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          Most internet users believe that the connection speed displayed in the bottom-right corner of their computer is most important when it comes to using their internet service. Actually, the through-put is more important. Why? Read the following examples.

    Example 1: John, in Princeton, connects to the internet each time at 50,666. When he downloads data off the internet he watches his transfer rate. His transfer rate is only 2.5kbps (2,500 bits per second). John has a high connection speed but his through-put isn't very good. If he had a good quality connection his through-put would be around 4,000 or 5,000 bits per second.

    Example 2: Mary lives in Princeton down the road from John. She connects to the internet each time at only 44,000. When she downloads data off the internet she watches her transfer rate as well. Her transfer rate is 4.5kbps (4,500 bits per second). Mary has a good quality connection because her through-put is great.

      Connection Speed Through-Put Quality
    John 50,666 2.5k Average
    Mary 44,000 4.5k Terrific

          The average connection speed for most 56k modems is 44k. The average speed for most computers that have US Robotics hardware modems is normally higher. Several VCI customers routinely connect as high as 54,666.

          The problems some users have with 56k modems can be difficult to determine. The problems may be caused by the phone line, the computer, incorrect or old modem driver, type of modem, etc.. The simplest method used to fix these problems is to eliminate the potential causes one by one. This generally means you may have to call tech support several times before the issue is resolved.

          At times a computer with a 56k modem may experience slow downloads from the internet. This is caused by the modem adjusting it's connection speed to compensate for changes in phone line conditions. At times if the modem stops transferring data and quits responding you may need to disconnect from the internet and then re-connect. The icon at the bottom right near the time does not display the "current" connection speed, only the initial connection speed. The connection speed may go up or down.

    Common causes problems that can be easily fixed:
    1. Cordless phones.
    2. Lengthy telephone cord.
    3. Telephone line plugged into a surge protector, fax machine or caller-id unit BEFORE the computer.


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