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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components ]

Troubleshooting Modems

This section discusses some basic troubleshooting of problems related to modems. Modems are, perhaps surprisingly, one of the most difficult components to troubleshoot. The main reason is that they are used in complex systems involving many different types of hardware and software. When you try to connect with a modem to your internet service provider, you are establishing a link that involves not only the modem but your system bus, serial ports, motherboard, operating system, drivers, communications software, your telephone company, and all the hardware and software used at the other end by your provider.

Another problem with modems is that the kinds of problems they have don't tend to be cut-and-dried. A modem totally failing is rare; one that works most of the time but randomly disconnects occasionally or refuses to connect above a certain speed is common. These are intermittent problems that are greatly affected by the quality of the modem, something that is often not even suspected when trouble strikes.

This section concentrates on the basic troubleshooting of common problems with modems. I do not attempt to get into solving "big picture" problems with Internet connectivity, since that opens the Pandora's Box of dial-up adapter settings, IP addresses and whatnot. I am concerned mostly with getting the modem hardware to work properly.

Please choose the category best describing the problem you are having with the modem.

Next: Operation and Connection Problems


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