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I live in a rural area. We do not have cable; hence, no TV or high-speed internet. I use a Dell Inspiron 600M with Windows XP and the internal Conexant 56K modem. Earthlink is my ISP. I also use an older Mac (G4) running OS 10.3. There is no chance we'll be getting cable out here any time soon. I live about 5 miles from town in a pretty poor county in Washington State.
There are two problems that are driving me nuts: One, the slow dial-up, and two, dropped connections. Not only is web browsing almost an exercise in futility because it takes so long to download pages, I've also had to tell my e-mail buddies not to send me pictures because one picture can tie up my email for 10 minutes or more. One person sent 5 pictures and my internet took 35 minutes to download them.
BTW, the 56K modem never achieves more than 26K speed. Lately the slowness seems to have gotten worse; not only that, I just download and installed the IE upgrade and now download speed is even slower--if that's possible. If I try to access a page, it may take 5 minutes or more to appear--if it appears at all. Sometimes I can hit refresh and the page will load finally, but not always.
On the dropped connections, I like to play on a couple of game web sites. I frequently get "your internet has been disrupted" messages, which of course causes me to lose the entire game. I would say this was peculiar to game sites, but I've had the disruption occur in the middle of a download from the internet. I worked over several days with an Earthlink tech, to no avail. I've also contacted the game sites, but "it's not their problem; it's the ISP's." The ISP says its the game site or the phone company. The phone company says it's the ISP.
Is there ANYTHING I can do to get even a bit faster dial up? In fact, just now, while writing this message, the dial-up disconnected. I'd be happy just to get closer to 56K in speed, if that's possible.