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Free Dialup UK Article - Dial-up Modem FAQ's (Part 3)


Q: How can I make fax modem work better?

A: There are three popular standards for fax modem commands used by fax software applications:

A low level standard, Class 1 mostly uses your fax software and your host CPU to do the work. This gives you the most control over the functioning. However, as the CPU is consumed, slower systems may have problems sending and receiving faxes in the background with Class 1.

Class 2 is mostly supported by fax software and takes much of the low level load off of your system. This improves the process of faxing in the background. This is particularly useful if you have a slower system.

A true standard for higher level fax commands is Class 2.0. This utility is not very popular among the faxing software and not too many of them supports it. It is not compatible with Class 2 but provides similar benefits.

Typical consumer fax modems have a number of weaknesses and deficiencies. All of them cannot be overcome. But, there are some tricks that you can try…

1. If you are having trouble getting fax use the software that came bundled with your fax modem. While that software may not be fully satisfactory, it will at least tell you whether your fax modem is working properly or not.

2. Make sure that you have specified the correct fax Class for your modem in your fax software.

3. Make sure that you have the latest updates for your fax software.

4. Make sure that you are using the recommended initialization string for your modem.

5. Slower systems may have problems faxing at 14.4 Kbps. If you are having problems, try dropping the maximum fax speed down to 9600 bps. Slower systems in particular may not be able to do much in the foreground without interfering with background faxing, particularly with Class 1.

32-bit operating systems like OS/2 Warp, Windows NT, and Windows 95/98 are better able to handle fax in the background than 16-bit operating systems.

Q: How can I use a single phone for fax/data/voice?

A: There are many dial up users in UK who needs to share the same phone line for fax, data and fax calls. This may look a little bit difficult but there are solutions available to arrange this.

There are basically four methods of sharing an incoming phone line. Here we discuss them…

Install a "Call Router" device on your regular phone line. The cost is variable, depending on the available features. You plug your modem, fax machine, answering machine, and telephone line into the device. The device identifies the incoming calls and directs them to the appropriate connected unit.

Some devices do this with a series of voice prompts that instruct the caller to press different phone buttons for different services. Some devices do it by listening to the incoming call and making a selection based on what they "hear." There are however, Drawbacks to this method. The voice prompting may confuse the caller. Additionally, your computer would need a second modem to receive both fax and data calls.

2. This is a fax modem feature that is available with certain modems that allows a fax modem to share a voice line. The modem answers but does not use the normal fax answer tones. Instead it listens for tones from a calling fax. If it hears tones identifying a fax call, it automatically picks up the call and goes into fax mode. Some may even cut off the answering machine to listen to the call. Otherwise, it lets the call go to the answering machine if it is not a fax call. The drawback to this method is that it does not support data calls.

3. Obtain "Distinctive Ring" service with a modem and software that support it. This service can be offered by local telephone companies. They have to give user more then one phone number for a single phone line. Each number has a distinctive ringing pattern that can be detected by attached equipment.

An attached fax/modem and software that support Distinctive Ring can identify whether the incoming call in on the fax, data, or voice number and handle the call in the appropriate manner. Distinctive Ring can also be used with certain kinds of Call Routers. Distinctive Ring is usually less expensive than having multiple phone lines. The drawbacks to this method are the monthly charge applied for this service and the possibility that the service may not be available in your area.

4. Use a modem and software that support incoming Call Discrimination. This utility may also be called "Adaptive Answer" or "Call Select". Some fax/data modems can discriminate between fax and data calls and function accordingly. A voice modem can also be used as most of them can distinguish between fax, data, and voice calls.

The modem answers the call and uses a combination of listening tones and trying to determine the type of incoming call. A voice modem and appropriate software can also employ voice prompting like certain Call Routers. The modem then notifies the software of the type of call. The software notifies the user and takes the appropriate action depending upon the type of call. Some modems do a better job of Call Discrimination than others. The only problem is that good software that supports Call Discrimination has been hard to find!!

Q: How can I connect my modem to a digital phone system?

A: If you are a typical hoe user accessing internet with a dial up connection with your phone line then you may encounter this problem. Typically, your modem may not work on the kind of digital phone that you find in corporate offices and hotel rooms. It is also can be hard to find a standard phone jack when you need one. However, there are a number of devices on the market that supports this arrangement.

All you have to do is that you have to disconnect the handset from a digital phone and plug the handset into the device. The device then is plugged into the handset jack on the phone. Then, you connect your modem to the device with a standard phone cord.

Q: How can I improve game play over modems?

A: There are millions of users like you who like to play online games. If the gaming application is smaller then you may find the online gaming very smooth. But if the game uses very high-end graphics then you may have problem while playing that Game online. In some, cases the game becomes ridiculously slow or even hold up.

Here, the key is to reduce the time it takes for game play signals to travel from your computer to the remote computer and vice versa.

Here are some suggestions for your use..

1. Higher serial port speed slightly reduces latency. Here try and Increase your serial port speed as much as you can without causing overruns.

2. While connecting over the Internet, watch out for poor Internet network performance. Different ISP may have different Internet connectivity. A different ISP may give you much better performance.

3. Internet network performance can vary greatly by time. Try connecting at different times. This will give you an idea when the network has lesser load.

4. Use the "ping" utility to measure round-trip time and packet loss percentage when you suspect network performance problems.

5. Do is disable error control and data compression! Recommendations to do that are myths and are not supported by the facts.

6. Some people use lower modem speed up to 9600 bps in order to reduce the error rate over the modem connection. However, that only makes things worse.

The moral here is that the shorter the response time, better the connectivity.


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