin." Check your manual to find the correct default login.

10 Go to the WAN

Go to the "WAN," "Status" or "Connection" page. Write down the values listed in the Signal Attenuation section. If the attenuation shows 20db or lower, your DSL line is performing extremely well; a range between 20 to 40db indicates a good signal; and anything higher than 40db may indicate a bad connection or wiring.

  • Disable your firewall temporarily to see if you might have an issue with the firewall preventing you from accessing the Internet.

Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.