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Okay, so you've got your free internet all set up and reving to go on your little 33.6 kps modem (just like mine...). But as soon as you get online, you notice one little doggone thing: the 'net is going so doggone slow! ARRGGHH! 2kb per second ain't gonna cut it in the online gaming world so here's a tweaking guide to get the most out of any modulator/demodulator.
Here's the same age old answer to that age old question: My internet ain't connecting properly. How can I fix it? The easiest way that stressed out technicians try to get frustrated users off of their back is to order an update of the modem driver. As always, you might as well look for your modem at: http://www.drivershq.com or at Winfiles. After that, go to your modem control panel and select add. Tell Windows that you have a disk and open up the inf file that you've downloaded. Select your modem and make sure you pick the right com port that your modem is on (comm 1 is usually for ISA modems, comm2 is for external serial port modems, and PCI or USB modems don't use any comms me guess).
Ok, if you click on the properties button in the modem control panel, you'll come across a few settings that might seem a little imposing to the average user. It's usually good to set your modem's maximum speed to either 115200 bps or 230400 bps. These are simply 33.6 and 56 kps speeds with compression enabled. This speed is pretty good for downloading pictures and files, me suppose, but compression is never good for your multiplayer pings. Keep the max speed at 57600 bps if you wanna frag some annoying Quake freaks. In the connection tab, keep the data bits at 8 to allow the maximum amount of data to be transferred per bit. I don't know if you should change the parity setting - I don't seem to notice any difference in any of the settings. Keep your stop bits at 1. It makes it go faster but I'm not sure why - I just know that contacting DNS addresses were so darn slow with 2 stop bits... or was that just me? In the port settings, enable the FIFO buffers and push the transfer and receive buffers to the max. This will let your server send more data at once than if you moved the FIFO bar all the way to the left. In the advanced tab, turn on error control if you can to allow for added modem stability. Turn on required to connect and compression if you want to simply surf on the web; they will usually ensure a stable connection with fast page loading. However, if you're into gaming, you might as well turn error checking off because it's better to be kicked off a server than to play for hours with a ping of 500. Always enable flow control, me thinks, and check the hardware box, even if you have a winmodem. Winmodems use software to transfer bits along the internet, but it justs makes me feel better if the hardware box is checked. And for all us gamers out there, we all know that we have hardware modems that hopefully can use that hardware check box properly, right? Keep the modulation type as standard which seems to go faster than non-standard. I use Bell phone lines, and I can't figure out why Windows needs a Bell setting there. But if you're getting a high ping, test out this box and see what happens. You never know... Next, open up your system control panel and in the device manager, click on your com 1 port properties. In the port settings tab, you might as well put the bits per second to 921600 bps. This setting helps hardware modems to function better, but if you've got a software modem, keep this setting at 230400 bps; any higher seems to make the computer run a little sluggish. Once again, keep the data bits at 8, the parity at none, and stop bits at 1. Make sure your flow control is set to hardware - I think that all motherboards can run their com ports through hardware, don't you? If not, you've bought a piece of crap like my little computer... Click on the advanced button and make sure the FIFO bars are slid all the way to the right (that's 14 for the receive buffer, 16 for transmit). Then click ok, rinse, and repeat with com 2. And voila, your modem should run a few bps faster...
Fine, fine, I'll talk about the Network properties that seem to always crash my computer... I still have to figure out why whenever NetBeui is installed in my system, Windows won't even begin to start up. I swear, it doesn't even try to look like its trying to work. Thank Gates for safe mode... never mind, I take that back. I must be drunk... Okay, back to business. Open your Network control panel and there should be only two things installed: the Dial-Up Adaptor and the TCP/IP protocol. Anymore than these two will slow down your dial-up connection, but don't go deleting protocols - yuo probably need them for your LAN or something. Click on the Dial-Up Adaptor properties and in the bindings tab, make sure TCP/IP is checked off. This tells that your computer is using the proper protocol to contact the internet. Now, in the advanced tab, disable point to point IP which is only used if you connect one on one with othert computers (I guess this could be useful for old-style modem games). Set the IP packet size to Large. Auto is theorectically better at handling data packets being sent to your computer, but I wouldn't feel comfortable letting Windows control how my internet works... wait a sec, it alwys does... "Ah, dammit, Powell (go to my http://support.mycrowsoft.com site one day to figure out what this quote means...)!" Also make sure the Record a log file option is disabled or else every second your online, Windows will be documenting what happens... A global conspiracy to watch your every move? Perhaps, but that's what that amc directory is for... Oh, and disable the IPX header compression feature if you play online games. As I said before, compression is only good for surfing the web so if you've gotta go ga-ga over forge N-sync pictures, turn this feature on. Okay, next go to your TCP/IP properties and in the TCP/IP tab, make sure Windows obtains an auto IP address every time you log onto the internet. That's the problem with Cable modems - you're stuck with a static IP until you change it yourself. This creates a LAN like environment that lets any bored computer geek to hack into your files and spook you out by constantly ejecting your CD-ROM tray... gotta love those trojans... In the WINS configuration, it's better if you disable the WINS. To be honest, I don't know what a WINS is but I've tried using that DHCP feature down at the bottom and it isn't very ping friendly. Go to the DNS configuration and disable it, even if there are DNS addresses there. You don't need this feature and it just takes up some of your internet bandwith if you enable it. Finally, go to the Bindings tab and uncheck every protocol there. The more things that stay checked, the more software processing Windows will be forced to do and we all know what happens when Windows actually tries to run a bunch of hardware properly, right?...
Bingo, Sherlock! You win a cookie. Go ahead and right click on any of the connection files in the dial-up network folder. Don't worry, they won't bite. Well, at least not harder than the rest of Windows... Click on properties and in the server types tab, uncheck encrypted password, data encryption, recorda log file, NetBeui, and the IPX/SPX Compatible protocol boxes. These things are useless for a modem and just end up making the dial-up process longer. Now click on the TCP/IP settings make sure the Server Assigned IP address box is dotted. If not, you'll have that static IP address that will let even 6 year olds ito your computer. Now uncheck that IP header compression box if you play games and keep it checked if you want to stay online and have a ping of -9999... Yes, that negative is supposed to be there. Stop thinking that I make every mistake by accident... Or is it a mistake?...Okay, and finally, keep that default Gateway setting on. That just lets you connect to the internet faster (I think). Turning this off makes me sit by that little verifying user name signal for the longest time, or is that just my computer screwing up on me as always? It's hard to tell between reality and non-reality any more. I blame Windows for it... and AOL... but what can you do... for now...
Fine, let's back track to the modem control panel. This spot simply lets you type in some initialization strings for your modem so the advanced user can configure his or her modem the way it should be. According to Tweak3d, www. spy.net seems to have a lot of good initialization strings for a wide variety of modems, but I've never tried one. I'm too lazy... The only strings I've used have been for those old Warcraft2 days and I think I most commonly used the L0 or something string to disable modem noise. Oh, how I wish I could get back those days of 14.4 kps connections... By the way, Tweak3d uses this string so try it out: &C1&D2E1Q0V1X4 S7=55 S11=55 S0=0
I already mentioned a few negative million times that you can enable all sorts of IP compression techniques. They kill your ping, but if you're surfing for WWF soap opera details, it's better to stay online. One helpful tip is to set your modem driver as the standard 28800 modem from the Windows CD. Every server runs properly with this driver while any inf file you get from your modem manufacturer is bound to have a few trillions bug to work out. Then choose 28800bps as your modem's max speed and that should about do it... By the way, I have a friend who has a modem that disconnects from the internet everytime someone calls his house. This is because he has call waiting; all that nonstop beeping from the second line must drive those server computers crazy. If you want to stay online when someone calls, try checking the call waiting box in the modem dialing properties. I have no clue why, but I can't seem to get into my dialing properties (my computer has locked it out on me? Is it screwing with my mind again?) so go ahead and experiment with what's there.
Wht monkey?... Uh, I think that line was from Disney's Aladdin, but me not sure. That was my favourite movie; I once had every song in that movie memorized - they were all as clear as mud to me. But oh well, AOL, time flies when you're not noticing that times flying... Some people have heard of the term Firmware. I have not, but all it means is that your modem is software upgradable. It's the bios of your modem that can be flashed and upgraded with V.90 hardware support (or at least close to true hardware support). Make sure you flash your modem whenever a V.90 update comes along for your modem. 56k.com has a list of manufacturers who offer free V.90 modem upgrades so go to http://www.56k.com/links/V90_Upgrades/ to download yours. I have a Motorola Modem Surfr 33.6e on my old AMD 586 133MHz and I've tried flashing it to 56k but doggone it, Motorola makes sure I can't screw around my modem bios. By the way, I wonder if anyone notices a difference between the old 53k max modem speed to today's 'true' 56k speeds? When the government lifted the limit, it seemed like pretty good news but come to think of it, did anyone care?... Hmmm... that one should go up with who really assassinated JFK...
Good for you. Now you can lay around with something that
I'll never get to screw... uh, that didn't sound good, did it? But I was talking about
binding modems. I know nothing about this but Tweak3d calls it the "poor man's
ISDN". Have ya noticed I get a lot f my info from Tweak3d? They're the best. You
should all visit them because they will keep things a lot more updated than me. Well,
here's what they have to say about the subject: Open your Dial-Up Networking Folder,
and right-click on your Dial-Up connection. Choose Properties,
and then go to the Multilink tab. Select 'Use additional devices', and then add your second modem to
the list. Select it, click Edit, and configure it to dial the correct numbers, etc.
It should all work out in Windows98. If you have Windows95, go the www.microsoft.com and download the newest Microsoft DUN (Dial-Up Networking) version (right now it's version 1.3) and you might as well get a few patches for TCP/IP leaks. Then when you go to your dial-up properties, you'll see the multilink tab though I'm not sure how well it works. If you have two phones lines, though, it's not really logical to tie both lines up to get some extra downloading juice. But if you have call waiting, don't enable it on one of your lines. That way, if someone calls it'll bump you off of that connection while keeping your second modem alive. Some modems (I think the Diamond Supra does) do this automatically so you won't have to worry about my tweaks 'n' dweaks, but y'all come back now, ya hear?
I guess you're all wondering what that V.90 plus thing is anyways, right?... Uh, maybe not, but if you're still an ardent modem lover like me (I kiss my 33.6 goodnight every morning), it may give you hope to learn that V.90 plus is on the way. It keeps regular V.90 downloading speed, but increases your uploading speed to 45 kps or something. Sugarly sweet and sour, Canadian eh?...
Geezus, what ever happened to please? Who rights this stuff anyways?... uh, don't answer that. Okay, go to \System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\VCACHE in the registry and you'll normally find the optionj 'start' with a value of 00. Change it to 01 to enable some sort of internet caching. By the way, all of these reg settings are in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Afterall, we are messing up the hardware and not Windows, though killing the latter is often more enticing. Next, visit \System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Net\000X. The X is a number between 1 and 9 so keep an eye out for this setting. It can blend in with the others like a cat in a maze... There is a value in it that's called SLOWNET and it's set at 01. If you want your ping to stay quick, change the value to 00. Next, go to \System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\COMBUFF with a 'start' variable too. It's set at 00 normally, but if you want to buffer extra data from your com port, set it to 01. I also vaguely remember something about a Com1Irq4buffer=2048 or Com2IrqBuffer=1048 or something string in the  section of yoru system.ini file. I forget how the string goes, but all it does is uses some extra RAM to buffer data from a server. I found that it wasn't very helpful to my 32MB of RAM, even if I set it to 512kb so I deleted the key. Then my hard drive tried to delete itself but that's another story... It's not funny watching your computer try to commit suicide.
Oh, now you want to get into that old stuff. The MTU was a big thing back in my heyday: 1996. That was when Microsoft had no clue what the world was tweaking with their Windows to get even half an hour of stability our of it - not much has changed has it? Well, you wanted it, you got it. These settings in the registry will drastically enhance your modem's performace, ping, and sometimes even stability:
MTU (Maximum Trasmittable Unit): This is how much data can be sent in a single packet to your computer at once. LANs still work pretty good at the old 1500 setting, but the majority of modems work best at 576. However, each internet server has a different max MTU. Some could have that 576, some might go for 600. And if your server goes for 500, it won't be good for business. I think that if your MTU is at 576 and the internet is at 500, one packet sent to you will be 500, the next will be 76. That's pretty bad fragmenting, eh, eh, eh? Just for the record book, I had my MTU at 576 before; I got about 1.8k/s download speeds. I then used DOS' ping command to find out my server's MTU, which just happily ended up at the default 1500... oh great, Microsoft's ideas are actually taking over the networked planet... After switching my MTU back to 1500, I now get around 3.4k/s download speeds, so I recommend that you just leave it at 1500 until you get bored with how your computer is running properly.
TTL (Time to Live): Tweak3d describes this one as the number of "hops" the computer will allow before closing a connection. You know those sites that take a millenium to get a reply from? Well, if you set your TTL to 128 or higher, your computer will try even harder to contact them and who knows, maybe you'll connect to them at 250 bps? But if you set TTL at 32, your computer will connect with only high pings and will forget about all those slow sites. A value of 32 will generally increase ping performance.
RWIN Multiplier (Receive Window): Is that what RWIN means? I expected better, to tell the truth. Something like Real-World-Inner-Network or something like that which wouldn't make any real sense. This setting is sort of like TTL. RWIN can determine how many packets of data would be futilely sent to the server until it declares the connection is broken. The higher the RWIN, the more time it has to make a stable and sometimes faster connection with the server. Tweak3d recommends a setting of 4x (I think this means 4 times the MTU which would set this value around that magical 2144), but with bad connections like mine, I like to go for the 8x. I'm not sure which one is better for ping, but downloading web pages is faster in my opinion with 8x.
MSS (Maximum Segment Size): I have no clue what the best setting for the MSS is. This setting controls the amount of data that can be sent in a single packet to the server. Larger is usually better than, but I have no idea what the recommended max is. Tweak3d claims Windows98 sets the MSS to the best setting all the time so maybe we can sit back, relax, and let Windows set our fate... oh, sure, if we did that, we'd soon be living in a world controlled with damn, bloody apes... no offense, Gates...
True, but at least I do it convincely, don't I? Eh?... uh, never mind. Well, I used to know where all these settings are, but that was when I was so young and naive: 2 years ago... I've gotten lazy since then and I've been using programs to do it for me ever since. Tweak3d recommends that you install iSpeed, but I've always been loyal to MTUSpeed. MTUSpeed was the first free MTU tweaker that I ever found so I credit them with gracing my internet. I think that both programs have the following weird settings:
Black Hole Detect: This setting is a logger. Turn it off! Turn if off!! It logs reasons why packets failed to be sent or sent back from a server. Turn it off! Turn if off! It joins wastes your bandwith and messes with your hard drive. Turn it off, turn if off, turn if off! If you don't, your internet will be sucked into a black hole vortex where internet goes surprisingly slow...
MTU Auto Discover: Well, I don't personally remember using this setting but Tweak3d claims that its pretty useful. If you use Windows98, Auto Discover will check what MTU each site that you log onto uses. For instance, the Microsoft site could use packets of 1500 while my site may use 20. Auto Discover will automatically adjust your MTU to compensate and leave optimization to the oh-so capable hands of the United Gates of America. No wonder I never used this: I have Windows95. It has no effect in the Windows95 kernel so only enable it for Windows98.
NDI Cachesize: This setting is only for LANs. It's a network setting that shouldn't affect modem pings but if you breathe easier knowing that you set this setting to the fastest it can be, put the value 16 into its slot.
By the way, have any of you heard of a program called Net Lightning? I used it back in 1996 I think. What it did was shorten DNS look-up times by having the static DNS address located on your computer. I know that Windows already tries to do this but Net Lightning was pretty good at it. I could manually enter a site's DNS and as long as the address didn't change, several seconds could be shaved off of the site's loading time. Maybe someone could start making a program like this sooner or later...
If you want to see what is exactly happening to your dial-up connection when you connect to your ISP, use NetMedic which can be found at this tweaking site: http://maniac.neorift.net/files/nm.exe. If it's not there, it's really easy to find. If you find that your net bandwith is relly small, use this program to tell if the problem lies in your crappy modem or your crappy internet server. Second, I download huge files all the time, some of them well over the 300 MB mark... Considering that I have a 2.5 k connection, that wouldn't sound very logical right? True. I just like the challenge of getting the file from a bad server, then I delete it and empty the trash. But the program that I use to download these files is Getright at www.headlight.com I think... It allows you to resume broken downloads (much better than Netscape or Internet Explorer can), can schedule your downloads (so one file downloads right after the other), and it now has a option to download the same file off of 2 serers at once (if the download server is going at k per second, Getright can download your file in 3 portions at once, each running at 1k for a total of 3k per second). I've tried Gozilla and the other resumers but they just don't hold a candle in the wind to my Getright. I've been using it for 3.13 frickin' years!
Yeah, okay, go ahead and use two phonelines... But you can also you these programs to share a modem over a LAN. Yeah, I know, anyone who has a LAN probably has a Cable modem, DSL, or are one of those lucky bastards with T1s, OCRs, or T3s. But if you want to share a puny little 56K modem, go try Wingate (just go try it at download.com...for now...). It's supposed to be really easy to use (dammit, it uses that bloody 'easy to use but really screwed up like vodka' Microsoft philosophy... heh heh... Microsoft went down to $80 a share today, but when it reaches $66.66 (damn, that's not 3 sixes...), everybody will be buying it again. Microsoft's probably going to go free source or something & merge with Linux... or maybe just buy BeOS...)... oops, went a little off topic there... Other programs like WinProxy (yes, we're talking about proxies here... I always wondered what that stupid proxy setting thingy was for...) and Sygate at www.sybergen.com are pretty good, but if you're a gamer & you wanna kick some of your own crap (did that come out right?) online, get Gamerouter at www.gamerouter.com. It has the best performace (God, I can never spell performance right, can I? It's like my kryptonite, or like my zero times table...) of them all. For all of these programs, simply set the computer with the modem as having a manual connection & the poor old slave computer gets to use the Network proxy.
Allo! This is a paid advertisement, paid by me, for my own Advanced Win9x tweaking section. There's a whole bunch of internet crap in there so I guaranteed it will be a bulls-eye free environment, safe for reading. But just because I'm too lazy to open up that file in Notepad for editing, I'll add a simple reg trick here for all you Internet Explorer users... uh, I can't believe Microsoft's plan is working. Over 85% of households use IE now I'm ashamed to say, & I think my web-page is the only one left on earth that looks better in Netscape than it does in Internet Explorer. Here: here's the most useful tip you could ever have: Save yourself from the savage infernos down below! Repent and revert back to Netscape which, although defiled by the gruesome hands of AOL, still deserves to kick some Microsoft Scottish arse! Did Pay Back run away? Did Braveheart run away?... Okay, now that that's down and done, visit HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings in your registry if you've got Internet Explorer installed (and who doesn't? Am I the only one still using Windows95 just to be clean of that thing?). There are 2 notably not-absent, um, reg keys there: "MaxConnectionsPerServer" & "MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server". 4 should be the default for both which is okay for modem users, me guess, but if you've got a decently decent 56k modem or crap Cable or something, boost this all the way up. I've heard 12 or 16 connections really help for Java webpages, cgi, or those really annoying Shockwave things that keep trying to chew my computer into a frisbee, but I guess I'll never know until those Microsoft guys break down my door and gag me to my foot.
Just for the record, my AceropenFM34PV 33.6 downloads at 2.9 k/s, my Motorla ModemSufr .34 33.6 cruised along at 3.2k/s, and that Aopen FM-56H v.90 sorta kills itself at the 3.5k/s threshold... not very impressive, eh? And that's with all my crap tweaks set at max; most new computers run the net faster than my crap computer ever will... Ok, anyhew, me c'est going to go to Ok-ta-wah soon so me gonna finish this dweak quickly. I saw over at 56k.com that 3Com has a website that you can dial into, and what it does is does something... um, more specifically, it checks what protocols work properly on that thing you bought and so on and so on... Hmm, I tried it on that Modem Blaster USB DE5670 that I bought, sadly enough, from - ahem - Future Shop... and um, the site told me that it couldn't even detect the .34 33.6 compression sceme... that could explain why the modem never exceded 31200bps while that old Zoltrix 9.2 modem seems to connect at 230400bps... hmm, well, open up HyperTerminal & dial the number 1-847-262-6000. When it asks you if you want graphics, press Enter (or for us old foggies, the Return button...). When it asks you for your first name, type in "line" without quotations, then press enter. When it calls for a last name, don't let the possum eat the groundhog and type in "test", then press enter. From that point on, just read the reports and hopefully, you'll get friendlier messages than I'll ever get.