Connection Problems - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Connection Problems

1. I get a message "No Dial Tone" when I try to connect to the internet

This can be caused by several things:

If it is an external modem, is it turned on? If you are using Windows XP the modem must be on when you turn on the computer, otherwise it will not be recognised by Windows, so you will need to re-start the computer with the modem switched on.

Make sure the phone line is not in the wrong jack on your modem - some modems have two jacks, one for the telephone line and one for the telephone handset. There is usually a label above each jack on the modem.

Is there another device on the same telephone line (e.g., a telephone answering machine) that has been left off the hook?

Check the actual phone line (or extension cable):

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then your phone line (or extension) may be the cause of the problem and you may need to replace the cable or have it checked by Telstra

2. I can't connect to the Internet or I'm being frequently disconnected

3. My dial-up Internet connection seems slower than normal

When talking about "speed" two terms need clarification: "line speed" refers to the speed of data transmission between your modem and your ISP and "throughput speed" means the speed of data transmission from the Internet site you are visiting, right through to your computer. While line speed is an important measure of modem performance, higher throughput speeds mean faster browsing, chat and downloads and these are what most Internet users are trying to achieve.

If your connection is generally good, then the website you are visiting or downloading from may be experiencing difficulties. If it is a popular site and is being visited by many users simultaneouslyIf y, you may experience lower 'throughput speeds'. If it is the site itself that is busy then you might need to revisit that site at another time (it may be faster when people in the Northern Hemisphere are in bed).

If you constantly experience slow connection speeds, you may live in area with poor quality phone lines. If the speed is particularly low or if you are experiencing frequent disconnections, you can contact your telephone company as request a line check (see 6 below).

A modem initialization string may also assist (see 5 below).

4. My Internet keeps disconnecting after 20 minutes

The idle time-out setting is often the cause of disconnections and can be easily fixed by following the steps below (requires Internet Explorer 5 or above):

5. What is an Initialization String?

A string of characters that sets a modem into action, usually starting with "at" for "attention". Because the string used varies according to type of type of modem, there are literally hundreds of different initialization strings. However many of the commonly used modems will respond to one or other of the following:

The string is added to the modem via the Phone & Modem Options Applet (or Modems in W95, W98, Me) in the Control Panel, under Advanced Settings.

If in doubt, ring 0402 024 671 for assistance. Remember that in order to assist you, we will require you to have your computer turned on and for you to sit at it with your phone (you do not have to be connected to the internet).

6. What is a "MOLDS" Test and when do I need one?

If you are having problems with your dial-up connection (e.g. frequent drop-offs, excessively slow line speeds) we may suggest you request a MOLDS (Modem Online Diagnostic System) Test. If you are a Telstra Customer, ring Telstra (Residential 132 203) and book an appointment. Telstra will then call you back with a phone number for your modem to dial. After sending test data through to your computer for approximately two minutes at speeds of up to 33.6kbps, their computer will tell you the maximum speeds your modem reached, the amount of times it had to re-request information, signal attenuation etc.

More internet connection troubleshooting tips are available at Computer First Aid.

Note: If you are not a Telstra customer you need to contact your own phone provider and have them contact Telstra on your behalf.