the port speed is set to 230K.
I think I know the real problem... the serial port priority needs to be set to highest in order to handle a modem connect. The recommended solution is:
You probably need irqtune, if you are experiencing any of the following:
SLIP/PPP transfers seem slow. For example, using a 28.8 (or better) modem, the effective throughput is approximately 700 bytes/second instead of the expected 2500 bytes/second.
A running serial or SLIP/PPP connection is slow, drops data, hangs, or times out.
Netscape hangs mysteriously or stalls when trying to access a web page.
Equivalent serial/PPP programs under Windoze run much faster than under Linux.
Disk accesses seem to interfere with SLIP/PPP.
Interrupt handlers for specialized, time critical devices don't get control when they need to.
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Further research says that irqtune doesn't work with the 2.4.x kernel even though the results of running it show as working. I verified this by trying it, it returns OK and makes no difference. Know of any other tools to set the interrupt priority of a serial port, or where to go in the kernel to recompile it to tell it that the serial port needs max priority?