The Three Most Common Dial-up Errors

by hmiller 28. February 2010 08:16

If you have dial-up Internet, you have probably encountered a few errors when you try to connect to the Internet. Sometimes the errors have some unrecognizable jargon and deciphering what to do next is difficult. Here are a few things to try:
*Redial—for one reason or another, connection occasionally fail. The error message may or may not accurately reflect the true problem. Sometimes, all it needs is for you to try again. If you get the same message twice in a row, then you know the problem is legitimate and can’t be resolved as simply.
*Restart—sometimes your computer needs a refresher when it fails or malfunctions. Many times, especially with a simple problems, restarting your computer will resolve it. If you get a repeated error message, especially after you restart, you probably need to do a little technical support.

Here are the three of the most common dial-up errors you are most likely to encounter, and what probably needs to be done to resolve it.

*680—There is no dial tone. Several things can cause an error 680:
 1. You forgot to plug your phone cord from the jack to the back of the computer.
2.  There is something wrong with the phone line. Check on the home phone if you hear a dial tone.
3.  The phone cord your computer is using is damaged (sometimes if it’s too long, like over 25 feet, it can cause problems connecting).
4. The phone cord is plugged into the wrong port in the back of the computer.
5. Your modem is not functioning.
Try a few combinations, like different cords, jacks, ports, etc. This should eventually narrow down what is causing the problem.

*691--Invalid username and/or password. Several scenarios can cause this error:
1. The username and/or was typed incorrectly. Try clearing out both fields completely and retyping them in.
2.  The access number has an outage or malfunction. If you have more than one, try another. Or call your ISP to see if there is an issue on their end.
3. Your account has been terminated or suspended. Have you paid your ISP bill recently? If not, you might need to make a payment before you can connect again.

*678--Your modem cannot establish a connection/there is no answer. Here are the most common reasons for this error:
1. Your access number is not entered correctly. If you have invalid characters (like letters, dashes, spaces, or symbols), an unneeded (or missing) area code, extra or missing numbers, etc., you won’t connect.
2. Your access number is not working. Sometimes the access number is too far away, not working properly, etc. Try another access number if you can to see if you get the same error.
3. Your connection is corrupted. Delete and recreate (or reinstall) your dial-up connection and try again. 4. There is too much static on the phone line you are using. If there is too much line noise, like buzzing, humming, and static, your modem cannot communicate over your phone line. Call your phone company if you can hear static.

In any of these scenarios, there are some technical adjustments that can be made to improve the quality of your connection, so call your ISP for assistance if you cannot resolve the error on your own. Check out for more information on tech supporting dial-up errors.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Dial-up Modem: Repair or Replace?

by Hannah Miller 16. October 2009 00:31

Dial-up modems are the core component to a dial-up connection. It is the device responsible for creating and maintaining a connection with your ISP and to translate analog information for your computer to display. If you have determined that your modem is causing disconnects or inability to connect, you will need to reinstall, repair, or replace it.

Three basic reasons that your modem would cause problems connecting are:

1. It is not installed correctly on the computer.

2. It needs updated driver software.

3. It is out of date, physically broken, or has corrupted software.

The solutions to these problems below should solve the problem and get you back online.

Reinstall your modem. Before you remove your modem, make sure you have the installation CD that came with your computer. If you don't, you might be able to reinstall without it. If your computer's operating system is XP or Vista, the plug and play feature should install the modem for you or guide you through each step. On older versions, you may need to consult a computer technician. Then follow these steps:

1. Open Control Panel, then (in classic view) “Phone and Modem Options”.

2. Click on the Modems tab, and click on the modem you wish to reinstall.

3. Click Remove. Click “Yes” or “Ok” to confirm the remove, then close all the windows.

4. Restart your computer. Windows should detect your modem and either install it on its own, or present a “Found New Hardware” wizard that guides you through installing the modem again.

There are a few problems that might occur when you reinstall the modem. You computer may not detect the modem again when you restart. This could mean the modem cannot be repaired by reinstalling or was never physically on the computer in the first place. Another problem could be that your computer tries to reinstall, but won't complete because it requires an installation CD. If this happens and you don't have the CD, you can sometimes find installation software online on the manufacturer's website. A computer technician can help you with this step, or may have other solutions.

Reinstalling does not guarantee to resolve your problem, even if it is successful. However, sometimes it works and it's a worth a try, especially if you couldn't connect to the Internet in the first place.

Update your modem drivers. If you have an older computer, you may need to update your modem software if you still can't connect to the Internet. To update your modem software, you need to know your modem type and manufacturer. Look for your modem name is listed in Phone and Modem Options, under the Modems tab. If you are using the modem that came with the computer, you could also check your computer's manual, or your modem's manual if you bought it separately.

You can browse online to find your modem manufacturer's website. Often there is a “downloads” heading, but you can also run a search on your modem's name. The download will have your modem's name and “driver” in the title. See a computer technician if you are unfamiliar with computer device downloads as this could be too complicated for beginner users to try alone.

Buy a new modem. Your modem may not be repairable if it can't be reinstalled, or if the driver software will not improve your situation. This is especially true for old computers. Buying a new modem may be the best option available. For one, new modems are more reliable, relatively inexpensive (often between $20-50), and have the latest, fastest compression technology.

If you need are not familiar with modems or computer repair, buying a new modem may be the most inexpensive option for you. Installing a new external modem is fairly easy, and paying a computer technician to fix your old modem could cost more than installing a new one yourself.

If you need are not familiar with modems or computer repair, buying a new modem may be the most inexpensive option for you. Installing a new external modem is fairly easy, and paying a computer technician to fix your old modem could cost more than installing a new one yourself.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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A Guide to Buying a Dial-up Modem

by Hannah Miller 15. October 2009 20:10

So you need a dial-up modem. Don't let the task of finding and installing the right one overwhelm you. If you are looking for a way to save money, but not get stuck with something cheap, you don't want to hire a technician to install one for you. It might be easier, but it's not necessary. If you get the right modem, it's easy to install and won't cost a fortune. But first you need to understand some things about dial-up modems in general.

Never buy a used modem. For one thing, you won't know if its actually going to work, and it could be also missing the installation instructions and driver software CD you need. A new modem may be more expensive, but money you save getting a used modem is not worth the frustration it not installing correctly or wearing out much sooner than a new one.

Not all modems are the same. All Internet services require that you have a modem or some similar equipment, but there's a big difference between a broadband modem and a dial-up modem. Any broadband modem will not connect to dial-up—it would be like trying to fix a tractor with car parts! Most modems say “Dial-up” “Cable” or “DSL” in their name, however, if you aren't sure, check the description on the box before you put it in your cart, or ask an attendant or friend to help you find the right modem.

Check it's compatibility to your computer. What version of Windows is operating your computer? Or is it a Mac? Do you have a desktop or a laptop? Make sure the modem you have chosen will be able to install on your computer. External modems, the type of modem that plugs into the outside of your computer are usually compatible with almost all computer types.

Make installation simple. Keep in mind that external modems will be much easier to install than internal modems (which require you to unscrew the cover from your computer tower, etc.) Also, external modems can easily be moved if you want to use it on more than one computer. If you have a laptop, you basically have to install it externally. Even on a desktop, installing an internal modem takes much longer and involves the risk of damaging other computer parts in the process. With an external modem, all you have to do is plug in the modem into a USB port and run an installation CD.

Get the latest standard. This is another reason not to get a used modem. Modems are constantly being improved over the years with compression technology that can dramatically improve your connection speed. V.92 was introduced in 2004. It has the fastest upload speed yet (improved from 33K to 48K), an Internet Call-Waiting feature that allows you to put the Internet on hold to take calls while online, and improved connection speed (both while connecting and once connected).

Try looking online. If you need to get connected right away, you probably want to buy your modem locally. However, if you have access to the Internet elsewhere, it might be worthwhile to look online. You can find websites, like, that show the prices of several competitors, read about different types of modems, and have more modems brands to choose from. Many stores either don't offer or offer very few types of dial-up modems, because the demand for them has decreased. Don't forget to calculate shipping costs when you are looking for the best price, and make sure you understand the seller's return policy.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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7 Ways to Speed Up Your Dial-up Connection

by Hannah Miller 25. September 2009 23:32

If you're stuck on dial-up, you probably are open to anything to make it go a little faster. More and more websites now play colorful flash programs and stream audio and video clips that are sometimes impossible for dial-up to load—or at least not any time soon. Here are a few things that may help you maximize your online experience.

Minimize surfing. Keep your browsing to one, maybe two windows at a time. While your email homepage is loading, you can log into your bank account or read a news article. Depending on what you are trying to do, one window may work better. Close any tabs and pages that you are not using to avoid using any unnecessary bandwidth.

Use shortcuts. Create favorites or bookmarks of the pages you visit frequently to minimize extra clicks and load times. Some welcome screens and advertisements give you a "skip" or "close" link so you don't have to sit through it every time. Click the stop button at the top of the browser if don't need the whole page. If you see the link of the page you want, you don't need the rest of the website to load before clicking the link.

Manage necessary updates. Your anti-virus or Window's updates programs will automatically download updates as soon as you connect to the Internet everyday—unless you have changed the settings. Schedule updates at a time that you aren't trying to view web pages, or connect to the Internet half an hour before you are ready to start using it to give the updates a chance to finish.

Eliminate unneeded processes. Some programs like Windows Messenger or a weather forecaster are often set to automatically connect every time you go online. You can change the options in these programs not to start until you prompt them to connect to avoid using bandwidth to start programs you won't be using.

Download later. When you're checking your email, you don't want to compete with the bandwidth it takes to download a program or large update. Save the file to a location you will be able to find later. Let large downloads run overnight or when you're away from home, then install them later. If possible, save large downloads to a flash drive or directly to your laptop while you're at the library or a coffee shop with free wireless service. This will take much less time and can be transferred to your home computer later. Read more about ways to improve downloading on dial-up.

Clear browser data. For every web page you open, your Internet browser saves files, cookies, history, etc. These enable you to click on the forward and back button, or save data you enter on a form or log-in page. Eventually, your browser can get bogged down with all that saved information. You should clear your stored files, cookies, and history every six weeks or months, depending on how much you surf on a daily basis. If you use Internet Explorer, click Tools, then Internet Options. You will see the options to delete stored data here. If you are using Firefox, click Tools, then Clear Private Data.

Try a new browser. If you are like the majority of Internet users, you probably surf the web with Internet Explorer. There are many other browsers to choose from. Most of them free to download and are compatible with most websites. Each browser has different compression and page loading technology that may be faster for you. Some browsers come with accelerators and other features that would be helpful to you. The three most popular browsers next to IE are Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome, and Opera. Each of these are free downloads and their website has helpful information to get the most out of them.

There are other changes to your computer and hardware that can improve your connection speed. Check with your local computer technician for ways to get the computer itself to run faster or call your ISP provider for suggestions, equipment, or upgrades that can affect your surfing speed.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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A Comparison of Dial-up and DSL

by Hannah Miller 21. September 2009 20:33


If you are considering signing up for DSL, you may wonder how DSL compares to dial-up. In this comparison, we will compare dial-up with ADSL, the most common DSL service that connects through a telephone line.

Dial-up and DSL both transmit information through your copper phone wires, but the process is different. A dial-up modem converts the analog signal on your phone line into digital information your computer can translate. Your ISP's modem must convert from digital to analog so it can travel on the phone lines. DSL uses the same lines, but bypasses the digital-analog-digital conversion. This means data can travel faster and the analog phone line can still be used while your connected to the Internet.

The total monthly price for dial-up is about $7-20 dollars a month, and installation is usually free. In some cases, the dial-up modem is not functioning or not automatically installed on the computer, so you would need to buy $20-40 modem. DSL's monthly rate can be anywhere from $15-100 a month, depending on the speed desired and the location of the consumer. More equipment is necessary for DSL and the installation is more complicated, so you can expect about $50 in start-up fees.

Dial-up exceeds DSL in transportability and availability. Dial-up service is available to any computer and any land line phone, which means you can take dial-up with you if you travel or move. Since DSL is strictly available to homes within a certain distance from the phone company's central office, rural areas can rarely be served. Many times several hundred feet determines whether or not DSL is available.

Furthermore, many phone companies do not allow other DSL companies to provide service on their customer's lines. This monopoly can increase the price of DSL, or keep DSL from being available without changing phone companies. When signing up for another company's DSL is possible, further complications can occur when activation and technical support is necessary.

A DSL set-up process takes at least several days and sometimes as much as two weeks, due to the changes to your phone line and the equipment shipping and set up time. Dial-up has a very simple to set up because the phone company does not need to be involved, and no major changes or expensive equipment is necessary. All you need is one phone cord and your existing phone jack and computer. Unless you have to wait for a setup CD to be mailed to you (which is often not necessary), you can be connected within half an hour of signing up. Of course, this means you can also change your connection set up or set up multiple connections with little effort.

DSL is a constant connection with high-speeds compatible with online games, downloads, and videos, but the price, availability, and setup procedure may be critically deterring factors. Dial-up is a simple, available, and cost effective option for many basic online uses, but will not keep up with some high-speed activities.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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7 Tips for Finding the Best Dial-up Provider

by Hannah Miller 3. September 2009 22:57

A common misconception among dial-up users is that some ISP's can provide a faster dial-up service than others. This is rarely true. Dial-up connection speeds are often affected by local issues, such as your land line, modem, and telephone service.

Therefore, choosing a dial up provider is important not because one is necessarily faster than another, but because of the quality of customer service, details in payments and fees, and other important factors. The following are 7 areas that will help you pick the ISP that best suits your needs.

  • Rankings and promotions. There are many websites who categorize Internet services based on the service quality of various dial-up providers. Search for companies that show up in the top five of several ISP comparison websites. Also, these sites will often link to the ISP’s current promotion specials. Why not get a discount if while you're at it?

  • Access numbers. You should check to make sure there is at least one (preferably several) local access numbers. Most ISP’s have a large variety of access numbers to choose from, but just like telephone numbers, if they are not local, you have to pay to use them. The telephone company can verify whether or not an access number would incur any charges.

  • Promotions, fees, and contracts. These factors affect how much you will pay in the long run. If you don't ask all the questions upfront, a rise in costs or late fee can come as an unwelcome surprise later. Is the advertised price what you will actually pay? Does the price go up after some time?

  • Terms of service. Some of the legal jargon will rarely apply to the average user, but many companies list grounds for termination or limitation of services, or reserve the right to monitor their customer's online activities, etc., in their terms of service. Even if you don't read them, you are still agreeing to them by signing up for service.

  • Software requirements. Some ISP’s require that you use their software to connect to the Internet. This is not necessary. Proprietary software is convenient, but it is often bombarded with advertisements or not work at all on your computer if you are using an old or less prevalent operating system. These programs can also slow or corrupt your computer, even after the service has been canceled. You may want to find an ISP that does not require connection software for these reasons. Some software is necessary if you want extras, like accelerators and internet call waiting programs. However, these programs could conflict with software already installed or have system requirements not compatible with your setup. You may want to discuss these issues with your ISP before you download their software.

  • Customer service and technical support. Is tech support free? Is it by phone or email? What hours is it available? Where are the calls directed? Many prominent ISP's like AOL and Earthlink outsource their call centers outside the U.S. to save money. This results in poorly trained agents with scripted and impersonal communication. Essentially, these call centers are a waste of time for complicated tech support issues.

  • Cancellations. Most companies have a specific method of canceling. If you don't follow that procedure, you probably haven't actually canceled your service. Find out how about the company's cancellation procedure, requirements for refunds, or possible cancellation fees before you agree to sign up.

Once you find a company fits your preferences and you have asked all the questions described above, you will have a satisfactory service and avoid some common frustrations that could arise in the future.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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Dial-up Modems: A Basic Introduction

by Hannah Miller 26. August 2009 20:27

A dial-up modem is an electronic device that converts, sends, and receives packets of information over an analog telephone line. The word “modem” is an abbreviation of modulator/demodulator. This describes the process of converting data from digital to analog (uploading information), then from analog to digital (downloading information).

Uploading includes clicking on links, saving new content to web documents, and sending emails. Your modem converts these digital commands to analog frequencies that can be transported over the copper telephone wires. Downloading is anything that you receive from the Internet, like webpages, email messages, updates, and software programs. Your modem translates frequencies sent by your ISP's modem to bytes of data your computer can interpret.

When you initiate a dial-up connection on your computer, you are prompting your modem to attempt to reach and communicate with a remote computer, or your ISP's modem. Your modem places a call based on the access number you have selected, or that has been preselected by your ISP's software. The call is dispatched through your local telephone company to the ISP's modem.

When the ISP's modem is reached, the two modems send and receive test packets of information to negotiate on a connection speed that will be optimal and functional for accurate communication. The following factors effect the connection speed that will be possible:

  • the quality/type of modem you have (e.g., what compression technology it has)

  • the amount of line noise on the phone lines that could inhibit communication

  • the distance to the telephone company's central office that the signal has to travel.

If the packets are sent too quickly, the information can get lost or jumbled, so a slower connection could be faster in the long run.

Your connection is then established, or allowed, providing your username and password is verified as an active account with the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your modem can adjust its speed while you are connected to accommodate increased line noise, etc. When you choose to disconnect, the modem drops the call and the connection is terminated.

Dial-up modems have come a long way from its earliest models. Only a few decades ago, modems were sending individual bytes of data at a time. Modems now send packets of information at a rate of approximately 56 kilobits per second, hence, the 56K modem, introduced in 1996.

Several versions of the 56K modem have since been developed. The V.90 standard, broadly accepted by 1998, had the compression technology of K56Flex and X2 modems, created by competing modem companies. Both produced a download speed as high as 56 kbps and an upload speed of 33.6 kbps, but they were not compatible with all phone companies and dial-up providers. V.90 resolved these compatibility issues and became the internationally accepted modem standard.

In 2004, the V.92 modem standard was introduced to consumers, and is still the latest standard available today. V.92 connects faster and uploads as fast as 48 kbps. It also introduced Internet Call Waiting, alerting users of incoming calls while connected, and Modem On Hold, placing the Internet connection on hold for several minutes while taking an a call on the same telephone line.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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Calculating Download Times on Dial-up

by Hannah Miller 24. August 2009 21:42

There are several common misconceptions about dial-up connection speeds. For example, even if you are using a 56K modem, you are unfortunately not really connecting at 56 kbps. Because of physical limitations and FCC regulations, the highest connection speed possible on dial-up is 51-53 kbps. Most people connect at about 24-48 kbps (kilobits per second).

When you first get connected on dial-up, you should get a pop-up in the lower right corner of the screen telling you your connection speed, e.g., “You are now connected at 32.4 kbps.”

If you don't see a pop-up, you can also check your connection speed while you are connected. From your control panel, open your Network Connections window and double-click the icon for your dial-up connection. Your connection statistics should show in that window and the speed will be listed first.

Once you determine your speed, you can determine download times. However, you must first understand units of measurement and conversion rates. When measuring transfer rate (ie., how many bits can be downloaded per second) of Internet connections, the size increments are 1000. Therefore, a kilobit is 1,000 bits, and an megabit is 1,000 kilobits, etc.

Storage capacity on hard drives and cell phones, etc., and sizes of files or software programs, etc., are measured in bytes. This is not to be confused with bits. A byte is 8 bits strung together. Bytes are notated with a capital B, and bits with a small b. Therefore, a “kb” is a kilobit and a “KB” is a kilobyte. Bytes are always in size increments of 1,024 since they use the binary counting system used to store information on computers. Therefore, a kilobyte is 1,024 bytes, and a megabyte is 1,024 kilobytes, etc.

Since all Internet downloads are measured in bytes (webpages, files, pictures, and programs), you have to do a little math to understand how quickly dial-up (measured in bits per second) can download it. Remember, a byte is 8 bits, and one KB is 8 kb! First, multiply the file size in kilobytes by 8 to convert the file to kilobits. Then, divide it by the number of kilobits per second your connection will transfer.

For example, if you want to know how quickly a 500 kilobyte (KB) file (perhaps a picture that was emailed to you) will download on a 40 kbps connection, first convert the file to size in bits. 500 kilobytes (KB) = 4,000 kilobits (kb). Then divide the bits by 40 kbps. 4,000 kilobits / 40 bits per second = 100 seconds, or almost two minutes.

Larger downloads are often measured in MB's, which means you have to convert them to KB's before you can convert them to kb's. 1 MB = 1,024 KB = 8192 kb. 1 MB on a 40 kbps connection would download in 204.8 seconds, or just over three minutes.

A song is usually about 3 MB, so it would take about 10 minutes. If you downloaded a large program like Adobe Reader, which is 35.7 MB, the download time would be about 2 hours on a 40 kbps connection.

The actual download time will be close to your calculation, however, your connection speed can change while you are connected if your modem has to adjust its speed to accommodate line noise. Your download times may also be longer if other processes on your computer are using your Internet connection, such as automatic updates or web-surfing while you wait. Minimize your online activity during a download and check with your local computer technician for ways to eliminate bandwidth-consuming processes faster downloads. Read more about increasing your download times on dial-up.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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Why Dial-up Isn't Really 56K

by Hannah Miller 19. August 2009 23:33

Dial-up Internet is a narrowband Internet connection that figuratively downloads information at 56 kbps (kilobits per second). That's 56 bits, or 7 bytes of data per second that can be downloaded to your computer from the Internet, whether it's email, websites, or files.

If you use dial-up, you may have noticed that you are not connecting to the Internet at 56 kbps or 56000 bps. Or perhaps you've noticed that your downloads are slower then 7 bytes per second. Who's fault is it? The ISP? Although many people choose them as the first to blame, the ISP is minimally responsible for your connection speed.

In order to understand Internet connection speeds, here is a basic overview of how dial up works:

  1. You click connect on your computer to initiate a dial-up connection.
  2. Your dial-up modem places a call on your telephone lines to another modem on your ISP's end.
  3. The two modems then send and receive test packets of information and agree on the optimal connection speed that they can send without losing or jumbling the information (hence, the screeching sounds).
  4. The connection and speed is established, allowing you to send and receive information, that is, webpages, email, etc.

The dial-up modem itself can receive information at 56 kilobits per second, but since it's using the telephone lines, several limitations apply. The connection speed, then, is the highest speed possible to send and receive packets of data based on the type of modem you have, the amount of inhibiting line noise or static is on the line, and the distance between your modem and the telephone company's central office. With these factors in play, few dial-up users are physically capable of a connection speed much higher than 48-50 kbps.

Furthermore, the FCC has limited the maximum download speed to no more than 53.3 kilobits per second. This was to prevent “cross-talk”, where the activity of the dial up connection would run over into other lines and be heard on nearby telephone conversations. In the most ideal situation, you would live next door to the telephone company, and have brand new lines and modem. Your connection speed would most likely be 51-53 kbps.

Since dial-up modems have to hear analog signals over your phone line to send and receive information, one of the biggest factors of slow connection speeds and disconnects is the telephone line. Some things can be done, like shortening the distance of the phone cord to the modem and rewiring phone cords in your house. Unfortunately, many rural dial-up customers are often left with little or no solutions. If you live too far from the phone company's central office, you may not be physically capable of getting faster connections. Sometimes phone company cannot afford to replace large sections of phone cords, especially if they are still in usable for phone conversations.

If you notice that you are getting low connection speeds, consider the following:

  • Are you using a splitter or a phone cord longer than 5 feet? Try rearranging your computer set up to give your modem the closest access to the phone jack. Most modem ports have a second jack for your telephone so a splitter is not needed.

  • Do you often hear static or humming on your home phone? You may need to rewire the lines in your house or the phone company may need to repair wires going to your home.

  • Have you recently had inclement weather? Sometimes storms and heavy rain can cause temporary slow connection issues.

  • Are you connecting to a local access number? Get several numbers for your area from your ISP, then check with your phone company to make sure the are local. Try several local numbers and see if one connects better than the other.

  • Is your modem out of date (and lacking the latest compression technology)? Perhaps you need to buy a new modem or download new drivers for your model from the manufacturer's website.

Keep in mind that there are other ways to improve your download speeds and load webpages faster. You could update to the latest version of your browser, install web accelerators, and eliminate unnecessary processes running on your computer. See a local technician for help and more advice.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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5 Ways to Improve Downloading on Dial-up

by Hannah Miller 17. August 2009 23:29

Dial-up has considerably less bandwidth (uploading and downloading capacity) than broadband. Noise and static on the phone lines could cause a drop the connection without warning. These two issues cause the most problems with downloads. Here are some tips that may help improve your download speeds and avoid having to start them over:

Save the file, don't run. When you click on a link to download a file, you are prompted to run or save the file. Run means you want the file to immediately open the installation wizard after the download is complete. Save means you want to put the file on your computer and run the installation later. When you click save, you will have the option to save it to a certain folder or location. Choose an easy place you'll remember, like right on your desktop, in the “Save in” box. Then click “Save” again.

If you save the installation file, you can rerun it if you have problems installing the software. This will save the time you would spend re-downloading. Also, you will know where the file is saved, so that means you don't have to sit in front of the computer watching it download. The file will be waiting for you when you return to your computer and you can install it then.

Download when you're not surfing. Try to minimize your online activity during a download. If you try to download while you are browsing online, your bandwidth has to be shared between the two or more processes, and both tasks will operate more slowly. You may want to wait until you are finished surfing to start a download. You can let you connection run overnight or while you are doing chores in the house.

Check for automatically updating programs. If you look in your system tray (the bottom right section where your clock is displayed), you will see icons of programs currently running on your computer. If you hover over or click on these icons, you may see that Windows updates or a software, firewall, or anti-virus program is downloading updates from the Internet. Updates are usually necessary but they also use up your bandwidth and slow your download time. You can stop the update temporarily so your file downloads faster. You may also need to check for programs running unnecessarily so you can end that process altogether. Ask a local technician for help with this step.

Restart your session before a download. Some dial-up services limit the maximum time you can be online. Your online sessions can also be dropped after some time because of static or line noise. Disconnect and reconnect to the Internet just before a big download to minimize the chances of getting disconnected before it completes.

Get a download manager. This program will keep track of your downloads and allow you to start where you left off if you accidentally get disconnected during a large download. You can download a free download manager from

There are some downloads that are just not feasible on dial up. Most files over 60 MB would take too long to download on dial-up, or wouldn't download at all because of maximum session limits and common disconnect problems.

If you have access to a broadband connection, you can save larger downloads to a flash drive or memory card and install it later on your computer. Be sure to specify to save it to your flash drive! There are several places where you can access broadband Internet for short periods of time. More coffee shops and restaurants now have free wireless Internet you could access with your laptop. Public libraries usually offer computer stations with a broadband connection and wireless service for laptops.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles! 

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dial-up | downloading

About the author

Hannah Miller is an Online Marketing Representative for - America's best provider for Dial-Up Internet Service since 1997.

Hannah has been a Customer Service and Tech Support agent for since 2007, which has supplemented her knowledge of dial-up, computers, and the Internet. The entries that are posted in this blog are professional articles relating to our industry. Email your questions, suggestions, and other comments to

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