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ADSL Broadband

By jardinier ·
So many people I know run into all kinds of problems after connecting to broadband, regardless of the ISP.

Complaints range from no noticeable increase in speed over dial-up, to general erratic performance.

I have been advised of one thing. Ethernet connection is far superior to USB. One techie told me that Windows 98/ADSL/USB was not a happy combination.

After talking to a number of people, the consensus is that USB on Win 98 is unpredictable in general in terms of compatibility with various hardware.

So I would appreciate any input to this discussion, from personal experiences to sound technical advice.

Thus I may be better equipped to help various people resolve their broadband problems.

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If I recall correctly

by JamesRL In reply to ADSL Broadband

USB was not supported in the initial release of Win98, only in the SE version which came some time after. Some companies did write their own USB drivers for Win 98 and for Win NT, and the quality of these drivers is highly variable.

As for general ADSL performance issues, I too don't see the increase I had hoped for. Distance from the central office may be a factor in my case. I do recommend using some of the ADSL testing /tuning sites to ensure that your TCP/IP settings are optimal for ADSL. I do think that the cheapo ADSL modems some companies supply may also be a factor.

After having done all of this, my own DSL connection is at least 3 or 4 times faster than dialup on downloads, but not near the greater than ten times theoretical limits given to me in the marketing hype. Its good enough for my usage.

James

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by Choppit In reply to If I recall correctly

USB has been supported since Windows95(B) as an optional component.

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Windows 95 B and USB.

by jardinier In reply to

Have you actually tried using USB on 95 B?

The reason I ask this is that although the 95 B disc states "With USB Support," I have been advised that in fact USB does not work with this version of Windows.

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In Microsoft's own words....

by JamesRL In reply to Windows 95 B and USB.

SYMPTOMS
You may experience intermittent problems with Windows 95 OEM Service Release (OSR) 2.1 or OSR 2.5 when you are using external Universal Serial Bus (USB) hubs. These problems may include: ? The computer stops responding (hangs) while it is entering Suspended mode.
? The computer hangs while it is resuming.
? The computer may experience problems during shutdown.

RESOLUTION
Windows 95 OSR 2.1 and OSR 2.5 provides basic USB support that was developed as the technology was first emerging. Based on today's more mature USB technology, there are a number of limitations with USB support in Windows 95 OSR 2.1 and Windows 95 OSR 2.5.

These limitations were addressed in Microsoft Windows 98 and carried forward to Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition. Addressing these limitations required several architectural changes that are not portable back to Windows 95 OSR 2.1 or Windows 95 OSR 2.5.

Microsoft recommends that customers who require a more robust USB environment upgrade to Windows 98 or Windows 98 Second Edition.
STATUS
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

I also found on this page:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;253756

That USB support was only available on Windows 95 on later OEM versions(OSR= OEM Service Release), not the commercial versions.

In any case, the articles generally recommend that you go to 98.

James

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My experiences

by Choppit In reply to ADSL Broadband

I always recommend users to use Ethernet for broadband simply because I have more confidence in the industries ability to write solid drivers for Ethernet NICs. I'm also more comfortable with a hardware encoded MAC address and, in the case of a software NIC the CPU overhead is higher.

The question of reliability is largely dependent on area. At home I use cable, at work I use ADSL. In comparison the ADSL is faster (probably due to lower contention) but less reliable. During the last qtr of 2003 I measured ADSL uptime at 25% although we ran at around 95% for the last qtr of 2004. Luckily, I'd made the decision to implement a load balancer, which seamlessly failed over to ISDN. Given the choice of copper and fibre, fibre always wins in my book. The only reason I don't use fibre at work is because it's not available (even though it's only 1 mile away)

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What I have found

by jdclyde In reply to ADSL Broadband

First, I have been on DSL at home for three years now and have only been down twice in all that time.
(bad storms took lines down)
According to http://www.dsltools.com my upload is about 150 and my download is about 312.

USB, most have usb1 which is slower still.

Also, if you use the USB, it is MUCH harder if you wish to add additional systems.

They should have a DSL/Cable router connect for them, and connect to that with ethernet. I would NEVER connect to the network with the USB.

Have heard more linksys issues with DSL than the fact that people used a USB connection though.

I have had best luck with Netgear.

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My experience, such as it is

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to ADSL Broadband

I've got a usb connection direct to my cable modem. Originally I used 98, and I had a number of difficulties with it just dropping out. The only way I could get it back was a reboot. I bunged a spare copy of NT 2000 on and initially I had a number of problems with it unplugging the USB all by itself. Once I verified that my mouse hadn't developed an irrational dislike for me, a driver update for my portable sorted it out. Been without problems for about four months solid now, well USB ones anyway.

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My take

by TheChas In reply to ADSL Broadband

Julian,

I could not be happier with my DSL service.

The DSL modem I have does not have a USB option.

One thing I discovered when I was researching DSL service is that most problems come from using a modem other than the modems supported by your carrier.

As to Windows 98 and USB devices in general, that is a different story.

I have 2 USB thumb drives that do not work with my W98 system.
The problem here is not so much Windows 98 as it is the USB port drivers.
The "best" work-around for an older PC running Windows 98 is to install a USB 2.0 card.
This takes care of the obsolete chip-set on the motherboard and the problems that the older USB controller has dealing with newer USB devices.

Chas

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USB drivers

by jardinier In reply to My take

Thanks Chas. That is also the opinion that was expressed strongly to me by my mentor Patrick Li.

The drivers are the problem.

However I did not know that USB 2 cards would work on older systems.

I was going to install a USB 1.1 card, but on your advice, after confirming your opinion with Patrick, I will use a USB 2.

And when I finally climb inside this particular computer, I will install a second 4.3 GB SCSI HDD of which I have two spares.

However, being a brand-name computer (Compaq workstation) naturally it is impossible to install additional drives without just about dis-assembling the computer.

But I am not complaining. I paid $AU 25 for the computer, and it has served me well for almost a year.

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