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Troubleshooting Modem/Dialup Problems

Why does my computer say "No Dialtone"?

If you are not getting a dial tone then you should first check the physical connection. Make sure you have your modem connected to a phone line. Your modem may have a 2 jacks on the back, one indicating an incoming phone line and another one for an extra phone.The line running from the wall should go into the connector on the modem that says "line" or "wall" - not the one marked "phone". You can put a phone into the phone connector if you have a phone by your machine. If the lines are connected properly and you still do not get a dial tone, then take a phone and plug it directly into the phone line from the wall that goes to your computer and see if you get a dial tone using the phone. If you have a dial tone then it is possible that the modem is malfunctioning or there is a configuration problem.

Remember, a "No Dialtone" message is generated by your computer when it thinks it doesn't hear a dialtone on the line - it can't dial out unless it gets past this problem!

Why does it say "Could not detect modem, it may be in use, turned off, or not properly installed"?

If your modem is external (separate from the computer box), make sure that it is plugged in and turned on. Also make sure that your system recognizes the modem by going into your modem icon from control panel and making sure that your modem is detected. (Click Start->Settings->Control Panel, double click Modems, click the Diagnostics tab, highlight the COM port next to your modem and choose More Info. After a few seconds a bunch of AT commands should appear. If your modem is internal you should make sure that the correct driver is installed and perhaps reinstall the driver or get an updated driver to make sure that it has been installed properly.

Why does it say "The modem is busy, or is in use by another application"?

Usually this means that another program has taken control of your modem. Many times shutting down your machine and actually turning it off will solve this. Fax programs, or anything that can use your modem should be suspect. Check to see if any of these programs are running and close them before you shut down the machine

Why does my 56K modem only connect at 26K (or 33K or...) ?

This is a common question because many things can cause this. First off, it is important to remember that while 56K is the theoretical limit a modem can connect on a normal analog phone line, NO modem ever connects at 56K. About the best a modem could ever achieve is 53K and a modem that connects at 40K or better in most cases is doing pretty well. Causes of slower connection speeds include:

  • Unconditioned or poor quality phone lines. The copper phone lines running from your phone jack to our digital modem banks often run through many phone switching stations and paths of potentially old wires. Any glitches or static caused by these paths, even if you can't hear it on a voice phone call, can be enough to reduce the speed at which your modem can communicate with us. While it's a good idea to have your local phone company check the condition of these lines (if all else fails), they will not guarantee connections clean enough to support speeds higher than 28K (and in some cases lower).
  • Line intereference caused by a phone line splitter or other device like a fax machine or portable phone in your home. Try disconnecting these other devices or plug your computer into another phone jack in the home to help diagnose the cause.
  • An out-of-date or faulty modem driver. Your modem needs a driver, a piece of software that tells it how to talk to Windows, in order to function. Often these drivers have bugs or get updated to fix problems. Check with your modem manufacture for an updated driver which you can install on your computer. The manufacturer's website often has these or you can search for the driver at www.google.com or a search page.
  • A modem problem or incompatibility. Some modems just don't work well with other modems - often replacing the modem will give you a much better connection speed. If you don't know how to do this, have a computer repair center do it for you. Most modems are inexpensive and the computer repair center can test it for you if you bring your computer to them before you bring it home.




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