For 18 months, residents of Aberhosan, a small village in Wales, were frustrated because their broadband internet would go out every morning at 7 a.m. Engineers from the telecom company made numerous visits to the village to try to determine what was causing the daily outage.
They checked and rechecked the equipment and even replaced the cables hoping that would solve the issue. The engineers thought that some external source had to be interfering with the connection, but were stumped as to what could generate enough electrical interference to knock out the internet for everybody in the village.
On a rainy morning, the engineers went out to the streets of the village equipped with a spectrum analyzer to help them locate a potential source of interference. At 7 a.m., the device picked up a burst of electrical interference, which they traced to a nearby home.
It turned out that the interference was caused by an old television set that the homeowner would turn on every morning at 7 a.m. The resident was "mortified" to learn that their TV was causing the problems and promised never to turn it on again.
Since then, there have been no more reports of broadband outages in the village.
The phenomenon, known as single high-level impulse noise, is more common than many people think, according to Openreach, the company that runs the broadband network.
"Anything with electric components -- from outdoor lights to microwaves to CCTV cameras can potentially have an impact on your broadband connection," said Suzanne Rutherford, the company's chief engineer's lead for Wales.
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