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Why is my 56K modem connecting at less than 56K?

Firstly, the "56K" in your modem name is more of a brand name than a description of the speed that it can connect at. In fact, the FCC limits any data communications over telephone lines to 53Kbps. However, you should be able to achieve decent connection speeds between 33.6 and 53Kbps with the proper setup. Please go through the following steps to determine what could be causing your slow connection speed (less than 33.6Kbps):

The first thing to check is that your modem is set to use the V.90 modem protocol. The Trip.Net network uses modems set to use the V.90 protocol, and unless your modem is set to use it as well, it is like the modems are speaking two different languages, making communication difficult if not impossible.

Please check the following, do not skip any as these work more often than not in solving slow connection issues: If there is a telephone, answering machine or fax machine plugged into the back of the modem, unplug it. The modem is supposed to ignore devices plugged into it while it is online, but it does not always function properly. Try disconnecting any additional devices (fax, phones, answering machines, alarm systems, etc.) from the phone line that the computer is hooked up to, regardless of where they are located. 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. The idea is to make sure that the computer is getting the best possible connection to the phone line, without any interference from other devices.

Make sure that you have the latest software drivers and firmware versions for your modem. It is a good idea to always keep your computer system up-to-date with the latest drivers for your devices like modems, video cards, sound cards, etc. The modem is the most crucial to keep updated, since improvements are made often and protocols may change from time to time. Check with the manuals that came with your computer or your modem, or the modem manufacturer's web page for information on how to upgrade your modem software (drivers/firmware). You may need to contact the PC Manufacturer for this information. Another useful site is Windrivers.com, which contains information on identifying your modem and where to get the software for it. You can also try the Windows Update site if you are using Windows 9x or ME. This site will examine your computer and let you know what software should be upgraded.

Much like you have to change the oil in your car and get regular tune-ups, you need to keep the software in your computer up-to-date for the best performance.

It may be the phone line itself. Line noise can cause slow connections and disconnections. Phone companies will only guarantee connection speeds of 2400bps due to the complexity of telephone networks. Another consideration is that there can only be one conversion from analog to digital between your modem and Trip.Net's modem. If your phone company routes the call in such a way that it is converted from analog to digital more than once, the maximum connection speed that you will be able to achieve is 33.6Kbps (V.34 protocol, not V.90). You can call up the phone company and complain, but because of their extremely low speed guarantee, they are not likely to do anything to solve the issue. Trip.Net merely provides the connection from our modems to the internet, so there is nothing that we can do to solve a phone line issue.

If you are in an office, you may be on what is called a "PBX" system. (If you have to dial a code, like '9' before you can dial an outside line, you are most likely on a PBX system.) PBX systems usually convert from analog to digital internally, and will limit your connection speed because of this. In addition, many PBX phone system lines can go through various routes and conversions before they even leave your office building, all of which can adversely affect your connection speed. The only solution would be to get a direct outside line, like which is normally used for fax machines (due to the same problems).

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