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Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2008
Hilary
 

Posts: n/a
Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
I bought a desktop and a laptop late last year, both preinstalled with Vista
Home Premium. I'm stuck with a very slow dialup internet connection, for at
least another few months.
I'm migrating straight from an 8-year-old 98SE computer, and didn't notice
in the shop that neither computer has a phone line (RJ11) port or, therefore,
a dialup modem (I'd just taken them for granted, so didn't check!)

Delays followed; finding out that I needed a USB-to-RJ11 dialup modem, then
getting Vista to detect it (in the middle of yet another modem reinstall in
the desktop, I went off to do something else, during which it finally dawned
on Vista that there was something there). I immediately connected to the
internet successfully, visiting a website or two (briefly, because of
security apps not yet organised). I repeated the process with the laptop,
with equal success.

That was in June, and I haven't been able to connect either computer to the
internet since. The error messages with both more or less alternate between
'no dial tone' (when I can hear one) and 'remote computer not responding'
Vista can't find anything wrong with the internet connection.

My phone line is very poor quality. When the new computers connected ok, it
was at about 16kbps, and it's got worse. I've been watching it (with this
98SE computer I'm using for the internet), and haven't seen it at 16kbps
since. It's 12kbps on a good day, and varies down to 4.6kb.
I've been looking at the modem logs, printing out selections from them (and
deleting the rest between internet sessions to keep the reading manageable!).
The old computer's log, on the bad days when connecting takes several
attempts, tells a similar story to the Vista machines' logs of unsuccessful
connection attempts. I haven't yet studied the info I've gathered on
understanding modem logs, but they're all liberally sprinkled with 'no
carrier', which seems self-evident enough!

Remembering Vista's modem detection glitch, I've been wondering if Vista
needs longer times to respond to data from the remote computer than 98SE
does, and somehow misses the windows of opportunity to connect through a poor
phone line? Vista's drop-down port speed selector goes down to 12kbps (if I
remember correctly). I have no experience of XP (I could only recently
afford to replace the 98SE machine).

Does Vista need some minimum connection speed? I haven't been able to find
any reference to that.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2008
Hilary
 

Posts: n/a
RE: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
Just wanted to add that this question is a crossroads - once I know the
answer I can proceed. I intended to do some networking (for the first time)
after the more urgent jobs like connecting the new computers to the internet.
But if Vista can't connect directly via my line, I won't spend any more of
my life on trying to fix that (you name it, I've probably tried it!).
Instead, I'll have to continue accessing the internet with the 98SE computer,
and share that connection with the Vista ones.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 09-18-2008
Hilary
 

Posts: n/a
RE: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
Is there anyone here who has access to Microsoft's technical help, and would
be willing to ask them for me? (I can't ask them a question directly, my
Vista being preinstalled).

Searching Microsoft's Knowledge Base was a slow business for me, but I think
I've tried all the relevant keywords and that the answer's not there.

Another thing that's waiting for the answer, is that I'm about to make a
formal complaint to the phone line provider, about the line quality. The
answer might add weight to the complaint, and persuade the phone company to
do something about it, or do something more quickly (another thing that might
get me out of this hole).
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 09-25-2008
Hilary
 

Posts: n/a
RE: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
I'm currently trying to find someone in my (rural) area who has a dialup
connection - if I can connect my laptop via their phone line (which would
probably be faster than mine), it'll go some way towards an answer, and add
weight to my complaint to the line company.

Meanwhile, does anyone here know the answer about Vista? Maybe Microsoft
people read this forum?

If Vista does have a minumum speed it'll connect at, my phone line company
(and others) might be in danger of losing people who buy new computers, and
be spurred to make more effort!
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 09-25-2008
Paul Montgomery
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 13:03:01 -0700, Hilary
<Hilary@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:

>I'm currently trying to find someone in my (rural) area who has a dialup
>connection - if I can connect my laptop via their phone line (which would
>probably be faster than mine), it'll go some way towards an answer, and add
>weight to my complaint to the line company.


I don't know where you live, but in my area (U.S.A.) the phone company
will not be a problem to deal with. They will check your line for you
without you having to provide proof that it's not giving you a good
connection.
>
>Meanwhile, does anyone here know the answer about Vista? Maybe Microsoft
>people read this forum?


There is no minimum connect speed for Vista. It works like any other
system: it depends on your modem to make the connection and once it's
made, it will use whatever it provides.

16K or less is horrible. Whenever I had line problems (very rare) I
could pickup the phone and hear background static. When I stopped
using dialup over 7 years ago I was regularly getting 50k connections.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 09-26-2008
Poseidonas
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?

Odd how no one has responded.

Fortunately (for you) I am still using dial-up at home, for my own
reasons.


First of all, the line quality (you are right about that) is the reason
why you have these horrible connection speeds. Any static on the line
would be a huge factor in degrading the connection quality and even to
connect at all.


Second of all, the biggest reason why you can hear a dial-tone and the
computer cannot, is a *defective* modem! The two best brands are *3Com
USRobotics and ZOOM*. Staples sells the ZOOM USB modem for around $55.

*I strongly suggest you buy either a 3Com USRobotics or ZOOM modem in a
retail store and try it out.* If it does or doesn't work you can return
the product much quicker than online. By the way, Staples and Wal-mart
do not charge restock fees: BestBuy will.

Now some things to do...

1. Did you do a line test -over the phone- with your phone company?
(the free test). Do it more than once within a week, waiting a day in
between each attempt. Utility companies would REFUSE to thank you for
informing them of a defect in the system. So if it didn't work one day,
you report it, and it worked 2 days later...don't expect a "thank you."

2. Did you check where the line enters your house, and (if you know
what you are doing), ensured that the connections to the terminals are
*TIGHT* as well as having *MANY* threads of copper connecting to their
terminal? If you cannot see any terminals, but instead a single (or
multiple) jacks, try plugging the computer into that jack directly and
trying again (this was a Verizon suggestion).

I would also want to let you know that your ISP provider can also be
the culprit. They can be giving you a *very* busy server, and at which
point you will get those very low connection speeds. Who is your ISP
provider?

1. Change or try a different provider. 'NetZero'
(http://www.netzero.com) and 'Juno' (http://www.juno.com) (parent
company is NetZero) provide a 30-day trial of their software. Juno also
offers a email-only FREE version which is only good for 15-hours a month
- but in this situation it would be perfect to see if the server is the
issue.

2. Bring your laptop to a friend's home, first "next-door" and then in
a different city / county, and try it again. Although I do strongly
advise you get a local number to use so that they don't get any
long-distance charges appearing on their phone bill.


I do want to inform you that all utility companies would rather blame
the customer than test any equipment out (or ask their supervisor for
help). This goes for phone and cable alike. And if you talked to your
ISP, they would blame the utility company first. Ensure that before you
call any of them up, you have done as much background research and
experimentation as you can. This way after you inform them of their
ill-advised uneducated guess, they can really start to troubleshoot the
issue.

I hope I had some helpful information for you. Good luck.

Also, I hope you decided to join the forums soon


--
Poseidonas
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 09-26-2008
Paul Montgomery
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 21:22:26 -0500, Poseidonas
<guest@unknown-email.com> wrote:

>Odd how no one has responded.


I did. Five hours before YOU did.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 09-26-2008
DevilsPGD
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
In message <7b573d5ed87dfe67f1e9be0ee97a5cc4@nntp-gateway.com>
Poseidonas <guest@unknown-email.com> wrote:

>2. Did you check where the line enters your house, and (if you know
>what you are doing), ensured that the connections to the terminals are
>*TIGHT* as well as having *MANY* threads of copper connecting to their
>terminal?


But not too tight, too much pressure will cause the copper to break.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 09-28-2008
Hilary
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?
Wow! Three people replying at once - thank you so much for taking the
trouble.

Maybe not many experts have needed to answer the question before, and that's
why it took a while (or maybe it's just a dumb question!).

I'm in the Republic of Ireland, Paul, where the national phone line provider
(Eircom) doesn't exactly win plaudits for its alert and knowledgeable
helpline people. Their 'engineers on the ground' do the best they can given
the infrastructure. But the company? Well, the simplest way to get a
flavour of what we're up against here would be to take a look at the Ireland
Offline forum, at www.boards.ie, Hosted tab, Technology, IrelandOffline
(There are more details of my situation there, under screen name "Fogmatic",
which would be off-topic here).
About 1/3 of internet users in the R.O.I. can't get broadband, but you
wouldn't believe that if you listened to the government etc. Some bigwig
consultant published an article earlier this year about why dialup is still
"popular" with 1/3 of Irish net users. His suggested solution was to make
websites even more difficult to access with dialup, by loading them with more
images etc. As you may imagine, the responses in the forum were most
entertaining.

Getting my line tested is no problem though. I no longer ring Eircom
directly, as I 'sacked' them as an ISP years ago and moved to an
internet/phone bundle with another ISP, UTV (Eircom just rakes in the line
rental). The procedure is simply to ring UTV, who check my line immediately,
take one look and impress the situation on Eircom. (Unusually, I've found
UTV's technical helpline people very knowledgeable, suggesting obscure
settings that have solved many a problem in the past).
Eircom then send out the engineers to patch up the offending junction (for
now), and the company rings a few days later saying "Is your phone line all
right now?", not a very useful question (line tests being better at that than
ears). I'm keeping modem logs because the line quality fluctuates many times
a day, and periodic tests don't give a true picture.

Thank you for giving me the answer. Ruling out Vista as an obstacle (and
connection settings, as they're the same in all 3 computers), narrows it down
to something about the modem. Maybe it adds just enough of an extra layer of
hardware/software to fail with this slow connection.

Thank you, Posiedonas. Your "defective" modem suggestion prompted me to try
the external one with this 98SE computer I'm using, but I've misplaced the
installation disk! I'll try it as soon as it turns up. Alhough it worked
once with the Vista machines, even if it works with the old PC I'll still try
a different modem for the new computers (it might help the sophisticated,
modern hardware to cope with the increasingly unsophisticated old line!).

And thanks for the modem suggestions. Most retailers in Ireland and the
rest of the world are mutually exclusive, but I can get just about anything
like that by post, from Irish online IT retailers, or the UK Maplin
Electronics. If I can't get the same makes, I can look up their
specifications on the web and find one that matches them.

I haven't checked where the line reaches the house - the engineers do it
regularly! They've also checked the elderly wall socket, about 2 years ago.
They showed us the rampant verdigris inside, and fitted a new one, wired so
as not to channel the rain into the socket like before (phone and internet
connections had been promptly short-circuiting with the first bit of current).
Connecting the laptop directly to the (single) wall phone socket has never
made any improvement (and the often audible noise on the line sounds the same
as through extension cables, splitters etc).
The line's always worse in damp weather. We also have local specialities,
like horses in a local field finding a particular pole ideal when they
occasionally feel the need for a scratch; the movement puts too much strain
on the old junctions (that one took quite a while for the engineers to
diagnose!)

Thank you for taking the trouble to suggest the ISPs, but I'm sorry to say I
can't follow them up, as only Irish ones are available here. I'll find out
if there are similar ISP trial offers here though. I've had bad experiences
with ISP disks and try to avoid them; Eircom's, for instance, though it just
entered a few basic settings, managed to cause computer problems (UTV just
tells new customers their server's phone number etc).

I'm still trying to find somebody within reach with a dialup connection to
try the laptop with, apart from my immediate neighbours whose lines are as
bad as mine. When broadband became available in the nearest towns, people
adopted it like a shot.

Yes, DevilsPGD, I've discovered too that pressure can break copper. But can
anyone help me explain that to the horses?

Thank you all for the advice (I knew this would be a good forum!)


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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 10-07-2008
Poseidonas
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Is there a minimum dialup speed that Vista can cope with?

I do want to point out that the only reason why the lines would be worse
in damp weather, would be because there is a short circuit somewhere or
poorly insulated wire.

Do you get a cellphone signal where you live? Even if you find a spot
in the home near the computer where a cellphone would work.... AT&T
offers something called the "Broadband Connect Card" which is also
available in USB ... to attach to the PC and it basically uses cellphone
towers for internet access. I know that AT & T has gone international
so I figured maybe it would be an option.

If not, check cellphone providers for a internet access USB device.
You may have a local one available.

Also, if you need help learning if your location is covered by the
signal (I've seen blown-up line-drawn maps with colored sections
designating signal coverage), let us know. By giving us the information
the site requires, we can find out faster for you since you're having
the internet connection issue after all...


--
Poseidonas
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