Slow ISP

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  #1  
Old 12-28-02, 04:23 PM
fjclaus
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Slow ISP

I have a 56k modem, but still only get a 38,000 connection at best. Someone told me that it is basically because of noise on the line. I only have one phone connected, and hear nothing when I am talking on the phone. Could it still be because of noise on the line, or other issue?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-28-02, 05:17 PM
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Deteriorated phone lines/wires or ISP.

You can try running a fresh line from the network interface box (where the service comes into the house). Other alternative would be to get the phone company to check their lines, but this is sometimes a losing battle. Depending on the phone company, not all are sympathetic to data transmission problems. I heard or read somewhere that the phone companies consider line condition adequate if it will carry data at 9600 or some such nonsense (this IS the 21st century, right, LOL).

To see if you can get a higher speed thorugh other providers, you can test dial numbers and check the speed. Have to do this through HyperTerminal or equivelant.

Here are two numbers I use for testing:

1 800 5904857
1 800 5721959

Can't remember who they are, GTE and US Robotics I think. You basically dial them up and when you get a connection, check the connection speed at the modem icon in you taskbar.

I routinely get 49,333 on my dial-up.
 
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Old 12-28-02, 07:04 PM
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38k's not bad actually. If you live a good distance from the CO, you may get reduced speeds. I know there is a way to test how far your address is from the CO (mostly on DSL sites, since these speeds rely heavily on CO distance.) Tow_Guy had some good suggestions too. Also, make sure your not using any line protection on the phone line, these devices can deteriorate your speeds. Just unplug the line from the computer when you're done, to keep any surges out. Do not connect through any other devices either (answering machines, fax, etc.) That will make your speeds lower. Running a new, dedicated line to NID is not a bad idea either, that will make sure you have a clean line. If you can access the lines that are run now, make sure they are not too close to electrical wires, you can pick up noise from there too.

If you run your own line, make sure you use Cat5 for the line, that will give you the least interference.

Phonetek may have some good suggestions for you, to clean up your lines.
 
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Old 12-28-02, 08:11 PM
Phonetek
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Well...this one is always kinda goofy in a sense. There are so many factors involved that could cause a slow connection it's almost hard to really give too many suggestions. First, the telephone company will only guarantee 14.4 for a connection speed. You should be able to get that no matter how far you are from the C.O. in most cases. To be honest I have been IN central offices and not gotten more than 28.8. To see if it is the equipment you have connected in your house causing the slowdown you could always try connecting your modem right into the jack at the network interface (if you have a laptop) and try that. If its a desktop computer and you are reasonably close you can try running a long telephone cord right to the box as a test.
I have seen cords up to 100ft at many hardware stores, some even come with a roll up reel and such. If that isn't an option, you can try unplugging everything else plugged into phone jacks on that line besides your modem to test if its a piece of equipment causing the slowdown like a caller ID box, ans machine, old telephone ect. If there is no change in your speed after doing the above test then chances are that it's probably the ISP's problem. Especially if your line sounds clean. Your only as fast as the connection on the other end. Many ISP's such as AOL have many different access numbers you can try. If there is still no change maybe it can be a distance factor. You may want to look into some form of high speed internet connection. If there isn't anything available in your area you may be like many people and have to play the waiting game and live with what you got. Hopefully it works out for you.
 
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Old 12-28-02, 08:15 PM
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Well, you could always use satellite, but I hear the connections on it aren't too good either. I would only recommend this if Cable and DSL are not available in your area. And even then, it may not be worth it, it usually cost upwards of $40/month, plus equipment, plus installation. Cable or DSL are definitely your best options if you want broadband.
 
  #6  
Old 12-30-02, 07:57 PM
Phonetek
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I priced Satellite internet through Dish network and it was a whopping 99 bucks a month! I don't need it that bad! The other technology that is popping up in many rural areas especially those without cable is "Wireless" internet. I have ordered it but that was about 3 months ago and I am still waiting for it. I even told them that I was waiting to do a review of the technology on DIY and that didn't put a fire under their butt. They sent me a letter telling me the reason they have yet to deliver it is because they have to upgrade my area due to a lack of bandwidth. Knowing people in the business and the CEO of their major competitor I found the real reasons. First of all when I signed up they had an offer for FREE installation and FREE equipment for 256k at $40.00 a month. Then my sales rep contacted me and said they would give me 512k for the same price. Sounds like a great deal to me. Well, I guess too many people signed up during that offer and they cannot afford to do it at that price. Regardless they have to honor the contract. See, the antenna costs about 700 dollars for them to purchase and they have to pay for the guy to come out and install it which includes everything up to the computer. Another words, it is going to take them over a year and a half to break even just on the installation. Not to mention the cost of running their network for that time. Bad planning on their part but not my problem. Once I get the service it should be okay. So I guess if this type of service is available it is a good alternative to dial up if DSL or cable isn't around. As promised I will give a full review of my experience with wireless once I finally get it. To be honest as much as I hate dial up I'm not in any hurry for any new bills, especially after Christmas!
 
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Old 12-31-02, 02:51 AM
magister
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Back when I ran an isp, we had a couple of areas where a bad or outdated "switch" in the phone office limited connection speeds. Basically, the southern half of one village and the northern part of another couldn't connect faster than 14.4 due to phone company problems. I had phone guys trying almost everything short of busting the problematic equipment trying to get it fixed. It was especially frustrating for one dude, because he worked for the phone company and he lived in one of the affected areas, so though I was giving him unlimited internet, he could only get a 14.4 and he knew what the problem was, but because the little building was full and he couldn't find a way around the switch and couldn't get approval for a fix, he was stuck.

Literally, those fellows worked for hours trying to get a faster connection for themselves and if they couldn't get it and they couldn't move a global corporation, I'm willing to bet that no one could...

So don't be quick to blame the isp; I know from experience that the problem can very easily be the phone company's and as Phonetk said, you don't really have a recourse other than changing technologies.
 

Last edited by magister; 12-31-02 at 03:10 AM.
  #8  
Old 12-31-02, 06:07 AM
fjclaus
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Any ideas for changing technologies? I have looked into it, and I think I am stuck. But this board seems to have very knowledgeable people.

I am on an ISP right now, and DSL is not available in my area yet. There is only one cable company in the area, and they charge $65.00 a month for their "Cable Modem". Is there anything else more cost effective I could use?
 
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Old 12-31-02, 11:58 AM
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Wireless, Satellite or ISDN. With all of these technologies, you're looking at about the same price as the cable modem. Check the specs on that cable modem service. If they are over 500k, I would definitely say go with it. If it's really low, like 200k, then I would say wait. ISDN is basically 2x as fast as a 56k, and you may still have problems with speeds there. Satellite I think is up to about 400k, but pricey (installation is high.) And, if I'm not mistaken and the technology hasn't changed, you still have to upload with a dial-up modem, but I may be wrong about that. Wireless: it's anyone's guess at this point. Depends on the company, the technology used. Too iffy, I would stay away for now.

Good Luck!
 
  #10  
Old 12-31-02, 01:46 PM
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38k really is a decent connection for dial up, not the best, but not the worst either.

As far as surge protectors go, USE ONE, but use a quality one, like a panamax (about $60) not a cheap $5 wal mart one. I've seen modems literally blown apart from power surges because they weren't protected (and even some that were, imagine if there had been NO protection..).

You best option, if it's available, is cable internet.
Is it expensive? That depends, if you figure $20 for dial up, plus another $15-20 for the phone line, and cable service is only $35 (as it is here), then it's cheaper for cable. Factor in your time as well, waiting several minutes for downloading email on dial up, or a few seconds on cable.

If you can't get DSL, then you can't get ISDN either and chances are, you can't get DSL, even if the sale rep says you can.
Everytime I've had to call the phone company, they try to get me on DSL "we show you can get DSL, would you like to sign up?". I have to politely point out that, seeing as I am nearly 40,000 feet from the CO, and the limit for DSL is about 15k, that I cannot, in fact, get DSL. Even if I had a straight line to the CO, I'd be at the limit for DSL service (meaning it'd suck anyway).

Wireless and satellite both promise great things, but they are also both expensive and buggy. I had DirectPC (when it was still 1 way) and it pretty much sucked and was still slower than cable.

Cable truely is the only way to go.
 
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Old 12-31-02, 01:56 PM
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First of all, the only thing that can "blow apart" a modem is lightning, which is why I say to unplug the modem from the line. Simply put, the less between you and your NID, the better your connection. I don't care what quality protection you use. But that is totally up to you.

DSL is available beyond 15k, even 20k, up to around 30k, but it is terribly slow. I forget exactly what they call it, maybe IDSL? Anyway, it is an option. Try www.dslreports.com to search for a list of DSL providers in your area. Just because the phone company says you can't get it, doesn't mean it's not available.

I would still recommend Cable though. Just don't let them charge you an outrageous amount to install it, or lease fees or anything like that. At $65 a month, modem should be included (if not, get one at Best Buy/Circuit City, etc.), installation may be included (with contract), and there should be NO other fees tacked on.
 
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Old 12-31-02, 02:39 PM
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Me too!

Hello y'all:

Tomorrow I will fool around with my equipment to try to figure out why when I had normally been running at about 49k on my rural dial-up, I am now getting only 19k.

I tried another phone line with the same results.

My question:

I will shovel the snow from around my distribution box on the outside of my house to check connections.
What voltage should I be looking at for the line at rest and at ring, plus will it be a/c.

Could the voltage be any kind of indicator as to line perfomance?

I will also check the test no's already suggested.
 
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Old 01-01-03, 03:29 AM
magister
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Just for the record, satelite is now two-way, but expensive and both Dish Network and DirectPC offer the two-way service. Plus, I see that now you can get both tv and net through the same dish for an undefined "additional fee" which I assume is the tv contract, but I don't know; They don't say; Visit starband.com for more info.

Wireless internetworking is the big thing, here in New Mexico; Though, they too will hit you with higher fees and startup costs, plus here in NM they want to measure your connect time and that may bite you, but...

And nobody has mentioned it yet and fjclaus, you didn't say if you ever got a faster connection; But originally, there were two competing standards for 56k modems; k-Flex and x2; V. 90 became the adopted standard, because take it from me, trying to manage ring-downs where everyone could maximize their speeds just was too much to explain to the newbies.

K-flex and x2 modems were primarily upgradable to v. 90; Though sometimes, a person had to physically trade their modem in for the new technology. If you bought an used or discount modem, perhaps your's was never upgraded and there are compatabilty problems; Also, software-based modems can short you as to connect speeds. Though the info is a bit dated, you can learn more about these technologies and some simple tests to see what kind of modem you possess by visiting 56k.com

And finally; Have you checked with any neighbors to see what connect speeds they are achieving? Have you contacted your isp?

Back to my original post about phone company's problems and how they affected me, back before I unloaded my isp just as the bubble was starting to burst (whew); We knew from subscriber inquiries, monitors and logfiles exactly which areas had outdated phone equipment and while it was true that I was serving an island chain comprised of several small villages, so we had a better handle on who lived where; Unless you connect through a monster isp, any local provider should at least have a clue about the situation in your area; After all, if everyone on your street is calling to complain about connect speeds, your isp should know it and have an indication as to the cause; Provided of course, that you are contracting through a local service and not one of the national players to whom you're just a cc number without an address or a community.

And, if you are dialing through one of the big boys and the other tests which have been suggested yields no results; Call one of your local providers and ask what speed you might expect, if you were to dial through them; Tell them your situation and more than likely, they'll go the extra mile in order to gain your subscriber revenue.


Hope this helps;
R

PS) In case any of the old hats feel like laughing because I brought up the old Rockwell vs US Robotics battle; I actually have close to a dozen of the old un-upgraded modems installed in computers in various states of disrepair and I have at least a half-dozen software-based old modems in the original boxes being stored on the east coast; I've sold a lot of my old junk on ebay and though I'm honest enough to not rip anyone off, others may not be as kind and I felt it at least bore mentioning; So, please don't laugh too hard; After all, I'm just showing my age.
 

Last edited by magister; 01-01-03 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 01-01-03, 08:05 AM
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When I was still on dial up and shopping for ISP's, I called and got their access numbers and used terminal to call them and see what the connect rate was and narrowed my choices down to those with the best connect rate.

Hey, my first 'real' modems were 14.4 USR's I got on the SysOp program. I ran USR's ever since all the way up to v.90 (and above) until I ditched the modem for cable.
 
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Old 01-01-03, 01:44 PM
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Well, I can remember when 9600 was a screamer of a modem, LOL.

Greg, when my connection speed went down the toilet last year (mid 40's to <20), I had a short in the incoming (underground) line from the pole to my interface and the phone co. ran a new cable. It had real obvious line noise which you might check for: Use a corded phone(cordless ones may have some interference noise). Punch any button to clear the dial tone and listen for background noise. This doesn't narrow down where the problem is located, but it is a start.
 
  #16  
Old 01-03-03, 10:08 AM
sudsman
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38K for a dialup line is a pretty good speed, as others here have indicated. Cabling within the house or apartment is always an issue because of things like age of the cabling, gauge (22 awg, 24 awg, or 26 awg) of the wire(s), how many connections and/or splices have been made, staples in the (baseboard) wire possibly penetrating the jacket of the cable and touching the conductors, etc. So a home-run to the network interface device (NID) is a good idea, especially for modem use. But the same conditions (and worse) affect the outside plant cable to the telephone company central office (CO). These include distance to the CO, moisture, and damage to the cables from rodents, birds, and insects. The telephone company's position typically is that since a standard POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) line is a voice grade service they're under no obligation to provide data grade speeds.

For those who can't presently get DSL due to distance from the telephone company's central office be patient, the phone companies are upgrading their digital loop carrier (DLC) systems to enable them to offer DSL from the remote terminal of the DLC. A DLC provides telephone and data services from the telephone company central office over fiber optic cable to a "remote terminal", usually located a great distance from the CO. From that point telephone service is provided over copper cables to homes and businesses served by the digital loop carrier or DLC.

Category 5 (4 pair, unshielded twisted pair or UTP) cable is preferred for any connections requiring 2 or more cable pairs such as when connecting from your computer's NIC card to a hub or DSL/cable modem, etc. The tight twists of cable pairs within Category 5 cabling helps to inhibit signal coupling between cable pairs, especially at higher frequencies (above 16 Mhz.) Cat 5 cabling really doesn't have much of an impact on a dial tone line (one cable pair), so don't expect much of an improvement in modem speed if you've used it to connect your modem to your phone line.

If you're in an older house or apartment with old wiring, look in the basement for things like old porcelein "protectors" (a terminal where telephone wires connect usually found in basements). These devices protected the telephone line from lightning strikes and other voltage surges. A ground wire is connected to a terminal on the protector. The carbon coils in these things are often the source of noise. You may also find some corrosion of the copper conductors where they connect to any termination point on a connecting block, especially in the basement. Removing the wires (usually red and green) from the terminals and cleaning them up with emory paper or sandpaper may help somewhat.
 
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