Conexant Soft56K modem... Can I do better?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Clinton McClure, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Unfortunately, I do not have access to broadband so I'm stuck in 56k dial-up land. My PC came set up with a Conexant Soft56K modem. The best connection speed I can achieve was once 26.4kbps but has recently dropped to 19.2. Most downloads clock at a whopping 1k/s or less. I know the phone lines may have a lot to do with it, but might changing to another aftermarket modem help increase my speed? What is a good brand with good performance?

    My PC is an e-machines: 2.20 GHz Celeron processor running XP.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    The Conexant softmodems have historically been utter crap.

    I don't know if things are improved since it's been a few years since I came into contact with modems, but a few years back most of the problems with modems at the ISP where I worked came from Rockwell (later Conexant) softmodems.

    However, it may just be that your phone line is really bad, shared with other subscribers or has stuff connected to it that messes you up (answering machines, faxes, stuff like that can interfere even if you think they shouldn't).

    See http://www.56k.com/trouble/connect.shtml and see if any of that can help you.
     
  3. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Thanks for the reply Kimmo. I couldn't get online at all yesterday so I just checked your reply. I contacted my ISP today and things are ok there. I also unhooked everything in my house which connects to a phone line, but the results are the same. Tomorrow (if it's not raining) I'll crack open the access port on the box outside my house and see if something may be going on in there.
     
  4. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Maybe the phone company could tell you as well if there is something that might interfere with modem traffic on your line, that is unfortunately the most likely suspect. I'm sure the Conexant softmodems are quite usable these days, even though I personally would much rather have a "real" self-contained modem hooked up externally.
     
  5. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    When I had dial up service I had 2 lines coming into my house. The line that supported my main phones would only do upwards of 26k. My dedicated second line always got a 49k or 52k connection. I suspect the problem is with your wiring.
     
  6. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Bob, I did the wiring myself a couple years ago using CAT-5 cable. Everything from the demarc to my house is ok. Before that, my speed was pretty slow (about 12-15k max) and afterwards it improved but only to the mid-20k region. I think the fastest connect speed I got was 28k a couple times and 33k on rare occasion. I know that's not the true line speed, but it's a pretty close estimate for me. Online speed tests will yield about a 28k download speed. To check again today, I jacked into the test jack at the demarc and still got super-slow speeds around 19k.

    I live in a fairly old neighborhood in a rural city and I'm pretty sure the outside lines have a lot to do with it. My mom lives near me and the best she can do is 21k. Granted, we are both using modems which came bundled in our PCs.

    After checking everything out today, I contacted Southwestern Bell and told them about my connection troubles and slow linespeed. The reply I got was "All we guarentee is a connection, we can't guarentee it to be fast". ARGH! I cannot wait until someone runs DSL or cable access here.
     
  7. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    Well Clinton, it does sound like you're stuck until you can get broadband access. Good luck, hopefully you'll get it sooner than later.
     
  8. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    Is satellite Internet an option for you? Or is it too expensive?
     
  9. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Marko - I don't know anything about pricing for satellite. What could I expect to pay for initial set-up, monthly service, etc...? What different services are available?
     
  10. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Direct TV uses a separate company to offer satellite internet.
    It's like $60 a month for a 500K line. Forgot what the upload
    speeds were. Kinda pricey for the speed, but worth it in your situation I think. Once you go broadband you could never go back.
     
  11. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    I sort of threw in the air (no pun intended) the idea of satellite Internet access; to be honest I don't know if this might be an option for you.

    Wayne's statement regarding DirecTV makes sense, but does this mean you have to subscribe to satellite TV service as well in order to receive Internet service? Or are they available separately? I have no idea.

    A quick search returned this link that may be helpful. Towns near you are listed so perhaps service is available, however whether it's worth the price I don't know. There may be other providers.
     
  12. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Clinton,

    There's one other option you could try, to get a bit more performance from your modem.

    Often, when the line just isn't good enough to support your chosen speed, you may get many retransmissions. If that's, say, every packet, the actual speed drops to half the modem's speed as a result.

    If that's true, it might be profitable to try and go to a slightly lower speed, e.g. 33k or so (28k wouldn't be too logical in your case) and see if the actual transmission speed improves. If the number of bad transfers (and hence the retransmits) decreases significantly, the lower setting could result in a higher achieved transmission rate.

    It may be worth trying.


    Cees
     

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