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Apple iMac Modem Issues

Connection Problems

Whenever I try to connect to my Internet service provider (ISP) I either cannot connect, or my connection is dropped after a few minutes. What can I do to connect reliably?

Apple has posted a modified modem script for the iMac Internal 56k modem that will result in more reliable connections. The Read Me for that script is as follows:

iMac Internal 56k (v.34 Only):

There are many factors that may cause an attempted modem connection to fail. One of the more common causes is that the phone lines being used to make the connection are too noisy to sustain a connection of speeds above 33.6 kbps. In some cases the modem will not connect at all, while in other cases the modem will connect, only to drop the connection after a few minutes. If you are having difficulty making and maintaining connections, try the iMac Internal 56k (v.34 Only) script. This script forces the modem to connect at 33.6 kbps or lower speeds. These connections are more robust in situations where the phone line quality is marginal.

Installing the iMac Internal 56k (v.34 Only) Modem Script:

The modem script must be placed inside the Modem Scripts folder. The path to the Modem Scripts folder is:

System Folder / Extensions / Modem Scripts

Open the Modem control panel and select the script you wish to use. It is not necessary to restart your iMac in order to use the new script.

This CCL modem script can be found in the Apple Software Updates site.

Initialisation String

What is the initialisation string for the iMac Internal 56K modem?

iMac Internal 56K: AT&FE0Q0V1X4&C1&K3S95=1S7=75S0=0\13

iMac Internal 56K (v.34 Only): AT&FE0Q0V1X4&C1&K3S95=1S7=75S0=0+MS=11\13

Troubleshooting "No Dial Tone"

1. Check the telephone cable is correctly connected. Note this modem is incompatible with digital/PBX phone lines.

2. Check the Modem Control Panel is correctly configured. It should be set as follows :

  • Model - iMac 56k internal
  • Sound - On
  • Dialing - Tone

3. Open the Remote Access control panel. Enter a name (user ID), password, and telephone number. Inaccurate entries will not prevent detection of a dial tone; however, if a prefix like "9" must be dialed to reach an outside line, enter it before the telephone number, followed by a comma. Click "Connect" and listen for a dial tone, number tones, or handshaking (squealing sound). If heard, or if the "Status" field ever shows "Starting PPP," "Starting network protocols," "Communicating at 24000 bps," or any other such indicator that appears after acquiring a dial tone, the problem is fixed. If it is convenient to perform step 9 (test the line with a telephone), do so now; otherwise, proceed through the steps in order.

4. Open the Extensions Manager control panel. Select "iMac All" or "Mac OS 8.5 All" from the pop-up menu shown. Future Mac OS revisions will introduce other name or version changes but the correct "All" choice should be clear. Ensure that iMac Modem Extension is among the enabled extensions listed (enabled extensions show an "x" in the adjacent checkbox). Restart the Computer. Try 3 again.

5. Open the Modem control panel. Click the "Ignore dial tone" checkbox to enable it. Remote Access will no longer check for a dial tone before dialing out, proceeding instead as if one is present. Try 3 again.

6. Reset the Parameter RAM: shut the computer down, then power it on and immediately press "Option-Command-P-R" (four keyboard keys, all pressed together), keeping them pressed until the computer startup chime repeats at least once after the initial chime. Again try the test in number 3.

7. AT command troubleshooting speaks more directly to the modem using a terminal emulator and the Serial comm-toolbox tool. By bypassing Remote Access, it addresses the possibility that Remote Access has become damaged. Open AppleWorks or ClarisWorks (different names for the same program), select a Communications document, and click "OK." If an alert says that no terminal tools are available, reinstall the program from the iMac Install CD. A blank, untitled communications document (terminal window) should now appear. Choose "Connection" from the Settings menu to open the Connection Settings window. Choose "Serial Tool" from the "Method" pop-up menu. The other settings should be correct by default, but ensure that "Internal Modem" is selected. Click "OK." Choose "Open Connection" from the Session menu. Enter AT&F, ATDT, and ATDT [telephone number]. Note the clock in the upper-left corner of the document window: it must be advancing. If it is not advancing:

  • Repeat the previous AppleWorks steps, starting with the Settings menu.
  • Quit and restart AppleWorks, then repeat the previous AppleWorks steps.
  • Reinstall AppleWorks.
  • Skip to step 12 and continue down from there.

If the clock is advancing and no characters appear in the terminal window as you type, the computer can't see the modem at all. This can mean:

  • Another application or extension is using the modem. If the previous troubleshooting steps were correctly followed, this possibility has been eliminated.
  • The modem is dead, unseated from its internal socket, or some other internal hardware failure has occurred. This conclusion cannot be drawn until all the software possibilities are exhausted.
  • The system software is corrupt.

Read these 3 options carefully, then choose one:

  • If a dial tone was acquired using AT commands, proceed to the next step.
  • If characters could be entered but no dial tone was acquired, skip to step 9 now.
  • If no characters could be entered in the terminal window, skip to step 11 now.

8. Because AppleWorks can obtain a dial tone but Remote Access cannot, locate and trash "Modem Preferences" and "Remote Access Connections," located as follows:

System Folder : Preferences : Modem Preferences
System Folder : Preferences : Remote Access : Remote Access Connections

Then repeat steps 2 and 3. If it still doesn't work, it could be argued that the Remote Access components alone have become corrupted and require reinstallation, but because they have thus far allowed themselves to be opened and configured, performing step 14 now is preferred.

9. Disconnect the telephone cable from the modem and plug it into a telephone, then listen for a dial tone with the telephone receiver. If a dial tone cannot be heard, there is a problem with the outlet or the cable. Try a different cable and outlet.

10. Unplug any other telephones, answering machines or fax machines from the line, so the computer is the only thing on the line. Then retest as per step 3, using the Remote Access control panel.

If that works, one or more of the removed devices was hurting the line quality (thus affecting the dial tone) or pushing an already poor line past the breaking point. There's not much that can be done except attach those devices to different outlets or experiment with other devices, cables, splitters, and combinations thereof. Sometimes the inside or outside home wiring is at fault, requiring an experienced telephone technician to diagnose.

11. Clean restore the operating system. This is the final step. Instead of manually disabling the existing System Folder, use Apple Restore (at the default settings) from the iMac Restore CD, to create the clean restore. Then repeat steps 2 and 3 to retest. If the problem is fixed, good job!

If the problem continues, the iMac will probably need service. But first, you may wish to re-enable the old System Folder:

  • Boot from one of the two orange ("Poppy," to be precise) system CD's.
  • Trash the System Folder at the root level of the hard drive. The whole folder.
  • Open the "Original Items" folder at the root level of the hard drive. Locate the System Folder within and drag it on top of the hard drive icon (and thus to the root level of the hard drive). Then open and close the System Folder to ensure it becomes blessed, represented by a happy Mac icon superimposed on the System Folder icon. Restart, and manually eject the system CD after the startup chime.
  • The "Original Items" folder still retains all of the bundled third-party applications that originally shipped with the computer. Unless you had trashed any, each will have their freshly installed duplicates outside of the "Original Items" folder. Either the duplicates or the originals can be trashed, but be careful not to trash any of your own documents or other items that might have been saved to any of those locations.

Troubleshooting "Modem Not Responding"

1. Check the Modem Control Panel is correctly configured. It should be set as follows :

  • Model - iMac 56k internal
  • Sound - On
  • Dialing - Tone
  • "Ignore dial tone" is not enabled.

If no changes were necessary here, skip to step 3.

2. Open the Remote Access control panel. Enter a name (user ID), password, and telephone number. Inaccurate entries will not cause this symptom or otherwise interfere with modem response. Click "Connect".

If the "modem is not responding" alert recurs, continue to the next step.

If the "could not detect a dial tone" alert occurs, see above. This represents an instance when this symptom is actually a no-dial-tone problem (because there was no dial tone but "ignore dial tone" was enabled).

3. Open the Extensions Manager control panel. Select "iMac All" or "Mac OS 8.5 All" from the pop-up menu shown. Future Mac OS revisions will introduce other name or version changes but the correct "All" choice should be clear. Ensure that iMac Modem Extension is among the enabled extensions listed (enabled extensions show an "x" in the adjacent checkbox). Repeat Step 2, if it now connects then it should be fine.

4. Though the fax, telephony, and other 3rd party extensions were disabled in Extensions Manager, certain Chooser settings they might have established could still reside in PRAM. Reset the Parameter RAM: shut the computer down, then power it on and immediately press "Option-Command-P-R" (four keyboard keys, all pressed together), keeping them pressed until the computer startup chime repeats at least once after the initial chime. Repeat Step 2, if it now connects then it should be fine.

5. AT command troubleshooting speaks more directly to the modem using a terminal emulator and the Serial comm-toolbox tool. By bypassing Remote Access, it addresses the possibility that Remote Access has become damaged. Open AppleWorks or ClarisWorks (different names for the same program), select a Communications document, and click "OK." If an alert says that no terminal tools are available, reinstall the program from the iMac Install CD. A blank, untitled communications document (terminal window) should now appear. Choose "Connection" from the Settings menu to open the Connection Settings window. Choose "Serial Tool" from the "Method" pop-up menu. The other settings should be correct by default, but ensure that "Internal Modem" is selected. Click "OK." Choose "Open Connection" from the Session menu. Enter AT&F, ATDT, and ATDT [telephone number]. Note the clock in the upper-left corner of the document window: it must be advancing. If it is not advancing:

  • Repeat the previous AppleWorks steps, starting with the Settings menu.
  • Quit and restart AppleWorks, then repeat the previous AppleWorks steps.
  • Reinstall AppleWorks.
  • Skip to step 7.

Important: If the clock is advancing and no characters appear in the terminal window as you type, the computer can't see the modem at all. This can mean:

  • Another application or extension is using the modem. If the previous troubleshooting steps were correctly followed, this possibility has been eliminated.
  • The modem is dead, unseated from its internal socket, or some other internal hardware failure has occurred. This conclusion cannot be drawn until all the software possibilities are exhausted.
  • The system software is corrupt.

Read these 2 options carefully, then choose one:

If no characters could be entered in the terminal window, skip to step 7 now.

If the modem responded to any AT commands, proceed to the next step. Furthermore, if you tested for a dial tone but were unable to acquire one, finish the testing here (proceed to the next step), then go to the previous tip "Troubleshooting "No Dial Tone"

6.Because AppleWorks can see the modem but Remote Access cannot, locate and trash "Modem Preferences" and "Remote Access Connections," located as follows:

System Folder : Preferences : Modem Preferences
System Folder : Preferences : Remote Access : Remote Access Connections

Then repeat steps 1 & 2. If it still doesn't work, it could be argued that the Remote Access components alone have become corrupted and require reinstallation, but because they have thus far allowed themselves to be opened and configured, performing step 7 now is preferred.

7.Clean restore the operating system. This is the final step. Instead of manually disabling the existing System Folder, use Apple Restore (at the default settings) from the iMac Restore CD, to create the clean restore.

Then repeat steps 1 & 2 to retest. If the problem is fixed, good job!

If the problem continues, the iMac will probably need service. But first, you may wish to re-enable the old System Folder:

  • Boot from one of the two orange ("Poppy," to be precise) system CD's.
  • Trash the System Folder at the root level of the hard drive. The whole folder.
  • Open the "Original Items" folder at the root level of the hard drive. Locate the System Folder within and drag it on top of the hard drive icon (and thus to the root level of the hard drive). Then open and close the System Folder to ensure it becomes blessed, represented by a happy Mac icon superimposed on the System Folder icon. Restart, and manually eject the system CD after the startup chime.
  • The "Original Items" folder still retains all of the bundled third-party applications that originally shipped with the computer. Unless you had trashed any, each will have their freshly installed duplicates outside of the "Original Items" folder. Either the duplicates or the originals can be trashed, but be careful not to trash any of your own documents or other items that might have been saved to any of those locations.