May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web Site?

May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web Site?

Post by Interfero » Tue, 05 Dec 2000 04:00:00



HP Pavilion 8670c -- PIII 600 MHz 128 MB

The box, new last July, came with a Connexant Softk56 PCI modem twinned on a
"Chameleon" board with the PC's sound chips.

The problem mainly is difficulty connecting (2-3 tries, sometimes more)
followed by line drops 10 minutes or more later.  Each new call costs me a
nickel, and over a month that adds up.

This evening, when I was able to connect, it was as low as 13k (I
disconnected on seeing how slow it was).  Right now it's 44k, which is
acceptable.

Since I used TweakDUN to set my MTU at 1524 bytes (default for Ascend front
ends -- my ISP tech help didn't even know what an MTU was, so I had to
search the net for the info), I've sometimes connected as fast as 46,333.
And sometimes I've stayed on line overnight for long. multipart classical
music MP3 downloads from newsgroups.  This inconsistency is maddening and
makes it hard to figure out the cause of the intermittent lousy performance.

Oops, just had another line drop.  Back on at 42,667.  56k, HA! It is to
laugh.

Settings are backed off a notch -- 57 instead of 115k, and the TX/RS port
settings each down a notch from the default..  I've even backed off on
hardware graphics acceleration, which is CPU intensive.  I don't want to go
any lower because my long downloads will get loooonger.  It may be partly
the fault of my ISP's news server, but my download rate is less than 10
MB/hr.  It has been as high as 16 in the past. It's seven hops away, says
ZDNet Netmonitor -- my ISP now farms out its news service.  And periodically
it will time out.

Back to the case at issue.  The connection/drop problem has gotten worse
lately.

1.  Is there a seasonal effect on line noise?  The only new noise source
that I can think of is my three-year-old warm-air furnace, which has a large
blower.  Just had another line drop while the furnace was running ...  Hmmm.
Now reconnected on second try at 28,800, which I'll ditch and try again.
Furnace off.  Now connected on first try at 45,333.  Sheesh.

It is gas-fired and has an electrical arc igniter, I believe ... and arcs
put out radio noise (in fact in the beginning, radio transmitters used
spark-coil arcs).

( Next morning -- I stifled my dial tone by pressing a random number on the
phone keypad and could hear a faint crackling sound, even with the furnace
not running.  Half an hour later it was gone.  This is VERY frustrating.
What if the telco technician can't hear it? )

2.  Is there some Web site where I can test for line noise?  AmeriWreck, my
telco, charges about fifty bucks for a house visit.  And they are busy
peddling their DSL service, which had been low-rated on www.dslreports.com .

3.  Can anyone advise me about SHIELDED phone wire?  In my component hi-fi
buff days I used shielded cables to exclude stray noise on the preamp
inputs.  Since only two wires are needed for a phone connection, maybe
ordinary shielded 2-conductor between the telco box and my wall jack would
decrease line noise that might be picked up by unshielded wires.  Anyone
have any experience in this?

FWIW, I am 10,300 ft. from my telco central office.  The phone lines from my
house have to pass over/under an electric commuter railway line to get
there.

4.  Sometimes I get in to the "Connected to remote computer. Verifying user
name and password..." part of the handshake and after 20 sec or so, my modem
throws up its little hands: "Failed to connect to remote computer. Unable to
establish a connection."  What gives here?  Is it possible to INCREASE the
timeout length?

5.  Regarding 4., is there anything to be gained by buying a modem from the
manufacturer of my ISP's rack modems?

6.  I would buy a hardware-based modem, not a Win modem.  What are the
issues of internal PCI vs external serial port vs external USB?  I have two
empty PCI slots.

Any other thoughts/ruminations welcome.

MTIA,

Warren

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May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web Site?

Post by Richard G. Harpe » Tue, 05 Dec 2000 04:00:00


First a thought ... a *modem will cause you all sorts of problems that
cannot be determined, diagnosed or repaired without replacing the modem.
I'd first be sure that you have a quality modem before spending time trying
to fix the problem.  Now, as for the rest ... Clipped and replied in-line.


Quote:> 1.  Is there a seasonal effect on line noise?

Entirely possible.  Remember that 99% of the network is outside your walls
and thus outside your control.

Quote:> 2.  Is there some Web site where I can test for line noise?  AmeriWreck,
my
> telco, charges about fifty bucks for a house visit.  And they are busy
> peddling their DSL service, which had been low-rated on www.dslreports.com

.

Nope, only throughput testing which will tell you what you already know.

Quote:> 3.  Can anyone advise me about SHIELDED phone wire?

Again, only about 1/10th of 1% of the network is under your control.  It may
help but more likely than not it will not.

Quote:> 4.  Sometimes I get in to the "Connected to remote computer. Verifying
user
> name and password..." part of the handshake and after 20 sec or so, my
modem
> throws up its little hands: "Failed to connect to remote computer. Unable
to
> establish a connection."  What gives here?  Is it possible to INCREASE the
> timeout length?

Probably not.  The remote modem also has a timeout which you cannot
increase.  And in any case if this is the connect result increasing the
timeout will probably only increase the wait before the two modems realize
they cannot connect.

Quote:> 5.  Regarding 4., is there anything to be gained by buying a modem from
the
> manufacturer of my ISP's rack modems?

Why not ask your ISP if they have a recommended brand based on experience
and/or knowledge?

Quote:> 6.  I would buy a hardware-based modem, not a Win modem.  What are the
> issues of internal PCI vs external serial port vs external USB?  I have
two
> empty PCI slots.

The type of modem (PCI versus USB versus ISA, internal versus external)
makes little difference on performance.

--

* NOTE - Private EMail is generally not replied to.  Please post all
* questions and comments in the newsgroup so all can benefit.
* Help US help YOU - http://www.veryComputer.com/

 
 
 

May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web Site?

Post by Rick Collin » Tue, 05 Dec 2000 04:00:00



Quote:> Oops, just had another line drop.  Back on at 42,667.  56k, HA! It
is to
> laugh.

> Settings are backed off a notch -- 57 instead of 115k, and the TX/RS
port
> settings each down a notch from the default..

That's a silly thing to do.  If you're dropping the connection, your
_best bet_ is to reduce your connect speed.

Quote:> Back to the case at issue.  The connection/drop problem has gotten
worse
> lately.

> 1.  Is there a seasonal effect on line noise?  The only new noise
source
> that I can think of is my three-year-old warm-air furnace, which has
a large
> blower.  Just had another line drop while the furnace was running
...  Hmmm.
> Now reconnected on second try at 28,800, which I'll ditch and try
again.
> Furnace off.  Now connected on first try at 45,333.  Sheesh.

Every attempt you make to connect can be with different equipment at
the remote end. You shoud take that into account.

Quote:> 3.  Can anyone advise me about SHIELDED phone wire?  In my component
hi-fi
> buff days I used shielded cables to exclude stray noise on the
preamp
> inputs.  Since only two wires are needed for a phone connection,
maybe
> ordinary shielded 2-conductor between the telco box and my wall jack
would
> decrease line noise that might be picked up by unshielded wires.
Anyone
> have any experience in this?

It may help if that's your problem. It won't help if that isn't your
problem.
 
 
 

May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web Site?

Post by Hooda Ges » Wed, 06 Dec 2000 04:00:00



Quote:> HP Pavilion 8670c -- PIII 600 MHz 128 MB

> The box, new last July, came with a Connexant Softk56 PCI modem twinned on
a
> "Chameleon" board with the PC's sound chips.

> The problem mainly is difficulty connecting (2-3 tries, sometimes more)
> followed by line drops 10 minutes or more later.  Each new call costs me a
> nickel, and over a month that adds up.

> This evening, when I was able to connect, it was as low as 13k (I
> disconnected on seeing how slow it was).  Right now it's 44k, which is
> acceptable.

Sounds like your line is unstable or you have problems with some, not all,
of teh ISP's modems.

Quote:

> Since I used TweakDUN to set my MTU at 1524 bytes (default for Ascend
front
> ends -- my ISP tech help didn't even know what an MTU was, so I had to
> search the net for the info), I've sometimes connected as fast as 46,333.

Changing your MTU has no effect on the modem's ability to negotiate a
connection speed or even a connection at all.

Your problem may be improved by trying various upper limits to the speed teh
modem connects at. This often helps but may not in your case since your
connect speed varies so much. Start with a max speed of 44000bps  and work
downward if that doesn't help you get more stable connections. The command
to do this is the +MS= command. Information on how to use that command can
be found at www.808hi.com in the troubleshooting section under Limiting your
connect speed.

Quote:> Back to the case at issue.  The connection/drop problem has gotten worse
> lately.

> 1.  Is there a seasonal effect on line noise?  The only new noise source
> that I can think of is my three-year-old warm-air furnace, which has a
large
> blower.  Just had another line drop while the furnace was running ...
Hmmm.
> Now reconnected on second try at 28,800, which I'll ditch and try again.
> Furnace off.  Now connected on first try at 45,333.  Sheesh.

> It is gas-fired and has an electrical arc igniter, I believe ... and arcs
> put out radio noise (in fact in the beginning, radio transmitters used
> spark-coil arcs).

> ( Next morning -- I stifled my dial tone by pressing a random number on
the
> phone keypad and could hear a faint crackling sound, even with the furnace
> not running.  Half an hour later it was gone.  This is VERY frustrating.
> What if the telco technician can't hear it? )

Report intermittent audible line noise. Describe the sound as best you can.
Try to call in the report while the crackling is there.

Since you seem to notice a relation between the new furnace fan and the line
noise, check your phone wiring and see if it crosses any electrical wiring.
If it does, that may be the source of the problem. If the new furnace
required the installation of new electrical wiring, the person doing the
work may have caused a problem by running the electrical wiring alongside or
across the phone wiring or damaged the phone wiring in the process.

It may have been coincidental to something else, though. If the modem shares
the line with other devices (answering machine, fax machine, other phones),
remove them from the line and see if that helps.

Quote:> 2.  Is there some Web site where I can test for line noise?  AmeriWreck,
my
> telco, charges about fifty bucks for a house visit.  And they are busy
> peddling their DSL service, which had been low-rated on www.dslreports.com

.

You can bypass your inside wiring by moving the computer to a window near
the telco interface box and running a phone cable direct to the test jack in
the box.  So far as I know, there is no way to test for line noise online.

Quote:

> 3.  Can anyone advise me about SHIELDED phone wire?  In my component hi-fi
> buff days I used shielded cables to exclude stray noise on the preamp
> inputs.  Since only two wires are needed for a phone connection, maybe
> ordinary shielded 2-conductor between the telco box and my wall jack would
> decrease line noise that might be picked up by unshielded wires.  Anyone
> have any experience in this?

You could switch to shielded and you could try re-cabling with CAT3 or CAT5
telephone cable.

Quote:

> FWIW, I am 10,300 ft. from my telco central office.  The phone lines from
my
> house have to pass over/under an electric commuter railway line to get
> there.

Are you copper all the way or do you ride a SLC? If it's all copper, there
is plenty of room for problems that could include:

Damaged insulation
Bridgetaps (or halftaps)

or a variety of other problems.

Quote:

> 4.  Sometimes I get in to the "Connected to remote computer. Verifying
user
> name and password..." part of the handshake and after 20 sec or so, my
modem
> throws up its little hands: "Failed to connect to remote computer. Unable
to
> establish a connection."  What gives here?  Is it possible to INCREASE the
> timeout length?

Yes, but the above would probably not be affected. What the above indicates
is usually a failure at the ISP (router failed to find a link) or a login
failure. It does not directly indicate a line or modem problem.

Quote:

> 5.  Regarding 4., is there anything to be gained by buying a modem from
the
> manufacturer of my ISP's rack modems?

That simply reduces the chances of inter-operability problems.

Quote:

> 6.  I would buy a hardware-based modem, not a Win modem.  What are the
> issues of internal PCI vs external serial port vs external USB?  I have
two
> empty PCI slots.

There are no issues of any significance. The primary issues are between very
cheap Windows modems vs hardware modems.

Hooda

 
 
 

May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web Site?

Post by Interfero » Thu, 07 Dec 2000 04:00:00


----- Original Message -----

Newsgroups: comp.dcom.modems,microsoft.public.win98.comm.modem
Sent: Tuesday, December 05, 2000 5:53 AM
Subject: Re: May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web
Site?



> > HP Pavilion 8670c -- PIII 600 MHz 128 MB

> > The box, new last July, came with a Connexant Softk56 PCI modem twinned
on
> a
> > "Chameleon" board with the PC's sound chips.

> > The problem mainly is difficulty connecting (2-3 tries, sometimes more)
> > followed by line drops 10 minutes or more later.  Each new call costs me
a
> > nickel, and over a month that adds up.

> > This evening, when I was able to connect, it was as low as 13k (I
> > disconnected on seeing how slow it was).  Right now it's 44k, which is
> > acceptable.

> Sounds like your line is unstable or you have problems with some, not all,
> of teh ISP's modems.

Or sunspot activity?  I've just posted a query on that.  BTW, I stayed
connected for 10 hr. yesterday at 45,667.

> > Since I used TweakDUN to set my MTU at 1524 bytes (default for Ascend
> front
> > ends -- my ISP tech help didn't even know what an MTU was, so I had to
> > search the net for the info), I've sometimes connected as fast as
46,333.

> Changing your MTU has no effect on the modem's ability to negotiate a
> connection speed or even a connection at all.

Well, something boosted the max speed I've seen.  And supposedly it improves
the throughput rate.

> Your problem may be improved by trying various upper limits to the speed
teh
> modem connects at. This often helps but may not in your case since your
> connect speed varies so much. Start with a max speed of 44000bps  and work
> downward if that doesn't help you get more stable connections. The command
> to do this is the +MS= command. Information on how to use that command can
> be found at www.808hi.com in the troubleshooting section under Limiting
your
> connect speed.

Great, thanks for the tip.

> > Back to the case at issue.  The connection/drop problem has gotten worse
> > lately.

> > 1.  Is there a seasonal effect on line noise?  The only new noise source
> > that I can think of is my three-year-old warm-air furnace, which has a
> large
> > blower.  Just had another line drop while the furnace was running ...
> Hmmm.
> > Now reconnected on second try at 28,800, which I'll ditch and try again.
> > Furnace off.  Now connected on first try at 45,333.  Sheesh.

> > It is gas-fired and has an electrical arc igniter, I believe ... and
arcs
> > put out radio noise (in fact in the beginning, radio transmitters used
> > spark-coil arcs).

> > ( Next morning -- I stifled my dial tone by pressing a random number on
> the
> > phone keypad and could hear a faint crackling sound, even with the
furnace
> > not running.  Half an hour later it was gone.  This is VERY frustrating.
> > What if the telco technician can't hear it? )

> Report intermittent audible line noise. Describe the sound as best you
can.
> Try to call in the report while the crackling is there.

The next time I hear it, I'll call them.

> Since you seem to notice a relation between the new furnace fan and the
line
> noise, check your phone wiring and see if it crosses any electrical
wiring.
> If it does, that may be the source of the problem. If the new furnace
> required the installation of new electrical wiring, the person doing the
> work may have caused a problem by running the electrical wiring alongside
or
> across the phone wiring or damaged the phone wiring in the process.

The line from the telco box to my bedroom runs outside of the house and is
partly shielded by aluminum siding.  I had a problem a year ago on this jack
of loud static, which they came out and fixed.

> It may have been coincidental to something else, though. If the modem
shares
> the line with other devices (answering machine, fax machine, other
phones),
> remove them from the line and see if that helps.

No fax.  Only one other phone, in the living room -- a cordless.

> > 2.  Is there some Web site where I can test for line noise?  AmeriWreck,
> my
> > telco, charges about fifty bucks for a house visit.  And they are busy
> > peddling their DSL service, which had been low-rated on
www.dslreports.com
> .

> You can bypass your inside wiring by moving the computer to a window near
> the telco interface box and running a phone cable direct to the test jack
in
> the box.  So far as I know, there is no way to test for line noise online.

I'm going to try your suggestion of a direct cable to the test jack.   I've
already had a looksee inside the box.

> > 3.  Can anyone advise me about SHIELDED phone wire?  In my component
hi-fi
> > buff days I used shielded cables to exclude stray noise on the preamp
> > inputs.  Since only two wires are needed for a phone connection, maybe
> > ordinary shielded 2-conductor between the telco box and my wall jack
would
> > decrease line noise that might be picked up by unshielded wires.  Anyone
> > have any experience in this?

> You could switch to shielded and you could try re-cabling with CAT3 or
CAT5
> telephone cable.

CAT3/5 -- That's the phone hookup wire?  Does Radio Shack carry it?

Of course if this is sunspot related, the noise would be mainly picked up on
long lines from the telco CO.

> > FWIW, I am 10,300 ft. from my telco central office.  The phone lines
from
> my
> > house have to pass over/under an electric commuter railway line to get
> > there.

> Are you copper all the way or do you ride a SLC? If it's all copper, there
> is plenty of room for problems that could include:

> Damaged insulation
> Bridgetaps (or halftaps)

> or a variety of other problems.

I don't know -- what's a SLC?

> > 4.  Sometimes I get in to the "Connected to remote computer. Verifying
> user
> > name and password..." part of the handshake and after 20 sec or so, my
> modem
> > throws up its little hands: "Failed to connect to remote computer.
Unable
> to
> > establish a connection."  What gives here?  Is it possible to INCREASE
the
> > timeout length?

> Yes, but the above would probably not be affected. What the above
indicates
> is usually a failure at the ISP (router failed to find a link) or a login
> failure. It does not directly indicate a line or modem problem.

Yeah, so it's the ISP's fault.  Man, lots of variables in play here.

> > 5.  Regarding 4., is there anything to be gained by buying a modem from
> the
> > manufacturer of my ISP's rack modems?

> That simply reduces the chances of inter-operability problems.

Well, I think I'll ask what brand they use.

> > 6.  I would buy a hardware-based modem, not a Win modem.  What are the
> > issues of internal PCI vs external serial port vs external USB?  I have
> two
> > empty PCI slots.

> There are no issues of any significance. The primary issues are between
very
> cheap Windows modems vs hardware modems.

Well, I have a cheap Winmodem.  Are some brands of controller-based modems
more tolerant of line noise?

Thanks, Hooda!  I appreciate all this.

Best,

Interferon

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May Have a Line Noise Problem -- Is There a Line Noise Test Web Site?

Post by Hooda Ges » Thu, 07 Dec 2000 04:00:00


Interferon <Repl;y...@This.NG.Please> wrote in message

news:3a2df3e3_3@virginia.uncensored-news.com...

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Hooda Gest" <be@one_with.com>
> > Interferon <Repl;y...@This.NG.Please> wrote in message
> > news:3a2c07c0_3@virginia.uncensored-news.com...
> > > HP Pavilion 8670c -- PIII 600 MHz 128 MB

> > > The box, new last July, came with a Connexant Softk56 PCI modem
twinned
> on
> > a
> > > "Chameleon" board with the PC's sound chips.

> > > The problem mainly is difficulty connecting (2-3 tries, sometimes
more)
> > > followed by line drops 10 minutes or more later.  Each new call costs
me
> a
> > > nickel, and over a month that adds up.

> > > This evening, when I was able to connect, it was as low as 13k (I
> > > disconnected on seeing how slow it was).  Right now it's 44k, which is
> > > acceptable.

> > Sounds like your line is unstable or you have problems with some, not
all,
> > of teh ISP's modems.

> Or sunspot activity?  I've just posted a query on that.  BTW, I stayed
> connected for 10 hr. yesterday at 45,667.

Unstable lines, as I pointed out later in that post, can be caused by a lot
of things. These problems can come and go at any time and last for short or
long periods. That's why I refer to them as "unstable" lines rather than
"noisy" lines.

Sunspot activity would be about a 1 in 100 billion shot as a cause.

> > > Since I used TweakDUN to set my MTU at 1524 bytes (default for Ascend
> > front
> > > ends -- my ISP tech help didn't even know what an MTU was, so I had to
> > > search the net for the info), I've sometimes connected as fast as
> 46,333.

> > Changing your MTU has no effect on the modem's ability to negotiate a
> > connection speed or even a connection at all.

> Well, something boosted the max speed I've seen.  And supposedly it
improves
> the throughput rate.

Changing MTU size can improve throughput with systems running an older
version of DUN (1.1 or 1.0) under some conditions. It is not needed, or
desired, in systems with Win98 (which has DUN1.3) or Win95 systems with
updated DUN and Winsock.

> > Since you seem to notice a relation between the new furnace fan and the
> line
> > noise, check your phone wiring and see if it crosses any electrical
> wiring.
> > If it does, that may be the source of the problem. If the new furnace
> > required the installation of new electrical wiring, the person doing the
> > work may have caused a problem by running the electrical wiring
alongside
> or
> > across the phone wiring or damaged the phone wiring in the process.

> The line from the telco box to my bedroom runs outside of the house and is
> partly shielded by aluminum siding.  I had a problem a year ago on this
jack
> of loud static, which they came out and fixed.

So, there is a history of problems of a similar nature.

> > It may have been coincidental to something else, though. If the modem
> shares
> > the line with other devices (answering machine, fax machine, other
> phones),
> > remove them from the line and see if that helps.

> No fax.  Only one other phone, in the living room -- a cordless.

Is the phone on the same phone line as the modem? I do not mean attached to
the same jack, I mean using the same phone line. If it is, a cordless phone
can cause the problems you are having.

> > You can bypass your inside wiring by moving the computer to a window
near
> > the telco interface box and running a phone cable direct to the test
jack
> in
> > the box.  So far as I know, there is no way to test for line noise
online.

> I'm going to try your suggestion of a direct cable to the test jack.
I've
> already had a looksee inside the box.

Some static/noise problems can be caused by corrosion buildup on the
connections inside the telco box if the box doesn't seal tightly. That type
of problem is more constant, however.

- Show quoted text -

> > > 3.  Can anyone advise me about SHIELDED phone wire?  In my component
> hi-fi
> > > buff days I used shielded cables to exclude stray noise on the preamp
> > > inputs.  Since only two wires are needed for a phone connection, maybe
> > > ordinary shielded 2-conductor between the telco box and my wall jack
> would
> > > decrease line noise that might be picked up by unshielded wires.
Anyone
> > > have any experience in this?

> > You could switch to shielded and you could try re-cabling with CAT3 or
> CAT5
> > telephone cable.

> CAT3/5 -- That's the phone hookup wire?  Does Radio Shack carry it?

Yes, Radio Shack carries it.

> Of course if this is sunspot related, the noise would be mainly picked up
on
> long lines from the telco CO.

Who gave you the idea of sunspot activity being a possibility? Sunspot
activity affects satellite transmission and radio transmission/reception. It
has no effect on landline telecommunications.

- Show quoted text -

> > > FWIW, I am 10,300 ft. from my telco central office.  The phone lines
> from
> > my
> > > house have to pass over/under an electric commuter railway line to get
> > > there.

> > Are you copper all the way or do you ride a SLC? If it's all copper,
there
> > is plenty of room for problems that could include:

> > Damaged insulation
> > Bridgetaps (or halftaps)

> > or a variety of other problems.

> I don't know -- what's a SLC?

Subscriber Loop Carrier. Sometimes called a DLC for Digital Loop Carrier.
Basically, a T1 digital carrier system for 24 separate phone lines. These
can be good or bad depending on how the SLC is interfaced to the telco
central office switch. For example, I am on a SLC which connects me to the
nearest telco switch some 15 miles away. Since the SLC is fully integrated,
I am able to get 50666bps connects (limited to 49333bps for better
throughput) every time. A bad channel unit (1 of the 24 lines) can cause
problems or a poor connection at the point the line enters the SLC can
create problems. I once fought the telco over random dropped calls on my
voice line because of a poor connection. It took them three weeks to clear
it.

- Show quoted text -

> > > 4.  Sometimes I get in to the "Connected to remote computer. Verifying
> > user
> > > name and password..." part of the handshake and after 20 sec or so, my
> > modem
> > > throws up its little hands: "Failed to connect to remote computer.
> Unable
> > to
> > > establish a connection."  What gives here?  Is it possible to INCREASE
> the
> > > timeout length?

> > Yes, but the above would probably not be affected. What the above
> indicates
> > is usually a failure at the ISP (router failed to find a link) or a
login
> > failure. It does not directly indicate a line or modem problem.

> Yeah, so it's the ISP's fault.  Man, lots of variables in play here.

The key in the above is the fact that you get to "verifying login and
password". This means the modems established a connection. Checking post
call stats or the modem log can tell you whether error correction was
established and eliminate that as a cause.
After that, you proceed to verifying proper setup of the ISP parameters such
as fixed DNS address vs allowing the ISP to dynamically assign it.

> > > 5.  Regarding 4., is there anything to be gained by buying a modem
from
> > the
> > > manufacturer of my ISP's rack modems?

> > That simply reduces the chances of inter-operability problems.

> Well, I think I'll ask what brand they use.

Can't  hurt. I recommend Lucent chipset modems when the ISP uses Rockwell or
Lucent based equipment and USR if the ISP uses Lucent or USR based
equipment.
I am not a big fan of Rockwell based modems but they are adequate for most
environments.

> > > 6.  I would buy a hardware-based modem, not a Win modem.  What are the
> > > issues of internal PCI vs external serial port vs external USB?  I
have
> > two
> > > empty PCI slots.

> > There are no issues of any significance. The primary issues are between
> very
> > cheap Windows modems vs hardware modems.

> Well, I have a cheap Winmodem.  Are some brands of controller-based modems
> more tolerant of line noise?

Define "cheap Winmodem"... I have a SupraMax HCF modem which works a notch
below my USR Sportster hardware modem. It cost me $15 after rebate.

I have a Winmodem which I use on a slightly impaired line at work that
functions very well. The Supra worked equally well on that line, as did a
Courier and a Sportster.

Hardware modems, on the whole, are less troublesome than controllerless and
tend to perform better under a wider variety of conditions. But that is not
a universal truth.

Hooda