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Computing for Fun
DIAL-UP AND REMAIN CONNECTED FOREVER
Published in PC World West Africa, January 2002
This month, we bring you an unusual utility that could be a boon to all Dial-Up Network (DUN) users. The utility claims to get you connected to the Internet forever just like the Broadband, DSL, and Wireless connections that are “always-on”. Actually, you’ll not want to be connected forever using DUN, unless your telephone usage is free. Nevertheless, all DUN users are anxious to consider any means of reducing the pain and frustration that comes with repeated dialling to get online, especially at peak periods. There is also the annoyance caused when your ISP’s server drops your connection suddenly in the middle of downloading a file or when surfing an interesting site.
If you complain to your ISP about this, you’ll most likely be told that the frequent disconnection you have is due to faulty telephone lines. When there is a bit of noise in your telephone line, it causes your connection to drop. But that is only part of the story. The truth is that many ISPs do not have enough lines for their clients and at busy times, it is Herculean task to get online through them. This reminds one of stories about some ISPs in other lands who operate from their bedrooms with only one telephone line!! Fortunately, we do not have such ISPs here - thanks to stringent regulations by our National Communications Commission (NCC).
The Dailer2000 Utility
Dialer2000 is the utility that will get you online easily and keep your connection alive for as long as possible. It will do an automatic redial for you and reconnect you automatically when you are dropped. In addition, Dailer2000 will monitor your time online and keep a log for you. You can download the utility easily from www.techlogic.qc.ca/. A free trial version is offered before you buy. You’ll require a minimum of 32 MB of RAM to run it in a stable Windows environment. Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000 and Windows Me are supported.
When you launch a successfully installed version, you’ll be greeted by an impressive interface as in Figure 1. If you pull down the Menu and Options on the interface, you’ll find a long list of useful features there. They include - Alternate Phone Numbers configuration, Keep Alive Connection, Auto Reconnect, Redial, Email Check, Email Notification, Launch Bar, Synchronise Time, Time Tracker and many more. We will look at a few of these features to illustrate the power of Dialer2000.
Defining Alternative Phone Numbers
Alternate Phone Number
There is no magic about Dialer2000’s ability to maintain and manage your connection to the Internet. Windows have a dialler and its requester pops up when your connection is broken. This allows you to redial with the same number. With Dialer2000 you are automatically connected when a connection is broken. It also automatically dials all your numbers in sequence provided you enter them in the configuration. This useful feature alone will endear you to Dailer2000. With it you can continue to do other work on your PC while the utility dials all your connection numbers for you, in the background, until it gets a free line.
To configure Dialer2000 to automatically dial all your connection numbers in sequence, pull down the Menu from the main interface window and click Alternate Phone Numbers. Then click Define and you’ll be taken to a dialog box to enter your connection phone numbers - one phone number per line. This process is illustrated in Figures 2 and 3.
Alternate Phone Number Configuration
Keep Alive Connection
A disconnection may be caused by your inactivity while online. Many ISPs have Inactivity Timer installed in their servers so that when your connection is inactive for one reason or another, the timer disconnects you. This is fair enough because your ISP wants to prevent you from hugging a line you are not using and give other users a chance to get online. The problem is that the ISP’s inactivity timer is not intuitive enough to know that you may be working on other things indirectly related to your surfing, such as looking for information to complete a form online. During such inactivity, Dialer2000 sends a “ping” signal to your server to show that you are busy. But ISPs are no fools. They have a means of detecting “ping” signals. Dialer2000 has one up on them in that regard – it also provides you with a “Web Keep Alive”. This stimulates a Web access. To activate this feature you have to enter a given Web address in your configuration. All these “cat and mouse” games would not have been necessary if, like other countries, we have the “Broadband, DSL, and Wireless connections” that enable Internet users to get fast access and “always-on” connections. The “ping” and “web keep alive” are all clean subterfuges or tricks for getting online in difficult conditions. Go to page 2>>>
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