Common Modem Problems

Drop Outs and Disconnections Help
(Because there are several versions of Windows in use, we have only
generalised settings locations. You may need to search for them on your
particular computer.)

What Is a Drop Out?

A drop out is a term used to describe your modem disconnecting without you,
your computer or our servers initiating the disconnect.

What Causes A Drop Out?

Typically drop outs are caused by line noise or interference. This noise can
be caused by all sorts of things. Examples include: poor waterproofing or
phone lines (you might notice more problems when it has been raining);loose
wiring/jacks; old wiring; radio frequency interference(mobile phones in the
same room are infamous). These are some of the more common causes of line
noise and drop outs.

What Can I do About Drop Outs?

We have a number of suggestions that you might like to try to reduce these

First ensure that you have disabled call waiting. Call waiting is a
service that allows some one to receive a phone call while they are already
using the phone. When some one calls you and you are already on the phone
and have call waiting, you will hear some pips. These pips are designed to
tell you somone else is trying to reach you. These pips are also sufficient
to disconnect your modem, To turn call waiting off dial #43#, before you
use your modem. You should hear a voice confirming that call waiting has
been disabled.

To re-enable call waiting dial *43#.

For more details about call waiting see the White Pages.

You should try this even if you do not think you have call waiting, as many
people have call waiting and are not aware of this.

All new Telstra lines have call waiting, if your local exchange supports
it, and this is enabled by default. If you have turned it off, and in the
meantime Telstra have reset your exchange after working on it, your call
waiting will be switched on again.

The next thing to do is ensure that you have no other equipment connected
to the line that your modem is using. This includes telephones, answering
machines, faxes and back to base security alarms. Many of these devices
generate noise or draw power from phone lines, which once again is
sufficient to interfere with a modem call.

Next you should turn off all compression.

Compression technology is designed to increase effective download speeds.
When it works it does this and does it admirably. The problem is it does
not always work, for a variety of reasons, and when it doesn't work it can
cause problems.

To turn compression off: Go to your Modem Control Panel.
Click on your modem and click the Properties button.
This will bring up another window, with a button marked Advanced in the
bottom right corner. Click this Advanced button.
At the top left of the resulting window is a checkbox Error
Control, ensure this and all the other boxes below it
(including Compress
data) are unticked.

Also in the Extra Settings field enter the string %C0.
The last place to turn off compress data is in the Dial Up Networking
Go to My Computer and open the Dial Up Networking folder.
There should be a connection, representing your Riverland Internet
connection. If created using our normal recomendations, this should be
called Riverland Internet. Using your right hand mouse button
click on this and choose Properties.
At the top of the resulting window should be a tab marked Server Types (on
older versions of Win95 it is a button on the bottom right corner). Under
the Advanced Options section is a tick box labelled Enable Software
Compression. Make sure this is unticked. Ensure this is turned off (ie

You might also at this stage like to try a couple of modem initialisation

For KTX or Auslinx modems:


For Rockwell Chipset based modems (i.e. most generic modems)


With Windows95/98, leave the AT&F off of the beginning of the string.

For other modems consult your modem's manual or manufacturer's homepage.

It is important to use your manufacturers latest drivers for your modem too.

The next thing to do is try and establish whether there are actually problems
with line noise. In some cases you can do this yourself as you can hear the
noise when you are on the phone talking to people.

We use world class equipment, and Cisco are the people that make our fully
digital terminal servers that your modems dial in to, when you call
Riverland Internet. Between our digital Cisco systems and our fully digital
fibre optic lines in and out, we can be sure that drop outs are usually (98%
of the time) not at our end.

The next step in line testing we would suggest is to ask Telstra to check
your lines. Just because they checked out OK to your ears, does not mean
they are noise free. Modems are far more sensitive than human ears. To do
this dial 132203 and a Telstra operator should be able to test your line.

Be aware however that a successful test does not mean the line is noise
free. Telstra only test for voice quality and very low data quality. This is
between 10 and 25 times slower than the average modem on today's desktop.

Telstra has recently standardised procedures and increased operator
awareness for modem related problems such as drop outs and similar
Internet connectivity problems, so your Telstra operator should hopefully be
more helpful than some people have experienced in the past.

If your line checks out okay, and none of our other suggestions have helped,
then you might try lowering your modem speed. Typically the slower the
connection speed, the more reliable the connection will be.

Further Steps
(If your modem stops responding after trying the following instructions, it
may need special treatment. Remove the command and contact us.)

To lower your modem speed go to the Extra Settings box in your Modem
Control Panel (as per the above instructions) and add the following string:

The following is for 33.6K or slower modems.


This will prevent your modem connecting at speeds faster than the last
number in the string.

You can then reduce or increase the last number of the string until you get a
number that works for you. You can only use the following numbers as the
last number:

33600 28800 24000 19200 .

For K56 Flex


or For V90 modems you should use this string


and try stepping up or down the speed in the following increments
(replacing the last number with these):

54000, 50000, 46000, 42000, 38000, 34000, 33600, 28800, 24000, 19200.

Following these instructions will reduce your connection speed, but should
increase your reliability.

What Now?

If nothing so far has helped, the last suggestion we can make is that you
take your computer, cables and modem to another location and try and dial in
from there and see if the problem persists.

And also try a different modem at your home and the other location. This of
course will not fix your problem, but will help to localise the problem to
your house if your system works elsewhere.

With a bit of luck one or some combination of these suggestions should help
to alleviate your problems.

If you need further help, or need help in following these instructions,
please do not hesitate to email us or telephone support on 08 75 077044.

If you choose to telephone, please have your telephone close enough to your
computer that you can operate your computer and talk on the telephone

You will not need to dial up to make these changes.