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Phone Line Troubleshooting

Not all phone lines are capable of supporting connection speeds higher than 28.8 and bad line conditions can adversely affect your modem's connect speed. Your modem will always try to negotiate a connection at the fastest speed possible given the current phone line quality. To connect at optimum speeds, your local phone line must be in excellent condition with no static or signal loss. If there is any static, crosstalk, or signal loss over the telephone line, your modem will drop down in speed to compensate for the line noise in order to establish a connection speed that will be stable enough to use given these conditions. Keep in mind that line conditions fluctuate constantly. If for some reason the line conditions deteriorate drastically, the modem will no longer be able to maintain a connection and will simply give up and disconnect.

If you're not connecting to us as fast as you'd like, you might want to consider these troubleshooting techniques:

  • If there is a telephone, answering machine, etc., plugged into the back of the modem, unplug it from the back of the modem. The modem is supposed to ignore devices plugged into it when it is online, but that is not always the case.
  • Try disconnecting additional telephony devices (fax, phones, answering machines, alarm systems, etc.) from the phone line, even if they're in a different room.
  • Also 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.
  • Not all phone lines are capable of supporting connection speeds higher than 28.8 Multiple digital/analog conversions will prevent the use of 56K technology and limit your modem to V.34 speeds (a maximum of 33.6K). To test the capabilities of your phone line try using 3Com's line test. However, don't put all of your faith in it. It can tell you that your phone line supports 56K when in fact it doesn't, and vice versa. If you must use the test line, 3Com recommends calling it multiple times. On some calls it may say your line supports 56K and on other calls it may say the opposite. The fact that your modem can connect at 56K speeds to a long distance number is no guarantee that the same is true of local numbers, and vice versa. Long distance calls may be routed through telephone circuits which are significantly better or significantly worse than the local circuits used to connect to NETDOOR.
  • The least bit of static, line noise or cross talk affects the solidity and speed of the connection. If you believe this may be the case, you could get a phone company technician to come out and look at your lines and make sure they are clear of static. Although if you choose to do so, we would recommend not mentioning the Internet or modems to the technician as phone companies only guarantee a 9600 connection speed. Instead, describe your line problems using their lingo, such as "static" or "crosstalk" (hearing other voices on the line during your conversations). Hopefully this will convince them to do some troubleshooting on your line which may or may not lead to a higher, more stable connect speed for you.

NOTE: Reasonable connect rates are between 40-45K for an X2 or v.92 modem or 26.4-28.8K for a 28.8 modem.