56K Speed Tricks + FixesGo to ALL WinDOwS ©Tricks + Secrets
1-12-99 Win9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:
56K MODEMS @ 56K SPEED
If you own a 56K analog modem, connect to the Internet using DUN (Dial-Up Networking) through PPP (Point to Point
Protocol) in Windows 95/98/ME, subscribed to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or Online Service (like America Online), and
canNOT connect to the advertised speeds (at least 44-46K, the ideal being 53-54K), there are a few things you can do, to make
sure you have done everything "humanly" possible to get the best results from your ISA/PCI/USB modem card.
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- Make sure your modem firmware is
"flashed" with the latest BIOS upgrade from your modem vendor, which MUST include the new ITU (International Telecommunications Union) V.92 PCM (Pulse Code Modulation)
transfer protocol standard, no matter what proprietary 56K protocol your modem was using (3COM/US Robotics' x2 or
Lucent/Rockwell's 56KFlex) when you purchased it.
Also check your modem's vendor web site frequently (or subscribe to
their periodical e-mail newsletter/notification, if possible) for FAQs, troubleshooting tips, solutions, software/firmware
upgrades/patches, or even free modem replacements (in case earlier models might have had hardware problems), regarding your
Troubleshooting/upgrade web sites:
- Make sure your modem newest drivers (usually plain .INF files which can be downloaded from
your modem's vendor web site) are installed under Windows 95/98/ME, and that your OS recognizes the modem properly.
own a 3COM/US Robotics 56K modem go to 3COM/USR upgrade web pages (see above), and download the file that matches EXACTLY
your modem model AND number, NONE other!
Then install (upgrade) your new modem driver by running: Control Panel →
System → Device Manager → Modem → Your modem
name → Driver tab → Update driver...
Alternatively you can delete your modem from Device Manager's
Modem list, restart Windows 9x/ME, and then point to the location of your new/updated drivers (.INF file) when the new device is detected by the Hardware Wizard upon restarting Windows.
- Perform ALL steps
detailed in "SPEEDUP MY DUN!", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].
- Try rewiring your modem/phone lines between the terminal block (phone plug) and your
modem using either 2-wired shielded cable or CAT-5 UTP (Category 5 Unshielded Twisted Pair) cable.
Doing so may cut
out interference, help improve your connection, lower ping times and significantly boost your modem throughput from a mere
28.8 to a lightning fast 53.3 kbps!
Check with your nearest Radio Shack
store or dedicated internet based vendors for details/pricing.
- In this paragraph we will discuss possible causes
(and their remedies) for getting high PING values while connected to an online gaming network. [All you "quakers" out there
need to pay attention! ]
There are a number of possible problems that can cause a high PING number:
Useful 56K links for Quake online gamers (and not only):
- If your phone lines (the ones running through the wall, and out to the box) are below CAT-3 quality. This
could cause the V.90/V.92 protocol to have a hard time connecting at speeds higher than 33.6 Kbps. So upgrade to CAT-3 UTP
(Category 3 Unshielded Twisted Pair) wiring whenever possible.
- The distance between your location and your ISP can
also slow you down and increase your PING number. Therefore you may need to shop around to find a good ol' local ISP
which provides reliable V.90/V.92 connections.
In case you are using a national ISP, you might experience signal loss, or
even frequent disconnects. Most of them provide users with local phone numbers to avoid extra long distance costs, but their
network servers are sometimes too far away to ensure a good quality connection.
- Precipitations (rain or snow) or cold can
cause a lot of line noise (reducing the signal speed) for your V.90/V.92 connection. Not much to do here, just wait
for a sunny day to kick your friend's butt at Quake/UT.
- If you upgraded your modem to V.90 or V.92, make sure your
gaming software is also V.90 or V.92 compatible. Upgrade it if necessary.
- Higher transfer speeds may increase the
PING number, because you are either sending too many small packets, or too few large packets. The remedy in this case is to
install the latest BIOS upgrade and/or drivers for your modem. If that doesn't seem to decrease PING times, you may
need to force your modem to drop connection speed from 56k to 33.6k. Your modem manual should tell you which initialization
strings to use.
- Call your local telephone
provider (telco) and ask them to test the quality of your phone line(s). 611 is the number to call in most cases. And while
you're at it, ask them to run a "routing check". This is to detect if there are more than one analog-to-digital
conversions along your line. If this is true, ask your telco to reroute your line (if possible). If you have only one
analog-to-digital conversion, and you still can't connect at speeds higher than 33K, all you can do is wait until your telco
decides to upgrade their system, or better, switch to a cable modem (if such service is available in your area) to bypass the
phone lines for Internet/Network hookups.
- Also, depending on your phone company lines and on your location (how far
your residence is from the line booster/amplifier), you could have an older (analog) switch. Telcos do NOT replace switches
unless they fail, or IF you order the Caller ID service. Therefore you can convince your telco into installing a new
switch by ordering it bundled with Caller ID (you may need to wait for a special sale to get the best deal). Later you can
cancel the premium Caller ID service, and keep the new switch, counting on your telco to leave it into place, because it
might be cheaper for them to do so (but do NOT rely on this trick 100%).
- If you're lucky, and the switches in your area
are all digital (like Northern Telecom's DMS100 or AT&T's 5ESS), conduct a local phone line test, to make sure your lines are
truly 56K capable.
The US Robotics test line dials a long distance number (using fiber optic lines), therefore you connect
to US Robotics' test line without suffering digital-to-analog conversions in the signal. But when you dial your local ISP
(Online Service), you're using your local telco's phone lines to connect [not fiber optic, and probably not digital either
unless you live really close to the local Central Office (CO)]. X2, K56Flex and V.90/V.92 modems rely on the ability of the
phone signal to reach your home in either a digital or digital-analog hybrid format to connect at speeds over 33,600 bps.
ISPs are digital at their end, but you are not digital at your end (when using an analog modem). While it's possible that
upgrading to Caller ID could force your telco to put you on a digital switch, your signal could still fail a
digital-to-analog conversion elsewhere in the local phone system.
Go to Troubleshooting 56K Modems Central for more info.
The quality of the digital line switches affects only
the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) portion of call dialing, not its transport, which is almost always analog,
unless you have a digital conversion installed, or if you have a digital line, like ISDN or T1. Call 611 and ask your telco's
Central Office to consult COSMOS (a facilities assignment database used by most BellCore telcos) to see if you are running a
POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) line with any kind of special equipment or digital conversions.
Examples of such
If the COSMOS database indicates that your RZ (Ring Zone) exceeds 13 (an arbitrary scale NOT
related to the mileage from the Central Office), then you probably have some sort of line card repeater (i.e. a 5AReg
- DAML: used to digitally piggy-back a second phone
- Pair-Gain: digitally piggy-backed lines on systems with sufficient facilities going the last mile to your
residence, but insufficient facilities feeding the area from the Central Office,
- Repeaters, Boosters or
Amplifiers: used to "boost" (amplify) the signal when your distance from the Central Office exceeds 20 miles (33
Unfortunately, there is no way for any of these pieces of hardware to be changed out by your telco as a result
of a simple user request. In this case the only way to upgrade your class of service is to order a digital line (ISDN, T1,
DSL etc). But this kind of service might be unavailable if you're too far away from your telco's Central Office, since your
local provider won't recondition your line unless the area you're in can be served by that class of service.
What you can
do, is take your computer [including the modem ] to a friend's or coworker's residence located in a different local area,
and see if modem connection rates differ in any way. If they do, the bottleneck is your local telco, and unfortunately there
is not much you can do about it, except moving to another (better) location. :(
- Other things you can do to ensure of
highest quality connections, and avoid EMI (Electro Magnetical Interference), which might impair your connection
If everything else fails and you still can't connect at 56K (actually 53K,
limited by the FCC regulations), you can have your phone company rewire the entire line from the pole to your box, as a last
resort, but keep in mind that this might cost you an arm and a leg!
- make sure your computer is the FIRST, or better, the ONLY device hooked to
that particular phone line,
- make sure the wall phone jack is not too close to ANY other outlets,
- make sure your
modem cable is at least a couple of inches (5 cm) away from ANY other surrounding cables or wires,
- make sure your
modem cable(s) are of good quality and in good condition,
- make sure your modem cable length is 6 feet (2 meters) or
- avoid using ANY Y-splitters, adapters, extensions or modem-through-phone/external fax machine
- do NOT hook your phone/external fax machine to the phone jack provided on your modem, but to a separate
cable, preferably to a separate (dedicated) phone line,
and last but not least,
- use a dedicated, good quality
modem/fax line surge suppressor.
- You can also try adding custom initialization
strings to override the default ones used by your modem in Win9x: Control Panel → Modems → Your modem name
→ Properties → Connection tab → Advanced
→ Extra settings box.
Examples of initialization strings (you might need to MODIFY them to make them work properly with YOUR
Note that the AT string above is not necessary in the Win9x Control Panel
Modems applet Extra settings box (it is added automatically).
- 3COM/US Robotics 56K V.90/V.92 modems [to enable hardware flow control (&K3) and V.90/V.92 ITU protocol (default), but NOT x2 USR protocol
- Rockwell/Lucent 56Kflex V.90/V.92 modems
[to enable hardware flow control (&K3) and V.90/V.92 ITU protocol (default), but NOT 56Kflex Rockwell protocol
- Hayes Accura/Optima 56K modems (and
- Motorola VoiceSurf 56K external modems [to enable
hardware flow control (&K3)]:
- Diamond SupraExpress 56Kflex
V.90/V.92 modems [to enable V.90/V.92 ITU protocol (default), but NOT 56Kflex Rockwell protocol
- ALL 56K V.90/V.92 modems [to cut dialing
delay in half (S11=50) and disable V.42 protocol selective reject (S27=64), in milliseconds]:
- READ these topics [also included with W95-11D.EXE], to set the MTU
(Maximum Transmission Unit), RWIN (default Receive WINdow), TTL (Time To Live), COMBoostTime (COM port
Boost Time) etc, to their optimal values for your OS/modem/ISP setup:Also check out these 56K + MTU reference links for more info.WARNINGS:
TIP: Use one of the
freeware Trace Route (Tracert) tools listed at "FREE WINDOWS 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 INTERNET MONITORS, FIREWALLS + ANTI-SPYWARE" to determine eventual packet loss.
- Windows 95/98 reports a FALSE packet fragmentation when using the built-in PING tool, IF your MTU (IP packet size in bytes) Registry setting is set
to 576, or any value lower than 1500. If you run (PING command line switches are case sensitive):PING -f -l 1500 www.your_isp_name.comor:PING -f -l 1500 www.your_isp_name.netwith MTU set to 576, all packets will be reported as
- Windows 98 adds another BUG, because the default MTU (if you have never adjusted it) is set to
"Automatic", which means it is (dynamically) set to 576 if your connection speed is below 112 kbps. In Windows 98 you
need to reset the MTU to "Large" (fixed at 1500): Control Panel → Network → Dial-Up Adapter
→ Advanced → IP Packet Size → change from
"Automatic" to "Large". Click OK as many times as necessary to save the new setting and then restart Windows 98.
Now PING your ISP (as shown above) one more time.
Therefore the recommended
MTU for most ISPs/Online Services (including AOL) is 576, in Windows 95/OSR1/OSR2/98/ME.
- Additionally, 3COM/US
Robotics 56K modems (and other newer 56K modems) adjust connection speed aggressively according to line conditions on the
fly, falling forward (higher speeds) when permitted, and back (lower speeds) when line noise increases. As a consequence, the
initial connection speed report doesn't matter if using such a modem. :(