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Help connecting to guy in the boonies

Hello all - quick one for you.  I have set up a RAS server for some of our field based sales reps to be able to dial in and connect to our network, either directly over modems, or through the Internet.  Most go through the Internet, because they can get fast DSL, or ISDN lines in their offices, but one of our guys in the boonies of IL and has no possibility of any of the faster connection technology.  He is stuck to standard phone lines for now.  His connection is painfully slow, and I am trying to come up with some way to ease this.  My interest has been piqued by synchronous modems...would this help?  Is there some other way to increase speed on the PSTN?  Both ends currently use 56K v90 modems...Let's start with limitless cost, and narrow from there, eh?
Thanks!
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Thorin
Asked:
Thorin
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1 Solution
 
OttaCommented:
Not quite "unlimited" cost, but ....
there are some ISPs who use satellite-dish technology,
i.e., you stick a satellite-dish on top of your farm-house, and use it for lightning-fast "downloads" from the Internet,
and you use a standard 28800 modem for "uploads" to the Internet.

If your main requirement is to "download" from the Internet,
this is a nice solution.

Otherwise, you can use Diamond's "shotgun" technology, two telephone-linesm, and two 56K modems, to connect to an ISP which supports "shotgun", and get "double" the speed of one 56K modem.
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
Yikes!  Satellite technology...maybe "limitless cost" was a bit of an overstatement.  I don't think I could ever get that approved...be fun to set up though!
As for the double modem, could that be set up so they would dial in to our office - assuming we had a double modem here?  Also, could I use a multiplexer so there would only need to be one phone line, or is the phone line the bottle neck?
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OttaCommented:
There *are* ISPs which use satellite-technology.
So, you don't have to launch your own geosynchronous transponder.  :-)

The name of those ISPs escapes me -- DirectTV ???

Check WWW.DiamondMM.COM
for technical specifications about "shotgunning" two modems.
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OttaCommented:
Oops! Wrong company. See:
http://WWW.direcPC.com
which claims "up to 400 kbps for as little as $19.99 per month".
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
Ooo, and launching a rocket off the roof of our building sounded like so much fun!  I think I would have to do some very fancy talking to the budget committee to get the salary for John Glenn approved though...
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
Wow.  DirecPc looks great...what's the catch?  I left a message with one of their "business sales" reps, but I would like to know the scoop if anyone has it.  As my granny always said, if it looks to good to be true.....
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femson7Commented:
What kinda scoop??
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
I guess I just want to know what the downsides are.  I have seen all of their marketing hype...but what are the down sides?  Need to be able to weigh the pros and cons.
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OttaCommented:
> What is the downside?

Monthly fees of $19.99/month?
High installation charges?
Satellite-dish which imitates a Frisbee(tm) during high winds?
Addiction to the Internet, when you realize how fast the connection is?
Insufficient hard-drive space to store all the downloads?
Insufficient budget to purchase more hard-drives?

Why not give it a try?
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femson7Commented:
>Addiction to the Internet, when you realize how fast the connection is?

Wooohooo! Otta this one cracked me up, I nearly fell of my chair. Good thing I was able to grab a hold onto something or I'll have to send you the bill for my hospitalization. Hehehe j/k

Not to mention, the financial drain it would cause us upon realization of the speed. How? Well, one thing for sure, the best way to experience it is through video conferencing.

There's actually less downside as what Otta had said, against the pros. The dish being a problem during strong winds, typhoons etc.

Just be sure to have some raincoats and jackets when that happens. Hehe

Also, the painful connection speed the user is experiencing could be caused by many factors, one is the net lag to and from the company's site. I mean when using the internet. Why not use the internet, and instead of going direct to your servers, agree on some drop off point like some free web page that isn't lagged between you and this salesman.
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
Ok...guess I am a little bit confused.  I had pretty much ruled out DirecPc as a solution.  I had assumed from what I read that the blazing fast connection speed is only for downloading, and that any upstream traffic (URL requests, form input, file uploads, etc) would be through the standard phone line connected to an ISP.  Similar to what he has now.  So it would help when he goes to get files from us, but when he tries to send us something - it doesn't help at all.  Am I understanding the service wrong?
Also their sales person still hasn't called me back, so it is really difficult to get any answers!  Maybe he got caught in a windstorm, eh?
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OttaCommented:
>  Am I understanding the service wrong?

No.  You've correctly stated the "asymmetry".

Each of ADSL, cable-modem, or V.90 modem have some degree of "optimization" for downloads to your PC,
i.e., slower "uploads" than "downloads".

If cost is no object, then pay over $1000/month for your own T1 line.
Otherwise, you'll have to compromize on one of these three alternatives.
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femson7Commented:
Seriously, as you've pointed out on your last post, Thorin, that what you need is two way traffic, the speed of which should be at least the same. Since he'll be sending to you and receiving from you. And that your current setup is not at all, near this goal.

DirecPc, and other so-called HISPEED access, concentrates more on the DOWNSTREAM, rather than the UPSTREAM. Coz internet users generally LEECH the internet for data, and sending only ACKs (acknowledge) data to confirm that they have received the data error free, otherwise, it contains the RESEND data request.

One thing for sure, his connection to his local ISP is fast enough. And you can take advantage of this by making the UPSTREAM process go through his local ISP. Meaning, that he uploads the DATA in *WHOLE* to his ISP and the ISP in turn can forward you the data using it's full speed capped only by the size of their leased lines.

One good way is for him to send the files as an attachment via EMAIL. Or upload it to a free webspace sites such as geocities, fortunecity, xs4all, angelfire, etc. And then in turn you get it from there.

There are a lot of ways to overcome network lag, slow connection, etc. And of course, this is caused by a lot of things too.

If you're going to use the internet to transfer data, I suggest you take advantage of windows' VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK capability. Although this won't dramatically speed things up, but it will ensure that you're transfering data to/from your site to his site, at peak allowable speed. Although the route will be the limiting factor here, it is better than a site to site connection, using standard copperwires provided by your phone company and his telco.

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ThorinAuthor Commented:
Maybe I am being too picky here...but the idea for this whole project was to give the user the ability to browse our network, upload and download files, synchronize ACT! databases, etc - WITHOUT any involvement from my staff.  Currently we spend way too much time setting up files, finding files, emailing files(or sending disks, cds, etc), and all around talking files with this particular employee.  No one sees this as his problem, though - it is mine.  :-) This communication is something that has to happen daily, several times a day, and some of the files tend to be fairly large (>10MB).  This drain on time is really frustrating for both me and the sales guy.  The other issue is that he is in a different time zone, and when he is at work at 8AM and needs to upload a customer database for conversion - I am snug in my bed...and not available to help with file transfers.
The idea of having him upload things to an arbitrary website - he could even use our FTP site - is good, and I understand that for me to get the files once he has done that is only limited by my own connection, but it is still taking up my time.  
I have several other users who are able to do this over the Internet and connect to our server without any trouble.  But these guys all have DSL or at the least an ISDN line.  These things are just not available in the boondoogles where problem boy is from.  Someday maybe they will be, but not now.  That is why I had thought of finding a way of getting him dialed in directly via ??? to get a faster connection.  The idea of T1 is not actually crazy and may be what I end up recommending - but that price tag as noted by Otta will be a hard sell to the fellas who own the purse strings.  I want to make sure I have exhausted every other possible avenue.
Perhaps I am just SOL as they say?  Please don't tell me that!  You experts are my last hope!! <G>
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femson7Commented:
That's why I told you to setup and use the VPN capabilities of windows 98... It will let a remote computer to access your computer without you having to open your computer to the whole internet community.

The connection speed would only be affected drastically, by the route, and/or internet lag. Although if one of your ISPs internet backbone goes down. Then there's no way you are going to connect to each other.

It is like dialing directly to your PC, but the difference is that the salesman is going through the internet.
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femson7Commented:
You already have RAS properly setup... so, just add a protocol, and subscribe to an ISP in your locality, and the same goes to your salesman, have him subscribe to a local ISP and connect to you via VPN.
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
femson7 - that is the whole problem!  He can, and has already done that.  But going through the Internet is as slow or slower than dialing in direct.  We have a T1 connection to the internet in our office...so I am sure it is not on our side.  His connection to his internet service provider, for that matter his modem connection to anything IS the problem.  

I really am not trying to be argumentative..but I thought I had made that clear?  Ahhh the difference between what I think and reality. <G>
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femson7Commented:
Ahh, so my unattentive attitude did bring me shame again! Hahaha Sorry. I didn't pay attention to the previous posts.

Coz I make it a point, that I try and read the poster's original question, and then comment on that. hehe

Anyways, so, the bottom line is, slow connection no matter what. Ok, slow connection using the internet. I just want to make sure so I will ask this question: How were you able to deduce that it is indeed *HIS MODEM* that is slow? Have you run a packet trace to and from his PC?

SLOW MODEMS:

This is caused by noisy phone lines, thus resulting to multiple resend request. Can be caused by misconfiguration. Most especially when transferring files that are compressed already, and that the user is using a STAC compression in conjunction with hardware compression thus resulting to high data overhead.

Diagnose what causes the problem. Check the phone lines. Make sure that the modem is very near the junction box or the RJ11 box. Check and make sure that the lines outside the house from the telco's phonelines to the house are clean and well maintained. There should be nothing brushing against it like trees, birds making it a rest stop or motel. Hehe Check the RS232C cables of the PC and modem. Check the power voltages. Avoid internal modems, as their performance decrease tremendously the longer it is used. Download and upgrade the modem's firmware and download and update the modem's INF driver. Use SELECTIVE COMPRESSION on the hardware level. If the modem offers it, use SELECTIVE REJECT as well. When using a connection with v90, check if the remote system is using STAC compression. If it is, enable it and disable HARDWARE compression. If it is not implemented by his ISP, disable STAC compression, and enable HARDWARE selective compression.

SLOW INTERNET RESPONSE

Caused by packet loss, server not responding, or server lagging out, too long a route, connection reset by peer or timing out.

For packet loss, try and determine if it is being caused by having a very high MTU value. Or if he's sending you files and the transmission stops after some time, check the MRU.

Server not responding, bang on the ISP's tech support line if it's the ISP's server. Just pray to God if the server is one outside of your ISP but inside your route.

Server lagging out or too much internet traffic within your route suggests that you do it during the wee hours of the morning. Primetime usually starts 6pm to 12am. Avoid this. Telcos and internet usually suffers severe net lag coz of too many people using it at once.

Too long a route, tell your ISP to pump enough budget and select the best and shortest route. If they appear to have the best already. Tell them to put more gateways, and routers using different backbones. Hehe (this is the hardest.)

Sockets timing out are caused by setting having a very short time-to-live active for open sockets. Win98 defaults to I think 64 or 128. I don't remember. Setting it at 255 will definitely eradicate this problem. To check this, use an IRC client (preferably MIRC) and log onto IRC. Use us.undernet.org as server. If while chatting you accidentally got disconnected and your IRC program tries to reconnect to us.undernet.org, then you have a very short TTL.

Connections to the internet if slow can be augmented slightly by way of using proxy servers. There are a ton of t3 proxy servers that are open to the public. Some are much higher.

SLOW CONNECTION NO MATTER WHAT HAS BEEN DONE.

Have u paused for a second and thought things out that your salesman WANTS it to be PAINFULLY SLOW? Hehehehe Just kidding on this part to make things a little lighter. Coz I do know your frustration regarding these things. I manage our marketing department and the production lines as well, and I encounter these kind of people everyday. My people even blame their shoes for slowing them down! Imagine what people do just as to serve themselves. Hehehe...



Now, back to your problem... as Otta has suggested already, almost all of the faster alternatives have a downside. And it is you who would make the decision. Just how fast is fast for you? Having a cable access of 128K upstream speed isn't bad at all. In fact, it is fast enough. Imagine two 56K modems and one 16.8K modem intertwined and performing at their peak rate, uploading to you. W/c would you prefer? I'll go with this one. And optimize the compression level of things and ensure that my system will be responsive enough.


Good luck.
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
WOW!! Holy smokes femson7 - that was an eye full!  Thank you for putting so much into your answer!

Anyway, no I haven't gotten nearly as in depth into the problem as all of the suggestions you made.  What I did was: dial into ISP = slow ; dial into my modem = slow ; my modem dial out = fast ; solution = his connection sucks.  Not very scientific, I know.  But as you pointed out - my frustration level with this problem does not make me want to devote a lot of time troubleshooting.  Also even if I do get him connecting at 56K everytime with compression, it is still going to be pretty slow for browsing our network.  

The sales manager has this idea that the remote guys should be able to browse our servers with the same speed and ease as people in the local office.  Which is no problem if he wants to help me pony up the budget...not likely!  

I will try some of the ideas you suggested, and see if we can't get some more speed out of what he has.  I am also going to try and push the 'shotgunning' idea of the modems.  That would at least be an interim solution until technology in his area changes, or we get budget for a T1.  I checked with his ISP and they support it.  

Sooooo, I am not sure who to give points to here.  Otta suggested the shotgunning and that is what I am planning to do, after I follow through with all of femson7's suggestions.  You were both helpful...how about this:
I will give the points for this questions to femson7, and I will post another for Otta in the same subject and give you points too.
I am so nice, aren't I?

Thanks again!
-Thorin
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femson7Commented:
Yes you are very generous. I just hope you can get your problems solved within your budget. As the higher ups always want it that way. But it's like giving a person 1 dollar and asking him to go to the nearest Mercedes Benz showroom and telling him to buy a C-class saloon. Hehehe...

Otta thanks to you too... people in these forum are great.
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
Wow!  You get a whole dollar?  They would just tell me to go get the darn thing, and then tell me later that we don't have the money and to send it back!  Anyway, I love my job.  :-)

If only the company's budget were as large as my desire to play with new technology.  Think how much fun I could I have.

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OttaCommented:
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OttaCommented:
> VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK ... it is better than a site to site connection, using standard copperwires provided by your phone company and his telco.

I think that the opposite is true;
the "virtual" network will take the "milk-run" route (boonie's ISP -> Internet backbone -> your Internet connection -> your servers), while a direct modem-to-modem connection will be a "direct" route (analog modem -> telco C.O. -> telco's digital network -> telco C.O -> your analog modem).

The difference is that there are many Internet "backbones", and they interconnect only at a few places.

I've traced IP-packets from my computer to another computer in the same city, and the IP-packets have gone through Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Your packet "inside" your V.P.N. could take that route.
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femson7Commented:
Thorin,

I always say that to myself. If only I have the money, I can play and learn further. Play literally, like buying myself a 100" projector, and play Wing Commander series. And Need For Speed III. And if I get bored playing with myself, I'll use my OC-3 lines and play with the other guys... think of it... Our drive, with lots of money to back it up equals to one hell of a sophisticated gaming machine! Yeah! :))) Of course, second to that is business... Business is bad for games. So don't ever mix them up. Hehe
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
This is why I have been avoiding moving all workstations to NT - doesn't play games as well!  That is a hard argument to sell at the planning committee meetings.  They just don't see that as being important to our business!  The simple mindedness of some people.

And hey, if you get bored playing with yourself, you are in a serious world of trouble.  Cuz, as they say, if you can't play with yourself, who can you play with?:-)

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femson7Commented:
LOL!!! Now I was hoping to do the jokes here... but it seems that I was the one who laughed hard... hehehe...
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ThorinAuthor Commented:
Well, glad I could add a little laughter to someone's day.  I certainly haven't had any in mine today.  God, sometimes I wonder what I was thinking when I decided computers would be a fun career.  Why couldn't I have gone into the mattress business?  Then at least when things get bad you could sleep on your product!  Disks and CPUs just aren't all that comfortable.....
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femson7Commented:
LOL!! Now that's a good idea... mattress business... hmmm...
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