Broadband 'Free Modem' Offer Technicality!

  spuds 23:22 31 May 2004

Recently there as been a surge of Free Modem offers to new subscribers of the 'broadband' system by various ISP's.A question as arisen, which I would appreciate further opinions on from perhaps some of our learned forum users.

I took up the offer, as did many other people, of one of these 'free modem' packages, and was duly supplied with a Alcatel/Thomson SpeedTouch 330 modem. I have experienced countless disconnection problems and general slowness of the internet service and my computer, since I installed the supplied modem.Contacting Thomson support I was informed that there was a known problem with certain motherboards which contained the VIA/ALI/SIS chipsets. Experimenting with advice given by Thomson and other sources, I have not been able to solve the problem.

Re-contacting my ISP for further advice, I have been informed that the SpeedTouch 330 modem will not work with an AMD processor and the above chipsets. The ISP as adviced that I should purchase and install an internal PCI broadband modem card or a PCI USB card,as this may solve the problem.Initially it was suggested that I connect the modem via a self powered usb hub, but this made very little difference.

Considering that I purchased the package as a complete working system, and now being told that the supplied SpeedTouch 330 is not compatible with my computer, as made me consider what other peoples thoughts are on this matter.I know a number of other people using the similar chipsets and processor that I am using, are having the same disconnection and other similar problems.The PCA forum and other help/advice forums have mentioned this problem, and others have sought advice in correcting the problem, but like me, are still in a quandry as to the way in resolving the matter, especially as a twelve month contract is involved. Terms of 'not fit for the purpose' comes to mind. Sensible thoughts on this matter appreciated. I have posted this in ConsumerWatch, for a more general opinion, but if the FR desires, he can move it to the Helproom.

  Dipso 23:56 31 May 2004

I have been very lucky. I purchased the Speedtouch 330 when I first signed up with Virgin and have had no problems installing it on 2 PC's since then. I was aware of the VIA problems prior to purchase and had bookmarked a few links just in case I experienced problems but I didn't have any.

I am well aware though that many other people are experiencing these VIA/Speedtouch issues and have contributed to several threads including a recent one by chugby click here on this same issue.

I feel that the ISP's should make you aware of this potential problem and at the very least advise you how to find out if you have a VIA chipset prior to supplying the modem and maybe offer an alternative if you are likely to have problems. The Speedtouch isn't the only USB modem available after all.

As you say, PCI modems are not known to cause the same problems so you would think ISP's would offer these as an alternative, they tend to be cheaper in most cases too. When I was first signing up for ADSL, one of the providers did have the option of PCI or USB but this is unusual. I suppose a lot of people are not happy opening the case and the idea of Plug and Play is appealing.

I don't think it is fair to criticise the modem (as has been done in another thread on here) as it provides a very adequate connection for me and many others, but ISP's must be aware of the growing number of people experiencing this problem and offer an alternative.

  spuds 09:40 01 Jun 2004

The looks and style of the SpeedTouch is superb, and I have no problems with that, it is just the inner workings that have thrown up a few discouraging errors. Tiscali[my ISP] have now issued a fact finding way of identifying the board and chipset, but this information was given to late in my case, and I would suspect with many other users. Originally Tiscali informed me that they were supplying me with a Sagem modem, but on arrival the SpeedTouch had been substituted.

At present I have taken the matter further with Tiscali, as it was not my intentions to buy a package, only to be told at a later stage, that the package, especially the modem is not compatible with my system.Had I had known that the modem would have caused a serious problem, then I would have perhaps considered different things or even tranfering my ISP.

  TBH1 12:32 01 Jun 2004

I have been on tiscali broadband for maybe 6 weeks now, with the free Sagem modem and have had pproblems with it disconnecting; it does give me a warning saying it will disconnect in so many seconds and a little thingy saying 'stay connected' . This is OK when I am sitting in front of screen but when I'm downloading or even listening to the online radio, its a bit of a pain.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe its not the modem but the way tiscali work - - -I am gonna pop an email to them when I get home.

  Dipso 15:40 01 Jun 2004

Can you not resolve this in IE by going Tools > Internet > Options > Connections > Settings > Advanced > untick "Disconnect when idle for...minutes"/"Disconnect when connection may no longer be needed", click OK?

  TBH1 15:50 01 Jun 2004

Dipso - I've checked all that - -as I said, it won't wait til I'm "idle" anyway, can be in the middle of a download and sometimes it will just disconnect without as much as a 'by-your-leave' and other times it will say itd gonna disconnect in so many seconds, click stay connected to, well, stay connected.

  nkt2000 17:08 01 Jun 2004

I have had a Speetouch 330 BB modem for a year now and have just bought a new computer. The new one has an Asus K8V motherboard with an AMD 64 3200+ processor. I have had not problems with either the old or new machine but I have always noticed that the connection closes sometimes. I do not know when this happens as it has never been whilst I am at the machine. Usually, it is when I have left the machine on for several hours and then gone back and found it disconnected. I thought this was just the usual vaguaries of the connected world

  spuds 17:57 01 Jun 2004

TBH1.. Go to the Tiscali on-line help and support F&Q, there is some information about Sagem problems.

nkt2000..The Asus A7V motherboard contains the problem chipset.Not sure about the Asus K8V,but if you run Everest [ex Aida] this should give your the full mobo information.If it contains the VIA/ALI/SIS chipset, then you may have diconnection problems.

Spoke to a nice chap called Bob [not allowed to give his real name] this morning, at an Indian call centre. I asked if it was possible for Tiscali to supply me with a Sagem modem, as this was what they were going to do originally. Apparently, they have been having problems with the Sagem on certain computer systems.He did offer to do an on-line check [after he suggested that I contact BT for a line check],but when I informed him that I had a computer print-out letter, stating that my computer system was not compatible with the free modem, he and his supervisor was at a loss as to how to proceed.Eventually, both he and I agreed that a PCI card would need fitting. I queried the extra cost of replacement parts and perhaps labour charges, due to the fact that I had bought a package deal,with the end result that he could not give me any answers. Matter as now been referred back to Tiscali at Milton Keynes. Should add that Bob was rather concerned that I had been using the service for six months,and I had only just found out about the problem!!!.

  TBH1 19:34 01 Jun 2004

dipso - -just bin there mate and your right, both boxes ticked - - so have unticked them - though still cannot understand it disconnecting when the connection was obviously being used during downloads.

Any, will see how this goes.

  anchor 20:28 01 Jun 2004

The problem with a Via chipset and Speedtouch modem was discussed by Leo49 in the Spring of 2002. After much trouble he did resolve it, (cannot recall how).

  Dipso 21:19 01 Jun 2004

and a few BIOS changes click here

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