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TCFN is a nonprofit organization that uses Internet technologies to bring people together in communities of shared interest or need. We've been linking the people of Minneapolis, St Paul and neighboring communities since 1995.
Twin Cities Free-Net Help Center
Accessing the Free-Net
FAQ on Communication Problems
With the variety of modems and connection types, problems connecting with a service are inevitable. Once the problem is solved, it usually stays solved. This FAQ may answer some of your questions about problems while connecting (or connected with) with the Free-Net.
* Tutorial for Communications Terminal Software Setup
* Download Eudora Light 3.0 for dialup e-mail
* Using FTP to transfer files
* Why do I get "tcb: allocation error" when I dial up?
* Why is my connection dropped by the remote server?
* Why is my telnet connection to TCFN so slow?
* How do I setup Netscape so I can telnet to Free-Net?
* Look here to find & download internet software
* Why does the Free-Net modem take so long to connect?
Tutorial for Communications Terminal Software Setup
The following are general instructions for setting your communications terminal software to communicate correctly with the Twin Cities Free-Net computer. There is no guarantee that these will work in every case, though they should suffice for most modems that use the Hayes AT command set.
If you have the Windows 3.x Terminal program, you will be able to follow directions for setting that software to the preferred settings. If you do use these instructions for setting up Windows 3.x Terminal, then before doing any setup, start with a new Terminal configuration file. This is done by selecting File | New. When you have made all changes, then select File | Save As. If you have other communications terminal software, you can use the Windows 3.x settings as a guide for setting your own software.
First, set the communications terminal to dial the Twin Cities Free-Net computer at (651) 209-3384. For Windows 3.x Terminal program, select Settings | Phone Number and fill in the phone number. You may wish to check the Signal When Connected box. This will sound a beep when the connection is established (but not necessarily a good connection.)
Set your communications terminal software for VT100 emulation. For the Windows 3.x Terminal program this is in the Settings | Terminal Emulation menu (click on the DEC VT-100 button and then on OK).
Set communications parameters to 8 bit data, no parity, 1 stop bit, hardware flow control, with carrier detection. For the Windows 3.x Terminal program, this is in the Settings | Communications menu. If you check the 19200 Baud Rate, then you probably should modify your modem initialization string to set the speed to 14.4KBPS (F10 using the Hayes compatible set). Uncheck the Parity Check box. The Connector box will be set to use the communications port that your modem is connected to. For a DOS/MS Windows system, this ordinarily would be COM2, but can vary depending on your hardware setup.
Set the terminal software to allow function, control, and arrow keys to be transmitted. For the Windows 3.x Terminal program, this is found in Settings | Terminal Preferences menu (uncheck the box and click OK). Also found in this menu, you may want to increase Buffer Lines up to 399 so more of your online session will be saved. This is handy sometimes when trying to remember what you just previously read.
Also, as a general rule, a Hayes compatible modem should be set with the following parameters:
* &F - reset to factory settings
* &C1&D2 - allows software to control modem hangup and to respond to remote server hangup
* F10 - set the speed to 14.4KBPS - this is the freenet max. If you have a 28.8KBPS or higher modem, this can prevent autodetect problems while connecting.
These settings should be made, possibly by adding them, in the communications terminal software. For Windows 3.x Terminal, this is done in the Settings | Modem Commands menu. For a Hayes compatibly modem, click on Hayes, and then make the needed changes to the Originate string. The default Hayes settings are actually factory defaults for these values for a Hayes compatible modem. So, actually, one would only need the settings specified above for such a modem. However, for any modem types, make sure you check your manual before making any changes.
Finally, if you are using Windows 3.x Terminal, you should turn off the Scroll Lock (pressing the Scroll Lock key -- should the scroll lock light be on -- will turn it off). The Scroll Lock light is usually found on the PC keyboard). Failure to do this will prevent the correct operation of the arrow keys needed to navigate with the Lynx browser.
After you startup Windows 3.x Terminal, maximize the screen size so you will be sure to see all of the TCFN computer responses. Later, you can experiment with the smallest size you can make the screen and still retain all information.
Why do I get "tcb: allocation error" when I dial up
This error message indicates that a connection between the terminal server and the Free-Net server is not possible. The terminal server answers you modem call and routes the session to the Free-Net server using TCP/IP.
When you get this message, it is not necessary to leave a problem report, because if you later succeed in connecting by dialup, then the problem has been discovered and fixed.
Why is my connection dropped by the remote server?
This problem is most often due to a modem setting which conflicts with the Free-Net modems. It can also be caused by incorrect modem software. Even if a modem has been used to correctly communicate with other services or BBSs, it is still possible to have a problem connecting with the Free-Net. This is due to the many unique implementations of the modem communications standards which sometimes are in error.
For example, the ZOOM14.4PC RPI+ modem owner's manual dated 1995, First Edition, contains incorrect settings for using the advanced protocols. Also, the drivers that came with that version are incorrect for some interconnections. The effect of all this is that sometimes the connection proceeds through the prompt to press "space to continue" before disconnecting, so that it appears that the Free-Net side is at fault.
Why is my telnet connection to Free-Net so slow?
Question: Why is telnet so slow. It's OK when browsing, but if I get into Pine, or do editing, the connection seems to be very slow compared to when I use a dialup.
Answer: If you login using telnet or a dialup modem, you have a character based connection with the server. Each character you type is sent to the host directly and echoed directly back to your terminal software for you to read before the next character is sent.
A telnet connection is carried on TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). TCP is not a character based protocol, but rather is designed to carry a relatively large block of data in each transmission. Therefore, there is a high overhead with character echoing over TCP. If each character were sent individually, the TCP packet alone would dwarf the character transmission. Also, the TCP/IP system software may be queuing your character up and transmitting it with characters from other users (within some time limit) to overcome the inefficiency imposed by the echo. And, on top of that, TCP/IP can be carried within some other protocol on parts of the route to get your character to the Free-Net. As you can see, character based applications over telnet could be very slow.
This is why Pine, which is mostly typing a lot of single characters, is very slow through telnet compared to just browsing: browsing is mostly transmitting large chunks of data with little typing by the user. Also, if you are editing files through dired, you would probably see the same slow performance.
If you are logged in with a dialup modem, then you have a direct connection to the terminal server. The terminal server has a high speed TCP/IP path to the server at LAN speeds. This results is very good performance compared to a telnet connection from an ISP to the Free-Net server.
How do I setup Netscape so I can telnet to Free-Net?
To do this requires that you are use a commercial ISP. Otherwise, none of the following applies, because Free-Net does not support Netscape through a dialup connection.
# The steps you can follow to do this are: Get and install a telnet app for your PC. There are some (e.g., ewan, trumpet) that can be downloaded.
# Configure Netscape so that it knows where to find your TELNET application. This is done via the PREFERENCES menu, in the Application and Directories submenu. You can use the "browse" button to find your TELNET program from within that submenu. (Or, of course, you will know where it is since you perhaps have just installed it).
# The freenet address you would use to telnet to Free-Net is just tcfreenet.org
# You can also open a telnet session from Netscape with the Open button. To do this, you would insert the URL:
in Location field. Or, you could add a bookmark with the above URL.
Last updated February 2004 by firstname.lastname@example.org
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