Click here to print this page!
Why can I not connect at 56K?
In recent years, phone companies have replaced most of the analog lines connecting their Central Offices (CO's) with digital equipment. Analog technology sends data as a continuous wave, which can persevere over long distances and adverse conditions, but may arrive distorted from its original form. Digital technology sends data as 0's and 1's and is more sensitive to interference, but when properly administrated will pass from point to point with 100% reliability. This greater reliability allows for higher speeds and is the basis behind 56k modems. The connection between your local Central Office and your house is still analog, however. Data you request from the Internet arrives at EvenLink's equipment in a digital form, and we pass it to a nearby CO, still fully digital. Provided the data reaches your local CO without being converted to analog anywhere along the way, these faster digital connections give you a faster download speed. Due to the many variables involved, the average "56k" connection actually falls in the range of 42k to 48k. Uploads from your computer are still limited to 33.6k, however, because data moving from analog to digital lines cannot take advantage of the faster speed. 

Here are some things to troubleshoot when this process breaks down:

1. If the data is converted to analog at any time before reaching your local CO, you will not get a 56k connection. Your modem will connect using the next best protocol, V.34 (28.8k / 33.6k). Phone companies are free to change your call routing at any time, so you could go from a 52k connection one day to a 28.8k connection the next day. 

2. The distance between you and your local CO affects whether you get a 56k connection, and the actual speed you get. In general you need to be within 18,000 feet, or about 3.5 miles. This is not physical distance but the total length of phone wire, which may not travel in a straight line. The closer you are, the better. If all other factors are equal, someone living next to a CO may connect in the 50's, while someone at the edge of this limit may connect only in the 30's. 

3. The quality of the phone line between you and your CO also affects your chances for 56k, and your actual connection speed. The phone line is not just what's in your house, but the lines on your street and in your neighborhood. Some phone companies will use multiple trunks in an area, and when the first, higher-quality trunk is full, calls may be moved to a second, lesser-quality trunk. Using a short length of phone cord between the wall jack and the modem, and disconnecting other devices from the line (cordless phones, fax machines, answering machines, surge suppressors, splitters, etc.) may improve your chances slightly. 

4. If you live in an area where more than one dial-up number is a local call, try dialing the other number.

5. Make sure your modem is using the most recent firmware or driver. This is done by contacting your modem or computer manufacturer or by checking their web page for updates. 56k technology is still evolving and some manufacturers release new code every couple months. As EvenLink upgrades its modems, you need to upgrade yours as well. Failure to do so could result in slower connection speeds, disconnections, and possibly the failure to connect at all. 

6. Check if your modem supports the V.90 standard, or K56Flex or X2. EvenLink supports V.90 and K56Flex. If your modem supports just X2, you will only be able to make a V.34 connection (28.8 / 33.6). You must upgrade the firmware or driver to V.90 to attempt 56k speeds. 

7. Sometimes using initialization strings will improve your connection. In those cases you will want to give our office a call.  Be sure you know what type of modem you have in your computer as it will speed up the troubleshooting process.

If you require any help or have any questions feel free to call our office.  We can be reached locally at 570-988-1800 in Sunbury or 717-274-3300 in Lebanon or outside the local calling area at 1-866-311-5900.  We can also be reached by email 24 hours a day at

Copying in part or whole without the express written permission of EvenLink is strictly prohibited.
Please send mail to for more information.