SHCC WYSIWYG Article from March 1999

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This article appeared in the March 1999 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Modem and Phone Line Problems

by Mike Greenen

I went to my sister-in-law's house to fix her modem and CD ROM sound.  The CD ROM was easy...just plugged in the audio cable to the back of the unit.  The modem?  Well, that's a strange case.

You know how the normal connection is made, right?  You do it every time you connect to the internet.  Well, she has to unplug the phone line from the back of her computer, click on the Outlook Express icon, wait until it gets to the password part, then plug in the phone line, and then after entering the password clicks CONNECT and it gets the dial tone and logs on.  If the line is plugged in while the software loads, the modem sees no dial tone and says so.

When I replaced the US Robotics Sportster 33.6 modem with a 14.4 modem, the software loading and the connection worked normal without removing the phone line.  The 33.6 modem worked fine after initially setting up the internet connection with the ISP provider, but started having this problem the morning after it rained (and possible thunder).  I think she got a spike of lightning through the phone line that night and had no surge protection equipment on the phone line.  She does now!  She lives out in the boondocks with a lot of exposed power and phone lines.  I mean open country with minimal tree protection.

That rainy night she also lost her phone for a while too.  So the spike affected the routine test procedure being performed by the modem when the software loads up...and now it will not see a valid phone line connection during this initial test.  After the test you can plug in the phone line, and since the testing is over, will send the commands to dial the phone.  Since the phone line is working it then gets a dial tone.

That's it in a nutshell.  She decided to temporarily use the 33.6 modem until she can buy another.  The 14.4 was not keeping the connection as well, and the phone number she was using may be set up for a 28.8 modem or faster.

Good day.

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