Low connection speed and frequent disconnects are usually the result of a problem with either the modem, the revision of firmware it is using, or the telephone lines on which your call is carried. Below are some sources and tips that we have found that may help you improve your connect speed and stop disconnects:
There are quite a few resources available to assist you. The best we
have seen is a website: http://www.56k.com/ -- it offers troubleshooting
tips, help for slow connections, and a multitude of links to modem
manufacturers and firmware updates. Firmware is constantly being updated
by the modem manufacturers, so having a new machine or modem does not
always guarantee that you are using the most current firmware update.
Need help with how to "talk to your modem" and find out things about it like what version of firmware it is using? Check out http://www.56k.com/terminal/ -- this site will show you how to use HyperTerminal (which comes with Win 95/98) to get lots of info about your modem.
If you are using a US Robotics modem, the 3com website may also have useful references for you, if you have not been there already. http://www.3com.com/ Just about any manufacturer will have a site with info available. You will need the model number if possible.
Also, the snippet below is taken directly from the www.56k.com site and details a few of the obvious quick fixes to try first before getting into the terminal and line test:
--If there is a telephone, answering machine, etc., plugged into the back of the modem, unplug it from the back of the modem. The modem is supposed to ignore devices plugged into it when it is online, but that is not always the case.
--Try disconnecting additional telephony devices (fax, phones, answering machines, alarm systems, etc from the phone line, even if they're in a different room. I've heard from readers whose connect speed jumped 10K when they unplugged a fax machine or cordless phone in another room.
--Also try running the phone line directly from the back of the modem to the wall, without passing through surge suppressors, splitters, phone line extenders, etc. This is a basic and useful step in modem troubleshooting.
We've also found that dialing the number as a long distance call, with the 1 and area code before the phone number, sometimes helps as well and will not incur any toll charges. Different modems get different speeds on different lines sometimes, too, because the calls to different numbers may be carried on different lines, so please try all of the numbers that are local to your area. Local area may be determined by calling your local telephone service provider or checking in the front of your phone book.
Sometimes modems are ending the connection attempt before the 56k connection kicks in, causing slower speeds. Try placing a comma at the end of the phone number in your dialer. This will cause the "handshake" of the two modems to last a little longer and may help.
(If clicking on the links above gives you an error, copy & paste them out of the parentheses into your browser's address bar.)
Disconnects, or sudden dropped connections, usually stem from line noise on the telephone lines. If you have more than one telephone line in your home, try switching them temporarily, as a test - attach your voice line to your modem and your modem line to your phone and see if you experience a better connection. You may need to have your local telephone service provider check the phone lines at your home.
There is a setting you may add to your modem control panel that also helps Frequent disconnect problems. This setting basically makes the modem a little less picky about line noise, or interference. To add it, please take the following steps:
Click on START , then SETTINGS , then CONTROL PANEL .
Double click the MODEMS icon.
Highlight your modem from the list and click PROPERTIES .
Click the CONNECTION tab at the top, then the ADVANCED button at the bottom.
At the bottom of the window that opens, you will see a long blank line labeled "Extra Settings". On that line, enter ONE of the following: s10=100
Please try all three of them individually to determine which one yields the best results for you.
The following link will also give you some suggestions to combat disconnects: http://www.56k.com/trouble/#disconn .
We are available by phone from Monday through Saturday, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm at 1-800-636-1188 to do live testing and help check your settings if you would like to give us a call for further assistance.