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  PC-Net's PC News - November, 2000
Don Watkins

My Kingdom for a Stable Connection -- Part 3

By Don Watkins



November 2000--Hopefully this will be the last word on stable connections. Seems I left something out in last monthís article so Iíll put the correction in here as well as include information about additional modems. This should cover most modems on the market, but thereís always the chance thereís still something unknown out there.

HyperTerminal Configuration

The correction concerns how HyperTerminal should be configured. I forgot that often Windows pulls a rabbit out of itís hat and assigns a modem a non-standard communications port, often Com5, but it could be a higher number. Unfortunately, the instructions I listed only work for modems that are assigned Com1 through Com4. The good news is that this isnít a major problem, but the instructions need to be changed.

If you havenít installed HyperTerminal, download it from Hilgraeve. Run Htpe6.exe and follow the prompts to install the program. Hilgraeve updated HyperTerminal to version 6.1 to address a security flaw. If youíre running an older version, I advise downloading the new version to address the security issue.

Setting It Up

Click on Start | Programs | HyperTerminal Private Edition | HyperTerminal Private Edition to start the program. You will see a screen labeled "Connection Description" Ė give your connection and chose an icon, it doesnít matter what you call the connection or what icon you use.

Click OK and you will see another screen labeled "Connect To". At the bottom is a drop-down box labeled "Connect Using". Click on the arrow at the right and choose your Modem. Put 555-1212 in the Phone Number field and leave the Area Code field as it is. You wonít be using the phone number you enter here, so 555-1212 works as itís not a valid number which might get called accidentally. Once thatís done, Click OK.

The next dialog says "Connect" Ė relax, youíre not going to dial anything here. However, make sure to click CANCEL on this Dialog to bypass placing a call. The hard part of the process is over.

Type AT&F and press Enter, you will see an OK, meaning the modem accepted the command and processed it (AT&F resets the modem to itís default configuration).

Set the Modem

Next type the command needed to turn off 56K on your modem. The command is different for different modems. I have listed the most popular modems here. If your modem doesnít respond to any of these commands with "OK", but instead returns "ERROR", check the typing Ė if itís correct, post in the message boards, listing what kind of modem you have installed. See Control Panel | Modems | Diagnostics | select your modem | More info to see what kind of modem you have installed.

Rockwell/Conexant (except PCI modems): at+ms=11,1

Rockwell/Conexant PCI modems (note, most new computers use PCI modems): at+ms=v34

Lucent LT WinModem Ė Use whatever code returns OK instead of ERROR:



PCTel: atn0s37=12s34=13

USR WinModem: ats32=98

USR Courier: ats58=33

Make sure you see OK on the screen after entering the command (and pressing Enter to send the command to the Modem). If instead, you see ERROR - check what command you typed. This is really using a raw mode to talk to the modem and thereís not much error reporting other than pass or fail.

Dial Up

Then dial the USR Line Test computer by entering the command:


Then press Enter to send the command to the modem. This will dial up USRís BBS system and start the Logon process.

When prompted for graphics, hit enter.

When prompted for a user name, enter: Line Test


This test will last approximately 1 minute, and will tell you if your phone line supports 56K. If it does, congratulations, youíre done! Youíre in great shape. Close HyperTerminal, saving the configuration and enjoy the performance.

The Results

If the test fails, you have a little more work to do. Close HyperTerminal, saving the connection, then open Control Panel | Modems | Click on your Modem | Properties | Connection | Advanced Ė in the box marked "Extra Settings", put the command you used in HyperTerminal to turn off 56K access. It only gets in the way since your Phone Line canít handle the process and itís a source of many problems.

Click OK three times to save the settings and youíre done. What you should find is a connection that may seem slower, but will be faster overall because it will be more reliable.

Letís all hope for more stable connections.

Until next month, stay connected.

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