Intermittent Dial-up connection

Published 04/04/2005 14:59   |    Updated 11/01/2008 12:18
Why does my Dial-up connection keep dropping?


There are various reasons why your dialup connection may end abruptly. Some of the most common culprits are interference on your telephone line, a fault with your computer's modem, incorrect modem settings, damaged telephone cables or sockets inside your house.


Check the line quality

If you have a 'noisy' phone line (i.e. when talking you can hear crackles, pops or any other kind of interference on the line) this can cause the modem to intermittently disconnect itself from the Internet.

Please read through the suggestions below:

  • Try plugging the modem into the main phone socket (i.e. the first one that comes into the house), not into an extension socket.
  • Try changing telephone handsets. Get a loan of a friends's phone and see if the interference persists.
  • If you can hear interference when making or receiving calls from your main phone socket please contact your telephone line service provider for further assistance. If your telephone line rental is paid to BT please call 1904. If you pay Eircom for your line rental call 1901, otherwise contact your line service provider.

It is possible to amend the idle time disconnection if it is set to below 20 minutes.
The instructions below explain how to do this. However, the BT Ireland network will automatically override any settings above 20 minutes.

  • Click on the Start button.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Click on Control Panel.
  • Click on Dial-Up Networking (on some versions of Windows it will be called Network and Dial-Up Connections).
  • Right-click on the BT Ireland or IOL icon.
  • Click on Properties.
  • Click on the Dialling tab.
  • At the bottom of the window you will see the words 'Disconnect if idle for xx minutes' (the number is usually set to '20').
    If this option has been enabled, the white box alongside will have a small tick inside. Try either taking out the tick by moving the mouse pointer on top of it and pressing the left mouse button, or increasing the total number of minutes using the arrow buttons. Click OK, then OK again.

Change telephone cable

If your telephone calls are clear of any static interference then the problem may lie with the cable that connects your computer's modem to the telephone socket. Try using a different cable, preferably one that does not have a lot of extra, unnecessary slack. If you have more than one socket in your house try using that as a test as well.


Check your modem settings

Your modem may be set to disconnect automatically after a certain period of inactivity. To check the settings follow these instructions:

  • Click on the Start button.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Click on Control Panel.
  • Double-click on the Modem icon.
  • Click on the Properties button.
  • Click on the Connection tab.
  • In the 'Call Preferences' section you will see: 'Disconnect a call if idle for more than xx mins'. This may have a tick next to it and it will default to 20 minutes. Try either taking out the tick by moving the cursor onto it and clicking once, or increasing the number of minutes, then click on all the OK buttons.

If  none of the suggestions above improve the intermittent connection problem then get a loan of a friend's computer or contact your own PC manufacturer to ensure your computer's modem is operating correctly.


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