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Most Internet users would like to have fast Internet service. The reality is that some people live in an area where faster connections aren’t available or simply can’t afford high-speed Internet service. However, it is possible to improve the measly connection speed of a 56kbps modem with software and a little know-how.
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Phone Line Conditioning
Before you purchase optimization software or new hardware, ensure that you are getting the best performance from the phone line you are using. Because dialup connections use the same line on which voice calls are made, any fall in the service quality on that line will also affect the performance of the dialup connection. One way to tell if there is a line quality issue is to listen for static or frying sounds on the line when making a phone call. If you hear interference on the line you will need to call your service provider and ask them to resolve the problem.
Another indication that you may not be getting the best service from your phone line is low connection speeds, i.e. 28.8kbps or 33.6kbps. A dialup modem should connect at around 56kbps, if it is less you will need to determine if there is a problem at your location. To do so, try taking the computer to another location and try to establish a dialup connection there. If you get better connection speeds at that location you may need to call and report a line fault.
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Shrink the MTU
When computers send data across networks they send them in packets of predetermined sized know as MTU (maximum transmission unit). The size of these packets can decrease performance if the size is not optimized for dialup connections, especially if there are frequent transmission errors, in which case entire packets have to be resent further delaying the process. This is why reducing the size of the MTU can have such a positive effect on the performance of dialup connections.
You can play around to find the setting that works best for your dialup connection (typically 576) but there are tools that are specifically designed to optimize Internet connections. A good tool you can try is SG TCP Optimizer 3.0.3, it supports the tuning of any “Internet connection type, from Dialup, Cable, Satellite, and DSL to commercial-leased lines, ” according to its developers.
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Use a Dial-up Speed Booster
Dial up speed accelerators use several strategies to improve to performance of dial up connections, including caching popular websites on strategically located servers, caching previous visited content on the local machine, compressing content before downloading it and reducing the quality of content being downloaded. Some software you can use includes: Propel Software's Propel Accelerator, Artera Turbo Residential and Proxyconn's Proxyconn Accelerator.
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While faster Internet connection technologies are now widely available, some consumers don’t have access to these because of their geographical location or monetary constraints. However, they can take steps to improve the performance of their dial-up connection such as reducing the MTU, ensuring the phone line they are using is free from static and using a dialup speed booster to get the most out of the dialup Internet service.