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Basic Modem and Phone Line Troubleshooting Tips

Things that you can check before calling in:

  • Is the phone cord you are using with your modem the shortest available?  New modems usually come with a six foot cord.  Longer cords can sometimes cause problems, particularly with WinModems. Insure that the connections on both ends are snug, a loose connection can create resistance and that will cause problems with your connection.
  • Is there either a splitter or a cordless phone on the line going into your modem?  Splitters have been known to cause a drop in the phone line voltage.  Cordless phones can create interference on those lines, also.
  • What is the overall condition of the phone lines in your house?  Look for splices, cuts, worn and chaffed wiring, and loose connections in the household phone jacks.  Any of these conditions can cause resistance in the lines, causing a low voltage condition that will effect your connection speed.
  • Do you hear static on the phone when talking on it?  This is a bad sign.  Modems are extremely sensitive to bad line conditions.  Even if we are unable to hear it, there still may be enough static to cause a bad connection.
  • What is the weather like when this is happening?  Is there a pattern that you can see?  If it is a phone line issue, this will help the phone company narrow down the problem.  Even bad previous bad weather can impact your connection.  For example, some people see bad connections for a few days after a rain, indicating that water may be effecting their circuit.
  • Are other I-Land customers experiencing the same problem?  If so, it may be something on our end that we haven't seen.  Call our Technical Support staff and give us details or your problem and others you know of.  We can't help when we don't know that there is a problem.

Not able to connect, or receiving a modem not responding error?  Try these tips:

  • Reboot the computer and turn off the modem (if it is external).  This will sometimes reset the modem and allow you to dial out.
  • Make sure you have the correct modem installed and the right serial port selected.  If "Standard Modem" is listed, it most likely is not the correct one.
  • Try removing and reinstalling the modem.  This may help reinitialize it.

Getting a "No Dial Tone" error? These suggestions may help:

  • First make sure there is dial tone on the phone line.  To do this, hook up a regular phone to the wall jack the computer is using, and make sure you can dial out.  If you canít, contact the phone company to report the problem.
  • On the back of your computer, the modem should have two jacks.  Make sure the line from the wall jack is going into the jack marked "line" or "wall".  If it is in the one marked "phone", it wonít hear the dial tone.
  • Does your phone line run through a surge protector?  If there was a storm, the surge protector may have done itís job and protected your modem, but may now be malfunctioning.  Just bypass the surge protector, and go straight to the wall jack.

Links to other modem troubleshooting sites:
http://808hi.com/56k/why56kis.htm
http://www.56k.com/trouble/