Dial up Internet users have to cope with several Internet connection related problems that their broadband brethren do not have to deal with at all. A major problem for instance is that the connection will be dropped after a specific amount of inactivity. Inactivity in this case means that no data is send or requested in that time. This happens for instance if the user opens an article on a website and begins reading it. In that time, no data is transferred to the ISP. The user may notice the dropped connection on the next click on a link, or request of a web page.
While it is possible to configure the dial up connection to redial whenever the connection gets dropped, it is sometimes better to prevent it from being dropped in the first place.
That's where software like Connection Keeper come into play. Those programs all use the same methodology to keep the connection alive: Create artificial network traffic.
The program can be configured to request a nonexistent url or an url from a list of configured sites. The first option uses less bandwidth, but may not be enough to keep the connection alive. This depends on the ISP and needs to be tested by the dial up user.
Connection parameters like query interval in minutes, timeout and delay can be configured in the main interface as well. The program supports error logs and an option to email errors to an email address.
Connection Keeper supports all configured dial up connections in Windows.
The application offers several features on top of the keep alive functionality. For one, it can be configured to automatically close popup windows that display a notification to the user asking whether to keep the connection alive. Several methods can be used to automatically deal with those popup windows, including sending a simulated button click, keystrokes or a direct Windows message.
Several command line parameters are available, for instance to test download a web page and report errors that may have occurred, good for troubleshooting the Internet connection.
Finally, Connection Keeper offers monitoring as well. It can monitor web sites and DNS records, and create error reports whenever an error is recorded.
Connection Keeper is a sophisticated free software for the Windows operating system that can be used to keep a dial up connection alive. It is fully compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 95 to Windows 7. The program is available for download at the developer website.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.