GCT's Disconnect Help and Information Page

I am frequently getting disconnected


Your modem is able to dial out and connect to the remote computer you are trying to use. However, the connection is either unstable, or works for a while but frequently disconnects you without warning.


There are a wide variety of different causes for disconnections. The most frequent one is actual interruption of the phone line upon which the connection is being made. Other causes include software or hardware conflicts or actual hardware problems.


Try to observe the situations under which disconnections occur, to see if there is any discernible pattern. Bear in mind that disconnections may not always be consistent, because modems have the ability to recover from some interruptions, especially short ones. Then consider the following specific causes of disconnections:

* Make sure you do not pick up a phone extension that is plugged into the same line that you are using. Picking up a handset on the same line the modem is using, or trying to access the line with another modem at the same time that one is using it, may cause the call to be dropped. Often, however, the modem can recover from the interruption (although not always).

* You may be experiencing interference from a call coming through on call waiting. As you probably know, when a call waiting call comes through, the phone conversation is interrupted and a short beep is heard. Modems do not like having their conversations interrupted. :^) In most cases most modems (especially newer ones) will recover from this but some may not. See here for more on what to do about this if it is a continuing problem.

* Line noise problems can definitely cause disconnections. Try using the phone you are dialing out on with a voice handset. Listen for a hum or ring on the line by dialing a number with a voice phone and listening closely. You should actually complete a call, not just dial a number on the phone. If you hear an audible hum or ring then your phone line quality is suspect and very well may be the source of your difficulties.

* If you have two phone lines then you may be experiencing cross-talk interference from one line to another, although this is not that common. If your modem is on your second phone line, see if you can pin the disconnects down to when the first line is used or rings. If so, there may be a fault in the way the phone lines are wired into the house, which the phone company will have to address.

* There may be a problem with software interfering with the operation of the modem. For example, sometimes screen savers may kick in during a download and interrupt the normal data flow to the modem. Memory-resident programs might cause problems as well, so disable as many of them as possible.

* There could be an intermittent resource conflict with the modem, such as that caused when you have the modem on an IRQ line that is shared with a device on another COM port. If you see behavior like the modem cutting out when the mouse is moved, this is a good indicator.

* Make sure that the modem and its software are both correctly set up and configured, as incorrect configuration may lead to improper behavior.

* Ensure that the modem is not overheating. If the components on the modem overheat then this can cause spurious results. If the modem is an internal one and you suspect heating problems within the case, look here.

* If power management features are being used, they need to be set very carefully to ensure that they don't kick in during a download and disrupt the modem. I usually recommend simply disabling them (especially when troubleshooting a problem of this sort).

* If you have only been trying the connection with one remote host, try another one. The problem could very easily be with the host at the other end of the connection. Problems there can range from overloading to incorrectly-configured server software.

* Electrical storms and other severe weather can interfere with modem operation by causing intermittent line noise. Don't be surprised if you have disconnections if using a modem during one of these storms. Note that a surge suppressor with modem protection will not help with this, as it only provides protection against a strong surge that could damage the modem. It won't clear noise from the line.

NOTE: All of the information above is from; Th PC Guide

What causes Disconnects?

Getting disconnected from the internet in a seemingly random fashion can be a frustrating problem. A disconnection can be caused by many different things, and to troubleshoot a disconnection problem you must be willing to explore the various possibilities.

Does the connection disconnect at a specific interval of time?

Check the idle timeout value for the connection in the dial-up software settings (see below). Check for physical connectivity issues.

Inactivity Timeouts

Connectto does not disconnect you from the internet, with a few exceptions. If you have been connected yet have had no modem activity for 15 minutes, we will disconnect you so that we can free up that modem for another user who may need it. Note that if you are activly surfing the web, checking e-mail, reading newsgroups, downloading a file, or doing any other activity on the net, you won't be disconnected.
Windows 95/98 and the Macintosh also have settings that will allow you to specify the time after which you'd like to be disconnected. In this case, if there is no keyboard or mouse activity for a specified number of minutes, your computer will disconnect you from the internet.
To check or change this setting:
Windows 95/98
To configure your timeout in Windows 95/98:
• Go to the Start Button, then up to Settings, then Control Panel
• Double-click the Internet icon.
• Click on the Connection tab at the top of the box.
• The exact wording will vary depending on the release of Windows that you have, there should be a setting that is something to the effect of "Disconnect if idle for ___ minutes". If you want your system to disconnect you, check this box. If not, leave it unchecked. Enter a number, in minutes, for how long you would like to be online before you're disconnected.

Mac OS 7.x
To configure your timeout on the Mac using ConfigPPP:
• Start Config PPP
• Where it says "Idle Timeout", select the number of minutes you'd like before you get disconnected.

Mac OS 8.x
To configure your timeout on the Mac using OS 8:
• Go into your control panels
• Double click the PPP icon
• Click on Options
• Click on the Advanced tab.
• Enter the amount of minutes before you'd like to be disconnected.

If you have been connected for 6 hours or more you can/will be disconnected but you can re connect immediatly.
If we could not process your credit card for billing for any reason your account will be put on hold until we can process the monthly charge.
It is your resposibility to make sure that we have current credit information from you such as new expiration dates and numbers.

Line Noise

A major cause of disconnection problems is line noise. What is line noise? Line noise is static or other interference on the phone connection between you and Connectto. This interference will disrupt the data being transmitted, and most modems will hang up if they don't have the ability to deal with line noise.

What causes line noise? Line noise can be caused by many things:

• Old or poor house wiring:
If your house is more than 20 years old, there's a good chance that the wiring may not be of good quality.
• Weather:
When it rains, water seeps into the above- and below-ground phone lines. This water will cause line noise, which in turn will cause disconnects or poor connection speeds. Also, ice on outdoor phone lines can cause a similar problem.
• Interference from other phone devices:
Sometimes if you have other phone devices (like a FAX or answering machine) on the same line in your home it can cause line noise. Cordless phones and line splitters are particularly guilty.
•The jack, cable, modem and computer can be damaged by electrical surges from lightning or unstable current.
•Make sure all special phone services, such as call waiting, are disabled while using the modem.
•Review the configuration of dial-up and modem software.
•Make sure the configuration is correct.
•Disconnect all phone extensions from the walls. (Sometimes an inexpensive phone can go bad and create the problem.)
•Check to see whether your phone line is wrapped around your computer's power cord. A poorly shielded power cord will produce hum.
•Remove all splitters from your phone lines, and try a new phone cord from the modem to the wall (a splitter is a cheap little plastic device that allows you to plug two telephone devices onto one phone jack).
•Make sure that the modem has the latest flash-ROM update available.
(Modems carry software instructions on a ROM chip inside them. Manufacturers release fixes and updates which can improve compatibility with other modems. Check with the manufacturer, and follow the directions which are provided with the firmware upgrade).

Call Waiting
If you are getting occasional interruptions in your Internet connection, and you have call waiting on your telephone line (so that the phone beeps when another call is coming in), the call waiting may be the cause of the disconnections.
•You can have the computer disable the call waiting when it dials, usually by preceeding the telephone number it dials with *70,

How to Disable the Call Waiting Feature in Windows

Windows ME, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE
To disable the Call Waiting feature, perform the following steps:
1. Double-click My Computer.
2. Double-click Control Panel.
3. Double-click Modems.
4. Click Dialing Properties.
5. Click to select the To disable call waiting, dial check box.
6. In the To disable call waiting, dial box, click the appropriate code to disable the Call Waiting feature,
for example: *70, 70#, or 1170.
NOTE: The geographical area where you live determines what this code is.
Call your local telephone carrier to obtain it.

7. Select whether you want to dial using tone dialing or pulse dialing.
Then click OK to save your settings.
This information is courtesy of the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 275578

Checking for Line Noise:
To check for line noise, you can plug a phone into the second phone jack on the back of your modem. When you're not connected to the internet, pick up that phone (you should hear dialtone). Press any number, then listen to the phone. If you hear any humming, buzzing, static, or fuzziness, you have line noise. Try unplugging all other phones/devices from that phone line, then check again. Are we having bad weather? Perhaps that is to blame. If you cannot isolate the cause of line noise, you should call the repair department for your local phone company.

Incorrect Modem Settings

An improper modem setup can also interfere with the way that your modem communicates and can cause disconnect problems. Two specific culprits are flow control and the port speed. Make sure that your flow control is set to Hardware Flow Control. Also, make sure that your modem's port speed is set no higher than 57,600. Windows easily allows you to change it to a higher number, but there is no performance increase and it will cause problems with your connection. If you do not know how to check these things, please contact technical support.

Old or Incorrect Modem Drivers/Firmware

Your modem communicates because of 2 things: drivers (files on your computer which allow it to talk to your modem) and firmware (programming information stored within your modem).

Times change and so do modems. Modems change as fast as computers do these days. You may purchase a modem today and need to upgrade the drivers and firmware tomorrow. Why is this? Because technology is ALWAYS changing and you need to stay up with it. Connectto prides itself in running only the latest hardware, software and firmware. It would benefit you to also keep up technology as Connectto does. Usually you can download the latest drivers and firmware from your modem manufacturers' home page. If you need assistance on how to do this, consult the manual that came with your modem or give your modem manufacturer a call.

There are times when technology has surprassed your modem. What this means to you is you either need to call your modems manufacturer and ask them to create or give you the files you need or as a last resort purchase a new modem to keep up with todays standards.

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