Reader Teri Scott wrote me to ask about her slow dialup Internet connection:
I have a desktop and a laptop and live in a remote area so the only internet I can get is dial-up. We recently moved and in our previous home, my desktop and laptop connected consistently at about 36.8kps. Now my desktop connects at 19.2kps while the laptop is still connecting at about 36.8kps. I have plugged them both into the same line and get this result. I am at a loss as to what is causing this…
Thanks for your help!
I wrote back to Teri to tell her that sometimes, the problem is as simple as the pool of modems used by the ISP. One or more may be set at 19.2kbps. Been there, seen that… Unfortunately, not only is there little that she as an individual can do about that (other than to call Tech Support), that’s probably not the problem here.
In this case, her problem is with one of her two computers. One always has a higher speed connection, while the other is always a low speed connection.
I had to grin when I wrote that 19,200 bits per second (19.2 Kbps) is a slow connection. My first modem was 2,400 bps (2.4Kbps). At that speed, which included 8 data bits + 1 parity bit (8N1, as i was called), on a electronic bulletin board system (this was way, way before the Web), I could read the information on the screen as fast as it arrived at my computer.
I suspect that the phone line is noisy (not audibly, but measurably by the electronics) and that the modem in her desktop is more susceptible to the line noise.
Teri’s problem is probably the modem on her desktop computer. She should be able to download a new modem driver for your desktop modem. Depending on its age, she may not be using the latest version of the driver or the firmware for the modem.
Or, it simply could be more susceptible to a noisy phone line than the modem in your notebook.
If you don’t find a new driver or new firmware for your desktop, you might consider uninstalling the modem software, taking out the modem, and then reinstalling it again, preferably in a different slot (if possible).
I ran into a similar problem with my mother-in-law’s computer. The easiest solution, since she was in another city, was to purchase a new modem to go in one of the expansion slots in her computer. I bought it from Newegg for under $20.
I uninstalled her modem software, shut down her computer, took out the old modem, installed the new modem, turned the computer on, and installed the new modem’s software. The modem package had easy-to-understand instructions for doing all of this.
I don’t recall if I bought her a fax modem or not (one that can send and receive faxes, too), but the price differential is so low that I would not consider one that doesn’t do faxes if you needed to send one.
So, Teri should be able to solve her problem for about $20 including shipping.