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| Troubleshooting Modems | Operation and
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My modem dials the number I request but cannot connect to the host I am dialing
Explanation: You are able to dial the number that you are trying to dial, meaning
that the modem is functional and able to dial out. However, you are unable to establish a
connection to the remote host.
Diagnosis: There are a wide variety of different reasons why you might not be able
to establish a connection to the remote machine. Bear in mind that you might actually be
connecting with the remote modem, but it may be disconnecting you for various reasons.
It's hard to troubleshoot this situation because of the number of variables involved with
the use of a remote machine.
- Make sure that your speaker is enabled and try listening carefully to the sounds coming
from the modem as you try to connect. If you hear the tell-tale signs of modems
"negotiating" (various buzzes, beeps and squawks) then the modems are at least
connecting to each other enough to "talk". If the modem hangs up at this point
then the problem may be that you have set your modem speed or other parameters
incorrectly. It could also be a problem with the machine at the other end.
- Try dialing a different host and see if you can connect there. Try several, in fact. If
none work, the problem is likely on your end. If one doesn't and the other do, well, you
get the idea.
- Many software programs have a "time-out" setting that controls how long the
software will wait as the modem attempts to connect before disconnecting the call. Make
sure that this is not set too low, or you may find the system cutting off the call before
the connection can be properly established. I recommend a minimum of 30 seconds for the
- Make sure that you are using the correct initialization string for your modem. This is a
set of modem "AT" commands that programs your modem to the correct setting; it
is the modem equivalent of the drivers used for video cards and other hardware. Your modem
manual will tell you what initialization string to use. Check the setup of your modem
under Windows 95, or your software settings for the modem, to ensure that the string is
- If you are trying to use dial-up networking for Internet access, make sure that your
password settings are correct.
- A common problem is incorrect software or network configuration. If you are trying to
dial in to your Internet service provider and suspect incorrect software or network
settings (especially if this is the first time you are trying to connect) then you should
probably contact the provider's technical support department for assistance.
- Make sure that you are not trying to dial out on a digital PBX phone line. Many
companies today use digital phone systems; there are a number of outside "true"
phone lines that go to the phone system, but each extension is only being fed an internal
digital signal. Even when you dial "9" to get an outside line, you are hearing a
digital translation of what is on the actual analog phone line. Regular modems will not
work over a system like this unless a converter is used that is specifically designed to
allow this type of functionality.
- There may be line noise or other temporary disruptions on your line that are preventing
a clean connection. Try again at a later time. If problems persist, you may need to get
your phone line looked at (although usually the problem lies somewhere else, as phone
lines are pretty reliable).
- Rarely, the modem itself might be at fault. You could try replacing it with another and
see if it works better, but that's usually a bit of a hassle and may not yield any
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