The modems can speed shift
up and down after the initial connection. This surge and fall
is dependant on the particular connection and the equipment
used. This includes the hardware equipment used on both end.
Some modems connect at a relative speed and then quickly speed
up if the connections allow. On other end, modems may connect
at a quite impressive speed initially but it may quickly go
down on speed or lose performance due to excessive errors.
If you have software monitoring the internet connection,
it may report speed that is not accurate. Unfortunately, it
is not possible to monitor the actual modem speed during the
connection for most modems.
On a 56k modem, you may consistently get speed as high as
52k or 53K. If you consistently get speed in this range then
there may not be much that you can do to go faster. This is
because it is not possible to achieve the highest 56K speed
on most phone circuits. However, if you consistently connect
at lower speeds then this then there are some steps that you
can try to boost your connection speed…
Watch out for dial in numbers that are being forwarded to
a distant location. Many BBS (bulletin board systems) and
ISP (Internet service providers) use call forwarding technology
to extend their local calling areas. Although, this can work
fairly well at lower speeds, the extra length in connection
can degrade the signal enough to limit the speed to ordinary
to very mediocre. Hence, always see that your access number
is truly local.
Try to connect your computer with some reputed access numbers.
Particularly, use an access number that gives you an online
reading of connection quality. This will at least let you
know whether the problem is at your end or the other end of
Some modems may not work properly if they get hot. In general,
it is a good idea to make sure that the modem does not get
If you have a laptop computer, use a PCI modem and try to
run laptop on battery alone disconnecting the computer from
Listen carefully to the quality of your voice connections.
Note that good phone lines may exhibit excessive noise until
you actually connect. After you connect, if you hear more
than a faint hiss or hum then you probably have a line problem.
If you have your modem connected to the phone line through
a surge suppresser, try to connect it without the surge suppresser.
The speed may boost. The reason for this is that many surge
suppressers do interfere with modem communications and limit
If your connection is running slow then the possibility is
that the problem is in your premise wiring. Premises problems
include faulty or poor quality wiring or equipment like poor
quality phones and fax machines or the modem itself. All this
factors contribute to connection problems. Test for premises
problems by disconnecting all your premises wiring and equipment
from the incoming and hooking your modem directly to it. If
your connections are better, you have a premises problem that
you may be able to isolate and fix.
While a “quiet” access number can ensure that
your incoming line is problem free, there are other line problems
that can reduce your speed, mainly a bandwidth distortion.
It is difficult to test for this kind of problems without
proper test equipment, but what you can do is to try and connect
to an access number that will send you test tones. Listen
carefully the sound of the connection for audible problems.
You may be able to get your phone company to improve the
quality of your line. Or in extreme cases, you may cancel
the current line and subscribe a new access number.
If you report slow connection then you may be told that you
need a special "data" line that will give you better
data transfer rate. This line is generally more expensive
than a standard line.
Some people also consider using noise filters. The fact is
that most of the modems already have the filtering it can
use. A common add on filter will do mostly nothing to improve
the performance. But, it may well make things worse.