Why is my dial-up connection slow?
Posted by Mark Vandepol on 06 May 2011 02:56 PM
This is a common question at any ISP, and a question that has many answers. Here is a checklist of a few things that can cause slow dial-up speeds. Because there are so many variables, it's usually best to contact Support by phone in such a case. Before doing so, however, check the following:
  • Avoid long telephone extension cords. They are usually of a fairly poor quality, and significantly weaken the signal strength.
  • Avoid splitters if possible. If you need to plug a phone in, use the extra jack in your modem instead.
  • If your phone line is going through a surge suppressor, try without it. These can also weaken the signal.
  • Make sure your computer's system resources are at least 80%. This is especially important for today's very low quality software modems that come standard with most computers.
  • Pick up your phone, dial a number, and listen. Static and/or crackling? Possible phone line problem.
  • Try an initialization string for your modem. Our magic one is at&f&c1&d2, but it will not work for all modems. Ask our WTC Support for more details about initialization strings (include modem type and operating system in your email). We will give you detailed instructions on which init strings to try, and where to enter them.
  • Heavy network traffic can be an issue sometimes. It is not so much a factor on our end, as our line-to-customer ratio is higher than many ISPs and we have a substantial amount of bandwidth, but if many people around the world are accessing a certain site at the same time, you may notice slowdowns and time-outs - especially if the server the site resides on cannot handle the traffic. Try a few other sites located elsewhere in the world before assuming your entire connection is slow.
  • Reboot your computer. Give it a try, it usually works wonders.
  • Get rid of Internet Explorer's automatically detect settings. Open Internet Explorer, click Tools | Internet Options, and click the settings button. Remove the check from automatically detect settings.
  • Get rid of Internet Explorer. Mozilla's Firefox is much faster, much smaller, and much less of a resource hog. It's also more immune to spyware (which can bog down a machine), and you can kiss annoying pop-up ads goodbye.
  • Use free programs like Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy to scrub your computer clean of spyware. Spyware runs in the background, slowing down your internet connection and your computer in general. Many programs come bundled with spyware and adware that is often installed without the end user knowing. For instance, Kazaa has at least nine flavours of spyware alone, including a decidedly pesky one called NewDotNet (which if removed improperly can leave your computer unable to surf the internet at all).
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