What is the priority system?
Dialup Internet Access is a shared service. On any other internet service about 10% of the heaviest users often use up all of the resources leaving busy signals and frustration for the other 90% of the more typical users. Subsidizing these heaviest users drives up the cost of Internet service for all other users.
USFamily.Net is the only priority based internet service, as we have a patent on this new technology. At USFamily.Net we fairly allocate the shared resources. Each user has a priority equal to their total hours online in the last 30 days. If the modem pool ever fills up, rather than a heavy user causing busy signals, that user will have the lowest priority and be interrupted temporarily in favor of typical users. Interruptions are not common and an interrupted user ALWAYS receives an explanatory email. Frequent disconnection is usually a modem problem, not an interruption by the priority system. Since everyone can always get online there is an incentive to hang up the phone when you aren't actually using it. This substantially reduces the cost for everyone.
If you ever find you are one of the lowest priority users you can purchase some additional priority to avoid interruptions. If you are an extremely heavy user and need dedicated instead of shared service we have DSL service available to our users. Most of our customers choose the correct plan and are never interrupted; typically this is the lowest cost "Regular" plan.
Is it really unlimited?
Yes, but it is not "Dedicated" service. Unlimited means there are never any extra charges and some people stay online for several hours each day. However those individuals who do will have a low priority and can be interrupted temporarily to allow typical users on whenever they like. An interruption to a low priority "heavy" user would typically only happen between 8-11pm, which is the heaviest Internet usage time. A small amount of all shared service users do not find our shared dialup services adequate and may need to buy additional priority, or a dedicated service such as DSL.
Can you provide me perfect Internet service with no interruptions or busy signals?
Sure, we never have busy signals, and to avoid interruptions simply select the right plan for your needs.
- Regular Plan - Stay under 50 hours/mo. using the main modem pool and you will rarely, if ever, experience an interruption, even during peak hours. Most users fit this plan.
- Professional+200 is Semi-Dedicated Dialup - A virtually dedicated circuit just for you in which you will never a busy signal or interruption. Expected usage of 8-12 hours a day. This is only available in our MN network.
I get interrupted all the time and it is completely frustrating
Most people seldom are interrupted by our priority system. You will receive an email from us every time you are interrupted. If you did not get one, you were not interrupted by our system. Check our FAQ page under access problems for help.
What time could an interruption occur?
Technically speaking, it can be anytime. Normally the heaviest demand levels are between 8-11pm. Interruptions by the priority system rarely occur outside that time period.
I'm a premium user with a dedicated telephone line, can I keep it connected 24 hours a day?
You can only stay connected while you are actually using your system. Letting your computer keep the connection open is not allowed in your acceptable usage agreement. The best solution for you is to get a DSL or ISDN line. These connect transparently to you and it is just like having your computer connected at all time.
Tips For Avoiding Interruption
What are Interruptions?
A very small amount of our users ever experience an interruption. This is because most users purchase the best plan for their needs.
If you ever do get interrupted, wait until after the 8-11pm high usage timeframe or wait 30 minutes before trying to log in again.
Interruptions can occur to a user only:
- If every available modem port in the modem pool is full. This rarely happens, but when does it will usually be between the hours of 8-11pm on a weekday.
- If the user has the lowest priority (total
hours in the last 30 days adjusted for plan) on the modem pool. This means everyone else is paying more or using less. On any other system the interrupted user would have caused a busy signal for typical users.
If you did not receive an email notifying you of an interruption, you have not been interrupted by USFamily.Net. An unexpected disconnection is usually a modem or phone line problem. Check out our FAQ for modem disconnection problems.
Avoiding Interruption for Regular Users
To avoid interruption, conserve your premium hours. To do this, simply logoff from the Internet when not using your computer. If you need additional premium hours, you will need to upgrade your account to avoid interruptions. If you wish to remain a regular or average user but are beyond your premium hours and are suffering interruptions, simply avoid the 8pm-11pm usage timeframe.
Avoiding Interruption for Premium Users
If you are a premium user, suffering interruptions due to low priority you may be helped by the following:
- Conserve your premium hours by disconnecting when not using your computer. Simply logging off, as required by the acceptable use policy, when not using your computer works for most people.
- Avoid 8pm-11pm weekdays. The other 21 hours of the day seldom result in any interruptions at any time.
- Get dedicated service instead of shared service. We recommend using our DSL service. Click here to order this is a fantastic new service that is a 24 hour connection to the Internet and is 10 times faster than your current connection. You do need the DSL line from your phone company.
- For options for the heaviest users go to http://www.usfamily.net/premium.html
For help choosing the best plan for you click here.
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