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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

I'm really not happy.....I've forked out the best part of £100 to get BB via a PCI modem using Force 9.

But I'm finding it about as 'always on' as dial-up! Let me explain....

I log in to Windows. ADSL automatically connects, usually, after about 1 or 2 minutes. Not ideal, but I can live with it. In addition, I then have to click the ADSL Modem icon to get it to dial into the ADSL aconnection, so that's another step. But, again, I can live with it, if that was all it was. But, in the last few days that I've had it, it's only stayed on for more than a day.... once. It always disconnects at some point. Either in the middle of me playing a game, or as in the case this morning, when I was downloading Service Pack 2!.

Does anyone else have this problem? If so, is there a way round any of it? Is it a Windows issue, or is it the ADSL line that is just rubbish? I'm starting to wish I'd stayed with NTL

Thanks

Ted
12 REPLIES
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Router

Hello tedsmith28,

First of all why o! why o! why did anyone from F9 recommend a PCI ADSL modem too you. I was recommeded an external ADSL USB broadband modem by one of the F9 support staff and its turned up gold, its made bye D-LINK and its completely brilliant, rock solid with steady connections, smooth installation and well documented and being USB is a definite advantage too. I never recommend PCI modems too friends or paying clients unless there are no other options, having the device inside the box can make life more difficult if you do have problems.

**In your case this sounds too me very much like a software or configuration problem with some possible BTline related issues.

**When I first had my new BT line ADSL enabled and installed my kit I had problems with random dropped connections. In my case I was able to phone up BT's DSL team and a BT engineer ran some line diagnostics on my phone line and which found I had excessive noise on the line but he rebalanced the line and also adjusted the GAIN on the line and since then the broadband has been fine. I run my machine (windows XP Pro) like a server its on 24/7 and with the D-Link ADSL modem I get very good connection quality & speeds. My best duration of connection without a single drop or stale session has been around 34 days.

**Further the disconnections could be down to simple setting or check box within the (DUN) dialup networking connection within winodws itself. The DUN was really designed for older style dialup modems before ADSL and there is a setting to prevent people from getting huge phone bills due to the internet phone connection being left on or open. Its this setting I'm talking about, you may find its setup to disconnect you after say 20mins but with ADSL should be set to "never". If you need any further help let me know?

Ivan
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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

It's gracious of you to reply.

I chose the modem myself because I don't have any USB ports left. I also thought that a PCI one would be better - in my experience all the other PCI devices have been great.

What you mention about the BT line and the dial-up settings I will look into further. Sounds like a plan!

Will let you know

Thanks

Ted
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PCI or USB

Hi Ted,

Sorry! just to clarify it further. No! there's nothing wrong with PCI slots or devices its just that when things do go wrong they are often more problematic to diagnose being internal. In contrast to an external device, for this reason mainly and from past experience this is why I tend to recommend external ADSL kit.

*There are positives & negatives or aguements for and against internal devices and external devices. Some people prefer the device hidden inside, which obviously means that you take up (or loose) a PCI slot. Further more the card or device has to take its power from the PC. But often external devices have to come with there own power supply systems, where as USB sorts that out for you (no external power pack with my D-LINK ADSL USB modem).

** Myself I would have added an extra USB card to the machine inorder to have an further USB ports & an external ADSL USB modem or Router but at the end of the day the preference is a personal one I think.

Ivan
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Re: PCI or USB

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. No! there's nothing wrong with PCI slots or devices


I have to disagree with you here.


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There are positives & negatives or aguements for and against internal devices and external devices.


No there aren't. There are only negatives.


Quote
** Myself I would have added an extra USB card to the machine inorder to have an further USB ports & an external ADSL USB modem or Router but at the end of the day the preference is a personal one I think.


Well you'd have been wrong too. Cheesy



Big Wink 'cos I know that wasn't very helpfull, but it's something I feel quite strongly about.


Network traffic goes through a NIC. NIC's cost a tenner, even BT now supply an ethernet router in the new voyager units.

Anything else will use system resources and be overtly driver dependant. PCI ADSL modems are akin to winmodems and are as such inherently evil Evil

Dedicated chips do a way better job than minimal connectivity PCBs and a moderate (hey they [censored] it ) Cheesy load of processing on your main CPU.

Just my take cyteck I'm not having a go 'cos I know you're really helpful and very good at seeing the best answer given 'where were at', but like I said. I've got a thing about this, just do it properly.
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Replying

Hi Mattley,

NOP!! I stick bye everything I said before & your answer doesnt put forward any positive technical points that would convince me otherwise or would make me change my opinion technically.

**Come on Mattley DONT you think your being a slightly negative saying there are ONLY negatives. Sorry! I dont believe you!! :-)

**Mattley wrote:-
Quote
PCI ADSL modems are akin to winmodems and are as such inherently evil
This is a pretty irrational kind of emotional answer, dont you think its a tad OTT?.

**Even if the user were to buy a NIC and add it to their system, this still takes a slot internally. This still requires network drivers & networking software, a NIC still draws on resources including CPU time,etc,etc. So proves nothing!!.

**I only suggested a USB ADSL device from past experience and as the installation was perfect, smooth,quick and user friendly, the device was also well documented. With an ADSL USB modem I had my connection up and working in less than 10mins. My connections with the ADSL modem are rock solid with continous sustained connections as long as 34 days without a dropped connection, the usual reason for a connection loss after a long time is a stale ADSL session at the BT Exchange.


Ivan
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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

You're right. Like I said, I've just got this thing about it. Shockedops:


Quote
**Mattley wrote:- Quote:
PCI ADSL modems are akin to winmodems and are as such inherently evil
This is a pretty irrational kind of emotional answer, dont you think its a tad OTT?.

**Even if the user were to buy a NIC and add it to their system, this still takes a slot internally. This still requires network drivers & networking software, a NIC still draws on resources including CPU time,etc,etc. So proves nothing!!.


Now this bit I will stand by, NIC Drivers are as close to nothing as you can get and a NIC will hand the CPU the data, already packet checked and ready to go. Winmodems (and I mean winmodems, not proper modems on a card, this is an important distinction) are just a connector. the packet handling, error correction and even the modulation is handled by the CPU and IMO this is just wrong.


I will also concede that modern machines easily have the overhead to handle this but it's still not right.

Cheers

Mattley
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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

Some interesting points.

Firslty, back to my original problem. It seemed that the majority of the problem was caused by a hardware conflict with my other dial-up modem. Foolishly, I did not think to take that one out before putting the new Broadband one in. Since removing it, the connection has only dropped the once.

I rang up BT and asked them to check the line. They did, and said it was fine. They've also kept a note of the test in case it's needed by any other ISPs.

As for this PCI argument - from my experience, I've found PIC devices better than 'plug & play' stuff, which is the main reason I went for it. In my ten years or so involved with PC's, I've had the most problems with devices that claim to just 'plug in'.

Anyway, to answer the problem, make sure you unplug your old PCI modem before putting your new one in!

Cheers for the help

Ted
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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

Quote
Firslty, back to my original problem. It seemed that the majority of the problem was caused by a hardware conflict with my other dial-up modem.


Ya see, that wouldn't have been a problem if you'd have used a NIC and a router Wink


Cheesy


Glad you've sorted it, sorry I wasn't any help.
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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

Thats a bit nieve, NICs can still get conflicts its just a lot less likely.

Personally I swear by a router BUT it also has to be said that most cheap routers are MUCH slower than a PCI or USB device is likely to be. This is because they use the cheap Conexant chipset which seems to be pretty poor. I compared my old Conexant router to my D-Link and was shocked to find the D-Link was doing DNS lookups and other stuff MUCH faster, just watching the progress bar in the bottom of the browser you could see the difference.

Overall though, a good router protects you from a lot of viruses and trojans as well as the casual (and probably most advanced) hacker - at least until you start forwarding ports for games etc. PCI is inherently evil due to the reasons described above (they use more CPU power, rely more on drivers and are less stable due to this), USB can be as bad as PCI whereas even a bad router will usually keep a stable connection up meaning you wont have ANY waiting for it to connect unless you reboot it. I do believe I regulardly have my connection up for months at a time, I ONLY have to reboot it when im changing settings never because of a lockup. If I get booted offline it comes back automatically. Every single time I thought there was a problem it turned out to be BT or PlusNet issues not my end and it came back once it was fixed without any changes at my end.

Each to their own, but a router "should" be more reliable and naturally means you can hookup as many PCs as you want. to the same connection
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More

Hi,

Thanks for an intelligent reply based on experience of actually using the devices mentioned. In my defence and from my own experience too I would say that routers are NOT for everyone as they can still be tricky to install and configure correctly (and although many ADSL routers are now much more user friendly than ever before) especially for the novice or new user on ADSL.

I think the D-Link product I was recommend was a good choice of device and its proved more than adequate for my own needs and I would have no hesitation in recommending this product to others. I also get consistently long periods of up time with the D-Link modem 34 days without a single dropped connection which I think is NOT bad at all. Like you any dropped connections are due to either a stale session or F9 BT Related work.

Ivan Cool
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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

The issue of the CPU having to work harder with a PIC modem....I did not realise this initially. I thought that the device itself processed the majority of the data just like decent graphics cards etc. However, I've noticed that when I play the 3D online game 'Americas Army', my CPU starts to cook (got to 64 degrees yesterday!) which it never did before when I used NTL's digital broadband service (which was a direct ethernet cable connectcted to a PCI network card and the digital box). Interestingly, when I run the SETI@Home project, the CPU does not get anywhere near as hot as that despite utilising 100% CPU cycles. So this does go someway to supporting what has been said about CPU cycles and PCI modems I think.

I wonder, how much are routers?
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ADSL BB via PCI Modem as reliable as dial-up!

How long is a piece of string? :lol:

Routers vary from not much more than a PCI/USB modem to stupidly high prices. I have to say though that if you are into low-latency online gaming the more expensive ones "might" be a benefit over the cheaper ones. I couldnt swear to it though as I rarely play online games Unreal Tournament has always suffered lag nomatter how little latency you try to have.

Have a look at http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?rb=5472525140&action=c2hvd3N1YmNhdGVnb3J5X3BhZ2U=... and don't forget eBay.