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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.
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.
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