Modem speed

I have a 56k modem, and what I want to know is, why can I only download at about 4k per second, why call it a 56k modem if you cant get 56k out of it and if you can speed the download times up, then how?
IanPotterAsked:
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AwmytieCommented:
    This is not a definitive answer, but some background info:  56K represents MAXIMUM receive speed, which is seldom realized.  Your modem and your ISP's modem may use two different standards, thus slowing down the connection.  
     The most common problem is poor quality of telephone lines, due to the distance to the central office (over 1.5 miles), other instruments on the same line, proximity to noise-producing equipment, etc.
     Typically, my 56K V.90 connects at 37333KB/S, sometimes up to 42KB.  Sometime it backs off to 28K.
     If you are referring to the progress bar which says you have 12 percent of 234K at 4.0KB persecond -- this download speed includes a lot of losses along the relaying chain which may involve a dozen hops before it gets to you, including servers which are very busy taking care of other customers also along the line.
    With that as a background, let's see what rayt333 or otta, or one of the other real experts can come up with for answers to your question.
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IanPotterAuthor Commented:
is there anything I can do to speed it up?
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rayt333Commented:
If you are getting download speeds at 4K a sec then you have a good connection
OK. So you get a "Connect 48000bps". That doesn't mean that your connection stays at that rate, or indicate how many errors
(and re-transmission of data) you are getting which affects your throughput. Did you know that a perfect connection a 48kbps
connection should yield about 5.3K bytes/second throughput? Your computer receives 10 bits for every character, but the modems only have to send 8; however, the modems do have to send control information, so the maximum data rate is approximately the Connect Speed divided by 9. The best way to check your real connect speed is to download a compressed (ie .zip) file from a site that is close to you and calculate the throughput [ chars. rec'd. ÷ time ÷ 1000 ] where time is the number of seconds it took to download the file, and chars. rec'd is the size of the file in bytes.
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PufferCommented:
Confusious say modem rated at 56 kilobits per second...

Confusious say download says 4 kilobytes per second...

Confusious say 8 bits to a byte...

Confusious say 4 kilobytes times 8 bits equals 32 kilobits per second...

Confusious say that people confuse the two all the time and wonder why they don't get 56kb download rates...

Confusious say that these people need DSL... :)
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OttaCommented:
If running Windows 95/98/NT, download and use the most-recent "drivers" (and INF file) for the modem,
so that Windows will correctly report the modem-to-modem speed.

If Windows still reports '38400' or '57600' or '115200', add 'W2' to the "extra" strings in your modem-setup.

Configure your "modem" to "append to log file".  After disconnecting from the Internet, check the speeds recorded in this file.

> Confusious say 8 bits to a byte...

Confusious forgot that modem transmit one "start" bit, eight "data" bits, and one "stop" bit for each byte, i.e., 25% of the transmitted bits are "overhead".

Also, stuffing the bits inside an envelope labelled 'SLIP' or 'PPP' adds more "overhead".
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PufferCommented:
er, I realize that, but there are still 8 bits to a byte.  My point was not to discuss encapsulation in any detail, just to point out that Ian had confused the two.  Confusious say too much information a bad thing... :)
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vikiingCommented:
More than that, there are more than 8 bits in a byte. In fact, modem deals (beside data bits) with start, stop and parity bits, which ofen make 11 bits per byte.

Thus, 56000 / 11 = 5090 bytes per second. That, added to the fact that it's almost impossible to reach that speed in normal telco lines (you're lucky if you get more than 45k), makes why you download at no more than 4k/sec.
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OttaCommented:
> you're lucky if you get more than 45k ...

I should buy a lottery ticket.  :-)
My US Robotics Sportster V.90 consistently connects at 48000, and sometimes at 49333.
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rayt333Commented:
Otta
I too have a USR 56K modem (external) and I usally connect at 48000 too and about every 5th time I get the 49333 speed. I laugh when people with generic winmodem complain about their connection speeds and general modem problems. The USR may cost more upfront but it don't take long to see their value.


IanPotter
You accepted as the answer the comment with misinformation???
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PufferCommented:
excuse me ray, but what 'misinformation'?  The fact that 8 bits = 1 byte?????  Ian was confused because he didn't realize that modem connect speeds are reported in bits per second, and download rates are reported as bytes per second.  Simple.  I don't mean to step on your toes here, but I know something about this also - and I gave him a simple answer to a simple question.
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rayt333Commented:
We are talking about modems here and 8 bits=1bytes is not correct
1byte=10bits or if parity involved then 1 byte=11bits

If we were talking about general data then you are correct 1byte=8bits

You didn't step on my toes! But this is now a PAQ and if someone is seeking info on this subject and"buys" this question from the PAQ then they will find they got ripped off because the info contained here as the answer is incorrect or "misinformation"  I wasn't trying to ruffle your feathers but I have bought some PAQ that contained misinformation so I know what kind of problems it can be. I think Otta and Vikiing explained it better with correct info thats all.


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IanPotterAuthor Commented:
If the most I can get is 4k per sec and that about what Im getting then I thank you all for your answers. Thanks people you all helped and now I have learned something...
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AwmytieCommented:
    Ian....just don't reveal who steered you here in the first place, ok?  I'm trying to stay more or less anonymous in E-E, if not at the other site.
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PufferCommented:
Ok ray, maybe i was in a bad mood because my frosted flakes were limp this morning.  I apologize for that.  But I think that he was simply confused about the bits per second vs. bytes per second.  Hey, I'm new here, maybe I should have gone into more detail.  I will in the future, I have too much free time - after I finally got my computer at home to broadcast real video from my TV card through the corporate LAN to my machine at work, I need new challenges, and thought I'd answer a few questions. :)
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