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56 K Troubleshooting
Chebucto Plus 56 K graphical PPP
access uses all new digital phone lines and equipment on Chebucto's side.
However, connection speeds will vary a lot depending on many things;
condition of phone lines, line noise, distance from the telephone company
central office, and quality of home wiring. In your computer, the make and
model of your modem and how it is set up can also
play important roles in how good a connection you get. Lastly, your own software can be causing you grief. Connection speeds
ranging from 45 K to 50 K should be considered typical real
A noisy phone line can cause slow connection speeds, random
disconnections and slow downloads. If your line has a lot of line noise -
pops, hissing or crackles - then you will likely not be able to make a
good connection. You will need to contact your telephone company for help.
This also applies to phone lines which get noisy during bad weather.
Once inside the house, the quality of the phone connection to your wall
telephone jack and from the wall jack to your computer will also affect
connections. It is not a good idea to have too long a run of phone cord
from your wall jack to your computer; the longer the cord the more likely
problems can occur. If you are experiencing problems it is a good idea to
try the computer on a different wall jack or a different phone line
entirely to try to rule out phone lines as a culprit.
If your phone lines check out then it's time to look at your modem. This
section is written with PC computers running Windows 95 or newer in mind.
Macintosh and Windows 3.1/3.11 information is elsewhere on this website.
While all modems should be able to connect to the service (each at their
own best speed), some older modems, particularly older 56 K modems, may
need software updates to function properly.
Most software updates come in the form of driver updates which can usually
be found at the modem manufacturer's website. If your computer was built
by a major manufacturer like Dell, IBM, or Compaq, you should check the computer
manufacturer site first as they often have specific driver updates
designed for each model of computer they make.
If your computer was not built by one of the big PC manufacturers, you
may need some detective work to figure out what make and model your modem
is. On computers running Windows 95 or newer, there are two places to
look. In the Windows Control Panel (Start button then Settings then
Control Panel), double click on System. Select Device Manager then click
on the plus sign (+) next to Modem and it should open up and say what
modem you have. If it says "Standard modem" then you do not have any
manufacturer drivers installed.
You can also get clues from double clicking on Modems under Control Panel.
There will be a Query modem button that you can press that should talk to
the modem and get a response from it. On Windows 95/98/ME, this is found
under the Diagnostics tab. Select the COM Port your modem is on then
press More Info. In Windows XP it is under Modems then Properties then
Diagnostics. Some modems will identify themselves this way and some will
Lastly, You can power down your computer and unplug it then open the cover
of your computer and physically look at the modem for a manufacturer
and/or a model number. Do not do this unless you have some idea of what
you are doing inside the computer. Computer components are susceptible to
static discharge, for example, and a tiny static electricity spark can
kill a sensitive electronic component.
Once you have a manufacturer and a model for the modem you can start to
search the Internet for new modem drivers. It is best to get new drivers
from the maker of the modem, but sometimes this is not possible. In some
cases the maker of chips used on the modem will issue a "generic" driver
for the chips. These are not usually recommended but can be better than
nothing if there are no other alternatives.
Installing a driver is usually a case of running a .EXE file but sometimes
it will mean unzipping the contents of a file to a new directory on your
computer then installing from it. You can update drivers using Windows
Device Manager. Select Modem, then your modem then Driver then Update
driver and direct it to the directory where you unzipped the new files. It
is always a good idea to reboot after installing new drivers.
If all this fails, it is possible you may just need to get a new modem.
When shopping for a modem, always go for a "hardware" modem. "Winmodems"
and "software" modems are usually priced cheaper because they are made
cheaper and can be less reliable.
In some cases of connection problems, it may not be the fault of the phone
lines or the modem, but a problem with software. Users who have
connections with "free" internet providers who use special connection
software to track your usage, etc. may find this software interferes with
using a regular dialup internet connection and must be uninstalled. Other
connection problems can come from misconfigured software - for example, a
mail program which has been set to check mail every five minutes and also
to disconnect after checking mail.
If too many programs are running on
your computer at once, this can also interfere with your connections. A
fix for this in Windows 98 and newer is to use MSCONFIG. Go to Start then
Run and type msconfig then hit OK. Select Startup then uncheck any
programs you don't want running automatically. When you restart your
computer you may find it running faster again. Running defrag regularly is
also a good idea; it can be found under System Tools in Accessories.
If you are running Windows 95 or 98/98SE, you should be sure you are using
the latest update to Dial Up Networking, version 1.4. You can download
this from Microsoft here
(If this page location changes, go to the main Microsoft site then Search
for Dial Up Networking 1.4 download). Users of Windows 98 and newer
can download Operating System updates from the Windows Update website.
There are several Critical Updates available for all versions of Windows.