View Full Version : ISP's and Connections

19-01-2002, 11:57 AM
I have access to 3 ISP's, Actrix (my main one), Zfree and Freenet.

Over the last few months I have been plagued with slow connections and lengthy gaps in the data flow.

Actual connection to any of the ISP's always occurs on the very first attempt, however from then on the process is very eratic to say the least. Once connected, often the bytes received will hover around the 350-450 mark, while the bytes sent will climb quickly to around 12 - 20 K/bytes. At this point,if I am lucky,data will begin to flow but often for 30 odd seconds or less, when the data flow just drops out, but it will commence again after anything from 3 seconds to over 1 minute.

I operate a 1000Mhz Athlon, 512 Mbs RAM and the modem is a PCI HCF 56K.The OS is WinME.

I presently have the modem slowed down with +MS=V34 in the modem config panel, as while Actrix will connect at 56k, neither Zfree nor Freenet will do so.

My Port Setting are Receive = High and the transmit buffer is set to maximum, though I have tried different combinations, none of which seemed to help.

In case its important, I live 35 kms SE of Whangarei, like way past the black stump, in the sticks,just past the boondocks. (Gee I bet some of the younger generation have no idea what any of the above 3 terms actually mean)

Anyway, I am prepared to try any or all suggestions that might shortly come my way as a result of this post.

19-01-2002, 12:14 PM
Probably the best suggestion that can be made is hardware. Hardware modems are better for the longer distance's and rural lines. Dynalink boast a Rural modem which is a Hardware driven system and seems to work fairly well. The problem with the modem you have at teh moment is that is rely's on your CPU to do the work where a Hardware modem will do it all itself and only pass the information needed off to your machine.

19-01-2002, 12:55 PM
Wouldn't connecting from beyond the black stump be a toll call on Freenet and Zfree?

I think distance is your main problem.

Also the difference between winmodems and hardware modems is nothing with a 1000mhz processor, according to the following link, only processors 166mhz and less begin to feel the extra work of a winmodem.

Check the link out anyway, there is a lot of relevant information for you.


I connect to Zfree between 50.6 & 52.00 Kbps 99% of the time, in Auckland.

19-01-2002, 01:10 PM
>> and lengthy gaps in the data flow <<

I hear ya. I'm on an ADSL hookup and I have frequent dropouts of 40 seconds or so, several times an hour.

I had a few replies to my post suggesting my cabling is at fault but as yet my sparky neighbour hasn't had time to upgrade it.

When it's done, I'll post my results so everyone can learn from my experience.


19-01-2002, 01:26 PM
Hi Iain, I agree with SL hardware or external modems have better error correction facilities but your main problem is that you are a victim of Farraday's Law of Electromagnetic Induction and the 35 Kms of copper wire between you and the nearest black stump will be picking up signals from every electric fence and stray electromagnetic field on the way and using them to corrupt your data. The corrupt data block will be rejected by your system and a repeat transmission requested. If enough consecutive blocks are rejected the connection will be broken. Slower speeds have fewer errors or at least the error can be better identified and eliminated wich is why you get better results at max 33.6k (v34) than you do at 56k. Your real solution along with many many other rural users is to wait for Fonterra's proposed satelite dish Internet Service and so stop using copper wires to connect to the Telecom black stump. Not much consolation is it?
Regards PC

19-01-2002, 02:25 PM
Yeah, I figured that might be the case and in fact I very recently missed out on a Dyna Rural on Trademe, was away unexpectantly when the auction closed - damn.

Thanks for reply.

19-01-2002, 04:18 PM
I don't think that '35 km of copper' is quite correct.

There has been a LOT of optical fibre buried to the rural exchanges. Haven't you noticed that most of the overhead wires have disappeared. Again, most of the last bit from the exchnage is in buried cable.

Signal strength is more likely to be the problem than electric fences.

19-01-2002, 06:58 PM
Holidays at the moment, all the people with no lives or that are addicted to the internet, are on the internet at the moment. So the net will be a lot slower at the moment. Noticing the same thing with Actrix and Zfree in Christchurch.


PS. I see we've got a Saturn box outside now ->> time to do some serious talking (read persuading) to parents, about how we NEED cable internet.

19-01-2002, 07:33 PM
Gidday Peter, Just you tell me where Farraday lives and I will give him a piece of my mind for 'inventing' such a stupid law !!!!

Joking of course, as I am reasonably familar with such things, as I operate an Amateur Radio Station from here.

Think I will try an external modem, if only to compare results, but will keep an eye on the other options. Thank you for taking the time to reply

19-01-2002, 10:03 PM
as you can connect at reasonable speed your leine connection is probaly not the problem just that the FREE isp's are overlo0aded and your access to the prime service is 1:many thousand so data moves very slowly..
By the way do you know where the boondocks are? they exist...

19-01-2002, 10:58 PM
Hello JM
Interesting to note that a very similar situation exists in Chch.

Best of luck with the Saturn endevours.

20-01-2002, 12:17 AM
i used to have similar problems here in Christchurch, and yeah the lenth and quality of the phone lines seems to make a HUGE differance,at one point we had 3 lines live here, each were able to get differant consistant top speeds. These days i'm on cable, so the problem is over. I had a dynalink rural modem, and i gota few k-bits/sec increase over the dynalink internal. worth a try me thinks!

20-01-2002, 10:32 AM
Well Gidday Chris, thanks for reply.

I was interested to note that the Dyna Rural actually did make a difference as I am now pretty committed to getting one.

I do suspect though, that part of my problem is the internet, as the frequent drop-outs of data tramsmission probably have little to do with copper wire or even an internal modem for that matter.

20-01-2002, 11:55 AM
No one seems to have considered that all the ISP's in question have a reputation for being... lousy. It may not make a significant difference, but trying someone like Xtra or Paradise may help. With Xtra you can even get your costs refunded if you cancel the service. (check their conditions first)

20-01-2002, 01:30 PM
I've tried xtra and thanks but I wont go back. I got sick of paying the premium price for a mediocre connection. Since changing to quicksilver my cost per month unlimited has dropped by $8 per month ($96 per year....yahooo thats a new puter in about 25 years) and my speed has jumped dramtically....xtra tend to limit the connection speed to 35000kbs. The service desk was ok but have found similair service from other ISP's too.

20-01-2002, 01:32 PM
Greg, a good idea, for although I say Actrix is my main ISP, it also was free for one year as the connection came with this nearly a year old computer.

And guess what - The year is up in around 28 days, so now is the time I should be looking round and 'trying the water', thanks for reminding me Greg.