Speed kills

A few weeks and the new ADSL connection is working fine. It was connected a week or so after the last posting and came with its own share of hair pulling (why does the good stuff never come easy?).

We picked up a modem a week before the connection went live and I didn’t think much about it until the night before the promised installation date. Thats when I noticed that the modem comes with the wrong phone jack for our house. Finnish houses usually use a 3 pin plug, not unlike a power plug, for the phone jack. Unfortunately our house is fully wired up with RJ-45 (Ethernet connectors) for all phone and network sockets.

The modem itself also came with a connector cable with RJ-11 connectors at both ends (one for the modem end, one to connect the plug too). So that brought a few hours of searching on-line for an adapter for RJ-45 to RJ-11. That produced no results either. The next day the connection was due to go live as well and after more searching at work I discovered by accident that RJ-11 is actually a “sub-set” of the RJ-45 connector and that you can plug the RJ-11 into a RJ-45 socket! Grrrrrrrr.

A text message soon arrived saying that the connection was going. So after work I tried plugging the modem into the phone plug next to the computer. No go… Stopped and thought about it for a while and tried again. Still no go :-(. Went to the technical room (sounds better in Finnish) and checked out our switch board. Our whole house is wired to this panel. As it turns out, we have no separate phone or Ethernet sockets, they all terminate at the one rack, so actually any socket can be wired for either purpose, it is just a matter of patching the terminating socket to either the phone board or a hub/router. How cool is that! And even more coolness… We have our very own 19 inch rack :-). And for a double bonus the cabling is all Cat 6. 1 Gigabit Ethernet here we come 🙂

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. After pondering over the wiring specifications of RJ-45 and RJ-11 sockets it occurs to me that the RJ-11 (and the phone system) are only use two wires, and lo and behold, the plug and the phone socket were wired differently! A sweaty couple of minutes yanking wires out of the board and pushing them back in (is it possible to fry the phone system with a modem!?!?) had nearly instant results with the modem… lights blinking all over the place!