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Dial-Up


My Computer says there is "no dial tone" (Error 680)

The causes for this complaint are usually "physical" and could be caused by:

  • Loose modem cable
  • Loose or mis-plugged phone cable
  • Faulty phone cable
  • Faulty double phone adapter
  • Faulty phone socket

Loose modem cable: (external modems only) make sure the cable between the modem and the computer is securely attached at both ends.

Loose or mis-plugged phone cable: Make sure the phone cable is securely inserted in the wall socket and that at the modem end it is securely attached to the "line" socket (it will not work if it is attached to the "phone" socket)

Faulty phone cable: If the above suggestions do not help, you could try unplugging the cable from the back of a telephone that you know to be working, and use that with the modem.

Faulty double phone adapter: If you are plugging the modems phone cord into a double adapter at the wall socket (or anywhere else along the line) try removing the adapter and putting the modems cord directly into the wall socket. Faulty adaptors are a very common cause for complaint (even when the telephone works when it is plugged into them!!).

Faulty phone socket: Test the wall socket that the modem is plugged into, by plugging a telephone into it and making a phone call (listen for a crackling sound or anything else odd).

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I get an error saying my Username and Password is incorrect (Error 691)

The first thing to check when you receive this error is that you have entered the correct Username and Password. If your computer automatically enters your username and password information try deleting what is currently listed on your computer and retyping them in.

If you have forgotten or lost your password you will need to call our office at the numbers listed on the Contact page (For security purposes, OpenCom will not send passwords over email).

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I keep getting disconnected from the Internet

One common cause of disconnections is telephone line noise, and this can come in many forms. Another common cause is a "Win 56k" modems using outdated firmware or drivers.

Please Note: OpenCom will disconnect you only under two circumstances:

First: Your connection has been idle/inactive (you haven't sent or received any data) for 15 minutes.

Examples of inactivity; composing an email message, reading a web page or email message take place on the customers computer without transmitting or receiving data through our server. (This does not include web based email like Hotmail or Yahoo.) Like most Internet providers, this is done to ensure that modems are available to customers when they need them.

Examples of activity; downloading a web page, sending or receiving email, or playing some on-line games. You should not experience disconnects while you are actively working online.

Second: OpenCom's computer sees a request from your computer to disconnect or sees no signal at all. Here are some specific measures you can take to resolve other sources of disconnections:

Check for Telephone line noise/interference.

Recently a customer who was experiencing constant disconnects unplugged the phone line between the computer and the modem to the wall and plugged it right back in and it stopped her disconnects.

Check your phone line for obvious signs of noise. You can do this by picking-up your telephone (while you are not connected) and dialing a digit to eliminate the tone. Listen carefully to the dead air for any static, crackles, voices, ground hum, etc. If you hear any of this, chances are your modem will not keep a firm connection. If your modem uses a dedicated phone line, (one that is just used only by the computer) you may have a noise problem and not realize it. Plug a telephone into the computer phone line and listen for noise.

If you hear noise, realize the noise you hear might be caused by a worn cord, a poorly-wired wall jack, a worn phone jack, the phone itself, or some other problem in your home. If possible, check for noise from another location in the house, or using a different telephone.

You will need to contact your local phone company about any possible telephone line noise problems. They will be able to check your line for shorts, grounding, crosses, voltage, circuit loss, general noise, etc. They can run basic tests from their office, but to thoroughly check your line, a serviceman will need to come to your house.

Radio Interference

Cordless phones are a common problem because they can act as a "transmitter", picking-up radio signals and broadcasting them on your house wiring. Unplug the power cord and remove them from the phone line and see if the problem goes away. In rare instances, customers have encountered CB or HAM radio signals bleeding into their phone line. The source is usually an individual in the neighborhood broadcasting with more wattage than allowed by law, or using an improperly-grounded transmitter. In this case your phone company will be unable to help, and you will need to contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Call Waiting

Do you have Call Waiting on your modem's line? A Call Waiting tone will cause enough interference to disconnect some modems. Be sure to disable it in your dialer. Many phone companies use the prefix code *70, but consult your phone book or local operator if necessary. Usually the dial tone disappears for a moment after you send this code. Add a comma and a space after it which will cause your modem to pause briefly, since you don't want it dialing when there is no tone. When you disconnect from the Internet, Call Waiting will be restored automatically.

Other home devices

Do you utilize a splitter, surge protector, wireless phone jack, fax machine, or some extra pass-through on your modem line? Any of these may degrade line quality to the point of causing disconnections. Try running the modem's phone cord directly into the wall. Also disconnect other phones, answering machines, fax machines, etc., on this line. Disconnect these devices and see if the problem goes away.

Noise can also be caused by an old, worn, or extremely long phone cord. Use only seven feet of cord or less, if possible. If you suspect the cord may be damaged, replace it. If you have an external modem, try using a different serial or USB cable.

Extreme weather (rain, heat, snow, etc.) can sometimes cause enough interference to disrupt a modem connection.

Make sure you are using the most updated modem firmware or driver. This is done by contacting your modem or computer manufacturer or by downloading the update from their web page. This is especially important if you have a "Win 56k" modem, since "56k" technology has evolved a great deal since these modems first went on sale in mid-1997. Some modem manufacturers released new code every couple months, and some continue to do so.

Some modem brands are simply more usable than others, and better able to handle changing line conditions. Using a high-quality modem on bad phone lines may help correct disconnection problems, but using a cheap modem on bad phone lines may make the problem even worse. Disconnections can also be caused by a software-based modem which is not completely compatible with your computer or the software you are running.

All major dialer programs, including those for Windows and the Macintosh, include an option for an idle timeout. If this option is activated, your computer will disconnect itself after a set amount of time if you are not sending or receiving data. Some poor implementation may actually check for just keyboard or mouse activity, instead of modem activity. We recommend disabling this feature.

Email Program can cause disconnects

Normally individual Internet programs cannot affect your dial-up connection, but Microsoft's Outlook Express email program for Windows 95, 98, and NT is an exception. It contains several settings that may cause dropped connections if it is not configured properly. If you notice disconnections after checking or sending mail, click the Tools menu, choose Options, then click either the Dial Up or the Connection tab. Look for an option like;

---"Hang up after sending and receiving" and disable it. There are other connection issues with Outlook Express, but are too complicated for discussion here.

Add Three commas

Try adding two or three commas (,,,) after your dial-up number. This can sometimes improve a connection by making your modem pause slightly after it dials and ignore some of the tones sent by our modem.

Check to see that you have hardware flow control (RTS/CTS) and error correction enabled.

Slow modems speed

Try lowering your port (DTE) speed to 57600, 38400 or lower if necessary. Setting the port speed too high may cause your computer to work harder than necessary and adversely affect your connection.

Sometimes modem initialization strings will improve your connection. ATZ, AT&F, AT&F1 and AT&F2 are common strings to try. Check your modem's documentation for other specific strings and settings. If you have a "win56k" modem, you may need to disable 56k speeds if your phone line quality is too poor for a high-speed connection and your modem is constantly struggling.

A damaged and/or dying modem can also cause disconnections. Modems can be damaged and/or made completely useless by an electrical surge through the phone line (which commonly occurs during thunderstorms) or through the wall AC outlet (external modems only). Like any electronic component, modems will also decrease in performance over time. Sometimes they may die simply because of heavy use or old age.

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