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Frequently Asked Questions---56k Modem


Q1.Why do I need a modem?

A1: A modem is a device which converts the digital signals of a computer to analog signals that can be transmitted over the telephone lines and vice versa.Your computer only understands digital signals whereas signals tranmitted over the phone lines are in analog form. Therfore in order for you to be able to dial into another computer system over telephone lines, you need a device which can act as a translator for the two signals. Modem is the device which does this for you.

Q2:What is the difference between an internal and external modem? Which one should I get?

A2: An internal modem is part of your computer as it is built in the system itself. Normally it also comes with fax capability which enables you to fax to a remote system. The advantage of an internal modem is that it does not need an additional cable or power supply. The disadvantage is since it is built-in, you can't take your internal card from your PC and use it in your Macintosh for instance. You would also have to install the modem yourself or get someone to install it for you.
An external modem on the other hand is separate from your computer system. The advantage of an external modem is you can detach it and use it with any other PC or Macintosh. The disadvantage is you need and an additional cable and power supply.

Q3: Do modems comes in various speed? How fast a modem should I get?

A3: Yes. Modems do come with differring speed such as 14.4 Kbps, 28.8 Kbps and 36.6 Kbps. It is advisable to get a modem with a speed of 28.8 Kbps or higher. This is because a 28.8 Kbps modem is backward speed compatible in that it can negotiate with a modem which is slower. Most services available may not support higher speed.

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Q4: How do I install an external modem?

A4: When you purchase a modem, instructions on how to install it often comes with it. You should follow the instructions. Below is merely a guide.
Examine your modem. There will be a modular jack on the modem which is the insertion point for the phone line. You would have to connect the modem to the serial port in your PC with the serial cable (Note: some modems might have an actual cable built-in to the case itself). Most computer system comes with serial ports unless you specifically requested otherwise from the vendor.
A Mac's serial port is not like that of a PC. It has a 'phone port'as indicated by the phone icon located on the back of the Mac. The port has a 9 pin connector which is very different from that of the PC. Therefore a Mac needs a special adapter to properly attach the modem to it.

Q5: Why doesn't the modem go off hook to dial a number or does not answer the phone?

A5: The connection of the phone line might be loose. Make sure the phone cord is connected at the phone jack of the modem to a phone wall jack. If that connection is not loose, then check the software manual to see what DTR operations are required. Make sure that your software has auto answer enabled and for modems with DIP switches, set the DIP switch to 5, that is, up (off).

Q6: Why is it that the modems seem to exchange carrier signals but fail to establish a communication link?

A6: Sometimes connection could be troubled by distortion between the line. The transmission of telephone line differs with every call. Try calling again. If that doesn't work, call a different modem to see if the problem persists. The problem may be with the modem you first tried to call.

Q7: Why does my 28800 bps modem does not connect at 28800 bps?

A7: You can try connecting again or initialize the modem with :ATZ .

Q8: How come I don't hear the dial tone when I try to establish connection to the Internet?

A8: Unfortunately there are many reasons for the problem. Check if the volume of the volume control switch on the modem is on (if your modem has one). If that does not work, check the phone cable connection of the wall jack and the modem jack. If necessary, reconnect the phone cable correctly. Then try the Dial command again, ATD . Check your Comm. Port and IRQ settings as well.

Q9: My screen displays random or garbage characters during file transfer. Why is this so?

A9: Make sure that your software and modem are set to the same flow control setting. Sometimes an extra transport protocol is needed. If the extra protocol required is non-existant, the receiving computer will have difficulty translating the message from the transmitting computer.

Q10: I like to work late at night and I don't want to make any noise. How can I get my modem to be quiet as it dials?

A10: Some modems comes with volume control, so just turn it down. When a modem attempts to dial a number, you will hear tone pulses. You will also hear the responding carrier tone of the receiving modem once a connection is established. The advantage to hearing these "noises" is that it assures you that the modem is working. Some modems have lights to indicate activity. There is an "AT" command that will suppress modem noise. Once a line is established, type:- ATM0 ( 0 is "zero" )

Q11 : When you get an error message as this "The computer you are dialing cannot establish a Dial-Up Networking Connection. Check your password and try again."

A11: Please check your user name and password. Try to log in again and if "bad password" appear , please contact your ISP support. If this is not the case, check your computer configuration. Remove TCP-IP and reinstall it again if the configuration is correct.

Q12 : When you get an error message as this " The modem is being used by another dial-up Networking program."

A12 : Check your modem in the "Control Panel /Modem". You should have only one modem. Remove all the other modem. Close all applications before connecting to your ISP. Remove and reinstall TCP/IP and the modem.

Q13 : When you get an error message as this " Unable to initialise modem."

A13 : Switch the modem on and off and try again. If this does not work, try another modem driver such as standard modem or Hayes compatible. Check whether the communication port the modem is connected to is fine.



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