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Modem Troubleshooting

LT Winmodem
The Lucent (LT) Winmodem is often included in the following brands of PCs: IBM Aptiva, Acer, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Packard Bell, Quantex, and many others. If you have older drivers for this modem (anything below v.5.18), you may have problems with low connect rates, random disconnects, and slow data transfer.

Lucent Technologies does not actually manufacture the LT Winmodem; they provide the Lucent chip on the modem card. The actual modem is provided by the manufacturer of the system and drivers can usually be obtained from their website. The bad news is that most PC manufacturers don't always provide the most up-to-date driver version for the LT Winmodem. The good news is that LT Winmodem drivers are universal and will work on an ISA or PCI LT Winmodem for any brand of PC.

Now for the great news: Lucent releases updated code to manufacturers very frequently, and each new version of LT Winmodem drivers has resulted in better overall performance and stability, according to the users who have upgraded. There is a comprehensive web page where you can download the latest V.90 drivers for the LT Winmodem, as well as previous versions if you care to try your luck with earlier code. Since all of RPA's POPs are V.90 compliant, we recommend an LT Winmodem driver version no less than 5.18 (earlier versions were 56k Flex rather than V.90). As of December 1999, the latest driver version was v.5.66.

LT Winmodem Firmware Updates and Instructions
http://www.808hi.com/56K/ltwin.htm

If you seem to connect at a higher rate but find it more unstable than a lower rate (this can be caused by telephone line conditions such as noise or static) you can use an initialization string to force your modem to connect at either V.90 or V.34, depending on which one would be more favorable for your personal circumstances. To add an initialization string, go to My Computer > Dial-up Networking. Right-click on RPA Internet, and click on Properties. On this screen, click on the Configure button, and go to the Connection tab at the top of the screen. At the bottom of this screen, click on the Advanced button. The Extra Settings blank is where the initialization string should be typed in.

For Lucent/U.S.Robotics modems:

s32=2 to force V.90
s32=98 to force V.34 (33600bps and lower)

If you receive any sort of error about the modem not responding, the initialization string has been mistyped or is incorrect for the chipset. For instance, this particular string will only work for Lucent or U.S. Robotics (3com) chipsets.


HSP Micromodem 56
The HSP Micromodem 56 is often built into store brand machines such as Emachines. The HSP Micromodem, like the LT Winmodem, is a low-cost software driven modem that may cause problems establishing or maintaining a desireable connection in less-than-perfect circumstances (i.e, less-than-pristine phone line quality). Typical connection rates reported are around the 24000bps-31200bps range.

As with the LT Winmodem above, there are measures you can take in trying to bridge the gap to 56K. The HSP is manufactured by PCTel, who provides the modems for OEM manufacturers, and does not provide drivers. To obtain drivers for the HSP Micromodem, the best place to look is on the home page of the manufacturer of your computer.

For detailed information on developing an initialization string for your modem, you may visit the following sites:

Initialization strings that we have found work well with the HSP Micromodems (provided that telephone line noise is not too strong) are:

ATN0S37=14 to attempt to force a V.90 connection
ATN0S37=13 to attempt to force a 56K Flex connection
ATN0S37=12 to bring the connect rate down to V.34 (typically 33600bps or lower)

(Please note that it is the number zero between the letters "N" and "S" above.)

To add one of the above initialization strings, go to My Computer > Dial-up Networking. Right-click on RPA Internet, and click on Properties. On this screen, click on the Configure button, and go to the Connection tab at the top of the screen. At the bottom of this screen, click on the Advanced button. The Extra Settings blank is where the initialization string should be typed in.

As with other modems, if you are unable to achieve a V.90 connect rate (34000bps - 53,333bps) without the aid of initialization strings, it may be impossible to force your modem to connect any higher than it has been. Also, if you are experiencing unstable V.90 connections (again, anywhere from 34,000bps - 53,333bps), it may help to bring the connection down to V.34 speeds, which are known to be more stable in some circumstances, yielding better data transfer. Another important factor to take note of is that RPA Internet's modems have been V.90 compliant for the past two years -- you may be able to connect using the 56K Flex string, but V.90 should be much more stable, provided you have the latest V.90 drivers for the modem.
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