The next two pages of the Build Your Own PC section of this website deal with the internal and external dial-up modem to access the Internet over a telephone line, which is still in use all over the world in spite of the fact that most countries are now providing ADSL broadband connections over telephone lines. Broadband connections can be obtained even in relatively backward countries like Zimbabwe, but, because dial-up Internet service providers (ISPs) are still doing good business everywhere, including the UK and the USA, I have kept these two pages going. The search query dial-up internet providers in a web search engine can be used to find out who they are. I still have an internal dial-up modem installed in my desktop PC and keep a pay-as-you-go dial-up account going in case my broadband connection goes down for maintenance, router failure, etc.
This article consists of six main sections. You can access the other five sections by clicking the links below.
3. - The Disk Drives
5. - The Dial-Up Modem - Page 1 of 2
Click here! to visit the page on this site devoted to Networking and Internet Problems and Solutions.
The images below show a 56K V92 PCI internal dial-up modem (left) and a 56K V92 USB external dial-up modem (right), which are still available new from most computer retail and online stores.
The first ISA adapter/expansion-card standard is long gone. Internal dial-up modem cards are currently installed in an PCI or a PCI Express slot in a computer's motherboard or are external USB devices that are then connected to a telephone line. Before USB became the preferred connection type, external dial-up modems used to be connected to a legacy RS232 serial port on the motherboard, but most motherboards no longer provide that port or a legacy parallel printer port, which has also been replaced by a USB connection.
A computer can have an AMR (Audio Modem Riser) or CNR (Communication and Network Riser) modem that fits into an AMR or CNR riser slot on some motherboards, but I haven't seen either of these slots on any current motherboards for many years. It is unlikely now, but if you need information on these modems, use their names as a search query in a search engine.
Here are examples of PCI, PCI Express and external USB 56K dial-up modems respectively: Zoom 3025CF 56K V.92 Internal PCI Modem - USRobotics USR5638 56K V.92 PCI Express Fax Modem - Zoom 3095 External Mini V.92 USB Modem - 3095-72-00G.
If a motherboard provides one, the short brown AMR riser slot is usually located on the far left-hand side of the motherboard (when the top of the motherboard contains the its ports) next to the PCI slots. Motherboard manufacturers would usually place the other kinds of riser-card slots that can accommodate a modem in the same area of the board.
Numerous services are now available that allow you to send and receive faxes via e-mail or from a website. This is an excellent way of sending faxes, because they don't hog the phone line and they are delivered much faster. Some of these services are designed for small businesses and small fax jobs, and others are optimised for mass-faxing.
To find these services, you can enter a search query, such as web fax online in a web search engine.
Most internal modems are software-driven, but you can purchase internal modems that are hardware-driven, which means that a chipset does the processing instead of software via the computer's processor.
Most software modems are winmodems, which means that they are made specifically to run on Windows systems, not usually with another operating system such as Linux. Hardware-driven modems usually have drivers that enable them to run on the operating system of your choice.
"How do you know whether it's a hardware modem? - If the specifications say that it can run under DOS, it's a hardware modem." - While that's true, there are some winmodems that are capable of working in DOS. So let me put it another way, if the specifications say the modem will work under Linux, then you know you have a hardware modem." - Scott Finnie's dead Newsletter.
In other words, you don't need to use a Linux driver for a hardware modem (a modem that has its own signal processor), because Linux is already programmed to run any hardware modem, but finding a Linux driver for a winmodem used to be a problem. However, the situation is much improved now. The latest major distributions of Linux, such as Ubuntu, come with inbuilt support for many winmodems.
Modemsite.com provides good information on and drivers for dial-up modems. You might also be able to find a Linux driver for a winmodem on linmodems.org.
You can use the BT (British Telecom) line-testing facility to test the quality of your BT telephone line.
A recorded message will play. Select option 3, then 1, then 2, and hang up. The recording will say "Call down" instead of hang up. You will then be phoned back with the results of the test.
Note that a newsgroup devoted to modems with excellent people involved is - comp.decom.modems.Here is a typical thread taken from it that addresses a very typical problem with dial-up modems. - Modem disconnects intermittently
I posted back a few weeks ago about the frequent disconnects involving my Supra 56K PCI modem. I have since determined that, much to my chagrin, that unit is a "Winmodem", and although it connects at a good speed (up to 52000), there is a software conflict somewhere in my system which causes it to disconnect spontaneously. I have "solved" the problem by rebooting immediately before using the modem, and when I do this, the modem works flawlessly for at least two connections; after that, it disconnects again. Obviously, something happens when I reboot that "clears" something. I have tried to defrag the memory (MemTurbo II), but this does not help without a reboot (the system has 256MB of physical RAM, and there is at least 120MB free when the modem disconnects). I know that some will say to junk the modem; but is there a way to determine what the software conflict is and eliminate it?
Many thanks, Bob Don't assume the problem is in the modem. Determine the reason for disconnect first and operate from there. Query the modem in a terminal program [such as the Windows Hyperterminal] immediately after one of these unexpected disconnects occur with [the AT command] at&v1 and look for "Termination cause". That info will be most helpful. I seriously doubt it is any kind of conflict that's causing these but, if it was, that conflict would likely be evident when you checked where all your IRQs are are assigned. The reason I don't think it's a conflict is because a conflict would not be cleared temporarily by a reboot or anything else. You might try something as simple as reducing the max speed the modem can attain. This limits errors which lead to retrains and sometimes disconnects. Something like +ms=,,,,50667 placed in Extra settings [under Modems in the Control Panel] (assuming Win95 through WinME here) should be enough.
I refer to the installation and configuration of an internal dial-up modem here, but you could also purchase an external hardware dial-up modem.
Unless they use a USB port that can draw power from the system, external modems have their own power source (are not powered via the motherboard), and are superior to software-driven internal modem's, because they have hardware that does the coding, decoding, compression, and decompression.
That is why external modems are usually more expensive than internal modems.
An external modem will be attached to a USB port or to a legacy serial port provided by the PC's motherboard, so, if it is using an ordinary serial port, it has to be enabled in the BIOS.
An internal modem that uses a virtual COM port that is not addressed to the back of the case.
It is usually the default BIOS setting to have both serial ports - COM 1 and COM 2 - enabled, but if you have disabled them, you will have to enable the one you want the external modem to use.
If you are using a USB dial-up modem, your motherboard must have USB ports, or you have to have a PCI adapter card fitted that provides USB ports, and the version of Windows you are using must support USB. Windows 98 supports USB 1.1, and Windows XP supports USB 2.0.
You can check if USB has been enabled by looking for a USB Controller in the Windows Device Manager.
If you are using a COM port for an external modem, it has to appear under Ports in Device Manager, as well as being enabled in the BIOS. In a Windows 95/98/Me/XP system, if you don't have a COM port listed in Device Manager, you can add as many as you like using the Add New Hardware applet in the Control Panel. To add a COM port just select the manual options instead of the automatic ones, and scroll down to the Ports heading.
An external hardware modem will come with a manual that should provide detailed installation instructions. Although it will not use software to make it work, you will still have to install its software drivers, because every device has to have a software driver to make it work with the operating system.
Before hotels provided broadband and wireless connections, business travellers that required Internet connectivity used an analog-to-digital converter that makes it possible for an analog dial-up modem to make a connection through a hotel's digital telphone system. analog-to-digital converters can still be purchased on the web.
If you have need of one, you can find local vendors by entering a search term such as, analog modem analog-to-digital converter, in a web search engine. Use analogue instead of analog if you are searching for a British site.
Here is a example: http://www.konexx.com/mobile_konnector.htm.
Note that a problem has come to light with regard to external modems and Windows XP...
Windows XP is based on Windows NT and NT's upgrade Windows 2000, not on Windows 95/98/Me.
To speed up the boot process Windows XP is programmed to assume that the hardware is the same as was the case when the system was last shut down. It then checks for new hardware. If the external modem was switched off before the system was shut down, XP may leave it out of the start-up process. This is likely to be the case with external modems that connect to a serial port at the back of the case, because they are not plug and play (PnP) devices, and XP will not automatically detect the presence of one. This situation will not arise with USB modems that use a USB port and as such can be hotplugged to the system (plugged in with the computer running), and Windows XP will install the drivers automatically.
Don't ever hotplug devices that are not serial devices, because you could destroy the motherboard. Serial devices are USB or FireWire and SATA and eSATA (external SATA) devices.
If Windows XP fails to detect your external modem, open XP's Device Manager, use the right mouse button to click on the Modems heading, and click the Scan for Hardware Changes option. This will force XP to detect the modem. Alternatively, you could leave the modem on permanently, but this method is an unnecessary waste of electricity.
An internal software modem will come with a cable that has a telephone jack (an RJ45 jack in the UK) at one end that fits into the telephone network socket, and a square jack at the other end that fits into a socket on the modem. There is often, but not always, a port on the modem that the telephone jack can be connected to so that the telephone works through the computer even when the computer is switched off. - Check to make sure that it is a socket for an elongated (not square) RJ45 jack, not one for a US phone, which has a square jack the same size and shape as the one that links the modem to the telephone network. Always remember not to use force when plugging any kind of electronic equipment into a socket or slot. - Each type of jack has a small plastic lever on it that is pressed inwards to unplug it, and these have a tendency to break off very easily.
Having installed the internal modem card in its PCI or PCI Express slot with the PC switched off, installing the modem's driver software is usually merely a matter of starting the system, and using the Have Disk button when Windows detects new hardware - in this case a new PCI Communications Device for a PCI modem.
You insert the CD into a CD drive and then use the Browse option to navigate to the folder containing the correct drivers on the CD. The route to the correct folder will be provided in the installation instructions that came with the modem.
You should not have to do anything yourself, other than enter your area dialling code and country code when the relevant window with the Dialling Properties appears.
A serial dial-up internal modem will use its own virtual COM port (not an actual COM port addressed to an outlet at the back of the case, such as an external modem uses) that will not appear under the Ports heading in the Windows Device Manager. - E.g., if COM ports 1, 2, 3, and 4 appear in the Device Manager, Windows will install the modem on COM 5, which will not appear in the Device Manager. If there is an option in the BIOS to set the modem's IRQ, disable it, or set it to the same one that Windows has given it.
The modem will most probably work without configuring the settings, but you can improve the performance by tweaking the settings. If you don't know how to tweak the settings and want to see images of the setup windows, click here! to go directly to the links to modem sites (on the second of the four Links pages on this site) that provide tutorials with the necessary images.
To run the Modem Troubleshooter in Windows XP, open Start => Help and Support enter modem troubleshooter in the Search box. Windows Vista and Windows 7 only have an Internet-connection troubleshooter that is designed to work with broadband modems, not dial-up modems. I have not used a dial-up modem with those versions of Windows, so I don't know if the connection troubleshooter works for one. To run it, enter troubleshooting in the Search box, click the link of the same name that comes up and then click Network and Internet => Internet Connections.
Illustrated guides on setting up and tweaking a dial-up modem are still available on the web, such as this one:
Windows XP Modem Tweak Guide -
However, I will provide the information on the Windows 95/98/Me settings that can be tweaked, but without any images of the setup windows. You can copy and paste it into a printable document, or print it via your browser.
Note well that Windows 95/98/Me are no longer supported by Microsoft, so users that use any of those versions do so at their own risk, because security and other support ended on July 11, 2006. The risk might not be very high, because most of the viruses and malware is and will be written for Windows XP and Windows Vista when it becomes available to home users in early 2007.
In Windows 95 / 98 / Me, open the Modems applet in the Control Panel (under Start => Settings).
The name of your modem should show in the inner pane of the first window. If the name of a modem doesn't appear, a modem has not been installed. Click the Properties button. (The Dialling Properties button lower down in this window is to set the dialling area and country codes, and to choose a Pulse or Tone dial. Most telephones use Tone dial.) The General tab of the Properties window has a setting called Maximum speed that is set by clicking the drop-down menu. For a 33.6K and 56K modem you should (quite safely) use the maximum setting of 115200. The default setting is usually 57600, which is only half the maximum speed of these modems.
Unless they meet your needs, the other tabs available on this setup window - Connection - Distinctive Ring - Forwarding - should be left alone, because they are left blank by default. The Diagnostics tab of the modem's Properties window has More info..., Driver, and Help buttons. Clicking More inf... makes the modem provide its name and type, and some of the AT commands it can execute. Clicking the Help button runs the Windows Modem Troubleshooter. Use it if you have connection problems.
Below is the page on Microsoft's site that provides the modem commands that can be used with AT (Hayes) compatible modems.
Note that all of the commands are used with the AT prefix when using a program such as the Windows HyperTerminal. But if you enter an AT command in the Extra settings box under the Advanced Connection Settings tab of Modem Properties window (Control Panel => Modems), you enter the naked command (minus the AT).
For example, to set the speaker volume manually to medium, the ATL2 command would be entered in a communications program such as HyperTerminal.
Note that these are general modem commands. Certain commands may not work with all modems. Consult the documentation for your modem if you experience difficulties, or contact your modem manufacturer's technical support department.
For more on modem AT commands, click this link to an article called, AT Modem Command Reference. -
or look up MS Knowledge Base article 164660 by entering the number in the search box on this page. -
If you are using a serial dial-up modem, the installed COM ports will be listed in the main Diagnostics window. You will have to select the COM port with your modem's name beside it to run the More info... utility. If no modem info is given you should remove the modem by selecting it in the Device Manger and then clicking the Remove button. Next, shut the system down all the way, make sure that the internal dial-up modem is properly inserted in its PCI or PCI Express slot and reboot. Windows will re-detect the modem and either install its software drivers or ask you to find it on a CD/DVD or in the folder in Windows that it was downloaded to.
The speed of the virtual COM port will be set automatically when you select 115200 on the Properties window, which has an Advanced button on its Connection tab. The settings on the Advanced window are set automatically.
You should not select the Require to connect option, which should be unselected by default, because, for some reason unknown to me, it will probably make it impossible to make a connection to your Internet service provider.
Note that in a Windows 9.x system, the setting for the COM and LPT (printer) ports appear in the win.ini system file under the [Ports] heading. You can access it by entering sysedit in the Start => Run dialogue box. Remember, COM 1 will be disabled in the BIOS, because by default it is addressed to a serial port at the back of the case, and an internal modem uses a virtual COM port. Windows can only use COM 1 as a virtual modem port if COM 1 is disabled in the BIOS. The entry for an internal modem installed on COM 1 and set to run at the maximum speed of 115200 looks like this -
But I myself open the win.ini file, scroll down to [Ports], and replace the 115200 with 921600, because the chipset on my motherboard that controls the port data transfers has this as its maximum speed.
You can test it yourself, because you cannot do any damage by using a setting that is too high. If the chipset on your motherboard doesn't support it, you will merely be unable to make a connection, or it will run at its maximum speed. Using the higher setting will not increase the speed of the modem, but it does enable faster data decompression, so it appears as if the connection is running faster.
Note that even with COM 1 set at 921600 in the win.ini file, the maximum speed will be shown as 115200 in the modem's log, because this is the modem's maximum speed setting. The 921600 setting is to allow the motherboard's chipset to operate at its maximum speed.
In Windows 9.x, the View Log button [Control Panel => Modems => General => Properties => Connection => Advanced Connection Settings => View Log] opens the modem's log, which can be helpful in diagnosing problems, because the initialisation string and speed is given. Below is an extract from such a log.
12-04-2001 20:08:29.38 - Conexant HCF V90 56K Speakerphone PCI Modem in use.
12-04-2001 20:08:29.38 - Modem type: Conexant HCF V90 56K Speakerphone PCI Modem
12-04-2001 20:08:29.38 - Modem inf path: CXT1035.INF
12-04-2001 20:08:29.38 - Modem inf section: Modem
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - 115200,N,8,1
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - 115200,N,8,1
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - Initializing modem.
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - Send: AT<cr>
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - Recv: AT<cr>
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - Recv: <cr><lf>OK<cr><lf>
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - Interpreted response: Ok
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - Send: AT&FE0V1S0=0&C1&D2+MR=2;+DR=1;+ER=1;W0<cr>
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - Recv: AT&FE0V1S0=0&C1&D2+MR=2;+DR=1;+ER=1;W0<cr>
12-04-2001 20:08:30.38 - Recv: <cr><lf>OK<cr><lf>
12-04-2001 20:08:30.38 - Interpreted response: Ok
Below after Send: is the initialisation string from the same modem log, which is the set of AT commands, explained in the modem's user manual, that enable communications with other modems.
The maximum speed setting is -
12-04-2001 20:08:30.37 - 115200,N,8,1
But the actual connection speed for the compressed data is -
12-04-2001 22:43:42.46 - Connection established at 44667bps.
12-04-2001 22:43:42.46 - Data compression on.
You set the maximum speed much higher than the actual connection speed in order to account for decompression, because the data received at 44,667bps has been compressed to reduce the size of the files, etc., and is then decompressed at the maximum speed of 115200bps.
A line in the modem log such as - 12-04-2001 11:29:17.71 - Modem inf path: PCI1009.INF - provides the name of the INF file that Windows uses to configure the modem. You can find the file by looking in the Windows\INF folder, or use Find to locate it. Use the right mouse button to click on the file, and use Open to see the information it contains. This is a quick way to find out which AT commands and other configuration commands are supported.
You can add extra commands yourself. You do this by clicking on the Modems icon in the Control Panel. The clicking path to follow is - the Properties button on the General tab => Connection tab => Advanced button => Extra settings dialog box. If you enter an extra AT command in this box, do not begin it with AT, just put the naked command in.
Here are the instructions to limit the speed of an HCF or HSF modem.
Doing this can surprisingly increase the throughput of the modem, because, if it is set too fast, the number of errors that result make retransmission necessary. Setting the modem slower avoids errors and hence retransmissions. Indeed, in some circumstances, it is possible to have better throughput from a V.90/V.92 modem if it is set to use the V.34 standard used by 33.6K dial-up modems.
To limit the Rockwell-chipset (Conexant chipset) modem to a minimum of 44,000bps [bps = bits per second. 8 bits = 1 byte] and a maximum of 52,000bps (52Kbit/s), the following string, shown in red, would be entered in the Extra settings box.
+MS=,,44000,52000 [non HCF modem]
+MS=,,,,44000,52000 [HCF modem]
Note - If you place any commands after the +MS= command, you must terminate the +MS portion with a semicolon - i.e. +MS=12,0;s10=7.
Also, don't try setting the maximum to 56K, because contrary to common knowledge, a 56K modem never reaches 56,000bps. Log on to the Internet several times and then view the Modem's log. Notepad brings it to the screen. Enter the word connection in Notepad's Search => Find and Find Next to find all of the connection speeds. This will give you a reliable range of speeds at which the modem connects. My 56K HCF modem connects at speeds between 44000bps and 46667bps, so it never gets anywhere near 56000bps using the connections to two ISPs.
I have to say that I did not had any connection problems with HCF modems that I haven't also had with any other kind of modem.
You are also advised to try installing an HCF modem in a different PCI slot if you experience installation problems. It is reported on the site that enabling USB in the BIOS solved an installation problem, even though the HCF modem uses a PCI slot, not an AGP slot, which has an association with USB.
Note that if you are using a Windows 95/98/Me system, you should download and install the Dial-Up Networking 1.4 update from Microsoft.
In Windows XP, there is no separate feature called Dial-Up Networking (DUN) that shows each dial-up Internet Service Provider (ISP) connection. DUN has been incorporated into Network Connections in the Control Panel. Therefore, the references to DUN below and on this site apply to Windows 95/98/Me. The settings are more or less the same under Network Connections in Windows XP, so all you have to do is look for them. If you need one, there is an illustrated guide on this page:
Windows XP Modem Tweak Guide -
The information on Registry tweaks can be applied if the connection you use is a dial-up or a broadband connection. One of the most important settings is called the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU). If, say, your Internet service provider uses an MTU setting of 1492, Windows uses a default value of 1500, which is probably the most common setting, so if you changed the setting to 1492, your download and upload speeds would improve because the packets of information would not be fragmented. If the MTU size being used by Windows is greater that the one being used by a service provider, each packet of data has to be broken up so that it fits the smaller packet size. The more the packets of data are fragmented, the longer they take to reassemble. There are several other settings in the Windows Registry that can affect data-transfer speeds. For more information on the settings, such as MaxMTU, and TCP Receive Window/RWIN, consult one of the following documents from Speedguide.net:
When you know what the settings are, you can download the latest version of TCP Optimizer. It is an excellent utility that is now designed for connection speeds of up to 20Mbps. It is very user-friendly, automatically suggests optimal settings, and automatically saves a backup of the original settings.
In Windows 95/98/Me, under Modems (under Phone and Modem in Windows XP) in the Control Panel, the Port Settings button on the Connections tab opens a window that provides the port settings. You should click the relevant checkbox to select Use FIFO buffers, and the Receive and Transmit buffer settings should both be set to High by using the mouse to drag the slider as far to the right as possible.
You should also check the settings of your Internet service provider's (ISP's) connection under Dial-Up Networking (DUN).
Unless you have created a shortcut to DUN on your desktop, its folder can be found in the bottom left hand pane of the Windows Explorer (Start => Programs => Windows Explorer).
There should be an icon in DUN's right-hand window representing the connection to your ISP. Select it with the mouse, click on it with the right mouse button, scroll down to and then click Properties. (If trying to access DUN brings up a message that it is not set to use the installed modem, use the drop-down menu to select the installed modem. If you once had another modem installed, it is probably the one selected.) The General tab allows you to access all of the modem's settings, which you should check to make sure that they match the settings under Modems in the Control Panel.
The General tab also shows the ISP's number and dialling code, which you can edit if, say, the ISP informs you of a change of telephone number. The Server Types tab contains different settings that you should know about. Unless your circumstances demand it, you should only have the Enable software compression, Require encrypted password, and TCP/IP settings checked, with PPP, Internet, Windows NT Server, Windows 98 selected in the Type of Dial-Up Server box.
You should leave the Log on to network option unchecked or you might not be able to log on to the Internet, but it also might make no difference if this setting is enabled or disabled.
Note that you can experiment with the settings. Just make sure that you only test one change at a time so that you know that it and no other setting is responsible for any problems. The two ISPs I use allow the Log on to network setting to be enabled or disabled, but this might not be the case with other ISPs. My Internet connections connect faster if that setting is disabled. The recommended setting is usually disabled.
When experimenting, if you find that a particular setting causes problems, just disable it.
Next, click the TCP/IP settings button. Only the automatic server assigned settings should be enabled, but you can also safely check Use IP header compression and Use default gateway on remote network. The other DUN tabs should be left unchanged.
If you do not have Dial-Up Networking installed, perhaps because you did not elect to install it during the Windows installation, you can add it by clicking the Add/Remove Programs icon in the Control Panel. The Windows Setup tab has a category called Communications, under which DUN can be found. Select it and click the Details button. Put a check in its box. You can then install DUN by either directing the process to the Windows CD, or to the copy of the Windows CD somewhere on your system.
The Network icon in the Control Panel is used to add or remove communication items, such as the protocols TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, etc. You must have TCP/IP installed in order to be able to use a dial-up connection.
For an ordinary 33.6K or 56K modem, you should have the Client for Microsoft Networks, a Dial-Up Adapter, and TCP/IP appearing in that order in the Configuration tab. Any other adapters or protocols can be removed by selecting them and using the Remove button.
If you want to add a protocol, use the Add button, and choose Microsoft as the manufacturer. The Properties button brings up a window with all sorts of options that should have been installed correctly automatically. To work properly, the dial-up adapter has to be bound to the TCP/IP protocol, so do not remove the check in the TCP/IP box of the Bindings tab if you view the properties of the Dial-Up Adapter.
For security purposes, you should not have the File and Print Sharing options enabled. Having either option enabled could allow a hacker to make use of these facilities from a remote connection, because you are installing a server by enabling file and printer sharing. Trojan programs are illegal small servers that are capable of remote connections.
In the Device Manager, click the + beside Modem, and double-click the name of the installed modem. If it is an HCF modem, a windows with many settings tabs will be presented, one of which is called Country Select. Make sure that the correct country is selected. Check these settings no matter which kind of modem is installed.
If you cannot make a connection, you should check the Internet Properties. (Click the Internet Options icon in the Control Panel, or right-click the Internet Explorer icon on the desktop and click Properties on the proffered window.
Click on the thumbnail image below to see a full-size image of the Internet Properties window with Internet Explorer 6.0 installed.
Under the Connection tab, make sure that the option selected is Always dial my default connection - not either of the other two options. Also, to speed up your downloads and uploads, click the Settings and LAN Settings buttons on the same tab, and make sure that none of the options are enabled. Enabling any of those settings on a standalone PC slows the connection speeds considerably, as can be verified by a utility capable of reporting the actual connection speeds, such as CheckIt NetOptimizer, with either or both of the Automatically detect settings options enabled, and then disabled. You will have to be off-line when you change the Internet Properties settings.
Under the General tab of Internet Properties, click the Settings button. You can set the size of the Internet files' cache by entering an amount, or by using the slider. For optimal performance, this cache should not be too large. Set it anywhere between 20 and 25MB. You should clear your History and Temporary Internet Files folders regularly by using the Clear History and Delete Files options. The reason for doing so is because large folders are searched slowly, and because the Index.dat files that Windows uses to index cookies and Internet files can only log a maximum number of files. As soon as that number is exceeded the connection is brought to an end.
The Index.dat files, of which there are several, are given deletion protection by Windows while in the Windows folder, and are not cleared (probably so that Microsoft or the security services can obtain information about your browsing habits).
Under the Power Management Setup menu in the BIOS, the modem can be set to wake the computer up from a suspended state should the telephone ring. The setting will be called something like Ring Resume from Soft-Off. Read the BIOS section of the motherboard's manual for the precise name of the setting, which varies between the BIOS manufacturers. You can also find out from the same source how to set the different shutdown and power-on modes.
Note that it is not advisable to have your Internet settings set so that access to the Internet can be obtained automatically, because applications such as antivirus programs can be set to download file updates, and if you have taken a Trojan virus on board, it may access the Internet automatically, which, unless you have an always-on connection, could cost you a fortune in telephone bills.
The best way to prevent automatic access to the Internet is not to have the password saved. You could also have a firewall program, such as ZoneAlarm, set to ask for confirmation before access to the Internet is permitted. ZoneAlarm also has a locked setting that prohibits Internet access. The paid-for version allows you to set a password to prevent the settings from being changed.
If you have a proprietary make of modem and you don't have its manual, you should be able to download one from its manufacturer's website.
Obtaining a connection speed that is too high for the modem is possible.
If a dial-in connection is negotiated at a speed that is prone to errors, something that can happen all too frequently, the extra speed will never been experienced, and the connection will more than likely experience tardy negotiations or frequent disconnections.
The usual method for correcting this condition varies from modem to modem, but it is usually just a matter of introducing a few extra settings in the modem's initialisation string.
Here is a site that explains how this is done for several different types of modem. - http://modemsite.com/56k/x2-linklimit.asp
All of the current modems on the market are V.92 modems, but V.90 modems are still available second-hand.
You should not buy anything less than a 56K modem that supports the universal V.90 or V.92 standards.
Most V.90 modems are flash (software) upgradable to the newer V.92 standard.
Before the V.90 standard became universal, US Robotics and Rockwell (now called Conexant) had their own 56K modem standards - the X2 and the K56Flex standards respectively - both of which most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) no longer support, so don't be conned into buying anything less than a V.90 modem. If an ISP doesn't support V.92 modem's yet, a V.92 modem is capable of using the V.90 standard, which all ISPs support.
The V.92 standard has a new On Hold facility that allows an Internet connection to be put on hold while a voice call is answered. A workable alternative to having a second line installed for an Internet connections. It also allows for a quick connection, because much of the speed negotiations between your modem and the one you are connecting to have been removed. A definite improvement, because a V.90 modem can often take an uncomfortably long time to establish a connection. Also, a V.92 modem can upload files at a maximum speed of 48K (kilobits per second). A V.90 56K modem can only upload files at a maximum speed of 33.6K.
You require a processor that is capable of executing MMX instructions to be able to use most new internal software modems. Any processor with a speed above 200MHz will be able to execute MMX instructions, but some Intel, AMD, and Cyrix 133, 166, and 200MHz processors are non-MMX, while others are capable of executing MMX instructions. The blurb on the modem's box will usually state the hardware requirements.
You should purchase a brand-name modem, because they can be flash upgraded, and updated drivers are usually provided by the manufacturer's website. If you purchase a generic, no-brand modem you might still be able to obtain flash firmware and driver updates, but this will not be guaranteed, so do the necessary research before you purchase such a modem.
In any case, a boxed, retail modem (internal card or external unit) will come with a CD containing its software drivers and any other software that can be used with it.
Click here! to go to the second page on dial-up modems that deals with troubleshooting a dial-up modem and other modem-related matters.
3. - The Disk Drives
5. - The Dial-Up Modem - Page 1 of 2