DSL: Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Are DSL customers able to use their telephone or fax machine while accessing the Internet over DSL?
- A: Yes. DSL allows customers to use their existing phone line for voice or fax communications while they use the DSL service for Internet access or data communication services.
- Q: Will my telephone work even if my computer or modem is unplugged or disabled?
- A: Yes. DSL modems have been designed so that your normal telephone service will operate even if the computer or DSL modem is unplugged or otherwise disabled.
900MHz phones, in particular Panasonic phones have been reported to cause problems. The base of the phone will broadcast a signal to the handset to initiate the ring, even before you pick it up. It's possible that this is an issue. It could also be a voltage drop across the phone wires when a ring signal is sent or a phone extension is picked up. There could also be a device on the line called an MTU that the phone company can remove.
If that happens, completely unplug the cordless base from the jack and have someone call to see if that helps or have your Telco remove the MTU on the line.
- Q: Can I connect more than one computer to my DSL service / Can I use a router?
- A: Yes, we suggest if you are using more than one computer to use a third party router to share your DSL service among your devices.
- Q: Can I host a server?
- A: Yes. You may host a server on your connection as long as it is within our acceptable use policy. Spamming is not allowed and strictly enforced. If you plan on hosting a server we recommend to use a DynDNS service or a static IP address package with ample upload speed for your server applications.
- Q: Does Internet America filter any ports?
- A: Only on the Verizon network is port 25 (outgoing mail) filtered for all customers to prevent against spam generated from their network. The solution to this is to use port 587 instead of 25 for outgoing mail.
- Q: Will my current phone features work with DSL?
- A: DSL won't affect Caller ID, voicemail, call waiting or other advanced calling features. However, Distinctive Ring, an MTU, and/or if your line is a part of a line-hunt group or forwarding group it might not work in some areas for some DSL products.
- Q: Can I still use AOL or MSN?
- A: Yes, America Online and MSN offer a special "Bring Your Own Access" plan that connects using TCP/IP for customers who already have high-speed Internet access. This allows you to use your DSL service to access AOL & MSN content.
- Q: What other features do I receive with Internet America DSL service?
- A: Internet America DSL comes with five email addresses, personal webspace, Airnews USENET service, and one of the highest rated technical support and customer service departments in the industry.
- Q: Will my VPN work with the DSL service?
- A: Virtual Private Networks (VPN) will work but due to the variations in VPN clients we do not guarantee that your particular VPN will work nor do we provide support for your VPN. We HIGHLY recommend using a Static IP DSL package if you plan on using VPN.
- Q: Does DSL require installing an additional phone line?
- A: No. DSL technology utilizes higher frequency spectrums for data transmissions that are not being used by voice communications. This allows simultaneous analog voice or fax and DSL data transmission over the same telephone line. You still use your phone as you do now.
- Q: What equipment do I need for DSL access?
- A: A DSL end-user must be equipped with a working computer with an available Ethernet or USB port, and a working telephone landline that is within our coverage area. A DSL modem will be provided by Internet America.
- Q: Can I use any modem with my DSL service?
- A: Yes. For DSL circuits you must have an ADSL modem that supports rfc1483 bridge mode. SDSL modems are not compatible. Regular 56k dial-up modems will not work as a DSL modem. If you want to use a modem from another source, please check with us first to determine compatibility.
- Q: What are the steps of self-installation?
- A: Step 1 - Install DSL Filters
DSL filters, also known as micro-filters, allow the DSL signal and your regular phone signal to share the same line. These filters keep the DSL signal from interfering with your phone service. You will need to plug a DSL filter into every phone jack in your home that is being used by a phone, fax, or any other device. You will then plug the phone or other device into the DSL filters. We will provide you with five DSL filters. Installing them is as easy as plugging in your phone.
Step 2 - Install DSL Modem
If you don't already have a DSL modem, you may order one as part of your service, including detailed installation instructions. With some computers, you may need to install an Ethernet card. If your computer requires an Ethernet Card you will need to purchase one at your local computer store and insert it prior to installing your DSL service.
Step 3 - Setup TCP/IP
NOTE: You must have an Ethernet card installed in your computer.
- Q: Can DSL work with our multi-line phone setup?
- A: It is possible, we HIGHLY recommend that you use a direct line not associated with your phone system such as a fax line.
- Q: Am I charged for the time my DSL modem or computer is online?
- A: No. Internet America DSL Internet access is unlimited. You will not have to worry about how long your modem or computer is in use or turned on.
- Q: Will I see additional charges on my phone bill?
- A: No. Internet America has no hidden fees. We charge you for the DSL circuit, the ISP service, and federal/state taxes in a single low monthly bill that is from us not the telephone company.
- Q: I heard on the radio that DSL is $9.95/month, is this correct?
- A: No. You heard the ad incorrectly. We offer dial-up connections for as low as $9.95/monthly.
- Q: What is a Static IP address?
- A: An IP (Internet Protocol) address identifies a computer or other device on the Internet for the purposes of sending or receiving data. It is much like a telephone number. Having a static IP enables you to be able to host a server or setup VPN's or remotely administer your computer. Basically you always know where on the internet your machine is because it isn't moving around.
- Q: How is DSL different from other Internet connections?
- A: Dial-up (Analog) Modems
Analog modems were designed to work on regular telephone lines and usually operate at speeds ranging from 28.8K to 56K. The main difference between analog and DSL modems is that an analog modem works over voice frequencies. It can't handle the higher - and much faster - digital frequencies. DSL actually takes a load off the voice channels by using the higher, non-voice frequencies.
Some Internet connections are available through cable television lines that have been upgraded to carry data in two directions. However, you share bandwidth and this access with your neighborhood, so there is a possibility of slowdowns during peak-use periods just because your neighbors log on.
DSL technology provides a dedicated service over an existing local connection to the DSL central office near you. This means that you don't have to share your local access connection with other users.
- Q: What is Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)?
- A: DSL is a modem technology that turns a customer's existing phone line into a three-channel data delivery system. One channel transmits voice services, so normal phone or fax usage continues whether or not you are accessing the Internet. A second channel transmits data downstream at high speeds, and a third bi-directional channel transmits data upstream. The downstream and upstream channels carry information to and from the Internet. Phone or fax calls occurring on the voice channel are not affected by your online activity occurring on the two data channels. To learn more about speeds click here.
There are modems at each end of the phone line. One is at your computer; the other located at the DSL central office. Working together, they provide a dedicated connection that avoids the need to dial-up for access like with traditional analog modem Internet access. The modem in the DSL central office points your Internet traffic to the DSL network and on to the Internet.
With DSL Internet access, you have a fast connection to the Internet. You just click on the desktop browser icon to get online without dialing-up and - without busy signals like you may get with analog modems.
- Q: How does DSL work?
- A: DSL is based on Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), a super-fast modem technology that can provide data transmission at significantly higher speeds than your standard 56K modem. DSL transforms standard twisted-pair copper telephone wires into a high-speed digital pipe. Since this wiring is already in place in most homes and offices, millions of users can switch to DSL service without the need to run new wires to your location. DSL is designed to take advantage of the portion of the bandwidth not used for voice calls. DSL technology splits your phone line into three information channels. One carries data at high speeds from the Internet to your home computer. Another channel transports data at moderate speeds from your home computer to the Internet. The third channel handles regular phone calls and faxes. You'll be able to surf the Internet while making phone calls or sending a fax. Your regular phone line will continue to work in the event that a power failure affects your computer.
- Q: How fast is DSL?
- A: DSL offers several packages with download speeds ranging from 192kbps - 7.1mbps. DSL customers enjoy the ability to download files and surf the Internet at lightning speeds. Throughput speeds experienced will be lower than connection speeds based on factors including the distance between your home and the telephone company central office; the condition of your line; traffic on the network and the Internet; and the performance of servers hosting Web sites you visit among other factors.
- Q: How does DSL support both voice and data on the same line?
- A: A device called a "splitter" assigns voice and data transmissions to different frequencies. Digital bits travel on the inaudible frequencies of your phone line. That keeps them separate, and that's why all the signals - voice and data - can work in parallel without colliding with each another. A DSL modem spreads signals over many frequencies on the line, carrying many times more information than an analog dial-up modem.
- Q: Is DSL available in my area?
- A: Call us to find out.
- Q: My 'Due Date' is today, so where's my service?
- A: Modem indicates that it has sync but web and email services are not working. www.yahoo.com is not pingable. 22.214.171.124 is not pingable. Modem indicates there is a link on the LAN / Ethernet port.
On the due date of the DSL order, the DSL modem may show sync but the circuit may not be complete yet. The phone company has until midnight to complete the order so you may not be able to connect until after midnight. DSL has no control over this.
Wait for service until the next day. If you call us before your due date there is very little we can do except make sure that your account is setup correctly. The telco will not help much without a Trouble Ticket and a trouble ticket cannot be created until after the due date.
- Q: When will my DSL be ready?
- A: From the time that you order the line a lot has to be done before your DSL is ready to go. However the real end all to DSL service is when the telephone company is able to activate DSL on that telephone line. The telephone company will let us know when the line will be active 5-7 days before activation. The Telephone Company will have the line on sometime in the 24 hour period of that day, this means that they will have line on by midnight on the activation date. So your line may not turn on until late that night, this is completely normal.
I just got DSL and it's not stable or fast enough!
For approximately the first 10 days of service every new DSL connection that is farther than approximately 10,000 feet from the telephones company's central office will go through what is called optimization. This may or may not impact the stability of your service for the first 10 days.
The process is as follows:
Your DSL connection is profiled to 192kbps on your turn on date. During the first 10 days the phone company will perform automated tests that send data to and from the DSL modem to determine the quality of the line. After you can successfully receive data with an acceptable amount of errors your profile will move to the next step (384kpbs, 768kpbs, 1.5mbps, etc.). It is important that you leave your modem on constantly during the first 10 days of service as they perform these tests. If your speeds do not increase after the first 10 days please call our technical support department and they would be happy to have some tests run on your line and further assist you.
- Q: What is tweaking your PC?
- A: Tweaking your computer for a broadband DSL connection is essentially optimizing your computer to maximize performance and take full advantage of your broadband connection. Tweaking your PC can result in major improvements in your DSL speeds and overall experience.
- Q: Does my PC need to be tweaked?
- A: To determine if your computer needs to be tweaked in order to optimize your performance you need to run a tweak test to get the current settings of your computer. DSL Reports (http://www.dslreports.com) offers a free tweak test on their website as well as a program to change your computers settings. The tweak test can be found at: http://www.dslreports.com/tweaks .
- Q: How to run the tweak tester?
- A: To run the tweak test please go to http://www.dslreports.com/tweaks and do the following:
- Press the Start button on the Tweak Tester II applet.
- When the test completes press the Results button.
- Q: Advertised speeds are different than my actual speeds.
- A: A general rule of thumb for determining whether or not you have a good broadband connection is whether or not you are getting at least 80% of the maximum possible speed you could. There is a built in 'loss' due to overhead information that must be transmitted and a few other factors that immediately eat up about 13% of your bandwidth (speed). That means that the absolute best in a perfect setup would be 87% of your theoretical maximum. With other factors thrown in, the 80% rule of thumb was developed. Now, how to apply it.
As one example, lets assume you have a 1.5/384 DSL connection. This means that the best you can ever do is to get 1500kbps (kilobits per second) as a download speed and 384 kpbs upload. But at least 13% of that is going away for the overhead. 80% of 1500 is 1200kbps, and 80% of 384 is 307.2 kbps. So if you have a 1.5/384 line and are getting speeds of 1200/307 or better, then you have a 'good' connection. If you are getting less than these numbers, the DSLR Tweaks forumhttp://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/tweaks is a good place to go to start optimizing the portion of the system that can help with these numbers.
A few things to keep in mind:
- You can only 'tweak' to improve your download speed and hopefully your upload speed will rise along with it.
- No 'tweak' exists that can improve Ping (latency) times. That is a separate issue.
- Q: How do I "Power Cycle" my equipment?
- A: To properly power cycle (a.k.a. 'reboot') your equipment simply do the following:
- Turn off Modem.
- If you have a router turn it off or unplug it from the electricity.
- Do a complete shut down on the computer (not a restart, but a shut down).
- Wait 30 seconds.
- Turn on the modem only and wait for the lights to stop flashing. If the modem lights do not stop flashing after 30 seconds, call Tech Support.
- Next turn on the router if you have one.
- Next turn on the computer. Once it is up and running try to connect. If you receive any error messages, report these errors to Tech Support.
- Router (if you have one)
- Q: I have No Sync.
- A: If the sync light on your modem is blinking there could be many causes behind this. When you first order your DSL an email will be sent to you shortly there after with your service activation date. Your DSL modem will not be able to sync until your service activation date has passed. This means that you may not sync until midnight on the date of your service activation. If this date has not passed this is most likely your issue. Other things such as line noise from your normal analog phones can cause the modem to loose sync. To prevent this you will need to install ADSL micro filters on your telephones. To install a filter simply plug the male end of the phone cable coming from the phone into the female end of the micro filter, then proceed to plug the male end of the filter into the wall jack. All telephones on the same telephone line as the DSL modem must be filtered; however it is imperative that you do not install a filter on the DSL modem. All other devices that plug into the phone line, such as fax machines, satellite receivers, and alarm systems.
Make sure that you have filters installed on all phones and phone devices filtered. If the devices are all filtered and the modem is still not in sync then proceed to isolate the line down until only the DSL modem is plugged in. This means that you will need to unplug all phone devices other then the DSL modem. When the DSL modem is the only thing on the phone line see if it is able to sync.
If the modem is still unable to sync then try plugging the modem into other jacks in the house that are on the same number as the DSL. This will eliminate the possibility of a bad jack. If at all possible attempt to plug the modem into your MPOE also referred to as the junction box from time to time. This is where all the telephone wiring comes into your house. Plugging your modem into your MPOE (if possible). is a good way to check for sync. If you are unable to get sync with your modem proceed to call tech support.
- Q: I have Sync and Link but my DSL is still down.
- A: At this point there are quite a few things that could be wrong, almost all of them having to do with your computer itself.
- First reboot your computer and log in to Windows.
- Press Start and click Run.
- If running windows 98/ME/2000 type 'command' into the run field and press Enter.
- If running Windows XP type in 'cmd' and press Enter.
This should launch a black DOS prompt window.
- At the blinking cursor, type the following: ping www.yahoo.com then press Enter.
If you do not see 4 send and 4 received (0 lost) then type the following: ping 126.96.36.199 then pressEnter.
You should see 4 sent 4 received (0 lost).
If you do not see this then call into tech support in order to receive further troubleshooting.
- Q: My sync is intermittent.
- A: If you have a solid sync sometimes but not others it means that you have intermittent sync. This is an issue that is troubleshot in much the same way as no sync. Make sure that you have ADSL micro filters installed on all of your phone devices. Make sure that there is no ADSL micro filter installed on the DSL modem. If these steps have been taken and the modem still falls out of sync attempt to try and isolate the line down while the modem is out of sync and see if it stays in sync after the isolation. To isolate the line you will have to disconnect all phones, fax and anything else that maybe connected to the phone line and plug the modem directly to the phone jack.
If your modem still syncs intermittently call Tech Support.
- Q: I can't browse to some websites like MySpace or MSNBC.
- A: On some computers, mainly Windows 2000/XP machines, connected to DSL modems in bridge mode, there might be a conflict in the MTU settings preventing a good DSL connection.
The MTU setting controls the maximum ethernet packet size your PC will send.
For PPPoE, your MaxMTU should be no more than 1492, to allow space for the 8 byte PPPoE "wrapper". For PPPoE, the stakes are high: if you get MTU wrong, you may not just be sub-optimal, things like uploading, or web pages, may stall, or not work at all!
Unless otherwise set, by default, Windows Server 2003, 2000 and XP use a fixed maximum transmission unit (MTU) size of 1500 bytes... which is too big for PPPoE.
WINDOWS VISTA USERS: Vista TCP tuning/tweaking is NOT advisable. The Vista TCP stack does a reasonable job of tuning the receive window dynamically, there are no known registry tweaks that would optimize Vista better than its default configuration.
WINDOWS XP/2000 USERS: The easiest thing would be to tell the customer to go tohttp://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php and download the TCP Optimizer.
LINUX USERS: This is a job for the ifconfig command (read the man page for ifconfig).
The official support document from Microsoft is: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283165
And from Apple: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2532