Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a list of my most commonly asked questions. If the answer to your problem is not listed please call me or send me a message

Quick Help Links to some Service providers
BT Line Test Virgin Media Help Talk Talk Sky Plusnet Scope Helpline

If you're having problems with making or receiving calls, check the dial tone. Lift the receiver to your ear, but don't dial a number yet. You should hear a steady, buzzing/purring sound.
If you cannot hear a dial tone, check that the phone line hasn't been pulled from the socket accidentally or damaged. Moving furniture can sometimes dislodge or crush wires, and in some cases damp in the walls can cause rust or damage to the socket or wiring, which will affect the connection.

Check that there is no damage to the telephone. If you have more than one, try a different phone in the master socket. If you hear a dial tone with a different phone, the problem may be with your handset. You may need to repair or replace this.

Check your phone connections

If you are having connection problems, such as the line being cut off during a call, the sound being very faint, noise/interference on the line or other line quality issues, try to isolate the problem.

If you have more than one phone connected to your home telephone line, check that none of them are off the hook. Ensure any telephone or power cables are securely plugged in to the correct sockets, and if you have a cordless telephone make sure that any batteries are charged. If there are volume settings, make sure these are not turned right down, and that each phone is set to an audible, comfortable level.

Unplug all equipment from the phone line

Unplug all devices plugged into your phone line. These may include:
  • Telephones, fax machines, computers
  • Sky boxes, Microfilters for your broadband internet connection, ADSL modem/router
  • Extension leads, adaptors/double adaptors

If you have one available to you, try plugging a working phone into the master phone socket. This is usually located where the telephone line comes into the premises.
If this has resolved the issue, then replace each piece of equipment one by one, checking the phone line each time to see if a fault occurs. If this reveals one of your pieces of equipment to be causing the problem, please contact the manufacturer of the faulty equipment.

Virgin Media Customers

Check out the Virgin media Service status area (available 24/7), where you can see if there are any known outages on the telephone network. You'll also be able to run some basic diagnostic checks on your telephone line to see if there's a fault there - and if there is, you can book an engineer online too.

Alternatively, you can test your home phone services by calling our automated phone service on 150 from your Virgin Media phone or mobile, or 0345 454 1111* from any other phone and select option 2.

* For details about how much it costs to call our team from a Virgin Media home phone, visit Call costs from other networks and mobiles vary.

The BT line coming into your premises will terminate at the BT Master socket. However, BT will only guarantee a service, whether it is Broadband or Telephone, to the Master test socket. This socket can be found behind the front plastic cover of standard BT (NTE5) sockets .

Why test from the Master test socket?

All other sockets in your premises (if present) and even the plastic front cover of the Master socket is an extension from the Master test socket. These cables can get damaged over time through use or by accident. This can cause a loss of connection or intermittency on your line. Testing your connection from the Master test socket will eliminate the internal extension wiring as being the cause of a fault. This test forms an important diagnostic step that resolves the vast majority of connection problems.

Testing from the Master test socket:

Before attempting this test please ensure that the Master socket in your premises is a standard BT (NTE5) socket. The socket will have a horizontal split through the middle of the front plastic cover, with two screws on the bottom half as illustrated below.
NOTE: Do not remove the screws if there is no horizontal line dividing the front plastic cover.

faceplate Remove the screws from the front plastic cover using a screw driver. Once the screws are removed, carefully pull the front plastic cover away from the rest of the socket.

NOTE: The front plastic cover may not remove completely so should not be pulled away with excessive force.

The Master test socket should now be visible on the right hand side of the socket. Plug in an alternative/spare ADSL filter to the Master socket and reconnect all Broadband equipment. Ensure all equipment is powered on and retest your connection to the Internet. For speed and intermittency faults you may need to monitor from several hours up to three days to confirm stability through the test socket.

What to do if testing from the test socket resolves the issue:

If your connection issues are resolved by connecting at the test socket then the problem may be either a faulty extension faceplate or related to your equipment connected to the telephone line, electrical equipment or the internal wiring in your premises. The following tips should help you identify the cause. After each change monitor to see if the problem returns:

  • Disconnect everything from your telephone line and reconnect your Router at the original location it was in before the test socket test.
  • Re-introduce items to the telephone line one-by-one, ensuring they are connected through a micro-filter.
  • Switch off electrical devices in your premises and switch on one-by-one or in different combinations.

If you identify a particular device is responsible then you may need to replace or repair it. If no particular device is responsible then the issue could be the wiring itself, in which case you should consider relocating your Broadband equipment to wiring that isn't faulty or get an expert to repair/reinstall the faulty wiring.

A poor quality 'plug-in' telephone extension cable can increase interference on your line which will affect your broadband speed. A 'hard-wired' extension will be much better. If you have to use a telephone extension cable, use a new, high quality cable and with the shortest possible length. Tangled and coiled cables can cause interference.

Master SocketThe master socket is the point in your home where the broadband signal is strongest, you'll get the best broadband performance and speed if you can connect your router to it directly. It's usually installed close to where the telephone line enters your property (sometimes this will be in the attic or a basement). Most look like the one pictured: a split faceplate socket with two screws holding the bottom section in. Some older sockets are not split and the screws and socket will be in the middle. If you don't have a master socket (some older properties don't), don't worry. Try and connect your router to the socket that's closest to where the telephone line enters your property.

When a phone line fails, it will simply go dead. However, this is a fault known as ring trip which will allow you to dial out and make calls, but will not allow an outside party to call in. The symptom is one very short ring, and the line when picked up will give only dial tone. When investigating ring trip problems, look for damage to wires running around the exterior of the house, - be aware water could be entering the line from a misplaced staple causing a situation where the resistance between ring and tip could be low enough to cause a problem. If possible look for corrosion 'verdigris' or dust on any conductors inside extension sockets (especially when exposed to higher than normal levels of humidity), also check for faulty telephones and modems.

Each telephone line needs 2 wires or Legs to work correctly. Chances are the phone line is only working on one leg. You need both legs of the pair in order to hear a dial tone, but the ADSL element will quite happily continue to work (albeit at a reduced sync rate) on one leg. It's also possible that an open circuit on one leg is currently being bridged by water and as it dries out you will lose service again. Report this type of fault to your telephone line provider because these are nearly always found to be caused outside of your property.

Noisy phone lines    Broadband speed problems    CAT5/6 data cable installations    Damaged cable repairs    Domestic and business phone line repairs    Cables installed to outbuildings, offices, etc.   Ethernet points for Sky Q    Ethernet points for SMART TV's    Phone socket relocation    Telephone sockets and faulty wiring    Ubiquiti UniFi® Wi-Fi solutions