Right When Tested

We had an interesting fault on a line in Nottingham last week, and for a change I have something nice to say about BT!

The first engineers decided it was a REIN issue (Random Electrical Impulse Noise), which is basically some sort of interference. So an engineer was dispatched to investigate the REIN issue. Hw spent some time testing at the exchange and cabinet and DP and tracked down the cause, which was, it turns out, the lift in the flats.

This is not the first time we have seen a fault like this, and the engineer said he had seen cases like this himself. He then called us to confirm in detail what the issue was and that he had found it. The end user is contacting the building maintenance people now to sort it.

But this means it was correctly diagnosed as a REIN issue, and BT engineers actually tracked it down to a cause which outside our customer's premises, and BT's side of the master socket, but not their fault as such.

So well done to the competent engineers on the ground - many of them are good and technically able.

Of course, the rest of BT lets that down, sending the fault back as "Right When Tested; IP/SP Network Connection;Line tested ok by BT engineer at customer premises".

Well, actually he demonstrated it failing at the end user premises, and explained it to the end user in detail as well as calling us (their customer). It was wrong when tested, ie. breaks every time someone uses the lift. Also, it was definitely not the "IP/SP Network Connection", we did not cause this.

So once again it looks like we will have to spend time disputing a charge for an engineer.


  1. Stupid question but technically what is the solution as I suspect rewiring the building is not an option? Isn't anyone else in the building having similar issue?

    1. In these scenarios it would be everyone in the building, or at least with wiring going past the faulty equipment, that has the problem. It is usually a faulty motor or relay. Properly working equipment is designed not to radiate loads of RF noise (required for CE marking even).

    2. We had a customer with similar issues that was tracked down to their neighbour.
      They built and tested radar systems and had a test rig on their roof!

  2. Tune a radio into Medium Wave, around 900 MHz maybe and walk around having a listen...

  3. The BT wholesale guide on REIN and SHINE is a good intro:
    Once again they have the emphasis on selling SFI investigations though.

  4. Back in the day, I was part of the engineering team supporting the particle physics group at Imperial. We had a DecSystem10 on the 7th or 8th floor that would crash somewhat randomly with a logic lock-up (you could tell that from the front panel lights). We tried to blame it on the Iraqi Embassy on the other side of Queen's Gate with their dirty great HF log-periodic array which beamed straight through the machine room.
    Alas, putting the 'scope on the end of a long bit of wire showed no correlation between the crashes and their transmissions. Did track the fault done one afternoon after 4 pints of Directors, but that's another story :-)


Comments are moderated purely to filter out obvious spam, but it means they may not show immediately.

Breaking my heart

One of the things I suffer from is tachycardia. My first memory of this was in secondary school, when I got a flat tyre cycling to school an...