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A common sense guide to the Internet...

Old Hardware

Rebuilding a mid 1990's era computer for a bit of fun and want to connect it to the internet? Look carefully at the specifications of your hardware...

Serial Ports

If you are are resurrecting an older machine you should check your serial port to see what speed it is capable of working at.

Quite a number of the early Pentium based systems still had 8250 UARTs which usually become unstable at speeds higher than 9600 baud. Running high speed (28k8 and above) modems reliably through these older chips, is impossible.

In order to connect to the Internet at the highest possible speed your computer needs a High Speed Serial Port using a 16550 UART integrated circuit, if an older chip is installed it must be changed.

Some controller cards used a "compatible" UART instead of the 16550 UART. These were supposed to work like a 16550 UART, but were not really the same. This resulted in lockups and dropouts in use.

One way around this for Win 95/98 was to reduce the size of or shut off the FIFO buffers altogether. See Windows DUN

Modem Issues

Another problem encountered when using older hardware... with some modems, particularly internal ones the connection appeared "unstable" from the beginning with the connection often dropped on file downloads.

If you can, replace the modem.

It was found in Win 95/98 that reducing the size of the FIFO Buffers (or turning them off altogether) helped make the connection more stable. See Windows DUN

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