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[vox-tech] Weird ppp dialup problem -- switch to DSL?
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[vox-tech] Weird ppp dialup problem -- switch to DSL?



Hello, all.

Please let me share a weird ppp dialup problem
where failures to connect with a timeout started
gradually happening and getting more common early
this year, but really serious by early May,
when I might sometimes try ten or more times
without success with a 56K external modem,
Slackware 10.0, and ppp files which had given
no previous problems.

I tried calling 611, and they checked the telephone
line, confirming that it seemed fine (this was
at a time I had just made some unsuccessful
connection attempts).

Then, starting May 23, I was unable to make a
connection -- and looked into /var/log/messages.
One thing I noted was that sometimes the message
at the end of an unsuccessful ppp attempt was

    chat[1078]: alarm
    chat[1078]: Failed
    pppd[1076]: Exit

but sometimes

    chat[1056]: alarm
    chat[1056]: warning: alarm synchronization problem
    chat[1056]: Failed
    pppd[1054]: Exit

After a week of things like turning the modem
off and on, or rebooting the system, I tried
a hard reset -- maybe what made the difference,
since I then could get online maybe every other
attempt from either DOS 6.22 ("Try everything") or
my accustomed Linux.

I'm still getting timeouts at least 50% of the
time, which makes me wonder about what could
be going on -- the "warning: alarm synchronization
problem" happens on some ppp timeouts, but others
are just the "alarm - Failed - Exit" type.

I've been advised that the modem and the telephone
line are usual suspects -- although I haven't
generally noticed lots of line noise on voice
calls.

A larger question is whether I might want to
delve deeper into debugging this, or maybe
shift to DSL.

But I'm curious what might be happening,
and thank anyone who might have experience
or educated guesses on this.

Most appreciatively,

Margo Schulter
mschulter@calweb.com

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