Majority of the internet users in UK still uses dialup
connections to access internet. Dial up connection can
be used through your phone line and modem. There are often
some issues that can occur with your dial up connections.
Here we discuss some of the most common issues…
Modem hardware and drivers
Modem is the most important device in a best
dialup connection. This device connects your computer
to your phone line to access internet. Some of the regularly
occurring issues are related to modem.
Some modems use firmware
or modem drivers while other modems use both firmware and
modem drivers. Often, updating Modem Drivers and updating
modem Firmware can enhance performance and increase a modem's
tolerance to line noise or errors. To get the most out of
your computer and the dial up service, it is important to
maintain the highest performance possible from your modem.
Over the years, there have been many changes in the modem
technology. Modem manufacturers are constantly working to
improve the quality of connections made by their modems. As
new technologies are developed and bugs are discovered and
corrected, modem manufacturers release updated firmware or
modem drivers so customers who own one of their modems can
take advantage of these fixes and developments. You can constantly
check your modem manufacturer’ to release better versions
or newly updated drivers. This will help you to keep pace
with the improvement in the dial up technology to boost your
dial up connections.
Modifications or Additions to Phone Equipment
In modern era, there are more then one devices that can be
attached to the phone line. New phone equipment such as Fax
Machines, Answering Machines, Additional Extensions or Home
Networking equipment may be added to your phone connections.
Often these devices of one of these devices create issues
for your dial up connection. The problems can range from additional
noise on the phone line or failing connection.
Root cause of this kind of problems is improper installation
of one of the devices. If these devices are added to same
phone line that you use to access internet then it becomes
very important to see that each device is installed properly.
Even the installation of additional telephone lines run through
various parts of the house can be problematic if they were
not correctly installed.
Testing for these problems can be very easy. You may just
temporarily remove other equipment to see if the issue persists.
If the issue has started after recently added device then
remove that device first and see if the disconnect or noise
problems gets rectified. One by one remove the application
from the assembly and see if the conditions improve. If a
particular device is creating issue then reinstall it properly.
If the issue persists then there is a possibility that the
device is defective.
Note: - When testing for problems by disconnecting other
equipment, it is very important to remember that the power
supply may have to be unplugged but the phone cord attached
to the connection jack on the wall which should be temporarily
Dial up connection failures can also happen when you receive
a call while you are accessing internet through your phone
line. At this time the modem may drop the connection. You
may avoid this issue by having a modem with call waiting feature.
The call waiting feature allows a modem to stay connected
to internet while an external call is received. At the same
time the modem signals the user that a call has been received.
The call waiting feature can be kept enabled or disabled per
your requirements. If call waiting is enabled while you are
using your dial up connection then the modem connection will
be interrupted when the cal is received. On other hand, if
the call waiting feature is disabled then the modem will notify
the user about the received call but the connection will not
be terminated immediately. When you sign off and your modem
hangs up the phone, Call Waiting is reactivated.
The original telephone lines were created to carry verbal
communications. With the advance in technology we started
using it for other functions such as dial up connection to
access internet or to send and receive fax messages. Dial
up connections usually makes some sound while dialing but
usually good quality connections are “peaceful”.
But it is a fact that analog lines such as a phone line is
prone to pick up noise if the quality of line declines. Dial
up connections are more susceptible to noise than voice communication.
When noise interferes with the signal on the phone line the
computer's modem has trouble talking to the access terminal
the other end. In bad cases, If the modem cannot be sure it
is still connected because the noise is too much or the CPU
is busy to control it then it can lose contact with the service
terminal entirely causing the connection failure.
Line noise sounds like cracking, popping, or screeching noise.
Conversations on a phone line, usually indicates noise on
the line. However, noise that can cause problems with a dial
up connection may not always is detected by simply listening
to the receiver. You will need to check the modem and the
telephone line individually to pin down on the source of noise.
You may also check the modem on other line or another “peaceful”
modem on the phone line.
Limited System Resources
Modems can be either software controlled or controller less.
Both types of modems are very much dependent on system resources
for their performance to increase or decrease speed of your
dial up connection.
All software programs tend to occupy system resources per
their requirements. It is possible that a new program or software
application recently installed on your computer has reduced
the amount of system resources available to other applications
or hardware. Some Memory resident applications such as memory
managers, device drivers can cause modem connections to fail
or run slowly.
In this situation, it may be necessary to run fewer applications
simultaneously to get these types of modems to work more efficiently.
Another issue that can make a dial up connection to fail
is the human interference. The modem needs only one phone
line and occupies only one phone terminal. In a home with
multiple telephones sharing one line, a person picking up
another extension in the house can cause a modem to disconnect.
Fax machines or computer modems pick up the line and start
dialing without sensing that the line is clear or not. We
human can make out whether the line is busy or not by listening
for a dial tone. However, there is usually no way for the
other person to know that the phone line is being used by
a modem until they pick up the receiver and listen. This mostly
happens then a person unknowingly picks up the phone from
other extension when the line is accessed by the modem to
access internet. At this point, the modem may drop the connection.
Conflicts between Software applications
Some software applications that you installed can create
a conflict in your system. These conflicts often cause your
dial up connection to fail. In some cases, event like the
installation of another software program at the same time
may turn out to be a reason to create conflict. It is not
very easy to pinpoint the exact cause of the conflict in most
cases because of the number of different possibilities. It
is always better to do some investigation to track down the
cause of the conflict.
Electromagnetic interference can be a factor in causing your
modem to disconnect. Furthermore, it may also cause damage
to the circuitry of the modem device. Most residential phone
line wiring is susceptible to such interference because of
lack of shielding. Older phones can also create line noise
since they were never designed to take into consideration
modem use. Poor quality phone wiring is a common problem in
The fact is that the wiring that was used for voice phone
calls may have been adequate for verbal communications but
today's fax machines and modems require higher-quality wiring.
There are certain precautions that dial up connection users
1. Make sure that your phone line does not run parallel to
other wiring for long distances.
2. The phone line should not be wired near to high end electronic
systems such as computers and home theater systems as they
produce heavy electromagnetic field when they are active.
3. Consumer electronics devices such as TVs, radios and microwave
ovens that emit Radio frequency waves may damage the wiring.
So, make sure to position then at a good distance fro your
4. Devices with motors such as fans are sources of electromagnetic
interference if they are wired in the same channel as your
5. Electric appliances such as lights with dimmers or lights
that use fluorescent bulbs and other electrical appliances
that use a lot of power should not be kept active near your
phone connection for a long time.
On final note, you may not be able to keep your dial up connection
setup from all the sources of problems but taking precautionary
steps time to time and regular maintenance and update will
keep your dial up connection from breaking down.