There are very many reasons why your internet connection may be terminated, we will go through many of them on this page.
Firstly, Trip.Net does not disconnect customers after only a few minutes of being online. Trip.Net's system is set to disconnect the call if there is absolutely no information being sent from your computer for a full 30 minutes. This means that so long as you are sending or receiving e-mail, viewing a web page, or using an instant messaging service, you will not be disconnected by our system. However, if you download e-mail, and then take over 30 minutes to read the downloaded e-mail without checking for new mail, then the system will disconnect you. There are no other conditions under which the Trip.Net network will disconnect you.
This means that if you are disconnected before 30 minutes of inactivity, the disconnection was caused due to a lack of communication between your modem and ours. Please go through the following possible reasons to determine which is causing your modem to disconnect from ours:
- Program Settings - Programs such as Outlook Express can be set to terminate the connection when they are finished using it. In addition, if you have any programs that are set to dial the connection on their own, the current connection will be terminated before they can attempt to dial the connection. In Outlook Express, click on "Tools", then "Options", then "Connection". Make sure that there is no check in the box labeled 'Hang Up After Sending And Receiving'. Next, go to "Tools", then "Accounts". Click on "Mail" and then locate the column labeled 'Connection'. None of your e-mail accounts should be set to dial on their own, these should all be set to use "Any Available" connection.
For other e-mail programs, consult the "Help" menu for information on checking the DialUp properties of the program.
- Call Waiting - Call Waiting wreaks havoc on Dial Up connections, since your modem has no idea what the Call Waiting tone means. If you have Call Waiting on the phone line that your computer is hooked up to, be sure to enter the code to disable call waiting before the phone number in your Dial Up connection.
To do this, locate the "My Computer" icon on your desktop and double-click on it. When it opens, locate the icon for "Dial Up Networking" and then double-click on it. A new window will open, and there should be an icon inside labeled "Make New Connection". In addition to this icon, there should be an icon that represents your connection to Trip.Net (You could have named it Trip.Net or anything else, we really don't know). Find the icon that is your connection to Trip.Net and right-click on it. Choose "Properties" from the menu that appears. A small window will open displaying the Dial Up number that you use to connect. Make sure that you do not have any numbers entered in the box labeled "Area Code". We will enter every digit that the computer needs to dial into the box labeled "Telephone Number". In the "Telephone Number" box, first enter "*70,". (Don't forget the comma ",") This will disable Call Waiting. Next, enter the Dial Up number exactly as you have to dial it, including the Area Code if necessary. (It is necessary for 832 Dial Up numbers).
Beneath the boxes for Area Code and Telephone Number is a drop-down menu for the Couuntry Code, and then beneath that is a checkbox labeled "Use Area Code and Dial Properties". Remove the check from this box if it is checked.
Check this page for more information about Call Waiting and your modem.
- Modem Settings - There are settings on the computer that can cause your internet connection to become disconnected. Follow these instructions to check them:
First, locate the "My Computer" icon on your desktop and double-click on it to open it. Inside, locate "Control Panel" and double-click on it. Inside Control Panel, locate "Modems" and double-click on it. A small window will open with the text "The following modems are installed in this computer:". Find the button labeled "Properties" and click on it. This will open another small window. There will be a tab at the top of the window labeled "Connection" - click on the tab.
In the middle of the window will be a section labelled "Call Preferences". There will be three items with checkboxes. The last one is labeled "Disconnect a call if idle for more than". Make sure that it is set to at least 30 minutes.
One thing that you may wish to try is to tell the modem to wait 5 seconds before disconnecting for any reason. To do this, find the "Advanced" button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and click on it. In the window that appears, locate the section labeled "Extra Settings" about 3/4 of the way down the window. In the box below 'Extra Settings', enter "S10=50". Click on the "OK" buttons until you return back to the Control Panel. (The last window may have a 'Close' button instead) You will then need to restart the computer. If the modem refuses to work after restarting, follow these instructions to remove the 'S10=50' from the box, replace it with a "Z", click on the "OK" buttons until you return to the Desktop, and restart your computer again.
Your modem manufacturer may have provided other software that you need to check - consult any manuals that may have come with your modem.
- Windows 95/98 Settings - To check the Windows 95/98 Internet Settings, please follow these instructions. Locate the "My Computer" icon on your desktop and double-click on it to open it. Inside, locate "Control Panel" and double-click on it. Inside Control Panel, locate the icon labeled "Internet Options" and double-click on it.
This will open a small window titled "Internet Properties", across the top of which is a row of tabs. Locate the tab labeled "Connections" and click on it. There will be a white rectangular area on this screen with your Dial Up connections listed inside. Click once on your Trip.Net connection to highlight it, and then click on the button to the right labeled "Settings". This will open another small window. Towards the bottom right-hand side of this window will be a button labeled "Advanced" - click on the button to open a very small window. There will be two checkboxes in this small window, neither of which should be checked. Uncheck them if there are checks in the boxes. Click each "OK" button until all windows are closed.
- Windows ME Settings - To check the Windows ME Internet Settings, please follow these instructions. Click on "Start", then "Settings", then "Dial Up Networking". When this window opens, locate the icon that represents your connection to Trip.Net and right-click on it. Choose "Properties" from the menu that appears. A small window will open with 'tabs' across the top of it. Locate the tab labeled "Dialing" and left-click on it.
Towards the bottom of this window is a section titled "Enable Idle Disconnect". If there is a check in the box next to these words, click on the check to remove it. At the very bottom of the screen is a checkbox with the words "Disconnect if connection may no longer be needed" next to it. Remove this check as well if it is selected. Both of these settings will cause you to be disconnected from the Internet.
- Insufficient Memory - The computer can only do as many things as it has memory to do. In times of memory shortage, the first thing that will happen is a dropped phone connection. Even if you have plenty of RAM installed, if you have too many programs running at once, it can cause you to run out of memory, thus disconnecting you. Make sure that you have plenty of memory installed in your computer and that you run as few programs at once as possible. This is especially important for customers who use "WinModems" such as the HSP Micromodem, or the Lucent LT Winmodem. Check the little icons in the lower right-hand side of your screen by the clock to see if there are any unnecessary programs running and close them. Do not run Word Processing programs or other memory-intensive applications while online.
- Phone Line Conditions - A strong modem connection requires crystal-clear phone connections. Any noise at all in your phone line will cause the modem to drop the speed, or even the connection. The ultimate setup would be to have the computer on its own telephone line, with no other devices connected to the line. Any other devices on the same phone line as the computer can cause unwanted line noise. In addition, other family members picking up on the line while you are connected will cause problems. Cordless phones draw power from the phone line every 15 minutes, creating noise and problems if you are connected to the internet at that time. Fax machines will also send a voltage through the line to determine if there is an active phone line attached to it, and this will cause problems with your internet connection as well. You can temporarily remove all other devices from the phone line that the computer is using in order to determine if the other devices are causing the problem.
If you use a phone line 'splitter', which divides the single phone jack into multiple jacks, try removing it and plugging the phone line directly into the jack. Try changing the actual phone cord that is being used to connect the computer to the wall jack. Make sure that there are no devices near the computer or the phone line that may cause interference, like radios, scanners, cell phones, pagers, etc.
Another consideration is the distance of the connection itself. The phone company completes your connection through the best route possible at any given time, so it is possible that one time you call you get a short connection, and another time you can be rerouted through a longer connection. This happens especially during 'peak hours' of the day.
- Modem Hardware - The problem could lie in the modem itself, the drivers that it uses, or it's ability to communicate over your telephone line. One way to check this is to take your computer to a friend's house and try to connect from there. If you are successful, this would narrow the problem down to your telephone line. You should contact your phone service provider to perform an impedence check on your telephone line. Telephone companies will only guarantee connection speeds of 2400 bps (Yes, that's correct - BPS) and will be reluctant to check your line or fix anything that they may find wrong.
If you are unable to connect or become disconnected at another location, the problem may lie with your modem itself. Modems keep statistics on the connections that they make, and if the statistics drop below the modem's standard, the modem will disconnect. In other words, if line noise or other conditions cause the modem to lower its port speed too often, it will disconnect.
Another thing to keep in mind - the cheaper the modem, the less signal processing and error correction, the more shoddy the connection. Usually the modem is the first thing cut back on when a computer manufacturer has to cut costs, so don't be surprised if your brand new computer has a cheap modem installed. Good brands of modems are 3Com/USRobotics and Creative Labs. No matter the brand, make sure that the modem has its own DSP (Digital Signal Processor) so that it can handle the tasks of keeping a conneciton alive regardless of how your computer is operating.
- Network Settings - In order to maintain a stable internet connection, the settings in the "Network" area of your computer must be set properly. To check this, locate the icon on your desktop called "Network Neighborhood" or "My Network Places" and right-click on it. Choose "Properties" from the menu that appears. This will open a window titled "Network Properties", with the words "The following network components are installed:" underneath.
In order to have a stable connection, you must have the following components listed in the white area of this screen: Client for Microsoft Networks, Dial Up Adapter, and TCP/IP. If you have any other components listed, specifically any AOL Adapters or Dial Up Adapter #2, you should remove them. Do not remove any components from this section if you are using a computer that is connected to other computers via a network.
If you do not have any of the three components listed in this section on your computer, you will need to install them. In order to install them, you will need your Windows CD. Many computer companies are not giving out the CD's with the new computers, so make sure that you have a copy of the Windows version that is installed in your computer. DO NOT attempt to install these components without the CD. Click on the "Add" button beneath the list and then choose "Client" from the list that appears. Click on "Add" in the smaller window, and another window will appear. Choose "Microsoft" from the left-hand list in the window that appears, and then choose "Client for Microsoft Networks" from the list on the right. Click on "OK" to begin the installation. The computer will prompt you to restart when it is completed.
- Modem Software - It is extremely important that you keep the software that runs your modem (the modem 'driver'), up to date. Outdated modem drivers can cause all sorts of problems with your internet connection. One of the best places to check for updates on your modem software are WinDrivers.com and of course, the Windows Update site from Microsoft. You should be visiting the Windows Update site at least once a month to keep your computer's software updated and healthy.
You can also check for updates on the modem manufacturer's website, or the manufacturer of your computer if you bought from a large company such as Gateway or Dell.
- 3rd Party Software - There are some programs that you can try that help keep your internet connection from becoming disconnected due to inactivity. Again, Trip.Net only disconnects after 30 minutes of no activity. If you prefer to leave your computer on, and your internet connection active, these programs will help to keep the connection alive:
Connection Keeper, sends small amounts of garbage data over the connection to keep it active and avoid "idle disconnections".
iNTERNET Turbo, helps speed up the connection via caching in addition to keeping the connection alive.
TICK, and extremely useful add-on whose main function is to keep track of call charges (for internet users in the UK who pay per minute online), but also has other useful features including keepalive, password storing, auto website update notification and e-mail checking.
AAA KeepAlive downloads a small web page at regular intervals to keep your connection active.
Onliner prevents you from being disconnected due to network inactivity.