MDGx MAX Speed WinDOwS
56K Speed Tricks + Fixes

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1-12-99 Win9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


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.
More info.

  1. 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 particular modem.
    Troubleshooting/upgrade web sites:

  2. 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.
    If you 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.

  3. Perform ALL steps detailed in "SPEEDUP MY DUN!", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

  4. 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.

  5. 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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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. ;)
    4. 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.
    5. 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.

    Useful 56K links for Quake online gamers (and not only):

  6. 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.

  7. 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%).

  8. 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 special equipment:

    • DAML: used to digitally piggy-back a second phone line,
    • 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 kilometers).

    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 line card).
    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. :(

  9. Other things you can do to ensure of highest quality connections, and avoid EMI (Electro Magnetical Interference), which might impair your connection speed:

    • 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 shorter,
    • avoid using ANY Y-splitters, adapters, extensions or modem-through-phone/external fax machine hookups,
    • 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.

    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!

  10. 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 modem):
    • 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 (S32=34)]:
    • 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 (%C2)]:
    • Hayes Accura/Optima 56K modems (and compatibles):
    • 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 (S=12,1)]:
    • 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]:
    Note that the AT string above is not necessary in the Win9x Control Panel Modems applet Extra settings box (it is added automatically).
    More modem strings.

  11. 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.


    1. 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


      PING -f -l 1500

      with MTU set to 576, all packets will be reported as fragmented.

    2. 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.

    3. 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. :(

    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.

  12. Good luck!

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