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There are a few hardware-related things that you can check if your modem connection has suddenly slowed.

I run Windows XP Home Edition, have Norton Internet Security & Norton AV 2004 all up to date and enabled. Yet, my modem connection speed seems to have suddenly slowed, and shows as being between 21kbps and 35kbps, rather than the usual 48 to 56. I've checked Task Manager and there doesn't appear to be anything untoward using up the CPU. I'm somewhat frustrated at my slow connection speed. Any ideas what to check next?

I'm going to assume that you are talking about the modem's connection speed as opposed to some measure of data throughput.

First I'll point out that getting 48 to 56kbps out of a 56kbps modem is actually quite rare. I've personally never seen it. I'd consider you formerly lucky.

But the fact is you were getting it and now you're not.

Assuming nothing else has changed on your system, and it sounds like you've done most of the appropriate checks, I would actually start investigating the phone line. I have experienced degraded performance on a phone line in bad weather, for example, because of a bad underground cable splice that started to cause line noise when it got wet. The telephone company was able to very quickly confirm the problem and had it corrected in short order.

It's also possible that other changes to the telephone network have degraded your phone line's overall quality. Unfortunately that's not a difference you'll normally be able to hear when you use the phone.

Certainly it possible that your modem is beginning to experience problems. While modem failures are usually catastrophic. If you have a spare it might be informative to swap modems and see if there's a difference.

"I have experienced degraded performance on a phone line in bad weather, for example, because of a bad underground cable splice."

And finally, it's certainly possible that equipment changes or issues at your ISP can cause these types of slowdowns.

For the record, these comments can apply to ADSL or Cable connections as well. With ADSL, however, line noise is more likely to cause sporadic loss of signal resulting in bursts of full speed with periods of no-speed. Reconnects are automatic, though, so depending on what you're looking at when you notice the problem, it could look like an overall slowdown.

Article C2082 - June 23, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

July 4, 2004 12:09 PM

I regret telling you nice folks this bit of info but here goes. If your dial-up modem is on a certain type of PG cable facility, you will have very fast dial-up speeds....high 40's and low 50's. Thats good but here comes the bad. IF...
for whatever reason, the phone company needs to move you back to a copper pair,then your hi-speeds
go bye-bye. The answer is to go ADSL....lite,ultra
or extreme WILL fix the problem.....I B GONE

Josh Pascoe
October 30, 2004 8:57 PM

I've connected at 51000bps in the country before, so I believe that 48kbps is possible

March 10, 2005 12:52 AM

I got the same issue, just one day the connection halved itself. Wish i didnt have to be on dial-up but jerks run broadband to within about a mile of me.

November 20, 2005 2:13 PM

I have a similar prob, on average I connect at 46.2 but for some reason this is not consistant. Sometimes I'll connect at 26, 35 and on some rare occations I'll connect at 53.666. This is the 3rd modem in 2 yrs and presently brand new V92. Why the fluctuation?

jo momma
January 7, 2006 11:08 PM

Just stop being CHEAP and pay the other 5 bucks or so and get DLS

April 10, 2006 3:57 PM

i have a v92 modem and i always connected at 50.6 but now i get anything between 36 and 43 what the hell is going on. I know its not my computer or modem and there is no DSL /ISDN in my area and i pay 30euro for 150 hours on dial up but what is the point if you spend all the time wating for pages to load or even worse downloading anything Arrrah!!!

June 7, 2006 7:03 AM

i am having the same problem i was get 48kto 49k it has now droped as low as 12k when it comes up that slow i diconnect and sign on agian until the modem speed is at least a working speed .i have complained to the phone company they tell you it is your provider.they are try to put more people on line and not have to up grade no matter how you look at it you are getting rob ,this is not what we paid for.every time i call they tell me that their is high speed in my hood, i ask how much is it they tell me its onlt $30 bucks but when you get the bill at the end of the month it is more like $60 buck . that is comcast in fairhaven MA .dsl is not avialable in our hood i dont know why that is unless it is a deal between these serverse to cut up the pie to steel from the public .in this day and age the fcc should be sued for the limit they put on the phone which i 56k . that is good old protectionism isnt that good old usa stick it to the people,no matter how you look at it it is thef if you were getting 48k and now you have been rolled back their is probably a chance at a class action suit once they set the presidence and hook you up to 48ktheir could be a prima fica case

June 11, 2006 12:37 PM

I also have the same problem. I use a DSL modem, my connection speed was a solid 350kbps, now it only goes half that or it goes extremlely fast like 700 something kbps then go as low as 60 or 70kbps. I thought the cause was from an internet optimizer program. Maybe I should give Verizon a call.

January 5, 2007 7:28 AM

I am getting a speed of ten and i am on dsl. My computer has been checked and all is well. could this be aproblem with my ISP at their end.

November 10, 2008 7:20 AM

DSL BROADBAND Connection Connected with DSL Modem. But only one computer come to internet,not come to other commputer.
So, connected to the any one commputer
1,DSL BROADBAND Connection
2,DSL UTStar Modem (Bridge Mode)
3,Hub and 10commputer.

You need a router.
- Leo

March 12, 2009 10:59 PM

I have windstream DSL but AOL connects auto how do i stop that.And get my PC to get to internet with out waiting for AOL dial up that slows my PC down and i have to wait till it is up and running.My PC was never this slow i do not have AOL dialup Help me if you can.

Richard Wendley
March 17, 2009 2:06 PM

The delay only happens when I first use the PC. Usiing it again after going back to desk top is as fast as ever.

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