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Slow Connect Speeds
Causes for Disconnects
Reasons for Disconnects
There are many possible causes of unwanted disconnects. This paper covers some of the more common causes and explains what you can do about them. Note that WCOIL will not normally disconnect you unless your connection is completely idle, with NO data being transferred, for a period of 20 minutes.
Noisy Phone Lines
Noisy phone lines are one of the biggest contributors to disconnects.
Although modems are designed to operate in an environment that contains noise, an unwanted
pop or crackle on the wire can disconnect your Internet session. If your modem sessions
vary widely in connect speed, or you have slow connections like 19.2K or 21.6Kbaud, modem
noise could be a factor.
If you hear any of these disturbances, you can check with your telephone
company to find out what you can do to obtain a line that is more clear.
Another contributing factor may be the modem. For some reason, Rockwell HCF modems seem to be more susceptible to line quality problems than other modems. These modems are very common in less-expensive computers sold today by Acer and Compaq, among others.
Often there are other noisy devices that are connected to your modem phone line that cause the trouble. Recent tests have shown that many cordless phones, when connected to the same phone wiring in your house as the modem, cause higher rates of disconnects! You might consider disconnecting other devices that are on your modem line in the course of troubleshooting to see if this helps the situation. Line splitters, long cables, and other devices conencted to your phone line have a very high incidence of causing disconnect problems.
One person with a Conexant 56K modem usually connected at 45.3K. When they connected a 900MHz cordless phone to the modem line, the connect speed they achieved dropped to 21.6K! Unplugging the phone restored the connections to normal.
Other electrical devices can also affect modem performance. Here are some suggestions of things to try to eliminate the possibility of interference for other devices.
Each time you disconnect a piece of suspicious equipment, measure your connect speed a few times to see if you can tell whether your speeds are better or not.
Updating Old Modem Firmware
Modems have firmware (software that runs in the modem that controls the modem) and your operating system also requires a driver. This section discusses the firmware. Note that not all modems have firmware that you can update, some older modem require you to send the modem back to the factory for updating.
Note that many 56K modems require constant updating now due to the rate of
change in the industry. It would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the
updating process for your modem firmware, and check for new firmware frequently. You will
usually need new firmware before you have troubles connecting,
so it pays to keep the latest firmware safely downloaded on your computer, ready for use.
If you don't have a 56K modem, you can still sometimes find updaters for the firmware in your modem on the modem manufacturer's web pages.
Sometimes you can breath a little life into older modems by putting 2 or 3 commas after the phone number in your connection window. This makes for a slight pause after dialing, which can allow older modems to become less confused by today's modern equipment.
Windows 95/98 Settings and Drivers
Visit the web site for the manufacturer of your modem and see if they have
any later drivers for your modem. In Windows 95/98 and Windows NT, a file called an INF
file is needed to get the best performance from your modem. If you open the Modems
Control Panel and it says you have a 'Standard Modem' then you don't have the
ideal INF file for your modem. You have a default INF file that is not optimized for your
Optimal Connect Strings
The manufacturer of your modem may have some good suggestions for new
initialization strings to try for your modem. To try a new string on Windows 98, here is
what you do. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you
have a different operating system than Windows 98 if you can't figure out how to change
the modem string.
Disable Call Waiting
Call Waiting is a phone service option that allows you to be interrupted
by an incoming call while you are using the phone line. If you are using the phone line
for data or fax, the 'beep' that signals the incoming call can cause an abrupt
disconnection, which will kill your Internet connection.
On the other hand, you may actually want Call Waiting to interrupt a data or fax call, so that you do not miss an important incoming call. However, V.34 modems are designed to overcome 'line noise' like Call Waiting, and they may not be disconnected by the 'beep.' Other than getting another phone line, there may be no possible work-around.
56K Modems and Disconnects
If you have a 56K modem and are experiencing disconnects, it could be that your phone line will not support the highest speed your modem connects at. Contact email@example.com for specific suggestions, and make sure to tell us the exact brand and model of modem you have and the output of the ATI3 command, as well as your firmware revision.
Some modems, like the Rockwell HCF modem, have some hardware entanglements with other parts of your system. According to some Compaq resellers, if you go to Start/Settings/Control Panels/System/Performance/Graphics and turn down Hardware Acceleration you may be able to reduce the number of disconnects you get. If you have another brand of computer that has a Rockwell HCF modem you might give this a try also.
Modem Compatibility Problems
Sometimes 33.6 or slower modems don't want to connect reliably to the
Internet. This is often due to the fact that the modem is older, or has some firmware
problems. You can sometimes band-aid the problem by adding 2 or 3 commas after the phone
number. This adds a pause after dialing that sometimes helps modems negotiate a better
connection by not hearing some of the new tones that come out of the latest 56K equipment.
Please contact support if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for using WCOIL Internet Services!.