Frequently Asked Questions
What does the connect speed really mean?
The general rule is that speed is governed by the speed of the slowest component. However modem speed can have a positive effect if it best matches the level of other technology in the system or network. Ie: Though a "connect 115.2" message may make you feel warm and fuzzy it does NOT mean that is the speed it will run at throughout the session and it can actually slow the overall link down if it outstrips the quality of the phone line or systems being connected. There are a series of links culled from other sources that will help give ample info re modems and the "state" of the "art" you can view them now by clicking here. A good rule of thumb is dont try and run a high speed connection on a modem that runs faster than the phone line, UART (speed/performance of the com port or the user workstation itself). For example two 33.6s connect across a poor quality line such as those in some rural areas ( a good example is the Lafontaine area near Penetang and some areas farther north ), the link is established at 115.2 or 33.6 yet the actual transfer rate is poor. Reason when the ppp link comes up the data moves too fast for the line to handle and errors occur, The modems, having error correction begin to do so, the link slows to a crawl with all the "corrected" data. Solutions? slow the modems down to a point where they can negotiate the poor "terrain". Similarly some low end "Internal clone" 33.6es will cause sufficient noise and incompatibility or internal bottlenecks to draw them to a slower speed than their 28.8 or 14.4 counterparts.
What is the best or most compatible modem for Thunderstar Dial-up? And why?
We suggest people use an external modem (preferably Practical peripherals, Motorola, Hays or GVC) wherever possible. Because externals run off of the serial ports which have been integral part of pc architecture since the first pcs appeared on the scene. They almost always install easier and generally perform faster and with more reliability than their internal counterparts which place a heavier demand upon system resources not to mention the users frustration at getting the @#;!! thing to install correctly (with correct IRQ settings and memory settings that dont conflict with other internal devices). Generally an external sidesteps all of this and as it is an independent unit it will initialize and perform faster and with greater precision than an internal.
I need tech support where do I go?
Go to the service area or support link from the main home page and follow the instructions to obtain support or "troubleshoot" the problem directly. If no result call in the next business day to arrange for service or help via phone from a technician. But first read through this FAQ and it may handle the problem. A trip through the definition list on the service page probably would be a good Idea if your new to all of this. Not knowing the words and terms covered in the above link can make it enormously complex when in fact Internet access is simple easy and no longer dominated by a priesthood who "know it all"
What is Thunderstar?
Thunderstar is a wide area Network consisting of a main master server site based in Northern Ontario with dialup pops aggregated across the continent spanning 3 different shared networks in Canada and one in the US. It is made up of a number of servers and routers that allow access gateways directly onto the Internet for dial up and dedicated single users as well as corporate networks. Currently Thunderstar has over 1500 subscribers and several corporate "intranet" connections allowing local area Networks to access each other and the world via the Internet.
My computer connects and then disconnects or goes slow and crawls
The problem is the modems are just fine but too fast for the line in your area. This applies mostly in more remote areas but occasionally in an older area of the local Tel co (phone system). The modems will connect but when data transfer begins the line cant handle the speed and errors occur, the modems attempt error correction at too high a speed and more errors gum up the line and so on...eventually it clogs or the link drops. To handle simply slow down the modem AND verify the settings as correct for your area!. The moral of this story is that though the 33.6 or 115.2 port speed (NOT a true connect or transfer speed) displayed makes you feel warm and fuzzy the lack of practical results and slow speed you get from it will leave you cold as ice. In most cases simplifying the connection by slowing it down and ensure software compression in win95 or some other speed killer such as a double spaced drive, or worse yet, a soft ram or ram doubler is removed will handle!
Ive lost my settings what do I do?
Check the support or service links or click here for the settings that correspond to your dialing area.
My mail locked up and I get a mail drop busy pop3 error
The reason for this is that your last session was never closed or ended and the link was dropped either on purpose or by accident BEFORE the mailbox/session was closed in the mail client software. To Handle simply call in to tech support or wait until later in the day for the box to reset. All open boxes are closed 3 times a day by the system administrator.
I dial in and it connects but cant find Thunderstar or any other site yet its connected.
No the server is simply not being contacted. This is either too fast a modem speed for a line, a wrong or missing setting (USUALLY the gateway setting is incorrect) or the modem needs a total cold boot. Internal modems are usually somewhat slower and more buggy as they dont really interface with the system architecture as well as an external modem does. Externals use a reserved channel for the RS232 ports (the 9 or 25 pin port an external modem plugs into on the back of your pc) where as internals are not always as good a comparability match for some pc's, particularly the no name clones coming in from the far east as they usually are built from random parts (from a number of different manufacturers who generally could care less if the match is perfect or not). To handle Verify your settings, reboot and retry the connection.
I have done the above handling and the problem persists?
There may be errors in the file system not allowing TCP/IP (the dialer and numeric interface numbers that point the machines at one another on the net) to load properly. This is generally remedied by a scandisk and defrag of the hard drive followed by a "cold reboot" of the system by clicking on the start button and telling it to "shut down", then select "turn of the computer".
My settings are ok but it doesnt recognize my password on the dialer or the mail
Verify your password hasnt been changed by accident and re-enter the correct one. If it does not work after this is done call in to our support service.
I had to re-install windows what do I do?
Reinstall from the original Thunderstar disks or run your system through "Internet setup Wizard" or "get on the Net" and ensure all settings are correct. Normally you will not need gateway and DNS numbers.
I get a 404 error and cant get into a website
The address or link is incorrect on the originating page or the link to which it points is down or no longer there. Verify the address or try again later.
I get very slow response when I ftp or download files from sites
The remote site is slow or under heavy usage or usage somewhere between Thunderstar and the remote network is heavy. In all cases try again later.If this persists or is sweeping across all sites call in for service.
An ftp site fails to allow me access.
This is a problem related to DNS and may need attention on our site or the DNS / GATEWAY / DOMAIN settings in your dialer need to be reset or checked.
The modem returns a ring and no pickup and I cant get on-line.
First, please check the phone number to make sure it is the correct dialup number, if it is not correct please call our office and obtain the correct number. This problem can also result from the very occasional time when a modem "hangs up" on our site. IE: it fails to reset its self upon disconnection from the last user. This is usually caused by a non standard log off (the user hung up while data was still moving) or the last user was using an incorrect setting or a cheaper clone modem (usually internal).
I get hung up on while in IRC.
Either there was no posting going on and the system timed out due to inactivity or the user has one of several models of US robotics internal modems. Some USRs per advisory notices from USR have the nasty habit of hanging up when text is traveling in 2 directions at the same time.
I get cut off after about 20 min or so.
Usually this is an inactivity timeout where the server recognizes that the user is not interacting and closes the connection to make the port and modem available for another user. Quite often this will happen when you are reading a lengthy e-mail or webpage, or writing a letter. If this happens when youre writing an e-mail, keep writing and when youre finished just click on the send amp; receive button. This should prompt the computer to ask if youd like to connect to send the mail. Just click on yes and it should dial back up without losing the message.
Whats the difference between DSL, HighSpeed, and Broadband?
DSL, HighSpeed, and Broadband are different names for the same technology. DSL or "Digital Subscriber Line" allows a computer to communicate over telephone line by splitting the signal to operate on a different wave length. HighSpeed is term used for any internet connection service that is greater then 128kb, and Broadband is a catagory name for any connection needing an Cat5 (ethernet) cable to communicate.