The Following Information is provided by SouthNet Technical Staff based on frequently asked questions.  The goal, is to end-up with a consistently fast and trouble-free connection.  Some of our customers will not be able to achieve this because of equipment or line quality issues.  This document should resolve most common problems that our users face.

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 The majority of our customers still use a modem to connect to the internet.  And most of you will probably have a 56K modem on your computer, however less than half will get a 56K connection when you dial up to the internet.  There are several different factors for not getting a "fast" connection.  These factors include but aren't limited to: phone lines, modems, surge protectors and software.

    For most of you the phone line will be the biggest limiting factor for your connection.  The further your house is from the telephone office the longer the phone line.  If you live over 3 miles from the main telephone office the condition of your line can be greatly reduced.  The telephone company sometimes uses special equipment to improve voice transmissions on these long runs, however improving voice quality usually drops data transmission quality.  Some of you will be working off of "remotes" (basically a remote is a switching office in the field).  Depending on the type of remote your on, sometimes it will degrade your connection, sometimes it won't.  In some rare cases a customer might be working out of a remote and over 18000ft from that remote, this distance may call for the use of load coils to balance the lines, in this case a internet connection would be slowed to a crawl.

    With the huge variety of modems on the market, some of you will wonder "What's the best I can get?"  And this is a good question, but it's not so much the brand of modem you get as the type.  Basically their are two different types of modems available, software modems (often called "Winmodems") and hardware modems.  Software modems use the computers CPU to do most of the work, causing your CPU to slow down and 'wait' on the modem.  But hardware modems have their own chip and all the information it needs to work is already hard-coded on the board, taking some load off your CPU.  Depending on your phone line conditions, a hardware modem will give you the best results, and tend to stay connected better on a poor grade line.

    Another factor in your quest to get a good connection would be software.  And I am referring to all programs not just your operating system (i.e. Windows 95/98/ME/XP).  Although your operating system controls your internet connection and the modem, problems can also be caused by certain programs and viruses.  Software based firewalls sometimes cause problems, and are usually hard to troubleshoot, as are viruses if you don't protect your computer from them.  Other utilities such as "Bonzi Buddy" and some "download enhancers" will also cause trouble.